How noisy are Mac Pros?

2contagious

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 29, 2008
755
0
UK
Hi,

just a quick question. My university has some Mac Pros (probably bought about 2 or 3 years ago) in the photo studio and to be honest they are really quite loud (especially compared to iMacs and Macbook Pros). I was wondering if Mac Pros usually are that loud or if it's just a matter of bad maintenance (some of them really sound like the fans are crapping up). :confused:

see you,
chris.
 

GoCubsGo

macrumors Nehalem
Feb 19, 2005
35,743
141
My first one was like a jet engine (not really but may as well have been) but it was faulty. The replacement is nearly silent with 4 drives in it and all.
 

hakuryuu

macrumors 6502
Sep 30, 2007
347
1
Lomita, CA
My 3,1 is quiet as can be. It is only loud (and compared to many desktops I have built still quiet) when the fan speeds are upwards of 1200rpm. At the default speed of 400rpm you likely could mistake it for not being on unless the room is just that quiet.
 

JesterJJZ

macrumors 68020
Jul 21, 2004
2,406
751
My G5 sounded like a vacuum cleaner. When I got my MacPro and turned it on I thought it was broken because of how quiet it was.
 

diazj3

macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2008
879
135
I wouldn't say it's noisy - specially compared to some PC workstations... but I also wouldn't say it's as quiet as an iMac or MacBook Pro. At the Apple store they've got a QuadCore with the Nvidia GT120 card: you can barely hear a whisper from it.

Mine with the 4870 makes a low minibar-like noise: exhaust fan was replaced and it went away for a while. It still makes kind of a low frequency hum - but I read it has to do with the frequency of fans... so I use SMC Fan Control to change the minimum setting of the exhaust fan from 600 to 669 rpm.... this seems to disguise the hum a bit. The MP sits under my desk, less than 2ft away from me.... I most notice the noise early in the morning when I turn it on, but as the day goes by, it turns inaudible for me.

Overall, it's a quiet machine - considering it has 4 hard drives and 6 big internal fans - counting the one on the ATI 4870 card - all spinning...

Nevertheless, I do think Apple should use higher quality fans in this machine though. Has anyone been able to replace the fans with other than Apple stock fans in their MP? share your experience!

cheers!
 

gglockner

macrumors 6502
Nov 25, 2007
403
3
Bellevue, WA
On average, I find that Mac Pros are quiet as compared to a comparable PC. My Mac Pro had a small rattle that was caused by the side door. A piece of Dynamat on the door silenced that, and the Mac Pro is virtually silent now.
 

2contagious

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 29, 2008
755
0
UK
Hi,

thanks for all of your quick replies :) I am still wondering if I should maybe get a Mac Pro (for working/editing) + iPad (for showcasing/viewing work) instead of a MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro update is taking so long and it seems like a Mac Pro update is more likely in the next few days/weeks than a MacBook Pro update. I'd really like to have a new, powerful Mac, since my old MacBook Pro has died a few weeks ago and I have been working on a spare iMac G4 since :)eek::D the most recent types of projects allowed me to work on a "powerless" computer :rolleyes: it just took ages).

Anyway, from what you have said, the Mac Pro seems to be fairly quiet and with the huge amount of performance increase for the money (desktop vs laptop), I might consider a Mac Pro. I'll see if anything new will be released tomorrow :eek:

see you,
chris.
 

gglockner

macrumors 6502
Nov 25, 2007
403
3
Bellevue, WA
No comparison in terms of performance or portability. A Mac Pro will smoke a MacBook Pro in terms of speed. A Mac Pro is also not portable. If budget allows, get one of each and setup the Mac Pro for remote access when you're working remotely.
 

2contagious

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 29, 2008
755
0
UK
No comparison in terms of performance or portability. A Mac Pro will smoke a MacBook Pro in terms of speed. A Mac Pro is also not portable. If budget allows, get one of each and setup the Mac Pro for remote access when you're working remotely.
Yeah..as I said, I was thinking of getting a Mac Pro (for working) + iPad (for viewing work) instead of a MacBook Pro. I could then save up some more money to get a MacBook Pro in September/October.
 

hakuryuu

macrumors 6502
Sep 30, 2007
347
1
Lomita, CA
Yeah..as I said, I was thinking of getting a Mac Pro (for working) + iPad (for viewing work) instead of a MacBook Pro. I could then save up some more money to get a MacBook Pro in September/October.
There will also be more than a few applications for remote access to your Mac Pro. Citrix has already announced one but that one will require their server. I believe there are more than a few ssh and vnc apps for the iphone as well.
 

atari1356

macrumors 68000
Feb 27, 2004
1,586
32
At work I use a Mac Pro and it sits on top of my L shaped desk about 3 feet away from my head... the only time I ever notice any noise from it is when the 2nd hard drive inside spins up.

Well... also if I put a CD/DVD in the drive, then it sounds like an airplane taking off. :p
 

product26

macrumors 6502a
May 30, 2005
775
10
I have a mac pro 1,1 and it is the quietest computer I have ever had or heard.

