macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 3, 2011
Keep getting people saying that the 2tb is noisy is it?

What about the 1tb

Or just the ssd


macrumors 603
Jan 10, 2006
I hardly hear mine at all. Even when ripping DVDs.

Every so often I'll hear a click when the 1TB (I have an SSD too) goes to sleep.

The fans are silent you just get a nice gentle breeze coming out the back which you cant hear unless you specifically listen for it and get up close.

Just as quiet as my MBP. :)


macrumors newbie
Jun 14, 2011
My solution is

Use 500 GB for internal HDD and spend on 500-1TB (Not SSD) with USB external HDD with docking for swap.

2TB seek time is longer and RPM is lower than 1TB.

Leaving the high capacity inside the iMAC is risky because you cannot disassemble iMAC yourself (for normal user). Recovery the data will be hard if you use applecare.

Working > Save inside internal HDD > backup to external HDD if you work with Photo or Video. It's the best practice.


macrumors member
May 25, 2011
Virginia, USA
I have the 2TB, and I hear it in an absolutely quite room, when chewing through 1000 emails to move, besides that I have not noticed it.


macrumors regular
Sep 7, 2010
2TB seek time is longer and RPM is lower than 1TB.

Let's clear this one up.

The 2TB drive has shorter seek times (due to higher data density), and the RPM is the same at 7,200

PS I have the 2TB, and it's very quiet


macrumors 6502
Oct 11, 2010
I hope the 2TB is quiet, as that is what I ordered.

johnfkitchen, are you sure it's quiet? You wouldn't be able to hear it while playing a movie, doing word processing, listening to music, etc.?

Mac Eagle

macrumors member
May 5, 2010
I just received my 27" 3.4 i7 iMac with the 2TB drive this week and I can hear the hard drive in a pretty quiet room when it read/writes data. I typically use WD drives which I find mostly quiet (varies between drive) and this drive sounds a little louder than them. It is more of a low crunchy sound but doesn't bother me (I expect some drive noise and I am pretty anal about these things).

I can also hear my iMac fans running but it is more like a low whooshing white noise than anything else. I definitly don't have to put my ear right up next to it as some people claim (maybe they are hard of hearing) but again I expect to hear some sound when air is being moved around. I am comming from an old Dual G5 Power Mac that finally died (won't recognize any memory any more) which had fans that would sound like a jet taking off even when just doing something simple like changing songs in iTunes so the relative "quiet" of my iMac has been much appreciated. I have it placed on a hard surface so that may also amplify what little sound there is coming from it some. Considering I have a multitude of external drives and ceiling fan running most of the time I can probably say the iMac is the quietest thing in the room.


macrumors 6502
May 15, 2011
I'd call my system (1TB Seagate HD) pretty quiet. I thought I finally heard the fans last night, then realized it was actually an external 3.5" enclosure I left on.

I can hear the disk seek if I make the system do enough seeks (say copying a bunch of files while something else is trying to read a large file), but even then its a relatively quiet drive compared to others i've owned. Heck, the Momentus XT in my powerbook (hybrid SSD/HD) makes a lot more noise just coming out of sleep.

Maybe I'm hard of hearing like the previous poster suggested. :) But the iMac seems as quiet as my mini even under load. Both are *way* quieter than my PC was even in idle -- under load that thing got distractingly loud.


macrumors regular
Jun 4, 2010
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1TB is whisper quiet unless I run heavy intensive stuff.


macrumors regular
Jun 19, 2003
Glad to hear these reports, can someone compare these noise levels to previous iMacs? I think that the HD's in some of the original aluminum iMacs were practically silent to the user. Maybe they were farther away from the edge of the case?


macrumors newbie
Dec 27, 2011
noisy Hitachi 2 Tb HDD iMac 2011

I have 21.5'' iMac 2011 256 SSD + 2 Tb Hitachi HDD. That 2 Tb Hitachi HDD is the only source of noise in this model. And for sure this noise is well recognisable in a silent room. The read/write sounds are fine and probably better than some other drives, my problem is a constant rotational hum of this drive, which is for sure I can hear pretty well in a quiet room. People with 2 Tb HDD without SSD for sure are thinking it's a fan noise, but not. Fans in iMac 2011 are so quiet you won't hear them at all , even in a perfectly quiet room. So this 2 Tb Hitachi drive for sure has a noticeable constant rotational hum, which reminds a fan noise. But it's a drive noise. And this is the only thing I don't like in this model. I never had rotational persistent noises in my older iMacs. If somebody uses iMac 2011 in a perfectly quiet room with Hitachi 2 Tb HDD, they are welcome to comment whether they have any noise. Maybe my drive shouldn't be that noisy. Apple service does not bother, if a drive is working without errors - they don't bother. Very sad.
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