Apple quietly announces that the 27/21 inch iMacs are Noisy

VanNess

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 31, 2005
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California
See official Apple technote here

Hard drives generate audible noises when performing read/write activities. Even when a computer is idle it may be performing background tasks such as Time Machine backups or Spotlight searches that utilize the hard drive. These noises may be described as grumbling, muffled thudding, or ticking in short bursts, or as a quiet tapping noise like raindrops. These are all normal operating noises and do not indicate an issue.
Note that this article is limited specifically to the late 2009 21 and 27 inch iMacs - not earlier models.

And it doesn't explain the discrepancy of user reports that claim their hard drives are quiet, particularly the allegedly silent Western Digital 2tb Drives versus the 1tb Seagate digestive noise machines.

I'm not buying a blanket statement that hard drive noise is "normal," particularly when having previously owned 2006, 2007, and 2008 iMacs, the hard drive noise was virtually undetectable - unless you put a stethoscope somewhere on the machine.

Obviously I have the 1tb Seagate grumbler, but in every other respect, my [replacement] 27 is perfect - no yellow tint issues, no flicker, etc., so I'm not inclined to pursue the issue. It's not like it's that loud, where anytime I operate the machine, the neighbors knock on my door and ask me to keep the noise down. You kind of get used to it after awhile. Still, from a machine whose latest design represents, according to Jonathan Ives, Apple's best thinking and innovation, it's a curious step backwards for Apple to officially recognize that these machines are nosier than previous generations.

Let's see if Seagate is invited back to the party for the next refresh.
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,076
580
Finland
Sounds like all Apple's employees are deaf and blind as it takes so long to admit this problem and took long time to admit the yellowing and flickering.
 

chrismacguy

macrumors 68000
Feb 13, 2009
1,980
1
United Kingdom
I dont think there deaf or blind, I just think mind-bogglingly slow when it comes to admitting theyve slipped up. Its just about the only thing Apple hasnt got right yet IMO at any rate.
 

IndustrialSpace

macrumors 6502a
Dec 31, 2009
696
1
somewhere
Hilarious.

Once they post that crap, then they can have immunity with HD returns due to noise.

Innnnncredible.


Apple is becoming more and more like a run-of-the-mill manufacturer like Dell, HP, etc. - just with inflated price tags.
 

invisionblue

macrumors member
Aug 5, 2009
77
0
Why not return your machine then? I have had a flawless i7 27inch for a few months now. It's not noisy at all, actually I don't hear it at all so it's not all 27 inch imacs.
 

cutthroughthebs

macrumors member
Feb 14, 2010
73
0
See official Apple technote here



Note that this article is limited specifically to the late 2009 21 and 27 inch iMacs - not earlier models.

And it doesn't explain the discrepancy of user reports that claim their hard drives are quiet, particularly the allegedly silent Western Digital 2tb Drives versus the 1tb Seagate digestive noise machines.

I'm not buying a blanket statement that hard drive noise is "normal," particularly when having previously owned 2006, 2007, and 2008 iMacs, the hard drive noise was virtually undetectable - unless you put a stethoscope somewhere on the machine.

Obviously I have the 1tb Seagate grumbler, but in every other respect, my [replacement] 27 is perfect - no yellow tint issues, no flicker, etc., so I'm not inclined to pursue the issue. It's not like it's that loud, where anytime I operate the machine, the neighbors knock on my door and ask me to keep the noise down. You kind of get used to it after awhile. Still, from a machine whose latest design represents, according to Jonathan Ives, Apple's best thinking and innovation, it's a curious step backwards for Apple to officially recognize that these machines are nosier than previous generations.

Let's see if Seagate is invited back to the party for the next refresh.
How is hard drive noise Apples problem? Just go buy an SSD or better yet... don't buy it if your not happy! I don't think posting here is either going to make anyone outlooks change or Apple cater to your cries of sorrow...
Life is about choice... if you don't like it you don't have to bash things just return it or tell them the noise is too great and you need another solution towards a quieter user experience.
 

IndustrialSpace

macrumors 6502a
Dec 31, 2009
696
1
somewhere
How is hard drive noise Apples problem? Just go buy an SSD or better yet... don't buy it if your not happy! I don't think posting here is either going to make anyone outlooks change or Apple cater to your cries of sorrow...
Life is about choice... if you don't like it you don't have to bash things just return it or tell them the noise is too great and you need another solution towards a quieter user experience.

