How quiet is a 27" 2015 iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Ian_E, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. Ian_E macrumors newbie

    Dec 23, 2015

    I'm looking to buy a new imac after Xmas, with the following spec as below;
    • 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor
    • Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
    • 8GB (two 4GB) memory, configurable up to 32GB (Will upgrade at a later date)
    • 256gb SSD
    • AMD Radeon R9 M390 with 2GB video memory
    • Retina 5K 5120x2880 P3 display
    I'm currently using a water cooled i5 win10 system 256gb HD and internal 5gb HD which spins down when not in use, the system is pretty much silent due to using a larger fanless radiator system.

    Is the Mac pretty much silent when browsing the web doing no intensive usage ?

    Second question, I currently use my 256gb drive as a boot drive and use the 5tb for storage, the SSD is around half full currently, I presume OSX is a similar size to win10 with your standard run of the mill software installed office etc ? so I will have plenty of breathing space for the future ?

    I have an external usb3 encloser for the 5tb drive so my plan is to use that for storage, I presume there is an option in OSX to spin down the drive when not in use ?

    I'm an occasional gamer I appreciate the imac is never going great for that but I'm right in thinking the m390 will play most modern game at half spec on gfx options etc ?

    Thanks for your help
  2. ScorpionT16, Dec 23, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2015

    ScorpionT16 macrumors member

    Dec 1, 2015
    Toronto, Canada
    I have that exact same config, just with a i7 and added 24gb Crucial Ram.

    It runs relatively quite, I've only heard the fans kick in when i'm processing stuff in PS CC or under heavy gaming, and even then its a nice-smooth sound. Unlike what I hear from my i5 Desktop PC at work. With the SSD, on a scale of 1-10, I would rate it a 3 on normal use for sound. 0 being dead silent. In other words, it is pretty much silent for non-intensive work.

    I have a USB 3.0 external drive, to compliment the 256GB SSD, it works well in OS X. Yes, you can power down the drive when not in use. I have my iTunes library, work files, etc on external. You can run apps from what I hear of the external as well.

    I find the M390 a sweet spot, I do game on Win 10 Bootcamp and its been great so far. I'm playing Dirt Rally now (new game), I run everything on Ultra High (shadows low) at 1080p and get a smooth 60 FPS+. I have Ori and the blind forest, Full 1440p, and runs smooth. Will pick some other titles when on sale... Also, I run my Steam library of the External USB 3.0 enclosure, 256GB would get consumed too quick otherwise.

    In terms of the Storage size, 256 GB is very manageable, 512 would be nice if you can afford it for future convenience. I have 90GB partitioned for Win 10, OSX, all my programs (Photoshop, Illustrator, CAD, Drivers, etc on OS X side installed...), and have 130GB Free space on the Drive. Plenty for now. I like the smaller storage, makes me back-up and get frugal with file management.
  3. adamjackson macrumors 65816

    Jul 9, 2008
    My iMac is insanely quiet. You absolutely never hear it. If the CPU is sustained around 20-40%, still nearly silent unless you're right up next to it then you can hear a faint noise.

    HandBrake, LightRoom CC (building 1:1 previews) and playing Civilization, the fan is noticeably loud and can faintly be heard across the room. Nothing compared to the PowerMac G5 I used to have.
  4. xgman macrumors 601


    Aug 6, 2007
    The fans will rev up under strain. Strain can be caused by several different things including TM backups during a work session. More or less heavy processing = fans running for a bit. Otherwise you barely hear it.
  5. yadmonkey macrumors 65816


    Aug 13, 2002
    Western Spiral
    Anyone have a config similar to this?:
    • 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display
    • 4.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.2GHz
    • 8GB 1867MHz DDR3 SDRAM - two 4GB
    • 512GB Flash Storage
    • AMD Radeon R9 M395X with 4GB video memory
    I was thinking about getting this, but I so love that my late 2013 27" (3.4GHz i5, 512GB SSD, 4GB 780M, 24GB RAM) is absolutely silent 99.9% of the time. Seriously, I have heard it once or twice only. It's silent even for heavy gaming.

