2017 5K iMac Fan Noise dB level ?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Samurai Shampoo, Sep 29, 2017.

  1. Samurai Shampoo macrumors member

    Jul 2, 2017
    Hey, how are you guys doing?

    I bought a 2017 5k iMac Mid Tier model a few weeks ago.

    3,5 i5 CPU
    8GB RAM

    The fan is pretty loud. Way above normal.
    I used thhe imac for a total of 7 hours maybe and theres already an electric buzz sound coming along with the fan noise.

    Unable to return it because didnt buy from apple directly and original seller says fan noise is normal.......

    long story short: For now I am stuck with it and my only hope of getting my money back or a replacement is going to an apple store again and showing them exactly that this fan noise is way too loud.

    I have different iMacs at my workplace and they are alot quieter.

    I measured the fan noise of my iMac with an App called "Decibel 10" on my iPad Mini 2.

    The room noise without the iMac running, blinds shut, no light, doors closed and only a clock ticking is
    31.5 - 33.5 dB

    Room noise (measured from same distance which is about 8inches / 20cm from the iMac) with iMac running, no apps running, just logged in and nothing else is
    34.8 - 36.9 dB

    Noise level measured from behind the iMac (4inches / 10cm from fan) is
    67.4 - 72.9 dB

    Can anyone tell me or measure dB levels himself if this is loud or normal?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. burgman macrumors 68000


    Sep 24, 2013
    Have you tried running Apple diagnostics, resetting PRAM, and SMC. Have you opened a case with Apple, does the machine have a warranty, lastly are you close to an Apple store? Do you sit behind your iMac 4 inches from it or 8 inches in front?
  3. Samurai Shampoo thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 2, 2017
    Took it to the original seller. Their IT guy said it passed all hardware tests.
    I did not try resetting anything.
    the original seller refuses to replace or refund because he says he cant find a problem so there is no problem which is very shady imo but I do have warranty.

    I am not close to an apple store but I can drive to one as soon as next week.

    And i dont sit that close to my iMac but the noise is clearly audible in the entire room and even in the next room which is very annoying to me. I am not really noise sensitive but that is some non stop rendering kind of noise.
  4. mikeboss, Sep 29, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017

    mikeboss macrumors 65816


    Aug 13, 2009
    usually, an iMac with idle desktop should be more or less inaudible. sounds to me as if there's something wrong with either the fan or the HDD (if there's any).
  5. WilliamG macrumors G3

    Mar 29, 2008
    If the noise is audible in the next room and the system is idling, that’s not right. Download a fan monitor and tell us what speed your fan is running at.
  6. Samurai Shampoo thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 2, 2017
    Thanks for the replies. I was at an Apple Store. My iMac passed all hardware tests. I told him I measured the loudness and its as loud as a vacuum cleaner.

    He listened to one of the imacs at the store and told me to listen as well. I clearly heard that the other one was quieter while he said theres no difference.

    Mind you that there was music playing in the store and people talked g so of course the noise wint be as present as it is at my home... told hom that as well but he said no no thats just how these new imacs arw. They are noisy.
    Told i got a few of them to compare anf they are way quieter. He just shrugged and said aint nothing wrong with it... they can replace the fan but if its not the fan after all ill get an imac back thats been opened.

    Damn, now Im stuck with it. Thinking about selling it.
  7. CaptRB macrumors 6502a


    Oct 11, 2016
    LA, California
    I bought two iMac machines a few weeks back...both 5K 27" one is a i5 and the other is top level i7. NEITHER machine makes a sound unless really pushed.

    The i7 fan has gone off twice and the i5 once. It's noticeable, but it's hardly an issue.

    I wonder what the temps are in the rooms where people use their Macs.

  8. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    It's interesting you have a 2017 i5 iMac 27 which everyone says is so super quiet. The Apple Store guy saying "that's just how these new iMacs are" is wrong. The new ones are no noisier than the iMacs back to 2012. He is also wrong in thinking anyone can assess acoustic issues in the middle of a noisy retail store.

    When you measured the sound as 34.8 - 36.9 dB in front of the iMac, there are various apps and methods for this, e.g, A weighted, C weighted, different mic sensitivities, position of iPhone (whether mic was toward or away from the iMac screen), etc. By by almost any standard mid-30s dB is pretty quiet.

    If you measured your iMac 27 vs another one side-by-side in a quiet room from behind under and under similar idle conditions and using similar methods, would your iMac be louder? If you know someone with a similar iMac you could take yours over to their place and do that.

    There have been a very few reports of a defective iMac cooling fan which was installed improperly and would make a buzzing or slight rattling sound. Maybe it's that, but it's hard to tell without listening and measuring the sound in a controlled quiet environment.
  9. Samurai Shampoo thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 2, 2017
    Makes it even worse for me that others have no issues and I seem to be alone with this.

