Apple confirms coil whine is expected behavior in MM

palebluedot

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 29, 2008
716
77
I just had a chat with Apple Support because I am on my second swap out of an i5/512/8GB Mini, and it has SSD hissing/coil whine that is worse that the first one. Easily perceptible from 2 feet away at desk level. Anyways, I chatted with Apple Support and here is what they said:

Lee
Thanks for that. I have just found research indicating that this is expected behavior for this model of the Mac mini.

Lee
I have found that all of the Mac mini will have a varying degree of the noise that you are experiencing. It is normal. Some units have a louder noise than others. We have been recommended to not replace or service Mac minis with this problem.

Lee
The more heavier the process that the Mac is trying to complete, the louder the noise. Apple is aware of this issue and have investigated. We have been told that this is not anything to worry about hardware wise.

Lee
Do you have any other questions about this issue?
I then asked why my Mac has the issue when others don't and why a silent SSD is making noise. The Support Agent said:

Lee
Sure, what I am seeing is that all of the Mac mini 2018 versions are experiencing this. Other versions and other models of Macs may not experience the same problem.

Lee
In general, SSD’s are going to vary with the noise. In this particular model, this has been found to be expected behavior. Exchanging out or even servicing this model of the Mac mini has not been found to solve the problem.

Lee
Research has shown that some will be louder than others in general and it also varies again with regard to what task the computer is performing.
He said there is a support article on it dated Nov. 2018, so apparently from the beginning. This is very interesting to me because, if true, it means Apple is taking the position that coil whine is now expected behavior on their hardware. Pretty shocking to me. Even certain PC component manufactures will RMA coil whine.

tl;dr Apple says coil whine is expected on its machines, nothing can be done about it, replacement not recommended.
 

adamk77

macrumors 6502a
Jan 6, 2008
510
149

How loud is your whine? Is it as loud as this? I just got my Mac Mini a couple days ago and haven't noticed any sounds coming from it but it would drive me absolutely bonkers if it was as loud as the one in that video.
 

palebluedot

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 29, 2008
716
77

How loud is your whine? Is it as loud as this? I just got my Mac Mini a couple days ago and haven't noticed any sounds coming from it but it would drive me absolutely bonkers if it was as loud as the one in that video.
Mine is a bit quieter than the video you sent but louder than this:
 

fastlanephil

macrumors 65816
Nov 17, 2007
1,118
184
My Tangerine iMac’s HD made a high pitched buzzing sound like a mosquito close to your ear. I played music while using it and not long after my brain adjusted to the noise. I could still hear it but it wasn’t annoying.
 

EightyTwenty

macrumors 6502a
Mar 11, 2015
773
1,567
“Coil whine” is a bad name for that sound.

What is actually making the sound? Is it always the SSD?
 

madrag

macrumors 6502
Nov 2, 2007
349
55
Since I mainly use an external SSD, I rarely hear the internal SSD (which only contains the OS and the apps).

I can hear the "coil whine" (actually it seems more like an HDD operational noise) if I stress the internal SSD, but if I take the external SSD out of the enclosure (Crucial MX500), it also makes that noise, but not so loud.

Anyway, I think it's a shame if they consider it normal.
 

palebluedot

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 29, 2008
716
77
“Coil whine” is a bad name for that sound.

What is actually making the sound? Is it always the SSD?
I think coil whine is the best word. The sound is being made by a capacitor or electronic component vibrating because of the fluctuation of power in one of two components: the SSD or CPU. Current gen Intel CPUs are known to make this noise when they switch c-states, but that noise is akin to your traditional GPU super annoying coil whine. This is more of a hiss, like the SSD video linked below.

Just shows how far Apples standards have fallen over the past decade.
100%. So sad. Apple would have never allowed this to happen in the past, although it did from time to time, which is why so many people are griping and returning MBP and Minis over it.

I hav never heard of an SSD make noises. That sounds like a bad fan alignment or bad fan.
It is 100% not the fan, and as my quotes from the Live Chat show, Apple considers this "normal" even though many people get lucky and don't have it on their machines (or cant hear at that frequency). This is a well documented problem on Macs since 2016 as well as many other computers. My work Surface Book 2 has coil whine 2x as bad, although you can mess with the power delivery to make it quieter. See Adam's post above with the video of the SSD making the noise. My Samsung EVO SSDs in my 2012 Mini don't make that noise, but my understanding is the more modern and faster SSDs fluctuate power more.
 
