Fan Noise (early 2008 Mac Pro)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Eric2, Mar 21, 2008.

  1. Eric2 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #1
    How loud is your MacPro in a quiet room when running idle?

    I recently purchased a Mac Pro from the Online Apple store with 750gb hard drive, 8800GT card and airport. It arrived at the end of Feb. Due to heavy workloads I wasn’t able to turn it on for the first time until the beginning of March. Straight away it was obvious the fan noise was louder than I had expected. I would say twice as loud as my old G5. Didn’t sound wrong or broken just louder than any previous Mac I have owned (I have owned quite a few). Having read that the new MacPro was meant to be near silent and much improved over the old ones, this was very disappointing :(

    The following day I called apple and we tried updating the firmware but without any improvement. With the Apple Care product they said an engineer would come round to inspect the computer. No one came to inspect the computer but it was taken away for repair. A week later I’m told there is nothing wrong with the fan. It was running hotter than normal but the fan noise was normal. Yesterday I phoned Apple to say that I would like a new computer if it comes back sounding the same.

    I was told by Apple that 14 days had past and therefore they can not replace the computer. I pointed out that the first phone call to apple was within 14days. Apple was referring to the date I ordered and not the date I received the Mac. I have since spoken to a Manager at Apple and they say the first phone call was within 3 weeks and not 2 weeks. I disagree with this but have no proof. Apple are being very unfriendly and unhelpful and don’t seem to care whether the fans are louder than they should be or not. :mad:

    I have since listened to another new MacPro and I can confidently say it is much quieter than the one I have been sent. I could not hear any fans until my ear was pressed very closely to the Mac.

    I would be interested to hear if anyone else has had similar problems.
     
  2. c:\windows macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    #2
    My mac is about 4 feet from my bed. I did a test at night where I had it running then put it in sleep mode and asked if my wife could tell when I turned it off. She couldn't. It is very quite.
     
  3. krye macrumors 68000

    krye

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    #3
    I unpacked my new Mac Pro yesterday at about 5:00. I spend until midnight moving my data over from my MacBook, installing stuff from DVD, etc. The machine is on my desk, in my face, literally, 2 from from me, and if it wasn't for the pretty little white light on the front, I would not have known it was even on. I have the 8800 too. The machine is dead silent.

    Although, twice when I got up to get into something else, the machine had gone to sleep, when I pressed enter to wake it up, the fans spun up for like 5-10 seconds, but then they shut off.
     
  4. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #4
    Where is the loudest noise? Front or back? Is the loud noise an 'air whoosh' noise or a 'rattle' noise?

    We've had instances of poor fit & finish (all too often with Apples) on Pros resulting in additional vibration being transferred to parts, resulting in a noisier system. Applecare deemed the systems running normally. Our own guys completely took apart and rebuilt the systems in one case, and they ran quietly.
     
  5. Cyberjenks macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Location:
    So. Ca.
    #5
    My Mac

    Our own guys completely took apart and rebuilt the systems in one case, and they ran quietly.

    That sounds like a good idea. How quite my Mac is is one of the main things my wife and I like about it. I have a flashed 8800 and two new hard drives and it is still very, very quite.

    Try and source where the noise is coming from, it would help in coming up with a plan to silance your Mac.
     
  6. Eric2 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #6
    Thanks for everyone's reply.

    Its good to know that the new Mac Pros are so quite but extremely frustrating that I don’t have one.

    I’m not going to get the Mac back from Applecare (non Apple company) until the middle/end of next week. Was hoping to install software etc this Easter holiday. I have been told they striped the Mac and found nothing wrong with the fans. They did say the hard disk was nosier than it should be and the Mac was running slightly hot after tests but nothing that concerns them. They are going to replace the hard disk as a precaution but expecting the fan noise to be the same.

    I didn’t even get as far as trying the hard disk. The computer was idle so I’m sure they are not related. The fan noise seemed to be coming from the front. It’s a air whoosh noise not a rattle noise.

    I hope its magically fixed itself in its journey but going from the conversation I had with applecare the noise is likely to be exactly the same.
     
  7. Mac Kiwi macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2003
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #7
    My machine is also really quiet,even with an 8800 GT,16g,plus a raptor hard drive.


    I can be doing a 3D render {frames not still} and it barely gets above a really low hum.My G5 makes a hell of a lot more noise.


    Hope you get some satisfaction soon.
     
  8. Laurindo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2006
    Location:
    Finland
    #8
    I have the same problem as you, Eric2. My new Mac Pro (2.8, 8800GT) is loud. I'm very disappointed too, having read before how silent they would be. I'm hearing air woosh as well as something like soft "motor-like" hrrrrr...

    Everything seems running OK. Fan speeds are normal, I think, CPU 499 rpm, exhaust 599, power supply 599, hard drive 799. They have those speeds all the time, machine being idle or doing quite heavy pocessing.

