From Mac Pro from Mac Mini - noise differences?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by pketh, Oct 10, 2010.

  1. pketh macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2010
    #1
    Hi all,

    when dealing with huge CAD and Illustrator files my mac mini gets super sluggish, sometimes I'm waiting seconds just for a complicated move shape operation, but everything I do has got that sluggishness to it.

    I have the entry level of last years mac mini, so it's like 2.2ghz or something with 2gbs of ram. During these heavy operations what I see the most is that both of the CPU cores are maxed, and it's not really super hard drive intensive (although that sometimes is a bottleneck with other things). As a just surfing the web machine, it's totally fine but stuff like this might be too much. Do you think upgrading the RAM or SSD or anything would make a cheap and effective difference?

    Otherwise, I might save my pennies and invest in the lowest end 2010 mac pro. In that case then I have one major question:

    One of my favourite things about the mac mini is that it's really really quiet. Low Noise is super critical to my sanity. I've heard people casually referring to the mac pro as something that heats up rooms and has super loud fans. So basically, what I really want to know is on the noise and heat front, how does the mac pro compare to the mac mini? Both idle and under load.

    I tried to find out in person at a mac store but those places are always packed with loud (sometimes screaming) crowds :)

    Thanks!
     
  2. pketh thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 10, 2010
  3. Pressure macrumors 68040

    Pressure

    Joined:
    May 30, 2006
    Location:
    Denmark
    #3
    It's probably one of the quietest stock workstations you can buy.

    I can hear my harddrives over the fan noise it generates.
     
  4. seek3r macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    #4
    Subjectively, I have a 2ghz core 2 mini and a 2.8ghz '08 Oct Mac Pro on my desk right now. IMHO, placing my ear near the back of both machines, at idle the noise levels are actually comparable (the mini's fans are a bit higher pitch actually).

    Under *load* the MP is quite a bit louder (though the lower frequency sound on the MP actually bothers me less than the smaller fans higher pitched noise on my MBP and mini), particularly if the graphics cards are in use. I will say, as a point in a new MPs favor, the 5770 I have now (which is the base card on the new machines) is not as loud as the 2xGF8800s I used to have! When all the HDDs are in heavy use that noise is higher too, the mini only has 1x5400rpm drive, my MP has 5x7200rpm drives.

    Heat there's no contest, the MP can heat the room under load, the mini produces comparatively very little.

    As for the rest of your post, if you're pegging both cores on the mini already then your workload is probably CPU bound at this point, the ram and disk upgrades might not help, you may have to look at a pro or a high end imac.
     
  5. johnnymg macrumors 65816

    johnnymg

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2008
    #5
    I posted some sound level measurements from my 2010 MP in this thread:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1024897&highlight=silence

    Overall, I'd say the MP is pretty quiet for a desktop. However, if you want a dead quiet work environment with a MP (or any workstation level computer) will will have to use some imagination in terms of placement and/or use a sound deadening cover.

    cheers
    JohnG
     
  6. pketh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2010
    #6
    Activity monitor doesn't seem to have a way for me to measure how hard illustrator works the GPU . Do you guys know how GPU intensive indesign and illustrator CS5 are for large files?

    So during mainly CPU intensive activities where the hard drive and GPU aren't doing too much, would this easily lead to the fans ramping up?

    I guess what I sort of want to know is what would it take to ramp a mac pro over idle, does it happen often or is it just a rare occurrence during the hardest of tasks? would things like time machine, or a youtube vid or simple operations in CS5 cause noise?

    Is there anywhere I can find comparisons between the two machines in db or something too? Google couldn't help me there.

    Finally, If the mac pro generates so much heat do I have to be careful about where I place it? I could put my mini anywhere and it was fine, I was just gonna put the mac pro below my desk.

    seek3r,

    Yeah my wallet was afraid you'd say that :)
    The iMac - specs wise - makes a lot of sense, but I can't stand that awful glossy display ..
     
  7. pketh thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 10, 2010
    #7
    Thanks Johnnymg ! super helpful.

    Do you guys think that a 15" macbook pro would be a better choice? It seems like it would have a decent amount of power , but I'm not entirely sure. Having only used the 13" one that everyone seems to have, how hot or loud do they get compared to a mac pro under the same load? Is it more or less noticable because the machine is right under your hands?
     
  8. johnnymg macrumors 65816

    johnnymg

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2008
    #8
    I'm not familiar with that cad program but 2 GB of RAM leaves scant reserves for anything. A 15" i5 MBP with 4-8 GB of RAM would likely feel MUCH snappier than an oldish slow C2D mini starved for Ram. Also, the cool thing about the MBP is that it might run dead quiet unless churning under heavy processor load. Plus it is portable................. :eek:.

    I don't have an i5 or i7 MBP but my 2.66 GHz C2D (with an SSD) runs DEAD quiet most of the time and I would expect the i5 to do the same.

    Maybe you could "test" the i5 MBP with your cad program at an Apple store. ??? Or find a forum with like-minded cad users and see what their experience has been.

    About the MP and heat: You should have no problem with the MP under a desk. Apple has done a pretty good job with the power management on the MP's. My only minor gripe is the smallish fans. The MP would be silent (or nearly so under light load) if Apple had used 120mm fans. Minor grip................

