Happy with my i7 iMac... but, droning noise?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by tomacintosh, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. tomacintosh macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2005
    The screen is fine, no flickering or tearing etc. I don't get blackouts either. But one thing thats bugging me is it makes an audible droning sound all the time. I tried changed fan speeds with smcFanControl but that doesn't change the droning sound. It's a similar noise to the noise my Time Capsule makes when it's getting accessed. Only my iMac is making the noise all the time? Is this the dreaded Seagate noise? It does have that drive :confused: If I copy files to the hard drive I can hear it being accessed but it isn't that loud, yet this droning noise just won't go?
  2. ABG macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2003
    United Kingdom
  3. tomacintosh thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2005
    I'm asking because if it's simply the hard drive i will replace it myself.

    EDIT: Just lifted the iMac off the desk and the noise stopped. Could be this hollow IKEA desk I have, might try some padding under the iMacs foot.
  4. dborja macrumors 6502a

    Sep 13, 2007
    Northern California
    I was going to suggest that this might be some resonance with your computer table. Looks like you found it. Maybe a mousepad under your iMac to absorb the vibration? That's what I did with my external drives to deaden their vibrations.
  5. tomacintosh thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2005
    Was thinking of drilling a hole in the back of the desk and filling it with expanding foam lol! Any thoughts? :D
  6. mdewberry macrumors regular

    Aug 20, 2003
    Thanks for creating this thread - I was going to create the same one tonight..

    I received my second i5 iMac on Monday, and it is going back due to a lot of yellow on the screen.. a large yellow band going down the middle, and am starting to notice yellow creeping up from the bottom. But.. I am also having the same problem you mention..

    This is actually my fourth i5; my first two had the 1tb Seagate drive and I had terrible rumbling from the Seagate drives, but it was not the steady constant noise that you mention.. So I replaced the second 1tb iMac with a 2tb iMac, and my first replacement (sent back for yellow) and now my second have had the issue you describe. Here is how it goes:

    I walk up to my quiet sleeping iMac and wake it up

    It is quiet, the screen lights up, and then I hear something start in the machine.. I know it sounds funny, but sounds like an airplane engine warming up

    Then I hear the constant noise.. Kind of a hum, but not so much a hum when putting it on a mouse pad (as mentioned in this thread) but a steady noise..

    When I feel the chin of the machine it has a steady minor vibration the whole time, and it almost sounds like a quiet version of the superdrive spinning.. It definitely sounds like something is spinning up and spinning the entire time I am using the computer...

    It is kind of like white noise, and I do get used to it as it is not that loud, but it is noticeable..

    Here is the worst part.. when I wake up my machine, nothing I select (Safari, Itunes, etc.) responds until the noise warms up and runs constantly.. Usually takes 20-25 seconds for Safari to respond (and the noise to be running) from the point of the screen appearing from sleep and I select Safari at that point.. I literally need to wait for the noise to start before anything I have selected launches..

    I downloaded iStat Pro and the fans seem to be running at normal speed.. Honestly can't tell if it is a fan or something else spinning...

    I have a note into the Senior Apple Advisor I was working with on my last iMac to report the yellow screen, he seemed genuinely surprised that I received a yellow tinge iMac (-:, however I have not heard back from him since Tuesday and I am going to contact him tomorrow for a full refund. This is it. Can't keep getting these things and running into more problems and getting disappointed..

    In the meantime will continue to use my properly working 6 year old G4 Powerbook, wait for the next revision of the iMac and see how it operates..

    One thing also to mention, I did not notice this noise at all with my 2 1tb Seagate drive iMacs, only on my 2 2tb Hitatchi drive macs..
  7. tomacintosh thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2005
    Not sure what to do now you've said that. If I did send it back chances are I'd get one with another problem? I waited 3 weeks for this one, if it was the same for the replacement it'd be stupid. If I know for sure it's just the hard drive I'd replace it myself, but then you have the annoyance of stopping dust getting behind the glass etc.

    I wonder if there's a way of disabling the internal hard drive altogether and booting off an external drive?

    Anyone tried that?
  8. greatgrady macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2010
    Noticing the same thing on 4 week old i7 27.

    Very quiet for first 3 weeks - some minor fan noise and normal, very quiet HD seeking/write etc., AMAZED at how quiet coming from Powermac G4 vacuum cleaner.

