Base Retina iMac Fan ALWAYS On

Discussion in 'iMac' started by AirCanada22, Jan 13, 2015.

  1. AirCanada22 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    #1
    Hi all,

    Just picked up my Retina iMac not even a week ago, and apart from one small thing I'm completely in love with it....that one thing would be the fan noise. When I first took it out of the box and started playing around with it, it was dead silent. But the very next day, and every day since, the fans have been running, audibly, even at idle. I can close every program or start the thing up from hours of being off and the fans still kick in instantly. I do a lot of writing in a silent room so this is both noticeable and bothersome.

    Is this something I have to live with or can I expect an update or software adjustment to fix this?

    Thanks!
     
  2. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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    #2
    Check how much CPU it is using, with Activity Monitor.
     
  3. AirCanada22 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 5, 2015
    #3
    Right now it is fluctuating between 90-94% idle, and the fans are still on.
     
  4. Astelith macrumors regular

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    #4
  5. dasx macrumors 65816

    dasx

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    #5
    Yeah, there's definitely something wrong. Fans are OK though, they're doing their job, because a retina iMac being at 95% the whole time will get warm.

    The problem is you've got something that is taking power away from you. Consider installing OSX in a pendrive/hard drive (a USB 3.0 or you'll die) and boot from it, then install all your software again 1 by 1 and see which one causes the problem.

    EDIT: ooops, 94% idle you mean the CPU usage is just at 6%? I misunderstood!! Sorry.
     
  6. Alesc macrumors 6502

    Alesc

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    #6
    The fan is always on on an iMac, and it's OK to hear it a little ;)
    If you are worrying about that, you can try to install Macs Fan control or iStat menus and see that the fan is correctly spinning at default speed on idle: 1200 tpm.
     
  7. andy9l macrumors 68000

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    England, UK
    #7
    This. This is all you need to do to work out if you have a problem. If your iMac is idling at over 1,200rpm, you've got a problem.
     
  8. kucyk macrumors member

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    Sep 24, 2007
    #8
    Something is sucking up the CPU power, next time when it happens open up the activity monitor and see what process is harming your CPU
     
  9. Alesc macrumors 6502

    Alesc

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    #9
    You missed one word ;)

     
  10. xgman macrumors 601

    xgman

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    Aug 6, 2007
    #10
    Make sure spotlight indexing is finished and TM isn't running. At that point the fan should quiet down. Sometimes the initial spotlite indexing goes on for days especially if you have external drives connected.

    Otherwise, try these steps that may also tame the fan activity:
    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/6623697?start=0&tstart=0
     
  11. phpmaven macrumors 68040

    phpmaven

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    #11
    It's not normal to be able to hear it all the time, unless the OP has bionic ears. If you can hear the fan 24/7, then something is wrong.
     
  12. Alesc macrumors 6502

    Alesc

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    #12
    In a very silent room, I can hear the soft whisper of my very silent late 2013 iMac fan, and I'm far from being Superman (I have a permanent and continuous tinnitus since I'm 12).
     
  13. cynics macrumors G3

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    Jan 8, 2012
    #13

    I can also hear an imac in a silent room but from what the OP is describing its not an idle fan speed since it was quiet the first day then noticeably louder ever since.

    We won't know until he/she installs an program that reports fan speed.
     
  14. AirCanada22 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 5, 2015
    #14
    Thanks for the help, everyone, and sorry for the confusion in my wording: CPU usage was approximately 10% --> 90% was idle.

    I installed a monitoring program. Fan speed is hovering around 1200 RPM and CPU/GPU temperatures are both ~30 degrees Celcius.

    I take it this means that this level of noise is normal and that there's nothing I can do about it?
     
  15. cynics macrumors G3

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    Jan 8, 2012
    #15
    Its impossible for us to say without hearing it. At 1200rpm I can hear my iMac but I need to listen for it, virtually any other noise is louder.

    The software is reporting 1200 rpm which doesn't make it 1200 rpm. Also we don't know if there is something wrong with the fan itself.

    Any accurate comparisons you can make with the sound of fan compared to other things that have the same volume when operating?
     