    One possibility is that Apple may use components for cooling system from more than one manufacturer. We know that hard drives and RAM can be different brands, so why not some inner parts too. So some fans can be louder than others, and still not having any other fault in performance. Maybe there is some relation to where the machines are assembled. My MP is from Ireland.

    I hate to think that we are just some thousands unlucky guys, and nothing can be done. I didn't have time yet to get my machine to the store but I did check ram and hardrives and reset SMC and PRAM/NVRAM, without any effect.

    Your experience with Apple seems not very encouraging so far. They should change the noisy parts to quiet ones, and fix whatever the reason for the problem is. I find it unfair to be in some kind of lottery when you buy a product from Apple.
     
  9. IEatApples macrumors 6502a

    IEatApples

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2004
    Location:
    Northern Hemisphere (Norway)
    #9
    I think I have this problem as well, but it's not "that" big of a deal to me (annoying though)…

    I've tried putting something "soft" under the feet to avoid vibration sounds, and I found that if I put a "small object" (like a camera… with something "soft" around it…) on top of the machine, it can "absorb" some of the "noise"… :)

    … hopefully there's something smarter to do, but this is all I could come up with… :eek:
     
  10. Eric2 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #10
    Laurindo, your Mac seems to exactly echo the issue’s I’m having.

    My MP is also assembled in Ireland. Although I have heard another 2008 MP that was silent and based in the UK. So I’m sure it’s not just Macs from Ireland but your quite right it does seems a lottery and maybe there is a patch of nosier fans.

    If you can I would take the Mac back ASAP. I’m lucky enough to have another G5 that I can work on. The non-apple company that is looking at my Mac have been friendly and seem to be helpful, the people I have spoken to at Apple have been quite the opposite. The Mac is brand new and unused yet they refuse to replace it. I’m being forced to use my 3yr AppleCare plan to try and solve the problem. I get the feeling that Apples tolerance of what is acceptable and not seems to be quite wide.
     
  11. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #11
    'Sandbagging' the top panel as pointed out above is not a bad idea if you can't get satisfaction from Apple. I've noticed that the top of the Pro case is a very good sounding board. It could amplify whatever rattling is going on in your Pro.

    I know that the piss-poor support facilities in comparison to a real "Pro" machine from HP, Dell et al might discourage you from sending it away constantly, but it may be something you have to do if you want it resolved.

    All of the assembly quality / stability under load / stability under non-domestic use issues for my business's '06 - '07 Pros have been resolved by remanufacturing (replace PSU, new case, new cooling/ducting, new drive carriers, etc) them ourselves. This wasn't just a build quality issue - which was arguably the least of the problems, but one of inadequate engineering for 'Actually Pro' use that real workstations may be put to. Interestingly we've been able to use Dell Precisions and HP xw's stock, and experience nowhere near the problems we've had with Apples.

    All of the new Leopard Pros we've got, including those I use at home are from Ireland - all European stock would presumably come from the same assembly facilities, and so far they have not exhibited any major build related problems, and no more noise than I expect.
     
  12. Infrared macrumors 68000

    Infrared

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    #12
    Another is that of different listening environments.

    Really, you must not expect your machine to be silent
    because someone else online says theirs is. They might
    be near deaf after all :)

    I have heard a few of these MPs, and none were, to my
    ears, completely silent. Which is not to say they were
    noisy but please - let's not have unrealistic expectations.
    That said, if your machine is very noisy, get it seen to.
     
  13. mgsarch macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    #13
    I have become obsessed over machine noise. I spent too much time "silencing" my linux/pc machine.

    I expected the MP fans to be noisy. I can't hear them at all. My MBP is 10 times louder although it's being replaced by Apple so maybe that was causing it. :)
     
  14. fkane macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2008
    #14
    Too loud. 2008 Mac Pro

    I do work in a quiet environment. The computer is too loud. I'd read the reviews and spoken to apple before I got the computer. However, there were no noise specs so as has been pointed out, it's a matter of opinion. That said, unless other people really are partially deaf, their computers are quieter than mine.

    Unlike when I built PCs, the idea was that I'd never open this up. I wanted a computer that worked. Sadly I've bought a computer that is noisy, does not sleep well and wakes up randomly.

    Anyhow, I needed to find out what the noise was. I took out the HDD and turned the computer on. It becomes pretty quiet. The low quality fan in the graphics card is now the worst culprit, mainly becuase it sounds ragged, and is thus more annoying. If you temporarily pause it, things are better. The system fans seem very good quality and quiet. I'll look into disconnecting it, some cards don't really need the cooling, especially with the good airflow from the main fans.

    Basically then, the culprit is the HDD. I'm going to look at ways to make it quieter, or replace it. It's not a priority right now, but will report back when done.

    Ok.. Quick update. I've moved the HDD from slot 1 to slot 3. The computer is now considerably quieter. I can now hear the HDD write noise much more clearly, but this is becuase the ambient sound is much reduced. Give it a go and let me know how you get on.
     