Not all HD are noisy. Some of the ones contained in iMacs are. SSD is prohibitively expensive (for now at least).

Now get back to work, Apple Genius. Breaks over...
 

cwwilson

macrumors 65816
Jan 27, 2009
1,386
707
Oklahoma City, OK
Considering how damn LOUD my old computer was, my iMac is deathly quiet. So even if there was some HDD noise, I probably wouldn't pick up on it. :p
 

ooninay

macrumors member
Mar 19, 2009
75
7
Toronto
I realize that I'm not typical in this regard but I actually like hard drive sounds and prefer a machine where I can hear the hard drive to one where I can't. Don't know why that is, but I always have been that way ever since I got my very first computer with a hard drive (a 20 MB HD on an IBM PC/XT clone... oooh!)
 

evirob

macrumors member
Mar 31, 2008
71
0
Sunny Singapore
Maybe we'll also need to consider on the proximity between the iMac & us. Cos
if I were really to go very near (2 inches), i definitely can hear the HDD operating noise. But most of the time , I'm like 2 feet away and the only sound I hear is my air conditioner...

This not only apply to my i7 but also to my previous 24" C2D too...:)
 

VanNess

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 31, 2005
868
118
California
my hdd doesnt annoy me. maybe everyone else is fussy? ;) :p
Might be fussiness, or the user's environment, or in my case, previous ownership of iMacs that were operationally silent. Opinions will likely vary on the perception of how noisy, based on size of the room the iMac is in, the location (near the wall or farther way), and ambient noise, such as whether you live next to an airport or not. :eek:


How is hard drive noise Apples problem?
Three little words, from here

Cool, quiet components.
I don't think posting here is either going to make anyone outlooks change or Apple cater to your cries of sorrow...
Life is about choice... if you don't like it you don't have to bash things just return it or tell them the noise is too great and you need another solution towards a quieter user experience.
No axe to grind, no obsession here. (Cries of sorrow? :D) The topic post simply pointed to an article Apple published addressing issues pertaining to the noise level of the current iMac line. There are numerous posts here, as well as Apple's support forums, that have raised the issue of the noise level of the 27 iMac hard drives, particularly with respect to the 1tb Seagate model.

Because Apple creates the hardware, the operating system, and many built-in applications, Apple products are truly integrated systems with vastly superior support.
Not to mention some pretty spiffy technotes...
 

iSee

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2004
3,523
253
Both of the 1 TB i7's I've gotten "grumbled." It was clearly audible but not too loud. (I had to return both due to screen issues.)

Speaking for myself, I don't consider it an issue at all. It doesn't bother me at all and I've heard much, much worse over the years. If it bothers you, you should probably return it and get the 2TB. Or swap the drive yourself.
 

TMRaven

macrumors 68020
Nov 5, 2009
2,099
1
I realize that I'm not typical in this regard but I actually like hard drive sounds and prefer a machine where I can hear the hard drive to one where I can't. Don't know why that is, but I always have been that way ever since I got my very first computer with a hard drive (a 20 MB HD on an IBM PC/XT clone... oooh!)
I like the subtle sounds the harddrive makes too.


Asides the hardrive grumbling here and there (albeit a very, very subtle noise) my new iMac can't even be heard from up close. A bit difference coming from the G5 iMac, which always operated at very high temperatures with high fan rps-- so this new iMac is an exact 180 from noisy to me.
 

peskaa

macrumors 68020
Mar 13, 2008
2,104
5
London, UK
Ridiculous.

I can hear the drives in my Mac Pro "grumbling" and ticking when there is I/O going on, and it is under my desk, and this has been the case with every Mac I've owned over the years. There is basically no such thing as a silent HDD, except for SSDs.

Apple are within their rights to do this. Hard drives make noise, simple as that. Users cannot expect complete silence!
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,494
26
Singapore
Might be fussiness, or the user's environment, or in my case, previous ownership of iMacs that were operationally silent. Opinions will likely vary on the perception of how noisy, based on size of the room the iMac is in, the location (near the wall or farther way), and ambient noise, such as whether you live next to an airport or not. :eek:
oh trust me, my "07 24" iMac is not that silent! the fans are quite loud! this i7 imac is a very nice computer.

the hdd noise doesnt bother me at all, even at 12pm @night when its dead silent, all i hear is a slight hum from PSU/CPU/hdd/fans etc - nothing bad at all. highly satisfied

+1 peskaa
 
I have a Late 2007 Aluminum iMac with a 500GB HDD, I haven't heard it once. In fact, I don't think I've even heard the fans, even when encoding video.