    However, now once the machine's on for around hour or 2 - I get a low hum - sounds almost like a 60hz A/C buzz.

    Unplugged everything from the surge protector minus the Mac - no change. Plugged the Mac into a Furman power conditioner - no change - shut off furnace/sump etc in the house., to eliminate any source of A/C induced noise - no change.

    Also noticed that lifting the aluminum base off the desk reduces considerably (so there's some resonance going on) - but it's still there - you can put your hand on the base and 'feel' the 'hum'

    Currently running a high durometer foam strip under the rear of the base which has 'almost' the same effect as lifting the back end off the desk - but something about that lower freq. makes you focus on it even at lower amplitudes!

    My guess is the power supply or HD. The drone immediately stops on shutdown for that quick second before the monitor goes out. It is unaffected by screen brightness setting (like some CCFL iMacs apparently were).

    Hate to take this 'in' and end up with a dusty / scratched / violated / wrecked machine that probably still hums!

    Interesting to see this post - have been checking for a week or so, first reports of it.
  9. mdewberry macrumors regular

    Aug 20, 2003
    Hi all,

    Some additional feedback regarding this noise (as it got really loud last night)...

    The noise goes away completely when putting the computer to sleep.

    If I don't put the computer to sleep but the screen goes to sleep, the noise turns on and off on a regular basis (maybe 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off).

    I have determined the area where the noise is coming from - dead center of the back of the machine is where the vibration/noise is emanating from, which is the location of the 2tb drive.

    I feel air blowing (lightly) from the vent at the top of the machine.

    Therefore it must be the fan of the 2tb Hard Drive. Either that or the hard drive itself is spinning constantly the entire time the machine is awake, which is unlikely, right?

    As mentioned earlier, I did not notice this noise at all with the first 2 iMacs which had 1tb drives, but have noticed it immediately with my last 2 2tb drive iMacs.. Does the 2tb drive have a different fan? OR... due to the size of the drive does it automatically require the fan to run all the time?

    When using iStat Pro is shows my Hard Drive fan speed at 1099, which is normal I believe.. So, I wonder if the iMac uses a stronger fan for the 2tb drive which runs louder? hmmm....

    Also, for those folks with the 2tb drive, I mentioned earlier in the thread not being able to launch any applications/web sessions when waking the iMac until this fan is on and running (takes about 15-20 seconds). Anyone else having that issue, or is that normal functionality for the iMac?

  10. orchistro macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2008
    Seoul, Korea
    Annoying booing noise from 27 i5quad iMac

    Hello, all.

    I have 27" i5 quad iMac from February's batch with 2tb hdd.

    Same thing has been bugging me. The 'humming' noise. It sounds exactly like low-pitched sine-wave. And I can literally 'feel' the hum by putting my hand on the apple mark under the screen.

    Would the vibration do harm to the components inside the iMac?

    I've been using many previous models of iMac (20" white, 20" aluminum, 24") without any problem. But this 27" imac,... I am going to refund it.
  11. Kissaragi macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2006
    I had the same thing on mine, was one of the reasons i sent it back!
  12. mdewberry macrumors regular

    Aug 20, 2003
    Yeah, it really was quite annoying for me.. It was definitely either the hard drive fan or the hard drive itself; as it made the sound constantly I assume it was the hard drive fan.. What is interesting (as I mention above) is that I did not notice the sound with my 2 1tb drive iMacs, which tells me that the fan for the 2tb may be different and a bit louder? I checked IStatPro and the fan RPM was normal, so I think the 2tb Hitachi drive has a louder fan assigned to it..

    You can really hear it fire up when you wake up your iMac, sounds like an airplane engine warming up..

    I too opted for refund (more for the yellow tinge) and am waiting for the next Revision of the iMac to see if this gets worked out as well...
  13. gbrm macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2010
    I got a new iMac 27, and experiencing similar issue with buzzing sound. The noise is like a small motor firing up or the buzz from a fridge but lower volume. It is constant from the second the mac turns on, and goes away on sleep. Fed up with replacement already. Apple technicians are clueless and suggest replacement. Any updates on this front? This is the new series launched in mid-2010. Many thanks.

Share This Page