  15. Volante macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #15
    Mine is really quiet as well, the only thing i hear is when the standard seagate starts some serious reading/writing.

    [e] Mine was assembled in Ireland as well. I don't need to put my ear next to it to hear it, but still, very quiet.
     
  16. Eric2 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #16
    Yes listening environments make a huge difference. My G5 Mac was the nosiest Mac of the 5 Macs running in my old studio which was a approx 600sq ft studio with very high ceilings. The sound never bothered me due to the constant background noise. I’m now working in a small room so any noise is very obvious. The thing is this new MacPro is louder than the G5 in the same room. Surely this is not right.

    I also have a MBP this is dramatically quieter. I’m not expecting it to be this quite but I would expect it be quieter than a old noisy 2004 G5 tower.

    I’m sure its not the Hard Disk as the sound was coming from the Mac when it was idle. The Hard disk was nosier than it should be but this is being replaced so I will see when the MP comes back later this week.

    I see another thread has been started with other people complaining about noisy fans. I think there is an issue with some of these new Mac Pros that Apple are not admitting do.
     
  17. sochet macrumors regular

    sochet

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    #17
    Mine was also assembled in Ireland, for some reason when I got it the fans were spinning at a constant 1800, now they have gone back down to a constant level. Now I do get a tiny bit of noise out of it, but because my reference monitor are fairly close to me, I never notice it. I do have a large alcove next to my desk, I'm thinking of sticking it in there and getting extension cables if I ever get a problem.
     
  18. sochet macrumors regular

    sochet

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    #18
    Check what speed your fans are at, they shouldn't be over 800, like I said mine were much higher but for some reason fixed themselves out of the blue. Do you have the latest mac pro firmware?
     
  19. Eric2 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #19
    The latest firmware made no difference. I will check fan speeds when I get the Mac back. Hopefully fixed!
     
  20. Lumpydog macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    #20
    Silent as a mouse

    Mine is so quiet I forget it's on. It makes zero fan noise. I can actually hear the faint head movement of the hard drives from time to time - but that's it.
     
  21. Lumpydog macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    #21
    Where do you get the firmware by the way? Link?
     
  22. iPapa macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    #22
    I'd be interested in that firmware too, hoping it can solve my problems. I don't know, maybe I expect too much, but I had hopes this new Octo 2.8Ghz would be a silent machine. But alas, it makes more noise than my last Mac, an iMac G5 2.1GHz. Still it isn't anything like my aging G4 Power Mac.

    I've had my MP only for a few days, got all the software updates. I still haven't installed any extra devices (it has got the 8800GT graphics crad, the default 320Gb hard drive and the 2GB default RAM). I'll install 8GB of RAM from OWC and 3 new Samsung Spinpoint F1 750Gbs tonight or tomorrow.

    Now - specifically my MP is dead silent when I put it to sleep via the :apple: menu. Remarkable.

    However, when using the machine for the simplest tasks, or even when not doing anything at all (no open apps), the machine makes a lot of noise. At least to my ears. I can hear it across the room, some 10 feet away, loud and clear. The noise it makes seems to come from the front fans (I haven't tried to pinpoint this matter further yet, I'll do it later today). The sound can be compared to a rattling noise. The fans spin at the default settings (499/599/799) when making this noise. The rattling sound from the fan(s) seems to disappear if I use SMC Fan Control to raise the fan rotations (however this obviously makes the entire machine a lot louder with "normal" fan noise - albeit without any rattling).

    I don't want to return the Mac. I need it for daily work. I just sold my old gear, and I waited more than 3 weeks until this MP finally arrived. Any help would be appreciated.

    Btw, my MP is assembled in Ireland, and I use it with a 23" ACD.
     
  23. phjo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    #23
    You shouldn't be too sure about that. Don't forget that even when the harddrive is idling, it is still spinning fast and could resonate with the case, and the sound can then be easily confused with fan noise... One good test is allowing the harddrive to go to sleep, and listen if there is any difference when they do...

    phjo
     
  24. Eric2 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #24
    phjo, thanks for the tip.

    Re firmware. The latest firmware will automatically update when you download the latest OSX.
     
  25. iPapa macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    #25
    Thanks for the firmware tip, Eric. That means I've already got it installed, then (I downloaded everything available through the software update service last night).

    I'll try to pinpoint the rattling sound (or whirr or buzz might be alternative descriptions). The fans are running on the lowest possible rotations (the default Apple settings), yet there is a lot of noise. That said, the MP case itself does indeed vibrate quite a bit. Maybe my problem could be related to resonance, for example from the HD. The surface underneath the MP is a wooden Ikea desk, very large, and I suspect that it too might somehow contribute to some of the vibrations. I just don't see how those vibrations can be related to the rattle from what appears to be the front fans. I'll run some diagnostics tests tonight, and try some of the advice I've found on these forums. Thanks :)
     

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