How loud is a 2.4 GHz iMac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jakesonaplane, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. jakesonaplane macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2008
    Hey all! I have been looking to upgrade from my PowerMac G5 to a refurb iMac (20-inch, 2.4GHz, 1 gig RAM). My parents have offered to pay half but first I think my dad needs a little convincing as to why the iMac is better than what I have now. My PowerMac is in my room in front of a window and I keep the tower on top of my desk (for lack of any other room under my desk). Since our upstairs AC is busted and the tower gets flooded with sun from my window, the fans are often running really quickly and my machine gets super loud, which my dad HATES.

    So I'm wondering- how loud is an iMac? Is there any difference in the loudness based on screen size or processor? (IE- 20" vs 24" or 2.4 GHz vs 2.66GHz.)

    Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for helping me out!
  2. Hatchet macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2007
    Baton Rouge
    My iMac sits in front of my window and is on in the morning when the sun hits it directly (Louisiana Sun too!) and I must say to me it's completely silent and I have very good hearing. My iMac can get hot (Airport 61C) and its still silent with the fans going.

    I have yet to hear it even with the A/C off and no outside or inside sound around.

    It's quite amazing. I have the 24" 2.8GHZ model.
  3. blueicedj macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2007
    I have the 24" 2.8 ghz model. Haven't heard a thing since I got it. Great since I had switched from a PC that sounded like lawnmower. I once left this computer on all night when I was rendering a video...I couldn't sleep at all. With the iMac, the computer sounds just like it does when it's off, so I don't really have to worry about any of that. My iMac sits right in front of a window too, and its been getting up to about 106 outside, still silent. *The top of the iMac does get really hot though, no matter what temperature* but that's normal as it's just the heat escaping. The aluminum casing helps with this.

    I don't believe that the screen size changes the amount of noise coming out of the machine.
  4. Hates macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2008
    London, UK
    My 3ghz iMac is the quitest machine I've ever used. Even at night when everything else is silent it's hard to tell that it's even on.
  5. Ladybug macrumors 68000


    Apr 13, 2006
    I have a 2.4ghz 20 iMac and its really quiet. I live in the south as well and I never hear the fans at all. Of course the house has a/c but I never heard it during the winter months either.
  6. Muncher macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2007
    All the imacs are, by default, programmed to be whisper quiet. Literally. :D:apple:

    EDIT: One time, I left it on while I went on vacation. I made a big deal of turning it off, too, putting my ear right up against it to see if it was really off. Of course, the a/c and my room fan must have drowned it out. :p
  7. mikeyPotg macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2006
    I had a 2.4ghz 24" iMac and it was really quiet. Not something you should worry about at all.
    Now the Mac Pro I replaced it with... that thing is a loud, hot, beast.
  8. jasko macrumors 6502


    Dec 26, 2006
  9. H&Kie macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2004
    If you want figures: According to C't-magazine (Dutch release), noise production is as follows:

    20" 2,66 GHz copying CD to HD: 0,3 sone
    20" 2,66 GHZ processor fully loaded: 0,1 sone

    24" 2,8 GHz copying CD to HD: 0,9 sone
    24" 2,8 GHZ processor fully loaded: 0,2 sone

    Sone is a sound measuring unit that's better for comparing different values than decibel is. To give you an idea: 0,3 sone = 30 dB (sound of your own breath) an 2 sone = 50 dB (a normal conversation).

    I've got a 24" 2,8 iMac myself and it really is quiet. The only machine I owned that was more silent, was my rev. E iMac G3. which didn't have any fans at all.
  10. thepandamancan macrumors member


    Jul 24, 2007
    Burbank, CA
    It's so loud I can't even hear it. Like many of the users, I've owned mine for almost 2 years now and I don't think I've ever heard any noise from it other than the optical drive...and of course the speakers haha.

