How noisy is a Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by snorby, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. snorby macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2007

    I am planning to buy a new workstation and I am hesitating between a Mac Pro and an iMac. Since money is not so much of an issue right now, I could go with the extra power and flexibility of the Mac Pro. However, I am concerned about the noise generated by the machine. I have already used an iMac at work so I know it is silent most of the time, however I have never used a Mac Pro.

    So, can people currently owning a Mac Pro tell me how noisy it is when "idle" (i.e. not doing anything power-consuming), and how noisy is it when working hard on encoding a huge H264 video or compiling lots of code?

  2. ricgnzlzcr macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    I'm wondering the same questions but would also like to know how loud the powermac g5 is. If anyone that has had both can mention their experiences that would be great.
  3. Mac In School macrumors 65816

    Jun 21, 2007
    I have to touch mine* to be able to tell it's on.

    *my computer, that is.
  4. FF_productions macrumors 68030


    Apr 16, 2005
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    Depends on which G5 you have.

    The single processor G5's were quiet, The Dual-Cores were Quiet, the Dual 2 I had was loud as hell.

    My Mac Pro is silent, even under heavy load. It is quieter then the MacBook Pro I used to own.
  5. snorby thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2007
    Sound reassuring, thanks for all the answers. I can cope with hard drive noise, it was the constant humming of the fans I was afraid of.

  6. Joel Beason macrumors member

    Jan 21, 2007
    The fans don't really turn on very much, but the bottom does get pretty warm on the macbook pro. The only time the fans come on a lot is when its running bootcamp.
  7. salilsundresh macrumors 6502

    Dec 11, 2005
    The first Powermac G5 I had (dual 2ghz single core) sounded like an airplane, of course returned it. Apple eventually came up with a fix for it since it was so wide spread. (problem with SMU chip change)

    Anyways I don't know about other people, but I have 2 computers and 4 CRT monitors running in my bedroom, so things get pretty hot in here. I installed a mini air conditioning recently so I could care less how loud my computer is. :D
  8. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    The only part of my Mac Pro that I hear is the hard drive. The rest of it I can't hear, even when I maxed out all four cores it was still whisper-quiet. Stayed cool, too. :)
  9. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006
    When I walk into my empty office in the morning, I can't tell its on and I freak a little, but then see the light is on.

    only thing I can hear are the drives, and thats because my machine is up on my desk, close to me, so I can see it at all times, so when people walk in, I can belittle their non-mac status.

    But yeah, it's whisper quiet.
  10. Mr.Noisy macrumors 65816


    May 5, 2007
    My MP is on the desk next to me, and it is very quiet, the only way i really know it's on is the fact i'm using it :D
  11. flappo macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2003
    in the cubicles
    the x1900 is noisy , but the mac is nice n quiet
  12. Don Bagles macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2007
    Don't be mislead by all these replies. The Mac Pro does make a "normal" amount of noise for a desktop computer of it's stature. In almost any environment, there is a certain amount of ambient noise that makes the computer noise hard to hear. However, I live in a dead silent environment, and the computer does make noise. It's not like a MDD G4, but it makes noise! It's a computer.
  13. empezar macrumors regular


    Sep 14, 2006

    if you live in a dead silent environment, the mac pro makes some noise

    if you don't, it's barely hearable

    i laughed when i read about the guy who walked into his office and got scared cause he couldn't hear the computer, but got relieved when he saw the lamp glowing, indicating the computer is indeed turned on. i laughed at this because it is so true! i always thought my mac pro had turned itself off or died cause it was so silent, that is until i saw the lamp glowing!
  14. macsimus prime macrumors newbie

    Jul 27, 2007
    walks softly...and carries a big stick

    Noise, lack of it really, was just one of the reasons I finally plunged back into Mac after 15 years of building my own PC's. And there is nothing in the PC world that packs the power of a Mac pro with so little sound...its those big fans and the great engineering inside. You will not be disapponted.

    Tonight I successfully ran a GeForce 8800GTS in the machine and it was still very quiet. It's great.
  15. After G macrumors 68000

    After G

    Aug 27, 2003
    Funny, there are some noises I like and others I hate.

