If you must have a totally silent Mini is the I3 the only option?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Tom80112, Dec 3, 2018.

  1. Tom80112 macrumors member

    Tom80112

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    #1
    I will eventually buckle and get the 2018 Mini despite their extortionary prices for SSD
    and Ram bumps. I read that the I7 makes a lot of fan noise so that is out.

    Has anyone played with both the 2018 i3 and i5 models for an extended amount of time
    to comment on the fan noise? My 2017 Macbook Pro I7 is always dead quiet. I hear the
    fans come on maybe once a month when I need to reboot it. (I never turn my Macbook
    off) Once I reboot it the fans stay off and I have dead silence for about another month.

    I will never re-encode movies but I tend to run a simultaneous mix of windows 7 VMs,
    Microsoft Word and Excel on the Mac side, Chrome with 20 tabs, and some terminal
    windows to ssh into work to perform Linux admin. I will occasionally play a movie with
    VLC as well. All simultaneously with my 2017 Macbook Pro I7 staying dead silent (no fans).

    If I want the Mini that is as well behaved fan-wise as my 2017 Macbook Pro I7, is the
    i3 Mini the clear winner as I suspect? I'd prefer to get the i5 model but I don't want to
    risk the fans coming on periodically when I'm so spoiled by Macbook silence.

    Thanks for helping..
     
  2. jean512 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2017
    #2
    the i3 has the same Thermal Design Power (TDP) as the i5 and i7 so I think the fan will run like i5 and i7.
    Also the fan isn't the problem because if the cpu is not under heavy load, you can't hear the fan.

    The problem is the coil whine ...
     
  3. archer75 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    #3
    The i7 is as silent as the i3. When you push them to max load the fan is going to ramp up no matter the CPU it has. The i7 just gives you more head room before it's fully maxed.

    Don't pay apple prices for ram, upgrade it yourself. Takes 10 minutes.
     
  4. Tom80112 thread starter macrumors member

    Tom80112

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    #4
    What is the coil whine?
    That's part of the fan noise right?

    I have read that the I7 generates a lot more heat and thus
    runs the fans more often so for me it will be the i3 or i5.

    I'll be using BestBuy since I can take it back easier if the
    fans bother me.
     
  5. archer75 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    #5
    The i7 fan is only noticeable at max load. If you aren't at max load you won't hear it. They all have the same TDP, they will all heat up to the same temps and the fans will go to the same RPM to compensate. Which CPU you choose will make no difference in terms of temps and fan noise.

    As for coil whine, I don't hear it.
     
  6. Juggar, Dec 3, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018

    Juggar macrumors member

    Juggar

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2016
    #6
    There are less physical cores in the i3 CPU, it will run cooler in all cases guaranteed. If silence is your main goal, the i3 model seems to suffer no coil whine and will certainly stay the coolest.

    Intels TDP ratings have always been VERY rough guidelines, with Turbo on the i5 and i7, they are allowed to go over TDP for a set duration of time. The i3 has no turbo, and will never go over TDP.

    The jokers said the i9-9900K with EIGHT cores/16 threads was 95 watts TDP (same as 6 core 8700k LOL), turns out its severely crippled if you limit it to 95 watts, typical consumption is around 135 watts out of the box with no overclocking whatsoever.

    I upgraded mine to 32GB RAM myself for only about $200, I think OP should do the same.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 3, 2018 ---
    What? The i3 will give you lots more thermal headroom before the fans max out. It physically uses less power due to 4 cores vs 6, no turbo and no hyperthreading.
     
  7. SoCalReviews, Dec 3, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2012
    #7
    I wouldn't worry too much about fan noise on the new Minis. The heat generated is in response to work load on the processor. It's not exclusive to the i7. The i3 will heat up under heavy load as well. Because the i7 does more processing in less time it's doing more work in less time so it will heat up under heavy load faster and it will also cool down quicker when that work is done... which it gets done faster.

    As an example my 2011 i5 2.3Ghz Mac Mini fan spins up and is much louder and more noticeable under heavy load from casual use more than my 2012 i7 2.3Ghz Mac Mini ever is. The 2012 i7 is overall quieter than either my 2011 i5 Mini or my 2012 i5 13" MBP because the i7 doesn't seem to have to work as hard and push it's limits to do the same tasks as it ramps up and down in response to workload. The fan speed can also change according to the design of the Mini or MBP but the point is that you can't just assume more fan speed with the i7 vs. the i5 or i3. It really depends on what workload you plan on doing and how long you intend to do it... (video editing, VMs, etc..)

