Fan Noise : New Air vs Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by OSMac, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. OSMac macrumors 65816

    Jun 14, 2010
    Those who own or have used a new Air
    and the recent Macbook Pro's could you compare fan noise
    idle , surfing and under load?

    Can you use a tool on the MPB to make it as quiet as the new Airs if its not already?
  2. AppleGoddess macrumors 6502a


    Sep 30, 2010
  3. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2010
    Currently I'm running Logic Pro with 17 tracks and tonnes of 3rd party plugins, CPU is only 68 degrees and the fan is only running at 1996 rpm, so quiet :) In the background I'm running alot of other things such as iTunes, 20+ webpages and many more stuff.

    It's only in heavy games or when converting video's that the fans will kick in and you'll hear it.

    This is the 2010 15" MBP however.

    I tested the MBA 11" and it was quiet too, never heard the fans once. But I haven't been able to push it, since it only had the stock Apps such as iLife in the Apple store.
  4. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    My new MBA is the coolest running Mac laptop I've owned. It's also the quietest. In the first few days of use, migrating data, installing programs, testing programs to see how well they ran etc I never even heard my fan and max temp was about 50C.

    I actually wondered if something was wrong at one point so forced a higher speed using SMC fan control and it worked fine but quieter at any given speed than any of my other Macs.

    While I can't speak to the new 13" MBA, I am extremely impressed with the 11"
  5. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    I've got all three devices listed in my sig in front of me today.

    Here's the skinny:

    Running Steam games of any kind (via OSX):
    All three have the fans kick on. The 11" netbook model kicks on the fans immediately, the 13" version kicks it on a few minutes after loading and the 15" i7 MBP fans kick on shortly after gameplay starts. The fans SCREAM on the MBA's, but also get loud (over time) on the MBP as well. I'm still testing this under Bootcamp but thus far find less fan use on Win7 than under OSX....which bothers me to be blunt.

    Running HD Flash videos on YouTube:
    Both MBA's fans' kick on right away. The MBP's fans never kick on during the 10 minute video (YouTube's limit I guess?)

    Running an 8gig 1080p MKV BluRay rip:
    Both MBA's fans kick on softly....although the smaller netbook version really can't play the video smoothly using VLC. Under Plex, I hardly hear the fans at all on either MBA version. On my MBP, theres no fan issues at all.

    Running Handbrake:
    Fan city on both MBA's....screaming at full max. Fan city on the MBP after about 30 minutes or so of use.
  6. OSMac, Nov 15, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2010

    OSMac thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 14, 2010
    Thanks for the replies.

    Was able to take a close look at the 13" Pro and Air side by side today.

    As mentioned above both seemed very quiet/silent on basic tasks.

    The screen on the Air looked nicer than the Pro.
    Was surprised.
    It seemed brighter, deeper blacks, more contrast and not as much pixelation.

    Think I'm going with a 4GB 13" Air ..
  7. The Viking macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2007
    I have my Pro & Air side by side today as I do the migrating. The Pro hisses under normal operation, while the Air is freaky silent. I work in a quiet office, and I hear nothing.

    But when the fans spin up to full blast (when CPU is pegged over 150%), the Air seems much louder. It's actually kinda fascinating, there is no fan noise, just the whooshing of air. Hallmark of efficient fan design, I imagine. On the Pro, you hear the whine of the fans and the air.

    I think it's probably moving a lot of air out of a small opening, hence the louder fan noise than on the MBP. Unless you're rendering video or have a rogue process (like I already did with Quick Look Helper), you won't hear a peep.
  8. jayo123456 macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2010
    depends what's quiet to you.

    a HDD in my mbp drove me crazy. SSD'd it, and it was perfectly silent. It has a better capable processor too, so it took quite a bit of processing for the fan to be heard.

    my air is pretty much dead silent too, as they come with ssd's. But take the processor's up to 70c+, and the fan will kick in.
  9. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    In the teardown reports over at iFixit:

    -All of the cooling and ventilation in the MacBook Air is provided by the single squirrel cage fan.
    -It's thinner and tinier than the regular MacBook fans, just like everything else in this machine.
    -The heat sink on the new MacBook Air is considerably smaller than all previous models. It weighs only 10 grams. Based on the tiny heat sink, it seems that the Ultra-Low Voltage 1.4 GHz Core 2 Duo CPU is a cool chip.
  10. C64 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2008
    You are kidding right? You can't watch HD Flash video's on the MBA without annoying fans?
  11. jamone13 macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2010
    The MBP's have a huge heatsync in comparison to the MBA, and thus they have the fans set to have a large delay before spinning up. The MBA they had to make the fans respond much faster to CPU loading. A longer video would have illustrated this.

    Any OS X machine uses a fair bit of CPU & GPU to do flash, especially 1080P. However I watch 720p all the time on myne and fans stay at idle flash, or VLC. 1080P content will cause the fans to ramp to ~3000 RPM, vs 2000 idle.
  12. C64 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2008
    Doesn't the GPU take away much of the load from the CPU with Flash 10.1? In any case, this would be a dealbreaker for me.. I'm not "upgrading" my older airplane-sound-creating MacBook to an Air when it's just as noisy with HD Flash vids :(
  13. aberrero macrumors 6502a

    Jan 12, 2010

    Silent, and the laptop itself stays cool(too cold, in fact, sometimes a hand warmer on a cold morning is nice).

    It will get loud on Flash, Video, Time machine, and just about anything else intensive, but like I keep telling people, if you do a lot of that stuff, do yourself a favor and buy a MBP 15 or a PC.
  14. jamone13 macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2010
    Yes the GPU can, depending on the flash video, the GPU is more efficient at it then the CPU, but its still not as efficient as a native player, like Quicktime or VLC.

    Well don't plan on buying a new Mac of any type for a while, if you can't take fans.
  15. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    Oh c'moffit with the hyperbole already. I didn't say they were jet-engines when watching Flash vids, I said the fans kicked on. I was very clear to say they SCREAMED when they SCREAMED. Playing games....they are SCREAMING to the point of distraction unless you are wearing headphones and/or crank the games volume.

    A HD Flash video...they are purring and you can tell they are running, but not screaming.
  16. jayo123456 macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2010
    don't let it.

    I've owned white MB, 13" 08, 15" 09, 15" 2010......and now the air.

    My air takes 5 minutes or so, for fan to kick in on HD flash vids. BUT, the fan is nothing whirlly noisy sound that comes out of the old macbooks (that use to annoy the hell out of me). The fan is actually very feint, and if u have sound on, you barely know the fans running.

    But everything else except flash, fan is inaudable.
  17. ct2k7 macrumors 603


    Aug 29, 2008
    London or Florida
    Not strictly on topic, but, this MBA will be better than my current T7200 machine. It currently burns your legs in half an hour!
  18. wirelessmacuser macrumors 68000


    Dec 20, 2009
    Mine as well
  19. Schorsch0815 macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2010
    I returned my MBA

    I had a 13" . I do a lot of Skype. Fan goes typically to 4500 and higher. The noise that the hissing air made was definitly beyond comfort level. I loved the little machine but noise was simply too much.
  20. C64 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2008
    Was this just with Skype on?
  21. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    My RevC MBA used to kick on the fans pretty good with a Skype video call but my new 11.6 still runs virtually silent. Likely the ulv processor and more efficient cooling are both helping a lot.

    I've managed to get temps up to 70C but fans usually kick on softly at 3-4k and I don't start noticing the sound till about 4.5k which I really have to work to get.

    Even using a Parallels VM with several browsers and several browsers open on the Mac side testing online video streaming this is still the coolest, quietest mac I've owned.

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