Confusion about iMac and iMac Pro fan noise

md550

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 22, 2012
14
0
Hi everyone,

Apologies in advance for the long post.

I need to purchase a new Mac over the next few weeks and I am currently deciding between the 27-inch iMac and the base model iMac Pro.

My current/future uses are web browsing/email, iOS/Mac development, Web development, financial market analysis/simulation and video editing (including 4K).

I really dislike fan noise. Originally I was convinced I would get the iMac Pro due to its improved cooling system, however further research has uncovered conflicting reports.

For the iMac Pro, people say that the iMac Pro is completely silent virtually all of the time, except for when you are really pushing it. I did however recall someone who said they can hear their fans at idle.

For the iMac, people say that my desired configuration (i9 and Vega 48) is extremely quiet (silent when idle) and you rarely hear the fans at all. Others say they find the noise no better than previous years, with the fan noise being noticeable even at idle.

The one thing steering me away from the iMac Pro is its age. I'm a bit concerned about buying it when a potential update could come later this year.

Does the room's ambient temperature make a significant difference to the thermals?

Has anyone else been stuck with choosing between these two Macs because of fan noise?
Any more first hand experiences would be great.

Thanks very much.
 

mrvo

macrumors member
Nov 16, 2018
75
16
I’ve tested the base iMac Pro at the shop and have had my 5K iMac w/ i9 & Vega 48 for a few days now. Highly recommend the 2019 5K iMac.

My room temperature during the day is about 35 C, and browsing Safari, the iMac only hovers around 45 C max while the fan is at base 1200RPM.
 
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richinaus

macrumors 65816
Oct 26, 2014
1,006
811
I’ve tested the base iMac Pro at the shop and have had my 5K iMac w/ i9 & Vega 48 for a few days now. Highly recommend the 2019 5K iMac.

My room temperature during the day is about 35 C, and browsing Safari, the iMac only hovers around 45 C max while the fan is at base 1200RPM.
If you hate fan noise, the pro is the way to go - far better cooling design.
 
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kaotage

macrumors newbie
Oct 25, 2018
2
1
IMac Pro fan do run sometimes. After hours of cutting 4K video. Silent. And once you export - fan is on. Not too loud, but kinda normal. Once export is completed. Computer is back to silent.
 
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Desperaty

macrumors newbie
Jan 16, 2018
3
1
Has anyone possibly found a comparison of fan noise? Imac 2019 vs. Imac Pro, Idle / full load?
 
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xgman

macrumors 601
Aug 6, 2007
4,777
606
If it is that important to you, the pro is just noticeably quieter and seems to run less often. That said, the 19 imac relly isn't bad at all noise wise.
 
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SecuritySteve

macrumors 6502a
Jul 6, 2017
743
858
California
Hi everyone,

Apologies in advance for the long post.

I need to purchase a new Mac over the next few weeks and I am currently deciding between the 27-inch iMac and the base model iMac Pro.

My current/future uses are web browsing/email, iOS/Mac development, Web development, financial market analysis/simulation and video editing (including 4K).

I really dislike fan noise. Originally I was convinced I would get the iMac Pro due to its improved cooling system, however further research has uncovered conflicting reports.

For the iMac Pro, people say that the iMac Pro is completely silent virtually all of the time, except for when you are really pushing it. I did however recall someone who said they can hear their fans at idle.

For the iMac, people say that my desired configuration (i9 and Vega 48) is extremely quiet (silent when idle) and you rarely hear the fans at all. Others say they find the noise no better than previous years, with the fan noise being noticeable even at idle.

The one thing steering me away from the iMac Pro is its age. I'm a bit concerned about buying it when a potential update could come later this year.

Does the room's ambient temperature make a significant difference to the thermals?

Has anyone else been stuck with choosing between these two Macs because of fan noise?
Any more first hand experiences would be great.

Thanks very much.
The iMac Pro is the right machine for you. They updated the iMac Pro GPU at the same time that they updated the iMac itself. It is unlikely we will see another 2019 Mac release, outside of laptops. 2020 is a different story, but the iMac Pro's CPU is still the best for it's TDP from intel.

My iMac Pros (yes, we have two in our household) are both dead silent, unless we are gaming hardcore on them. That is the only time I ever hear the fans.

My usage: Software development, heavy virtualization (15+ VMs), and Software Fuzzing (CPU intensive task).
Her usage: Graphics design, photo editing, video editing, modeling.