    Now I can't speak for the current 2018 Mac Mini comparisons but it doesn't make sense to worry about heat and fan noise unless you plan on doing intensive processing in a professional live recording audio studio (not just during editing)... and in that case you probably want to be using professional silent recording equipment in an area that is isolated from any equipment with audible fans.
     
  8. astrorider macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    #8
    On the i7 I don't hear the fans unless any program hits around 100% CPU. This happens regularly with syncing apps like Dropbox, even during normal use when I'm not doing anything else particularly taxing. If I disable Turbo Boost, though, it's very quiet in normal use even when something is running at 100% CPU. Since the i3 doesn't have Turbo Boost, it's probably quieter in general for this reason. I personally just disable Turbo Boost if I'm doing something light and the fan noise starts bothering me, and it returns to quiet in a minute after it cools back down.
     
  9. StellarVixen macrumors 68000

    StellarVixen

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    #9
    No, something with passive cooling is your only option.
     
  10. archer75 macrumors 68020

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    Jan 26, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    #10
    Look at video reviews. With the i3 under heavy load it's fan spins up just the same as the i7. One reviewer said the case was damn hot.
    On my i7 the ONLY time I hear the fan is if i'm video encoding as that maxes CPU for long periods of time.

    If plex is transcoding it's not a continuous usage but rather it spikes regularly. I do NOT hear the fan during this time.
     
  11. SoCalReviews macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2012
    #11
    The i3 takes longer to get the same tasks done. If getting work done faster isn't a concern why bother with any of the 2018 Minis with four to six cores. The dual core 2014 Minis will be even slower... take much longer to get work done... and appear to heat up even less. If you have the time to wait... Why run and get hot and sweaty when you can walk and get to your destination five times slower? o_O
     
  12. Juggar, Dec 3, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018

    Juggar macrumors member

    Juggar

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2016
    #12
    The guy wants the most silent 2018 model, not an ancient dual core model.
    The i3 is that thing and with a RAM upgrade, will work for him just fine.

    If you are transcoding for long periods of time, sure the i7 makes sense, but OP says he will NEVER do that. So for his case, the i3 is absolutely the best choice.

    In his case, the i3 wont take longer to get the same task done, since its just general use stuff like Chrome, excel and VM's. What hes doing is not something timed that pegs the CPU @ 100%.
     
  13. Tom80112, Dec 3, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018

    Tom80112 thread starter macrumors member

    Tom80112

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    #13
    My 2017 Macbook Pro I7 has fans but they never turn on but once a
    month when I've gone too long without rebooting so I know you don't
    need passive cooling to have a dead quiet Mac experience. My current
    MacBook I7 gives me this but I am sick of the foot-print, USB-3C to USB3
    dongles, and cable mess.
     
  14. StellarVixen macrumors 68000

    StellarVixen

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    #14
    By "totally silent", I thought you meant "not making any noise, regardless of being under load or not".

    Your MBP will make noise when pushed to do heavy work. Same with Mini. It will be almost completely quiet, most of the time. Regardless if it's i3/i5/i7.
     
  15. trifid macrumors 68000

    trifid

    Joined:
    May 10, 2011
    #15
    I have a mac mini 2018 i7 and it's almost always near silent, except with high cpu load like reboots etc. I imagine it will perform similarly to your 2017 MBP in terms of noise or better actually.
     
  16. SoCalReviews, Dec 3, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    I understand what you are saying but he seemed very concerned about price without being concerned about speed...number of cores...etc... and asked if 2018 i3 was his "only option". Just like an i3 should be slower than an i7... a much less expensive albeit much slower option would be a dual core 2014 Mini. I wouldn't do it or personally recommend it because I would want the highest performance Mini I could afford and not an i3 which going to become "ancient" more quickly in the future... but the 2014 Mini is definitely "another option."

    ...But even for casual use with VMs I myself would definitely go with the hex core i7 with HT. The fan often spins up pretty heavy and loud on both my 2011 dual core i5 and 2012 dual core i5 with multiple VMs open but I almost never hear the fan on my quad core 2012 i7 doing the exact same tasks... In comparison the quad core i7 seems nearly silent as it barely breaks a sweat.
     
  17. harriska2 macrumors 65816

    harriska2

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    Mar 16, 2011
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    Oregon
    #17
    Wish I could worry about fan noise. I have 9 spinning platter hard drives within 2 feet of my ears :/
     
  18. OLDGUYWITHAHIFI Suspended

    OLDGUYWITHAHIFI

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    Nov 14, 2018
    #18
    I have to ask. What is wrong with a little fan noise? Do you work or play in complete silence?
     
