2017 27" iMac Noise Question

jayfromnova

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 9, 2017
28
17
Northern Virginia
Hello,

I've been waiting a long time to purchase an iMac, and the new ones look great to me. While I want to future proof by going on the way with an i7 processor and the Radeon 580, I know how important having the computer nearly silent is to me. So, if I'm doing something intensive like exporting a video, noise is fine. But I really do want it nearly silent during everyday photo editing and surfing. Can I safely go all the way, or does noise start becoming a factor? Am I safer with the i5 and/or a lower Radeon?

BTW: Planning to go 512 SSD if that matters in answering the question.

I am ready to pull the trigger, but don't want to regret it later. Informed opinions great appreciated!
Thanks,
JayFromNoVa
 
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-Ryan-

macrumors 68000
Jan 28, 2009
1,580
110
There is a very faint noise of the fan running at low RPM at all times with any iMac. There is very little difference between the different CPU/GPU configurations. Having an SSD of course makes the computer slightly quieter as well as there is no noise of the spinning disk.
 

MacScott

macrumors regular
Jan 27, 2012
109
29
Indiana
Just curious on the OP's question. How much future proofing would I get by picking the i7 vs. the i5. It is only a couple hundred bucks difference.
 

drthom

macrumors newbie
Jun 10, 2017
12
2
USA
JayFNV:

You've asked T-H-E question!

There are quite a few current threads dealing with this issue. I recommend you look around and learn what you can; there seem to be several "highly credible" posts. I find it frustrating to learn that these noise issues go back several years and several iMac models.

I have three questions that I hope address your issues (and not screw up your thread):

1) Several posts seem to express alarm that fans are spinning at 1200 rpm at idle. Is not 1200 rpm the system minimum speed? (Ie, if it is noisy at 1200 rpm you have a bad fan.)

2) If the i7 "future proofs" the machine for an additional year, that's pretty valuable! Can I keep the i7 cool and quiet somehow -- blocking hyper threading, blocking turbo boost, lowering clock speed? If "yes" then how?

3) Can't remember the third -- a senior moment. Don't get old!

Thom
 

Glockworkorange

macrumors 68010
Feb 10, 2015
2,002
3,193
Chicago, Illinois
Just curious on the OP's question. How much future proofing would I get by picking the i7 vs. the i5. It is only a couple hundred bucks difference.
I don't think getting an i7 is "future proofing" anything if the only tasks you do really only require an i5.

In terms of "future proofing" (a term I hate), probably best to spend the money to get the biggest SSD (and perhaps graphics card) you can afford.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,215
5,556
Just get the model you want and upgrade the internal drive to an SSD (either 512gb or even 256gb).

If the time arrives in the future where you need more storage, just add an external USB3 SSD. No use "paying up front" for highly-priced SSD space that you might never use.

The whole idea of "future proofing" can be an exercise in futility, a wild goose chase. You may want a new Mac before the old one is seriously deprecated.

My 10-year-old base model 24" white Intel iMac still remains modestly usable, even though it's far out-of-date.
 

jayfromnova

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 9, 2017
28
17
Northern Virginia
Well, I've been reading all these threads and reviews and I guess it has me more leaning towards the i5. Still not sure which GPU. Honestly, I have been using a Mac Mini 2011 w dual core 2.7Ghz i5 for 6 years and never considered it too slow. I just really want that 5K monitor and so I should be ok with the i5 quad core. By the way, my mini's fan runs all the time at 1800 RPM and is inaudible. So I guess the iMac is a bigger fan to be so noticeable. I did replace the fan a couple of years ago.
 

Nismo73

macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2013
855
426
Well, I've been reading all these threads and reviews and I guess it has me more leaning towards the i5. Still not sure which GPU. Honestly, I have been using a Mac Mini 2011 w dual core 2.7Ghz i5 for 6 years and never considered it too slow. I just really want that 5K monitor and so I should be ok with the i5 quad core. By the way, my mini's fan runs all the time at 1800 RPM and is inaudible. So I guess the iMac is a bigger fan to be so noticeable. I did replace the fan a couple of years ago.
We've been talking about how much fan noise there is since the late '12 was introduced. It's still basically the same design inside with the single fan that constantly spins (1200 rpm) and is barely audible in a quiet room. Some have said they don't really hear it, but it's there. When you start putting demand on it, it'll start to spin up more and hear the air blowing out the back, but it's not bad.
People are just getting these new CPU/GPU combos in hand, so it'd be interesting to see what the idle temp is compared to previous year CPUs, and how quickly fan speeds ramp up in a comparable demand scenario.

Gonna be interesting to see how the iMac Pros are with fan noise since it's a total redesign that I'd guess we'll see in the regular iMacs maybe next year or two.
 

colinsky

macrumors member
Apr 3, 2009
49
6
On my late 2015 iMac, I never hear the fan while doing Photoshop or Dreamweaver work while I'm watching the Giants game. I can hear it when rendering a video. I notice it if I have two TV news channels and a ball game running while I'm watching an episode of BOSCH.
I've never yet heard it to be "loud."
3.3 GHz i5, M395, 256 GB internal, 1 TB external SSD.
 

jojellybean

macrumors newbie
Dec 6, 2017
9
1
Hello,

I've been waiting a long time to purchase an iMac, and the new ones look great to me. While I want to future proof by going on the way with an i7 processor and the Radeon 580, I know how important having the computer nearly silent is to me. So, if I'm doing something intensive like exporting a video, noise is fine. But I really do want it nearly silent during everyday photo editing and surfing. Can I safely go all the way, or does noise start becoming a factor? Am I safer with the i5 and/or a lower Radeon?

BTW: Planning to go 512 SSD if that matters in answering the question.

I am ready to pull the trigger, but don't want to regret it later. Informed opinions great appreciated!
Thanks,
JayFromNoVa
Do you happen to have a static electric buzz noise coming from behind the iMac exhaust if you put your ear to it? It happens only when scrolling, minimizing windows, and increasing brightness.