Anyone who told you they can hear the fans at idle is wrong, or there is something wrong with their machine.
 
Last edited:

mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,600
389
The Sillie Con Valley
You can read anything you want on the internet. Unfortunately, most of it is by armchair experts without a second of real world experience.

Those who own iMac Pros have told you it's a really quiet machine. Add me to that list. We're right.

In my studio, if I put my ear right up to my iMP, I can tell it's on. That's as good as it gets.

The cooling is superior to the iMac at idle and under load. If fan noise is your issue, the iMac Pro is what you want.

There are some BTO bargains in the Refurb Store at the moment. The base model @ $4,249 is always there but when the others with more RAM, upgraded GPUs and/or more storage & cores are sold, you may have to wait a few months before Apple gets in more.
https://www.apple.com/shop/refurbished/mac/imac-pro
 
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md550

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 22, 2012
14
0
Thank you very much to everyone who has replied thus far. I really appreciate your responses.

I am now leaning towards the iMac Pro, especially since it has the T2 chip. Is anyone still having problems with the kernel panics?

With regards to a potential refresh of the iMac Pro this year, does Intel usually announce new CPUs well in advance? I don't think there has been any announcements yet about suitable Cascade Lake chips.
 

mrvo

macrumors member
Nov 16, 2018
75
16
With regards to a potential refresh of the iMac Pro this year, does Intel usually announce new CPUs well in advance? I don't think there has been any announcements yet about suitable Cascade Lake chips.
There won’t be. Given Mac Pro in fall and lack of appropriate Xeon refresh.
 
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tomscott1988

macrumors 6502a
Apr 14, 2009
617
481
UK
i9 48 1tb 64gb run super quick and its quiet... Have two do the same things but photographic and multi disciplinary graphic design. Not seen a bottleneck yet.
 
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decafjava

macrumors 68040
Feb 7, 2011
3,146
2,568
Geneva
This is very encouraging to read. i mean my 2015 iMac is also silent unless I am running Xplane and one or two other apps.
 
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partsofspeech

macrumors regular
Apr 6, 2018
233
253
Thank you very much to everyone who has replied thus far. I really appreciate your responses.

I am now leaning towards the iMac Pro, especially since it has the T2 chip. Is anyone still having problems with the kernel panics?

With regards to a potential refresh of the iMac Pro this year, does Intel usually announce new CPUs well in advance? I don't think there has been any announcements yet about suitable Cascade Lake chips.
My iMac Pro got panic once. I was running Logic, hooked with an audio interface and a midi keyboard. I unplugged them, ignoring Logic’s warning message. When I woke the iMac Pro up from sleep (Logic was not closed previously), the machine got panic.
 
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CWallace

macrumors 604
Aug 17, 2007
6,558
2,452
Seattle, WA
With regards to a potential refresh of the iMac Pro this year, does Intel usually announce new CPUs well in advance?
The Enthusiast (i9) Basin Falls Refresh should be shipping around now with a Cascade Lake-X version coming by the end of the year. After that will come the Xeon (W-2000 series) models. So depending on yields and such, the iMac Pro might see a CPU update by year's end, but it could be pushed into 2020 if Intel slides later.
 
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mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,600
389
The Sillie Con Valley
Is anyone still having problems with the kernel panics?
Apple fixed that with the Mojave 10.14.4 update. The big issue was with USB 2 AV interfaces from a few manufacturers. Most of us didn't have an issue unless we were using the affected hardware.
It is still a potential problem, as with all systems with T2 chips
In other words, still no.

The only reports to the contrary are from those doing programming. Nothing is going to prevent that unless you aren't pushing the envelope.
 
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HDFan

macrumors 65816
Jun 30, 2007
1,487
361
The big issue was with USB 2 AV interfaces from a few manufacturers.
My problems were caused by a Thunderbolt RAID. My guess is that the potential for problems exists with any mass storage managed by the T2, among other things.

n other words, still no.
Not sure if "no" means you feel it has been fixed or has not. I'm not going to try to re-duplicate the problem, but since the BridgeOS errors are still occurring on other system types don't see any evidence that it has been totally fixed. Looking for the day when Apple officially acknowledges the problem and states that it has been fixed.
 
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lantree

macrumors member
Jul 22, 2010
57
76
Best thing todo is find an Apple store and go and give one a good work out.
Don’t take people’s words for it, go and experience one for yourself if you can.
I did the exact same thing earlier this week and was blow away how quite it was.
Just need a find a good deal on a base machine and hopefully buy before end of the summer.
 