    And I'm still a little traumatized by my old 2009 iMac which had an ATI GPU and sounded like a wind tunnel when barely pushed.
  6. tsang2320 macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2014

    similar config, a cycle before this.
    i7 24GB RAM 3TB FD M295
    Fan noise is noticeable but not unbearable under heavy load (exporting/rendering/gaming)

    Browsing and most of other normal stuffs are dead quiet here.

    My enclosure's fan adjusts automatically independent of the OS based on temperature.
    Include bootcamp space in your planning though.
  7. AlexisV macrumors 68000


    Mar 12, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    Normally almost silent. When playing a game - very quiet whirr.
  8. e93to macrumors 6502a


    Jan 23, 2015
    My external drive is noisier than my late 2012 iMac. During 3 years of ownership, the fans never went above idle (1400rpm). Totally silent when playing games, 4K exporting, etc
  9. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    At idle ~1200 RPM a Mac is surprisingly quiet. Under load it can be a mix bag depending on your expectations.

    I think you'll find it noisy for 2 reason, first is if you use current water cooled setup as a point of reference. Secondly, an iMac is an AIO which puts it close to your ears.
  10. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    My iMac is whisper quiet.

    I had an old desktop tower, I built and that thing was noisy, It wasn't close to my ears (thankfully), but it had something like 3 fans built into the case. That thing was built for serious heat removal and it was loud. I'm so thankful I don't have to hear that any longer :D
  11. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012

    But a desktop doesn't HAVE to be close to your ears it needn't be in the same room.

    Plus the OP says he has a fanless radiator setup that's virtually silent which is who my most was directed toward.

    I had a gaming tower that was fairly loud however I kept it in the basement just below my office. Most of the io was routed up. It was technically quieter then my iMac when in my office.
  12. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'd go deaf, if I had my rig close to my ears :p

    My iMac is probably a 3 feet away from my body and as noted, I'm not hearing anything (maybe because I did go deaf from my old desktop :eek:)
  13. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    There are a lot of variables though, I don't try to give someone new to an iMac the impression that its silent because depending on those variables they can be very disappointed. I find it better to be pleasantly surprised, thus happy.

    In my office I can hear an iMac at idle. Its very quiet and in no way is disturbing. You really need to listen for it and coming from a PC I would describe it as silent although I know that isn't the case. The second the fan lifts off 1200 RPM I can hear it immediately and I think anyone could. Push it hard enough like a video encode + a game in the background and it becomes very noticeable. For example I'll encode a video and since I don't care how long it takes I might be playing Cities : Skylines in the background. At that point its as loud as my gaming rig, OR I've gotten so used to how quiet the iMac is I'm exaggerating how loud it is.

    In either case its not quiet nor would I want to give someone the impression its like an iPad 24/7 because its not.
  14. Ian_E thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 23, 2015
    Thanks guys, pretty much the answers I expected, quiet under normal load and noisy when stressed.

    I've ordered today, slight higher spec then original planed, instore pick up on the 12th of Jan, very little difference in price but a better GPU and a faster CPU

    27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display

    • 3.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
    • 8GB 1867MHz DDR3 SDRAM - two 4GB
    • 256GB Flash Storage
    • AMD Radeon R9 M395 with 2GB video memory
    • Magic Mouse 2
    Already picked up another 8gig of original apple memory (£29 on ebay) to take me to 16 gb, trackpad 2 also ordered..

    Can't wait !
  15. kazmac macrumors 603


    Mar 24, 2010
    On the silver scream
    While I briefly had a 2015 27" iMac, it was whisper quiet. This 2013 is just as quiet even with a spinning drive (the only noise beyond the start up chime is when I use the external dvd drive.)
  16. Cape Dave macrumors 68000

    Nov 16, 2012
    I am the fussiest person on this forum when it comes to quietness. I give my computer, see sig, an A+ when it comes to silence. I never do any editing, but heavy surfing, email, various apps, light photoshop and have never had the fan go above the default 1200+- RPM. Had to put LSTATS on just to make sure it was spinning at all.
  17. mjohansen macrumors regular

    Feb 19, 2010
    I hope you will enjoy your new iMac. I have the i5 R395X and it is dead silent. I do play games sometimes and even when the fans ramp up it is pretty quiet.
  18. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Nice setup, congrats :)

    I have a M395 (with a Fusion Drive) and its dead silent.

Share This Page