Mac Pro 1,1 not as quiet as hoped.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Ieziebie, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. Ieziebie macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2007

    I just bought a second hand Mac Pro 1,1 with the ATI 5770 video card. I proudly installed it on my desk only to "hear" it. It's not as quiet as I had hoped.

    Trying to find out where the noise is coming from, I'm un the impression that it's the superdrive compartment. What's in there? All fans are running between 500 and 600 so I don't think it's that. Any ideas where this is coming from? It's a hum...

  2. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
  3. Ieziebie thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2007
    I don't think it is... The one in the movie is a 5870.
    I already stopped (yeah, I know) the fan and it's not that.....

    The one is the movie is rattling, it's not really that. I'm coming from a Mac Mini, maybe I'm spoiled?
  4. ScottishCaptain macrumors 6502a

    Oct 4, 2008
    Well, uh, you're going to "hear" the machine if that's the only thing running in your room. The Mac Pro series have always been the quietest machines on the market when compared to similar towers from the same era and of the same calibre, but they still make a bit of noise.

    Your Mini had one tiny DC turbine in it. The size of that fan is hilariously small, and you'll never really hear it because it spins so slowly when the system isn't being loaded down.

    Your Mac Pro, in comparison, has three 120mm fans (two at the front, one at the rear) and one 80mm fan (way up in-between the optical drives and the power supply). Even though these fans turn at the slowest speed possible to keep the system acceptably cool, you're still going to hear a very slight hum and a whooshing noise of air.

    Again, compared to other workstations from the same era, the Mac Pro *is* quiet. You won't find a quieter system, specifically because of the custom analogue speed-controlled Delta fans Apple uses (as far as I know, nobody else in the industry uses anything like them). But you're still going to hear it if it's the only thing running. Nothing (apart from a fanless system) is totally quiet, especially when you have moving parts.

    Personally, I ran a MacPro1,1 on my desk for nearly 5 years. It never bothered me. I've got a 2010 sitting in the same spot and it still doesn't bother me- yeah, I can hear it- but I've worked with systems that sounded like jet engines before. I'd take the Mac Pro over those any day.

  5. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    The MP is infamous for the hard drives sometimes giving a humming noise, when the vibration is transmitted from the drives to the whole construction. You can easily recognize it as the sound gets louder and quieter again in relatively regular (short) intervals.

    So you could try to take out all the hard drives sleds and leave only the one with your system on it inside. You could move that to slot 3 or 4 (with slot 1 being the one directly under the optical drive compartment) for testing purposes.

    On a used machine (especially if it had been transported before) I would also check that the screws inside are all neatly fastened (especially drive sleds, PCIe card holder, optical drives).

    The bad news: I'm not aware of a general, successful countermeasure. You can probably hope to reduce the noise, but you'll probably not be able to fully remove it. When my Mac Pro did hum too disturbingly I used to tilt the housing to either side until it eventually stopped (for about an hour - sometimes more, sometimes less).

    Further you could try to decouple the feet of the MP from the desk by using rubber stickers or something similar, in case your desk kind of amplifies the noise being a thankful resonator.

    Eventually the MP will always be louder than a Mac mini (so you may indeed be spoiled) - that is, unless you give both of them some good calculation work to do (e.g. Exporting / transcoding a video).

    While the mini starts a turbine you never thought could be inside that small body, the MP will probably not even raise its "voice" and you would need to have a look at a CPU load meter to make sure it really works hardly. Only exception would be if someone upgraded the machine to being an octocore - in that case the fans might rev up a little more, though still no comparison at all to the mini's jet engine...
  6. StephenCampbell macrumors 65816

    Sep 21, 2009
    It was a myth that the Mac Pro 1,1s were whisper quiet. They can seem whisper quiet if they're in a room with a bunch of noise, but if you're in a quiet room and it's running alone, it has a significant hum to it.
  7. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    I have to disagree, assuming that "whisper quiet" means about the same thing to both of us. My hearing is good and my need for a near-silent computer is strong. My 1,1 (with 5770) and my 5,1 are what I need. I do keep them on the floor, under a desk. Unless I'm stressing them, I can't hear the fans, even in a quiet room.

    My 1,1 would sometimes do the disk noise, but it was rare. My 5,1 has never done it. If you look at the 5,1 drive sleds, you'll see they have better damping for the drive screws.

    It sounds as though the OP has the Mac Pro actually sitting on the desk. Unless there's a good reason for that, why do it? You're putting the fans almost at ear level. Certainly if I get on hands and knees and put my ear to my units, I can hear some fan noise. That's why they're on the floor.

    Also, OP, you might open the case and clean out any dust that's in there, especially on the fans.
  8. StephenCampbell macrumors 65816

    Sep 21, 2009
    Whisper quiet is a very subjective thing. I'm sitting here right now listening to music at a moderately quiet volume, and I can clearly hear alongside it the hum of the computer, which is on my desk about two feet from me.

    To me the G4 cube fit the definition of whisper quiet. I think it's just a matter of degree. Clearly the Mac Pro 1,1 is not a loud machine by any means.
  9. Ieziebie thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2007
    It's on my desk as I don't have space underneath it and because I just thought it was quiet. I'm already looking to make room underneath it.

    It's not as if the noise is overwhelming, it's just more than I has hoped for. But now, 2 days after I got I already got a bit used to it. I guess I was spoiled by the Mac Mini....

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