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alaman64

macrumors newbie
Jan 10, 2017
25
7
My 2019 I5 is pretty much dead silent, well unless I export a few hundred photos from Lightroom and then the fan kicks in and gets loud enough to get annoying. I switched from a custom built water cooled hackintosh last month, which was dead silent even under full load. So I was a bit annoyed at first, when I heard the fan kick in for the first time, when exporting a few hundred photos (can be up to 1000 at a time) from Lightroom.

So my first thought was to bring the iMac back and pickup a Mac Pro. But that's about $2,000 difference, and on top of it, don't really know how much better it will be than the iMac 2019. It's not something you can test in the store. In the end I kept the iMac and put my noise canceling beats studio 3 on when I export and saved my self $2,000.
 
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tomscott1988

macrumors 6502a
Apr 14, 2009
617
481
UK
TBH there is so little difference in performance you have to be doing one of those very specific tasks or using specific codecs to make the extra £1600 worth it. Especially with it being nearly 2 years old and no possible upgrades at all at least you can add more ram to the 2019 iMac.

I wouldn't want a refurb, there is a reason they are sent back be that light bleed etc more messing about imo with a machine thats been sent back most probably because of an issue and we all know how many issues the iMac pro has had.

TBH I would rather not have the T2 anyway just causes more issues and makes having your data even more at risk should another component die. Obviously you backup but if something happens half way through a project.... gone. At least you can still crack open the 2019 and pull the drive.

People are still having loads of problems even after 10.14.14 just go watch any videos from Zoneoftech. He was having issues with the 2019 Macbook pro with kernel panics so sent that back also... Still hundreds of threads on here since then also.

Thats why I went with 2x 2019 iMacs i9 vega 48 64gb 1TB for our design studio and they have been absolutely ideal. The nice thing is down the line we can add 128gb as and when we need it... in the iMac pro you cant got to pony up the eyewatering £1800 in advance... you can buy another iMac for another team member for that cost just ridiculous. At the end of the day these machines have a life span of 3-4 years so will see if there is a better situation next time around. In business you cant really wait you jump when you need. 2 year old machine vs 2 month old and almost identical performance... no brainer.

To buy the base iMac Pro with 64gb is £5259. The iMacs with added 64gb were £3653 saving £3212 for the pair.... With that saving I bought a Qnap 6 bay TB3 raid server (TVS-672XT) with 12TB of SSD in raid 5 for both to have access to fast local data for projects as well as our other data server.

When the 2013 Mac Pros came out we ditch the 5.1s and went with HP dual socket xeon workstations its nice to be back on OSX with a machine were confident in.

TBH with us working in a studio even with the fans on full tilt they still aren't that noticeable. Depends on your situation.
 
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md550

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 22, 2012
14
0
Thank you all so much for the information. Has anyone had personal experience (RE: fan noise) with the i9 and Radeon Pro 580X configuration?
 

kis

macrumors 68000
Aug 10, 2007
1,629
705
Switzerland
If you hate fan noise, the pro is the way to go - far better cooling design.
Nah, wouldn't sign that. My i9 Vega 2019 IMac is dead quiet. I routinely do extensive photo work on Mac OS and play VR games on Bootcamp, and I have literally never heard the fan come on, not even after hours of extreme CPU taxation. Heat management is insanely good on the 2019 IMac 5k. Yeah, the IMac pro is also quiet. But costs a lot more
 
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tomscott1988

macrumors 6502a
Apr 14, 2009
617
481
UK
The Vega is more efficient than the 580 so temps are lower and performance is better best of both worlds. I wouldnt bother with the 580X.
 
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bushman4

macrumors 68030
Mar 22, 2011
2,533
375
Fan noise in an iMac are rare unless your playing intensive games. But under normal conditions the heat sink will compensate for extra heat and you should not hear the fan even if it goes on
 
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fokmik

macrumors 68040
Oct 28, 2016
3,747
3,049
USA
I’ve tested the base iMac Pro at the shop and have had my 5K iMac w/ i9 & Vega 48 for a few days now. Highly recommend the 2019 5K iMac.

My room temperature during the day is about 35 C, and browsing Safari, the iMac only hovers around 45 C max while the fan is at base 1200RPM.
35c? You mean 25c?