Fan "Grinding" Noise - Mac Pro 2010

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Desmo1098, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. Desmo1098 macrumors regular


    Aug 28, 2009
    I have a 2010 Mac Pro. It is on my desktop within an arms reach of me. My office is very silent. While I am working I can hear a "grinding" noise coming from within my Mac Pro. It is kind of hard to pinpoint where it is coming from, but I think it is the forward most fan near the front of the chassis near the USB and FireWire ports. To me it sounds like its a bearing problem on the fan. However, when I put my ear close the fan at the back of the chassis, the one on the very bottom, I hear a "grinding" noise as well. I ran a diagnostics check and everything with the system checks out fine.

    As you know the fan speeds in the Mac Pro vary by a few RPM. They are never constant (i.e. they may bounce around at idle from 600 to 597 to 608, etc.). And obviously they do the same when they are under load. So the strange thing is that this "grinding" noise is not always present. It seems like at a certain speed it appears and then maybe the fan changes a few RPM and the noise comes back. The problem is, its driving me crazy. Unless I play music, then it is a distraction.

    So based on my mechanical and electrical engineering education, I am almost, as I mentioned before, certain it is a bearing in the fan problem. So I take into the Apple store where it is nice and loud and tell the Genius what the problem is. I told him that he is not going to hear the noise in the store because of how loud it is. He proceeds to tell me that they want to keep it for 2 days to "stress" test it. I looked at him and said are you crazy? Anyways, I digress and that is beside the point. I have a better relationship with the business team at another Apple store so they told me to identify what fan it is, then get back with them and they will order the fan and have me bring the machine in and replace it on the spot. Now I said that is why I stay with Apple. So...

    Does anyone have any ideas? I downloaded smcFanControl, but I do not know what that Fan is called. Can someone tell me what fan is labeled what? I want to ramp up and down the fans to see if the noise is persistent at other speeds as well as try to pinpoint which one it is.

    Additional questions, can I run my Mac Pro with the side cover off? Can I take it off while the machine is on?
  2. asnozz macrumors member


    Oct 16, 2006
    London and Kuala Lumpur
    I think I may possibly be experiencing the same issue. It is possible to run the Mac Pro with the cover off (but obviously I wouldnt do this for extended periods due to the risk of damage).

    Please could you let me know what the apple store do as I am still trying to organise them to pick it up.

    I have measured the noise coming from my mac pro using a app for my phone, the results are in the 'Problems with 2010 Mac Pros?' thread. What dB levels are you seeing on your machine?
  3. Desmo1098 thread starter macrumors regular


    Aug 28, 2009
    I have a better relationship with the Apple business team at another Apple Retail store in town, it is just farther than the one that is closer to me that wanted to run a stress test. So I called them up and they told me to identify what fan it is, then get back with them and they will order the fan and have me bring the machine in and replace it on the spot.

    I am almost certain it is the forward most lower fan in the chassis.

    By the way, I am not sure if my Mac Pro is suppose to be as "loud" as it is. I do not want to get too far off my original post. But after that "grinding" noise came up I started to think my Mac Pro was a little on the loud side. Even though this is a subjective statement. I do have 4 x 1 TB Western Digital RE3 Hard Drives plus 2 x ATI 5770 Video Cards. :eek:

    My machine has a nice "hum" to it, but I didn't think of it as being out of the ordinary. I have heard PC's a lot louder.
  4. 2contagious macrumors 6502a


    Apr 29, 2008
    Are you sure it's fan noise? Another member and I have a problem where there is a buzzing / grinding-like sound coming from the power supply, which is at the back of the Mac Pro. Could it be that you have the same issue? It could be mistaken for bad bearings on a fan, but if I put my ear up to the PSU, it definitely sounds like electronic buzzing.
  5. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    MacGruber: Quick hand me that screw driver.

    Vicki: Here you go MacGruber.

    MacGruber: Now hand me that Apple sticker.

    Vicki: Whats the sticker for?

    MacGruber: Hurry we havnt got much time.

    Vicki: Fineeee, here.

    MacGruber: Now hand me the magic mouse.

    Vicki: What about the electrical noise thats emitting from the Mac Pro MacGruber??

    MacGruber: What nois... *BOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM*

  6. qslprod macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2010
    Fan noise macpro 2010

    Hi all !

    I'm french, very happy to read this thread,
    I've the same problem on my new macpro (8*2,4) on snow leopard

    I hear this same sound, apple has changed a fan at the front of the macpro but the noise continue.

    tomorrow, a technician comes tomy home to try to solve the problem, i also think the noise is at the very bottom at the back of the chassis.

    I also noticed that there are other Fan in the CPU card so maybe the noise could come of these Fan ? I'm looking for your feedback to help Apple solve the problem and help other macusers who have the same issue.

    Thanks a lot !

  7. gabicava83 macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2010

    I am having the same issue, it's so annoying and makes the Pro rather loud.

    I have asked for an exchange, let's see if the new one is any better.

    The GPU was doing some of the noise, but there is defo other issues happening.

  8. Garamond macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2004
    I have the same problem here, lately the low humming sound of the main fans in front of the Mac Pro has been increasing. Now it's a rattling sound which is quite annoying, since my office is dead quiet otherwise. I've contacted Apple Support via email, it will be interesting to see if I have to send the whole rig to Apple.
  9. VelNZ macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2010
    Yep, I've got the same thing in my 2.4x8 2010 Mac Pro as well. It's definitely the fan near the USB/Firewire ports on the front.

    In a completely quiet room I can hear it relatively well but with any other noise around I can't hear it at all. It doesn't really bother me so I'll leave it as it is.
  10. Johnf1285 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 25, 2010
    New Jersey
    I've noticed a similar sound. Propped a mouse pad under the front two feet to see if it was some sort of vibration issue. No more noise. Its a vibration when the fans ramps up a bit. This helped me out. Now I'm thinking of some sort of small matt to put underneath it permanently. I always thought the feet on such a massive tower like this were a bit small.

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