Disappointed with 27" iMac (2011) acoustics

Discussion in 'iMac' started by motrek, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    Silent PC Review has done a few reviews of iMacs over the years and they were all praised for being nearly silent, and those guys are pretty picky.

    So I just bought a used iMac and I was expecting a lot and am unfortunately pretty disappointed.

    The biggest problem is that I can hear a high pitched hard drive whine. It's pretty common for hard drives to sound like this when they get older, but I expected Apple to do a little better. It sounds about as loud as it would if it was sitting bare on my desk, instead of behind a screen and in a big enclosure with plenty of space for sound insulation.

    So, okay, I jumped through some hoops and am now booting off an SSD connected via USB and forced the internal hard drive to spin down. (Much better!)

    Now it's pretty quiet but the sound profile is still kind of annoying. There's what sounds like some fan "chatter" coming from the bottom right and a higher pitched sound (1000-1500 Hz?) coming from the center of the screen.

    This probably wouldn't bother many other people but I enjoy computing in silence and was expecting that from an iMac. Thinking about selling it and getting a Mac Mini, which only has one fan and a hard drive that I can easily replace with an SSD. :/
  2. iCole macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2010
    Apple is recalling iMacs with faulty HDD's. I've gotten a mail as well and I have to say that my HDD is extremely loud. You really hear it working. So maybe you can just go change it. The high pitch, I used to have too with my older iMac 21.5. Does it get louder of less loud when you turn up/down the brightness?
    I would say. Check if you can get it replaced.
  3. motrek thread starter macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    Yeah, I checked and my iMac isn't covered. I've used dozens of hard drives in my life and after they get to be a couple years old it seems most of them get louder, develop these whines, etc. Just the nature of spinning platters at 7200 RPM it seems.

    If you have a whine that gets louder with screen brightness that means you actually have capacitor whine from either the power supply or the inverter that drives the screen. Unfortunately much harder to replace than a hard drive and depending on how loud it is, Apple might not be very sympathetic about replacing it for you.
  4. marsmissions macrumors 6502


    Jan 5, 2010
    Washington, US
  5. motrek thread starter macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    You're right, thanks, those are my two options.

    But it doesn't hurt to write about it on a message board in case somebody else is considering buying an iMac and appreciates working in silence. Maybe they will see this thread and go with a Mac Mini instead.

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