While yes, HDD's do make noise, and them making noises isn't necessarily a problem, over the past few years the iMacs have been using pretty much silent HDD's, and Apple advertises such. Now, I doubt the 1 TB Seagates are staying for the next refresh, so that's something to be peachy about.

OP, if I were you, and if the noise really bothered me to the point where I couldn;t do work, I'd sell the machine and buy another one with a 2TB drive.
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,494
26
Singapore
I have a Late 2007 Aluminum iMac with a 500GB HDD, I haven't heard it once. In fact, I don't think I've even heard the fans, even when encoding video.

While yes, HDD's do make noise, and them making noises isn't necessarily a problem, over the past few years the iMacs have been using pretty much silent HDD's, and Apple advertises such. Now, I doubt the 1 TB Seagates are staying for the next refresh, so that's something to be peachy about.

OP, if I were you, and if the noise really bothered me to the point where I couldn;t do work, I'd sell the machine and buy another one with a 2TB drive.
i have the same model, 2.8GHz Penryn. it has a 750GB HDD.

this model of iMac is always quite loud, its pretty hot here in australia. ambient temps of around 30°C+ somedays. its certainly much louder at idle (when fans are up) then when my imac i7 is under load!

thats just my personal experience/opinion though, of course.
 

lindafus

macrumors member
Jan 1, 2010
51
4
HD noise?

I own 3 macs - iMac 27 i7 and 2 mac minis and a few home build pc's and pc laptops all different brands. I believe they all make hard drive noises. The ones with western digital hd's make less noise but I have never heard of a totally silent hard drive. Maybe Apple users are just not used to normal equipment noises? I have never considered it a fault of the company. Sort of like starting the engine of your car right? Some cars are quiet while others are a bit loud?

Antec makes nice insulated cases that quiet the hard drive noises? What is the point of this thread? Not sure this thread is really important unless we are going to make sound clips and compare?

BTW, the iMac 27 makes what I consider perfectly normal noise varoom varoom when it is writing to the drive. I never thought of that noise as a fault at all. Hmmmm:confused:
 

AdamA9

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2010
1,206
335
Coming from a PC that sounding like a space shuttle launch with any slight usage with fans and HDs creating a noise, I happen to find this very quiet. If I cannot hear anything I think there's something wrong. I find my 21.5 extreamely quiet, but having said that I usually have iTunes playing out something :cool:
 

peskaa

macrumors 68020
Mar 13, 2008
2,104
5
London, UK
While yes, HDD's do make noise, and them making noises isn't necessarily a problem, over the past few years the iMacs have been using pretty much silent HDD's, and Apple advertises such.
Can you please point out to me where Apple state they use "pretty much silent" hard disks? The only thing I can find this this:

Cool, quiet components.

The wider iMac display allows more room to separate the two hottest components, the CPU and the GPU. This keeps things cool inside the iMac enclosure. Apple engineers also implemented an intelligent control system that monitors temperatures and delivers just the right amount of airflow to critical components. And the three fans inside iMac have been tuned to be ultraquiet. The result of all this tinkering with heat and sound? A system that operates at 18 decibels when idle — so quiet, you hardly know it’s on.*


*A-weighted. Acoustics measured on standard 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac systems with 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processors. Acoustics may vary by configuration.


Of note, is the fact that Apple refer to the fans, GPU and CPU, and never explicitly the HDD.
 

nando2323

macrumors 6502a
Aug 15, 2007
662
0
Can you please point out to me where Apple state they use "pretty much silent" hard disks? The only thing I can find this this:

Cool, quiet components.

The wider iMac display allows more room to separate the two hottest components, the CPU and the GPU. This keeps things cool inside the iMac enclosure. Apple engineers also implemented an intelligent control system that monitors temperatures and delivers just the right amount of airflow to critical components. And the three fans inside iMac have been tuned to be ultraquiet. The result of all this tinkering with heat and sound? A system that operates at 18 decibels when idle — so quiet, you hardly know it’s on.*


*A-weighted. Acoustics measured on standard 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac systems with 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processors. Acoustics may vary by configuration.


Of note, is the fact that Apple refer to the fans, GPU and CPU, and never explicitly the HDD.
Finally someone with some common sense!