If you use Western Digital drives (and others, but not Seagate) you can put the drive in to a low noise mode via hdparm. It REALLY quiets the drives down a huge amount. The low noise mode does decrease performance a bit, but is barely even perceivable (if at all) and the drives still keep up with all the projects in my studio. When working with audio I always choose the low noise options when available.

So I take it they've become quieter over the past revisions?
 

hakuryuu

macrumors 6502
Sep 30, 2007
347
1
Lomita, CA
I run BOINC on my computers, so I'm wondering how loud the 4,1 Mac Pros are with all cores at 100%.
My 3,1 at 380-400% can run at a fixed fan speed of 1100rpm and be no warmer than 38C. I would say it is quiet. I can hear it but its more of a loud whisper than a jet taking off. The fans are of a much better design than what I am used to.
 

gotzero

macrumors 68040
Jan 6, 2007
3,220
0
Mid-Atlantic, US
I have one that is on 24/7 in my bedroom. I never notice that it is on.

It is by far quieter than the two-drive enclosure on top of it, which I turn off when I am not using. I am pretty sensitive to noise and I think the Mac Pro is fantastic. Xserves on the other hand...
 

product26

macrumors 6502a
May 30, 2005
775
10
after upgrading to two quad core xeon (bsel modded) I ran power fractal keeping all 8 cores maxxed out for a few minutes, that was the first time I had ever heard the fans change apeed on their own. Even then it was only the rear memory fan. I have 8x1gb chips. They get really toasty.

I run BOINC on my computers, so I'm wondering how loud the 4,1 Mac Pros are with all cores at 100%.
 

Max(IT)

Suspended
Dec 8, 2009
8,550
1,640
Italy
My experience: we have a room with 10 Dell workstations, different models from 2005 to 2009. A nightmare of noise ...
We have a similar room with 12 Mac Pros, different models from 2006, 2008 and one 2009: almost silent.
A difference you can really note
 

Dragonforce

macrumors 6502a
Apr 9, 2008
585
0
Germany
I have a mac pro 1,1 and it is the quietest computer I have ever had or heard.

If you use Western Digital drives (and others, but not Seagate) you can put the drive in to a low noise mode via hdparm. It REALLY quiets the drives down a huge amount. The low noise mode does decrease performance a bit, but is barely even perceivable (if at all) and the drives still keep up with all the projects in my studio. When working with audio I always choose the low noise options when available.
Would you explain how to do that on OS X or Windows via Bootcamp ?
 

cutthroughthebs

macrumors member
Feb 14, 2010
73
0
I wouldn't say it's noisy - specially compared to some PC workstations... but I also wouldn't say it's as quiet as an iMac or MacBook Pro. At the Apple store they've got a QuadCore with the Nvidia GT120 card: you can barely hear a whisper from it.

Mine with the 4870 makes a low minibar-like noise: exhaust fan was replaced and it went away for a while. It still makes kind of a low frequency hum - but I read it has to do with the frequency of fans... so I use SMC Fan Control to change the minimum setting of the exhaust fan from 600 to 669 rpm.... this seems to disguise the hum a bit. The MP sits under my desk, less than 2ft away from me.... I most notice the noise early in the morning when I turn it on, but as the day goes by, it turns inaudible for me.

Overall, it's a quiet machine - considering it has 4 hard drives and 6 big internal fans - counting the one on the ATI 4870 card - all spinning...

Nevertheless, I do think Apple should use higher quality fans in this machine though. Has anyone been able to replace the fans with other than Apple stock fans in their MP? share your experience!

cheers!
You have to be kidding right? These machines are built about as custom and efficient as the technology is possible to give. If your mic picks up your mac pro instead of your voice you better take some voice lessons to project your voice!
 

KeriJane

macrumors 6502a
Sep 26, 2009
578
0
ЧИКАГО!
Hello.

It sounds like the OP was exposed to 1st gen Mac Pros with the ATI x1900xt video card.

Those particular video cards could be howlers.

The rest of the Mac Pro is very quiet.

I can only speak for the following Video cards:
ATI x1900- Loud.
nVidia 7300- no fan, no noise.
ATI HD2600- reasonably quiet, not silent
nVidia 8800GT- reasonably quiet.

Another way to set your non-Seagate Hard Drives AAM is to remove it and use a DOS utility or use HDDScan under Windows. Doing so doesn't erase data, it just sets the drive to a quieter (or louder) mode.

AAM can reduce or eliminate the clicking or clunking noises a hard drive makes at the cost of increased "seek" times.

WD Caviar Black drives have very little motor noise but noticeable seek noise. AAM will reduce this significantly but not completely silence it.

Hitachi drives have a little more motor noise on spinup but less seek noise. AAM can make them virtually silent when running.

Samsung drives are quiet and with AAM on, virtually silent.

Seagate 7200.10 and 7200.11 drives tend to be noisy and hot. There doesn't appear to be an AAM setting either.

On the whole, the Mac Pro is very quiet for its capabilities. Especially with a quieter video card and AAM set for the drives.

Have Fun
Keri