    My room is really cool. No heat at all and the noise was there from the first second I pushed the power button.

    Probably not ideal that my room is also very quiet which makes the fan noise even more audible...
    I mean 73 decibels is so loud that you'd have to have hearing problems to not hear it.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 6, 2017 ---
    Hey, thanks for replying.

    Yes, the mic was pointed towards the iMac. The iPad Mini2 mic is really not that great but I guess no matter how good the mic is the relative increase in volume should be enough of an indicator to show that there's something wrong.

    Apple Store guy tried to convince that the machine is just so powerful and heats up fast which is why the fan needs to run heavy. Told him I know that I know from experience that the fans only become audible when the iMac is put under stress but he kept saying it was normal and that's how it's supposed to be.

    Unfortunately I can't do a comparison anymore due to me moving but the room in which I measured the loudness is quiet at around 32 dB like you said. I didn't know anyone with a similar iMac but with older ones which where really quiet.

    I mean I really wish this noise was normal but having listened to different models I know that it's pretty extreme.
    I like that Apple makes contacting support and those things easy but my experience with this Apple Stores help was not that great.

    A friend of mine had a problem with his - at the time- new iPhone and they couldn't track down the problem and replaced it with a new one even when the purchase was months ago. Different store but I thought they'd have the same customer philosphy at every Apple Store...
  10. gian8989 macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2015
    it has a problem. Even the i7 is quiet. The only time when you hear the fan is when cpu temp goes up to 90° (i7 only).
    Try to download this and check temp and fan speed: it should always be 1200RPM.
  11. CaptRB macrumors 6502a


    Oct 11, 2016
    LA, California
    Yeah...no way these machines make sound unless they are pushed. If you hear loud fan noise even at startup, something is wrong and I can't see how Apple would not see/hear that this is abnormal.

  12. MeValonicAcid macrumors member


    Sep 29, 2008
    => I have a similar 'issue' (iMac 27" 2017 - i7 - SSD):
    In High Sierra, the fan goes in + 2300 rpm a few times per day. CPU temps seen at the moment of the noisy behavior are +90 °C. Mainly while using Chrome (4K youtube,...). It is similar as show in this video (at the end) while running a benchmark test.
    In WIN10 bootcamp: almost every 3D Game played kicks in the fan @ very high rpm. CPU Temps are also +90°C on all cores, GPU temp stays around 70-80°C while playing.
  13. Samurai Shampoo thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 2, 2017
    I am still planning on convincing Apple that there's something wrong with my machine but I need a bit of validation from other people.
    Would somebody be so kind and measure the fan noise of your 2017 iMac?
    There are plenty of dB measuring apps for the iPhone and iPad available. Really just takes 10 seconds to measure the loudness.

    Damn, so we're in the same boat. At least it's only temporary for you. Mine is loud constantly and not getting any quieter.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 14, 2017 ---
    Thank you.

    I'll try this but the thing is that the Apple Store guy tested the iMac (dont know what tests they run, he just connected an iPad an 2 minutes later he got the results on his screen) and my iMac passed all tests. Same thing was the case when I brought it to the shop where i bought it which is an authorized apple reseller. So, I guess I won't find anything.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 14, 2017 ---
    I don't know why the Apple guy was so set on telling me the machine is so powerful... I mean its the mid tier model that I got and I dont do anything intensive with it. I may take it to the Apple store or reseller shop another time for some testing.
  14. MeValonicAcid macrumors member


    Sep 29, 2008
    In the review my iMac topic I've shared next info:

    Unfortunately during the first weeks of using the same configuration, the temps frequently went up to 90-100°C and the fan maxes-out accordingly. But....
    - 1 root cause has been identified: :mad: Google Chrome helper :mad:- Using 759% CPU continuously... (cryptomining?)
  15. bolandross macrumors newbie


    Nov 28, 2017
    Good lord, reading this makes me so angry ...
    Are there any news on your case? Do you still own the machine?
  16. pier macrumors 6502


    Feb 7, 2009
    OP this is most probably a problem with the temp sensor. Download iStat Menus and check the temperatures and fan speeds.

    The i7 7700K runs very hot and 90ºC temps are common when pushed. There are many threads here on MR about this issue.

    For example: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/quietest-5k-imac-configuration.2101841/

    Also see this Intel thread about the 7700K and its temp peaks which caused great controversy last year: https://communities.intel.com/thread/110728

    My point is that this is normal behaviour. If the noise is too high you should probably return the iMac and get an i5.
  17. MeValonicAcid macrumors member


    Sep 29, 2008
    I use this iMac now on a daily basis. When not pushed with games/demanding applications the unit runs quiet. Very pleased with it!

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