  19. dmsea1 macrumors member

    dmsea1

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    Nov 9, 2018
    #19
    With my i7, I haven't heard a thing from it. I don't get the coil whine either, have literally put my ear up to it as I have a million things running, and it is - for all intents and purposes - silent. Faint, and I mean FAINT little sounds come from it - if you are 12 inches away, you would hardly notice a thing. I have yet to hear the fan come on. Haven't done any video encoding or heavy audio/editing yet. Have done some minor video and audio tweaking, with Netflix streaming and youtube streaming on a 2nd monitor, all at once, and no noise and barely warm enough to be a good sitting spot for your cat. Good to go.
     
  20. Tom80112 thread starter macrumors member

    Tom80112

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    #20
    No you misunderstood. I said in my first post that I would prefer to get the i5 but I
    was concerned about noise (not price as you stated) (read it again). I would buy the
    i3 only if it's always quiet and if the i5 is not quiet. I have a totally silent i7 based macbook
    system now and I enjoy the dead silent operation it provides.

    I was asking for advice from people who actually spent considerable time with both the
    i3 and i5 models and thus are truly qualified to speak based on actual experience.

    "Has anyone played with both the 2018 i3 and i5 models for an extended amount of time
    to comment on the fan noise?"

    All the drive-by people who have not spend time with both i3/i5 models are simply guessing
    without having the proof that you only get by trying both models out for a decent time.

    Not one post said they actually spent time with both the I3 and I5. I don't even see where
    anyone said they spent actual time with either the 2018 i3 or 2018 i5 models. So I have 16
    posts of pure conjecture.

    Juggar was the only one who posted something useful because he actually read what I wrote
    and understood what I was after. He even tried to re-state what I was looking for to people
    who didn't read what I asked for. (Thanks Jaggar)
     
  21. SoCalReviews, Dec 3, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 31, 2012
    #21
    Ok... Last time I checked... Your main thread question was...

    If you must have a totally silent Mini is the I3 the only option?

    and the first line of your post was...

    "I will eventually buckle and get the 2018 Mini despite their extortionary prices for SSD and Ram bumps. I read that the I7 makes a lot of fan noise so that is out."

    It seemed like you were concerned about costs and you were automatically excluding the 2018 i7 due to noise despite the many explanations from those who own them that it's more about workload on the CPU and not because it's an i7. There have been long threads on the topic of Mini 2018 i3/i5/i7 thermals and fan noise already which you could have referenced instead of starting a new thread on the the same topic.

    However if you had started out with... "This question is ONLY for current users of both the 2018 i3 and i5 regarding fan noise"... This could have been a much shorter thread... like two or three posts. Good luck. ;)
     
  22. leo-tech, Dec 4, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018

    leo-tech macrumors regular

    leo-tech

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2017
    #22
    Hmm, a desire to have a "totally silent Mini", combined with total disregard of the CPU workload (which, incidentally, may have something to do with the noise, and which no one can guarantee to be totally extra-light at all times), what can possibly go wrong.
     
  23. trifid macrumors 68000

    trifid

    Joined:
    May 10, 2011
    #23
    Hey just curious, because all the MBPs I've had have been noisy, my current 2015 MBP has noisy fans right now at just 20-30% CPU load (2 external 1080p displays are connected though), I have a browser with a video stream, a VM at idle, Adobe apps, etc, but all together averaging about only 20-30% CPU load, yet the fans are noisy.

    So I'm curious, what's average and/or max CPU load on your 2017 MBP such that you are saying it's always silent? I might consider upgrading actually if it's quieter than the 2015 model.
     
  24. Jorbanead macrumors regular

    Jorbanead

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2018
    #24
    Your original post says you’ve read the i7’s make a lot of fan noise.

    This is not true at all. I own a 2018 mini i7 and I only ever hear the fans when it’s at 90-100% max load. Other than that, my Mac mini is dead silent under normal loads. Even for heavier loads it’s really quiet. My advice: buy the cpu you want for performance reasons and don’t worry about the fan noise. I’ve never had an issue and I record audio all the time.
     
  25. emboahora macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2010
    #25
    I have an i3 for 3 days now. Tested 4k editing in Final Cut with Better Quality/Optimized/Original settings and haven’t heard the fans yet, the files being on a Samsung T5, will test with the video files on the internal SSD as well later.
    Bought the i3 for this reason (silance). It is a bit of a picky requirement, but being a recording musician, it makes a significant difference.
     

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