Mac Mini temps: idle and load

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by mac82, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. mac82 macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2011

    I have been trying to find info on this question in this forum and others and come up nearly empty. If I've missed something I apologize in advance.

    At the moment I am using a MacBook Pro attached to a 23" monitor and trying very hard to ignore the fan noise. My computer idles at 60C with the fan at about 2300, and both temp and fan speed increases the moment I actually do anything with it. I have to wear headphones when working with Photoshop and Corel Painter, as the noise from the 5500rpm fans is very distracting.

    I have had the opportunity to use my brother's latest gen quad core iMac 21.5", and it was simply a joy. It idled at 37C, never went past 45C for normal activity (web browsing, YouTube, email, ebooks, VLC, etc), and only reached about 70C when using HandBrake. The beautiful thing, though, was that the fans took a very long time to come on, and when they did they revved up very slowly, and never reached an rpm where they actually became audible. The only time they got anywhere near audible was with HandBrake using 100% CPU.

    After this long preamble, my question is simple: how does the mini compare to the iMac in terms of fan activity? Do they come on under normal, everyday activity? Do they rev up slowly or quickly when the CPU is under load. Any artists using PS or Painter on a mini? Because the mini is very small, is it similar to a MacBook Pro where there simply isn't enough room inside for air to circulate efficiently to cool it, as opposed to the iMac which is probably quite cavernous inside. I'd rather buy a mini than an iMac as I already have a good monitor, keyboard and trackpad. I just need to know that it's going to be silent under normal activity and fairly quiet under load.

    Thanks for any replies.
  2. charlieegan3 macrumors 68020


    Feb 16, 2012
    "iMac which is probably quite cavernous inside." - Don't think so:), no but in comparison there will be more room.

    the temps are nothing to worry about, if you don't like it then try putting it on a laptop stand or cool solid surface to increase airflow.
  3. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    It very much depends on the workload you put on your Mac. I rarely if ever hear the fans in my mini, even while watching a movie on Plex while simultaneously running several MS Office apps, surfing with multiple tabs open, etc.
  5. BrianMayFan123 macrumors newbie

    Feb 18, 2012
    West Midlands, UK
    I have the base 2011 Mini (2.3Ghz i5) and I rarely hear the fans when performing basic tasks such as web browsing, iTunes management, Watching videos through XBMC, etc.
    However the fan noise does become quite noticeable when using Handbrake.
    Under normal conditions the CPU rarely gets above 55 degrees and the fans are not audible.
    Its only when using Handbrake that the CPU gets above 60 degrees and the fans become very annoying.

    I would think running any kind of imaging software will be fine providing you have enough RAM. I cant see it impacting the CPU so much that it requires serious cooling
  6. frank4 macrumors regular


    Oct 17, 2011
    I'm running a 2011 base Mini and it's normally very quiet (not heard at all), and the fan is only heard occasionally. Typical temperature 45C, rising to 60C when doing moderate things like some VLC videos.

    Although this Mini is quiet I'm running a third party utility called "Fan Control" to automatically raise the fan speed more aggressively than the standard Apple settings, when required by high temperature. Note this app is NOT the same as one called smcFanControl.

    Without the Fan Control utility I found that the fan would normally always run at 1800rpm and the speed would increase only when the temperature got quite hot like 75C+ when doing something like watching a 1080P Flash video. I've set Fan Control to slowly increase fan speed starting at 50C which I think is safer. Apple probably believes high temperatures are OK and maybe the actual chips can tolerate them but my friend's MacBook went dead because the main circuit board connections went bad at the connections to the hot graphics chip. My friend noted his MacBook (an older white plastic one) would frequently overheat and the fan would be slow in speeding up, and I don't want to get into that type of situation.
  7. tshrimp macrumors 6502


    Mar 30, 2012
    I just got my Mini, and love the noise level. I am in a warmer climate where my house is usually kept at about 80 degrees this time of year, so the temps I post might be a little higher than those who live in the North East, etc. as the ambient temps might be a little higher.

    When browsing the Web I am usually at about 52-61c with fan at 1800RPM, so almost no noise. When I am watching Netfix the temps will hit about 75-81 When temps hit this high my fans ramp up quickly, I forget the RPMs, but you can hear it. Nothing too bad, but noticeable.
  8. mac82 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2011
    Thanks for the replies everyone. They have been most helpful.

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