    By comparison, I've used MacPros that made me go deaf and I've been able to hear the humming from my MBP since the day I bought it.
  11. adamjay macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2004
    i use mine in a very VERY quiet setting. the control room of a 3 room recording studio.

    even during heavy cpu and graphics lifting, its as quiet as a mouse.
  12. steve5424 macrumors member

    Sep 30, 2007
    Glasgow, UK
    I have the 20" 2.4Ghz and its on all the time and I can't hear the fans at all. So So quiet.

    My Dell XPS M1530 is a hell of a lot noiser when they are on at the same time.
  13. cmcbridejr macrumors 6502a


    Sep 28, 2007
    Alpharetta, GA
    I recently upgraded to the new iMac 3 GHz and what a difference compared to my old iMac G5!

    The only thing I hear now is my refrigerator in the kitchen.
  14. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    I am sitting at mine now and I can definitely hear it. It is by no means silent and I cannot sleep with it switched on.
  15. topgunn macrumors 65816


    Nov 5, 2004
    My iMac is utterly silent most times. At the odd time when I CAN hear it, it is slightly annoying even though I have to strain to do so. And then I go back to work where I can hear a random PC through a closed door across the office.
  16. albusseverus macrumors 6502a


    Nov 28, 2007
    Under no circumstances buy a 20" iMac

    Firstly. I bought a 20" Aluminium iMac without checking Apple's discussion forums, first. The screens are flawed. Don't buy one. You will be bitterly disappointed. The colours fade from top to bottom of the screen - cheap screen, which Apple won't fix. They've been like this since 2007 and the 2008 model is no better.

    That aside. Al iMacs are pretty well silent.

    HOWEVER, since the latest EFI Update, the fan runs much louder & longer when the optical drive is being used. By comparison PC is much, much louder, though.

    A lot of people wanted to downgrade, as this is quite annoying when you're used to an entirely silent iMac... but alas, there's no going back. If you get the option, don't load the April '08 EFI Update. If you buy a new one, you probably won't have a choice.

    Get the Al 24", they're a brilliant machine and probably the best computer ever made.

    You're not looking at buying a white iMac are you?
  17. jakesonaplane thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2008
    Thanks for the input everyone, this should definitely help! My PowerMac literally sounds like an airplane these days so it sounds like the iMac will be a nice change!

    Do you mean that it only gets loud when burning a CD/DVD?

    And no, I am going to buy an Alu iMac! :D
  18. terriyaki macrumors 6502a

    Aug 4, 2005
    Like everyone has already said, ridiculously quiet.
  19. jakesonaplane thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2008
    Which model do you have?
  20. Love macrumors 68000


    Jan 20, 2007
    Just southeast of Northwestshire
    You must have gotten one with a certain model WD or Seagate drive - I know. Some WD drives especially can hum quite loudly.

    I have a Core Duo white iMac. it's been problematic all of it's life but I just got a bad one. It can get very loud. As in Rack Server loud.
  21. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    I have the 2007 20" with 2.4GHz processor. The 24" model is significantly thicker than the 20", which may mean there is more room for cooling.
  22. 204467 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 13, 2008
    Philadelphia, PA
    I know this isn't my thread, but that sounds great! (or rather not-get it? :p)
    I'm getting my first iMac (and first Mac) sometime this summer and sometimes I download a lot of torrents, which can sometimes take a long time, especially the really long ones. Not being able to hear that it's on, coupled with a screen that's turned off, means I'll sleep a lot better when I'm waiting overnight for something to download.
  23. jakesonaplane thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2008
    Ahhh, this is exactly why I think this sounds great as well!
  24. 204467 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 13, 2008
    Philadelphia, PA
    Ha, yeah. I do a lot of my downloading during the night, because it seems quicker since I'm asleep and because sometimes it screws up my internet since the upload speed may accidentally be set to unlimited. But my current laptop is just way too loud, the fans are ALWAYS on and ALWAYS loud, no matter what I'm doing, from the moment I turn on the computer to when I turn it off. Can't wait until I get my iMac to fix that problem. But I digress...
  25. Hates macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2008
    London, UK
    I can sleep with my old hurricane of a PC on. It's just something you get used to.

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