  16. MacSignal macrumors regular

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    May 8, 2010
    #16
    FWIW, my experience is about the same after coming from a couple of retina laptops that were dead silent at idle. From the first boot with the iMac, I immediately noticed noise where there was none before. iStat reports a fan speed of about 1200 RPM. The computer seems to be operating without any issues.

    I am not suffering too much, but it was a little disappointing and surprising that the iMac does not meet the same standard as the last two retina laptops I had. Maybe next iMac revision...maybe not.

    This iMac happens to have a Fusion drive, so I began to wonder if what I am hearing might be spinning drive platters as much as the fan. Wish I could compare to one with a SSD to know for certain.

    Whatever it is, there is a distinct difference in noise on vs. off that I did not notice with the last two retina laptops that I had. All IME. YMMV. Like the OP, I frequently work alone in a quiet room, where noise differences would be more obvious.

    What I am hearing is something you would never hear this in the din of an Apple store, with TV or music playing, and probably not even with another person in the room working on another computer.
     
  17. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #17
    Yes, that's quite normal.
     
  18. SmallDane macrumors member

    SmallDane

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    #18
    A brand new iMac with fans running at the lowest possible speed (1200 rpm) should be near silent. If not, there is something wrong with it. Could something be blocking the air intake or exhaust? Can you describe what kind of noise you are hearing?
     
  19. Nismo73 macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 4, 2013
    #19
    It's normal. Retina MacBook, pretty much have to put your ear to the keyboard to hear it. IMac, it's normal to hear it at normal sitting distance in a silent room. The iMac doesn't have the fan design on the MacBook, so right there it has a strike against it in the amount of noise it produces.
     
  20. phpmaven macrumors 68040

    phpmaven

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    #20
    OK, if I put my ear within a few inches of the bottom of iMac, I can just barely hear the fans. But at normal distance, I can't hear them at all. And I have pretty good hearing.

    Anyway, the bottom line is, if your iMac is making enough fan noise to be bothersome at normal operating times, then there's something wrong, period. It should be whisper quite, practically silent.
     
  21. AirCanada22 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 5, 2015
    #21
    hi all, thanks for the replies.

    The sound is a low whir, exactly as you'd expect a healthy fan to sound, but it's audible at total idle and 1200RPM. Considering I do a ton of writing and reading on my machines, and keep a silent room for those purposes, this is somewhat upsetting.

    I also don't understand why it was dead silent on day 1 and has since never calmed down. I'm going to call Apple about this. It's not enough to make me want to return the machine, but it doesn't seem so unreasonable that at total rest the machine be quiet. My 11-inch MBA with 2GB of RAM only ever got this loud under huge stress (VLC + 10 chrome tabs). To think that this machine at idle is as loud as the MBA under stress is upsetting.
     
  22. WilliamG macrumors 604

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    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #22
    1200rpm is the "resting" speed. Not sure why you're thinking it's as noisy as an MBA. My wife has an MBA and under stress it's like a small vacuum cleaner it's so noisy. Either your fan is broken or.. I have no idea. But 1200rpm is normal.
     
  23. AirCanada22 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 5, 2015
    #23
    I'm comparing the sound of my Retina iMac "at rest" to the sound of my MBA when the fan first kicks in. I don't think this is "whisper" quiet; maybe there's something wrong with the fan or maybe it's just meant to run loud, but if another iMac Retina owner can say that they have to strain to hear the fan than there is something wrong with mine.
     
  24. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    Oct 17, 2014
    #24
    The noise my iMac makes when idling at 1200rpm is barley audible and not even close to the loudness of an external HDD, or central heating system for that matter. It certainly isn't as loud as my 13" rMBP under stress, which as WilliamG said sounds like a small vacuum cleaner.
     
  25. phpmaven macrumors 68040

    phpmaven

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    #25
    If it's not "whisper" quiet, then something is definitely wrong, especially as it seems the fan is running at 1200 rpm. That's the speed mine is running at and I literally have to put my ear within a few inches of the bottom of the screen to hear it.
     

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