    Sorry, but these decisions aren't easy.

    cheers
    Johng
     
  9. pketh thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 10, 2010
    #9
    Oh I forgot to ask,
    My girlfriend has an old imac, the first aluminum/glass model, I've brought that to the breaking point before too. Does anyone know how the mac pro and old imac compare re: noise and heat.

    With the imac, there's much less room for airflow and all that, but despite that Apple did a pretty decent job with the thermal stuff.

    It's kind of a semi-specific question I'm sure, but if anyone knows it's you guys :)
     
  10. pketh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2010
    #10
    no worries johnnymg,
    I wouldn't expect a 2000$ + purchase to be easy.

    I don't really work with AutoCAD or anything, what I do do is manipulate sometimes large cad map files in illustrator. Besides that , I also use illustrator for personal graphic design and illustration projects.

    I had a first gen macbook air , so maybe that's another reason I'm wary about laptops and heat lol. That thing was a melting volcano just watching youtube.
     
  11. johnnymg macrumors 65816

    johnnymg

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2008
    #11
    An old imac is probably even more hobbled than your mini. Comparing an old imac to a new MP is like a David and Goliath showdown............. only in this case Goliath just squashes little David like a bug! :D

    Edit: Your file description screams for a large amount of RAM. A MBP with 8 GB of RAM might be a good compromise.
     
  12. wheezy macrumors 65816

    wheezy

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Alpine, UT
    #12
    My desk at home is great but has a lousy hole location for cables to go through, so incidentally my Mac Pro has ended up on my desk behind my monitors - in other words, it's close to me. I'm a lot like you, I HATE computers with blazing fans and the Mac Pro is by no means a noisy computer. It doesn't bother me at all. Yes, I can hear it, but it's very soft white noise. If you can route it under your desk you'll hardly know it's there.
     
  13. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #13
    I think my Mac mini is louder than my Mac Pro. With the Mac mini it is silent for most part except when you need to use full power and then the fan spins up.

    With the Mac Pro, with the big enclosure they can fit big and slow fan to do the same work. I never can hear my Mac Pro even when using full power. The most I hear is the occasionally click from my HDDs when they are seeking. It's kind of nice actually.
     
  14. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

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    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #14
    You might want to max out your ram to 4 gb. Nice thing about the 2010 mini's is 8gb ram max. Not bad. I had a 2008 Mac pro. When your taxing all the cores, you will here the fans some and it will definitely heat up a room. Nice during the winter. If you need allot of hard disk space, grab a Mac pro. The mini with 2 internal drives might do you too.
     
  15. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #15
    Mac Pros are pretty quiet...they're definitely quieter than an MBP under load. I dunno about the Mini, but MPs have 5 or 6 large fans plus space for circulation, while laptops only have one small fan and no space whatsoever.

    use atMonitor to monitor GPU/video RAM usage.
     
  16. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #16
    look I upgraded and ran a boatload of mac mini in lots of ways it is not enough machine for you. here is a thread link to just about the fastest tricked out mac mini on earth that can be returned to stock.



    http://techtalk.parts-express.com/showthread.php?t=213477

    this is long but this mini may be able to do what you want. pm me if it interest you. By the way you don't want the Macbookpro in 15 inches unless it has an express card slot

    http://store.apple.com/us/product/FC227LL/A?mco=MTA4MzQ4Njk

    this is the lowest MBP that works for you given a choice this is better then the upgraded mini I made.
    if i were you I would buy then unit below before it sells out:

    http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac/mac_pro?mco=MTkyMTczMjM
     
  17. johnnymg macrumors 65816

    johnnymg

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2008
    #17
    I'm curious why you recommend the "older" C2D model instead of the i5. I would think the i5 would be a better value................... less expensive and probably faster overall:
    http://store.apple.com/us_epp_202040/product/FC372LL/A?mco=MTgwOTc3MTg

    Note: This coming from someone who has been very pleased with the C2D MBP that I own (see sig.).

    cheers
    JohnG
     
  18. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #18
    The noise level of MP vs Mac Mini really depends on the work load you put on it.

    A Mac Mini with only office work of internet browsing etc. is dead silent.
    In case that you let him work for his money, the little fan gets really loud! I definitely couldn't work with that noise.

    The Mac Pro has a much higher base noise level, which means that you can hear it. The noise, however, is very muffled and not annoying and even if you let the Pro work with 100% load for several hours it won't get any louder.

    I have to say that I'm really sensitive when it comes to computer noise, which is why I've got only silent components in my Pro (silent graphics card, slow spinning inaudible hard drives). There is really no reason to complain about the base noise level of a Mac Pro. Very silent machine (not comparable to a Mini without load though).

    So it really depends on your usage.
     
  19. philipma1957, Oct 11, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2010

    philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #19
    the i5 15 inch does not have an express/card slot. my link has the express/card slot along with the non glossy screen. op does not want glossy. without an express/card slot a macbook pro is crippled.
     
  20. stix666 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2005
    #20
    I have both (Mac Pro 2010 2.8Ghz with 1SSD and 3 HDD, early 2009 mini with non-stock 7200 rpm drive). I have not stressed the Mac Pro much yet. Both are v quiet. When the mini works hard, the drive becomes audible, but not too bad. The Mac Pro has a constant polyphonic hum that is nearly inaudible. I find the Mac Pro noise easier to live with, but both are v good, especially compared to my old G5 iMac.
     

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