27" iMac 2.8 Hard Drive and Fan noise?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jazzer15, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. jazzer15 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2010
    #1
    Hi everyone.

    My first post here. I am the proud new owner of a refurb 27" Core i7 iMac after 20 plus years as a PC/Windows user. I am getting familiar with the computer and am trying to figure out what is "normal" sound wise for a Mac. I was told when shopping that the computers are silent -- which didn't make a lot of sense because the thing has moving parts! Still I see a lot of posts about noisy hard drives and loud fans, etc. that people are complaining about, so I guess I am trying to figure out where my computer falls in the spectrum.

    First, the fan. It sounds pretty normal to me, and definitely MUCH quieter than the fan on my old Dell. Some people talk of no fan noise at all. I'm in a quiet room and when I start the computer or wake it up from sleep, the fan kicks in and the hard drive spins (as I imagine it should). I'm in a very quiet room and what I hear is a soft "whirring" fan sound. If there is music on or some ambient background noise, I don't hear much. I assume this is typical, but wanted to check if for some reason I should expect there to be total silence at any point (other than when sleeping).

    Second, the hard drive. I have a 2TB Hitachi drive and when it is quiet in the room I can definitely hear it "crunching" a little when accessing. It's not loud, but noticeable if there is no background noise. It doesn't sound abnormal to me -- no clicking or clunking, just normal hard drive access sound -- but again, I was lead to believe that I shouldn't hear any hard drive noise, which I imagine may be a little bit of an exaggeration. Still I was hoping to get some feedback. Are the hard drives supposed to be silent? I never hear any hard drive noise in an Apple store, but then they are usually so noisy I'm not sure I would know if there was any noise coming from the drive.

    Thanks for your input.
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    All hard drives make noise when accessed. I have 640GB WD Caviar Blue in mine and it makes noise when it's accessed but not too loud. Sounds like yours is normal.

    If you wanted total silence, you would have to look for passively cooled PC with SSDs. Passively cooling a PC with same HW as iMac is a tough job, I don't think there are any passive CPU coolers for such high power CPUs.
     
  3. jazzer15 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2010
    #3
    Thanks.

    It's interesting, in the Apple support forums there is an 18 or so page thread where people are discussing hard drive noise. Some people clearly have bad drives that are making clunking or clicking sounds. Others seem to have drives that make the typical crunching (or "stomach grumbling" sound as they refer to it) and in some cases have returned their computers 2 and 3 times in the hopes of receiving one that is "silent." Other people report that their hard drives are in fact silent. It's hard to know what "normal" is.

    I am going to be using the computer partially to record audio (acoustic instrument), so I should probably just make sure that the drive is quiet enough that it isn't picked up on a recording.
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #4
    People have different ears, some are more sensitive than others. The environment also matter. If you have wife and kids yelling at the background all the time, you're not gonna hear minor grumbling but if you're in soundproofing room, then you will definitely hear it.

    Specifying "normal" is nearly impossible.
     

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