    I like: hard drive clicking, fan whoosh
    I dislike: hard drive whine, fan plastic clicking, vibration noise, hard drive hum.

    Yes, they are all different.
  16. eMagine macrumors regular


    Sep 18, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    mine is DEAD SILENT. even with the ATI x1900 Graphics card.
  17. MacTO macrumors member


    Apr 3, 2007
    I barely notice it. My Mac Pro is sitting on the desk, just over a foot away from my right arm.
  18. atari1356 macrumors 68000


    Feb 27, 2004
    The one I use at work was very quiet... until I added second hard drive. The new hard drive causes an annoying hum. Usually it spins down after a while and I don't hear it though.

    I've read that some hard drives are noisier than others in these machines - it appears I got one of the loud ones. :(
  19. indiekiduk macrumors 6502

    Jul 26, 2005
    Glasgow, Scotland
    The mac pro Im using came with seagate drives so disk access is really noisy. Its a scratchy annoying sound like ancient Maxtor drives.

    The model in my Mac Pro is:
    ST3750640AS P

    Seagates are the noisest drives on the market because they no longer have AAM (acoustic managment) which all other drives have to eliminate the grinding noise. Seagate got sued for patent breach so all their drives now dont have AAM. If you buy a Mac Pro and want it silent I would sell the HD it comes with and replace them all with Western Digital drives which are silent.
  20. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006
    Well... I have 1 WD Raptor in my machine, and 3 Seagates in it, and then 2 more seagate externals.

    The ONLY thing I hear is the raptor, and just barley. So, my 5 seagate drives that all run at once, I can't even hear them.
  21. benpatient macrumors 68000

    Nov 4, 2003
    I had a dual 1.8 G5 for a couple of years, and just recently got a 2.66 Mac Pro.

    I'll say this:

    The MacPro is much quieter if you aren't doing anything on it.

    With my G5, I experienced:

    1. more frequent "revving up" of the fans when the processor was loaded down.
    2. despite having 2 Seagate drives in a RAID 0 array, I almost never heard the hard drives, except when rebooting or turning on. (old Seagate drives with acoustic mgt., i guess)
    3. Optical drive was audible, but not too bad.

    With the MacPro, all of those things have changed:

    1. Fans have only gone up once, when updating the firmware, and I presume that was a safety feature or something. The machine stays cool and quiet.
    2. The single 500 GB Seagate drive is as noisy as an old clunky Compaq hard drive from the 90s. Seriously loud and annoying. I only had 2 GB of RAM for the first month I had this machine, and the hard drive swap file was getting hit all the time, so i was hearing a constant grinding basically all day. If I switched apps, or if Entourage tried to check my mail accounts, I had to pause for 30-40 seconds while several hundred MB of swap data was hashed on and off from the drive. loud and slow and horrible. I added 4 GB last week and not only is it like I have been driving around with the parking brake engaged, and just now realized it, it's like I'm working in a different room. I'm noticing the HVAC vent jiggling when it turns on, which I could never hear before because of the hard drive chugging away all the time.
    3. The optical drive is like a vacuum cleaner! What on earth were they thinking? are they all this loud? Just inserting a disc makes more noise than I can stand. I have to double the volume on my machine to listen to music if I've put a disc in. That's just wrong. My old 52x CD burner didn't get this loud when it was burning a disc at 52x!
  22. SDAVE macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2007
    My Mac Pro is very quiet...very very quiet.

    The only noise I hear is the obvious ATI fan spin up which is only a few seconds when you start the computer from a cold boot.
  23. Crawn2003 macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2005
    Santa Rosa, California
    I have the dual quad cores w/ the X1900 XT and it's VERY quiet....

  24. vohdoun macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2006
    Far away from Earth.
    The revving is annoying I admit on the G5's. You get it less if Processor performance is set to Highest. It drives me cookoo if its set to Automatic. Still does it but less on Highest if you're rending at first, or loading extremely huge hi-resolution images in web browsers.

    Though the majority of the time the G5 hardly makes a peep. The superdrive is a pain in the ass when installing OS X. Sounds like its going to shoot out the tray. Though same thing again, watching DVD's, music cd's burning discs its pretty much quiet.

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