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EdwardC

macrumors regular
Jun 3, 2012
248
145
Georgia
I have an external SSD on my iMac and an internal SSD on my HP Prodesk and they are both completely silent. That would drive me crazy.
 

boomspot

macrumors member
Apr 10, 2018
51
45
I can hear some mild coil whine if i put my ear directly on the i7 mini but it's a non issue in my room. I checked out the videos posted and the ambient room noise in those videos would be enough to push me over the OCD edge.
 

russell_314

macrumors 6502a
Feb 10, 2019
672
863
USA
It's hard to tell how loud something is in a video unless there's a reference sound that's at a known volume. I could probably make the fan of my mini sound like a jet taking off but compared to other noise in my room it's quiet. Okay I just stressed my mini putting on a game and quickly put my ear against it before the fans spun up and I did hear a sound similar to that SSD video. When I moved my ear more than an inch away I was unable to hear it. I would say it's not as loud as a traditional spinning hard drive because I could hear them without putting my ear against a computer. I remember the sound of my computers that had one. I would hear that hard drive sound on boot up or doing any kind of update.

If it was louder than a traditional hard drive I would have an issue with it. Even that sound is audible but not what I would call loud. If I was going to use my mini as a pillow computer it might be a problem but sitting on my desk I can't hear it.
 

seble

macrumors 6502a
Sep 6, 2010
930
113
The coil wine on my MM2018 with 256GB HD is now very minimal, though in a completely silent room yesterday even while scrubbing a video, with every scrub of it I could hear the SSD making a very very faint whine sound. My MM has definitely got better with it though. I barely notice it now.
 

Pakaku

macrumors 68020
Aug 29, 2009
2,169
2,159
Lee said:
We have been recommended to not replace or service Mac minis with this problem.
Recommended by Apple, I presume. So in other words, like usual, Apple is hoping to ignore the problem and hope nobody calls a lawsuit...
 

russell_314

macrumors 6502a
Feb 10, 2019
672
863
USA
The coil wine on my MM2018 with 256GB HD is now very minimal, though in a completely silent room yesterday even while scrubbing a video, with every scrub of it I could hear the SSD making a very very faint whine sound. My MM has definitely got better with it though. I barely notice it now.
So it got quieter or you just got used to it? Like I said mine doesn't make noise unless you put your ear to it. In a soundproof room it's possible one could hear it though.
[doublepost=1554200166][/doublepost]
Recommended by Apple, I presume. So in other words, like usual, Apple is hoping to ignore the problem and hope nobody calls a lawsuit...
Not saying someone won't sue because they sue for the dumbest reasons but I doubt they would get anything because their computer was making noise. Computers have always made noise. I could hear the hard drives spinning on my desktops sitting under the desk. My gaming laptop gets really loud with the fans cranking up. It would take one of two things to win a suit. If Apple advertised it as completely silent they would have a case. If the noise was considerably louder than other computers that made noise where it sounded like a tea kettle whistling then it could be argued that the noise level was excessive.
 

Trips

macrumors newbie
Mar 19, 2019
28
13
ATL, GA
My mini is completely silent as well. Unless I ramp the fan up manually of course lol. Even then its very minor. My Macbook Pro sounds like it might take flight at any moment!

I just turned off everything but the Mini. Macbook, Pc Media Server, external spinners, everything.
Even with the fan at 2500rpm on the Mini, while copying 100GB of data from the internal ssd to the desktop, I hear nothing. It's like dead silent unless I put my ear up to it and can hear the fan spinning. Now my ticking clock on the wall is standing out like crazy, and the birds seem louder than ever. The mini... nothing.

EDIT:

Some interesting info on how SSDs work. Interesting how the simple flow of electrons can result in noise. This article makes no mention of that though, FYI.
 
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smirking

macrumors 68020
Aug 31, 2003
2,182
1,590
Silicon Valley
It's definitely the SSD.
I hear a noise that sounds similar to this in my 2018 MBP.

I'm sure some of the complaints are for egregious cases, but it is indeed normal to a certain level because all electronics makes noise. Most people don't realize that the electricity in their walls even makes noise.