MBA noise?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Assiduity, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. Assiduity macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2011

    I’m probably only hours away from walking 300m to the apple store to purchases the 13” MBA 1.86Ghz, 4GB ram.

    There is only 1 thing stopping me:
    It’s an 8 pages thread on the apple forum about a strange buzzing noise coming out from the left side of the keyboard on the MBA. If you are in a quiet room and have good hearing, you could hear the noise. It will not increase with fan speed. People seem very annoyed/irritated whit it.

    I have good hearing and I absolutely hate small strange noises. A constant light breeze from the fan is perfectly fine though. But the noise they describe would make me stop using it in a couple of days.

    When I read thru that thread I started thinking about getting the new base MBP with 128GB SSD instead. Same price, better performance, worse mobility. But then there is the heat issue.

    As you can see I’m quite confused. But when u spends this much money on a product you want it to be perfect.

    So, I hope for some help from you guys. Any of you heard this noise?
  2. kamuix macrumors regular


    Feb 9, 2011
    I own a 13" base mba and I don't really hear anything from the fans. It's the most quietest machine I've ever had. I usually have a laptop cooling fan but the thing hardly gets warm so I leave it off and it's so quite lol. I'm used to the hum but now it's so quite, I actually turn the laptop cooler on for the hum. The only time I hear anything remotely loud is when the fans spin up when I do something. The whole machine is just chips soldered on a pcb, so I wonder what do those people hear. I mean the only moving part is the fan.
  3. Nachos macrumors member


    Dec 1, 2010
    Lynge, Denmark
    I hear no noise like you describe at all from my MBA Ultimate.
  4. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    No noise from our MBA's either, never heard of the problem.
  5. JoZoz Suspended

    Mar 11, 2011

    I have this annoying noise. I exchanged my MBA 13" for a new one and the noise was still here. Then I asked for a fan replacement and it was the same.

    I think every MBA have it, the only thing is that I am sure that everyone don't hear it because of its hight frequency or the room where the MBA is running. Indeed, there are some rooms where I cannot here it, even if they are silent.

    This noise probably comes from the MBA design or the size fan.

    Because of it, I will probably go back to a MBP 13" with SSD.
  6. Assiduity thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2011
    I couldn't wait. I bought it a few hours ago. And I absolutely love it so far :)
    Yet, I haven't heard a anything from it, except fan kicking in when updating to 10.6.6.

    I'm scared to death to start hearing that noise. Hopefully I can't hear the frequency or it's just not there and will never come.

    Now I just want to enjoy this speedy masterpiece.

    Have a nice day! :)
  7. JoZoz Suspended

    Mar 11, 2011
    Did you try in a completely silent room, on a hard desktop ?
  8. Assiduity thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2011
    Just did. And I pressed my ear against the left side of the keyboard. And yeah it's not deadly silent. There is some noise but nothing I'll hear when sitting in a normal position.
  9. claudeM macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2008
    Not yet, maybe, but as Jozoz, I hear now this damn buzzing noise from the fan of my two weeks old MBA 11.6 when it is at minimum speed of 2000 RPM. Drives me nuts, my MPB 15" (2008) is completely silent at the same fan speed :mad:
  10. abuleban macrumors member

    Nov 13, 2010
    Saudi Arabia
  11. JoZoz Suspended

    Mar 11, 2011
    Here is the Apple forum's topic about this noise :

    After many tests, comparisons and discussions on several forums, it appears that this noise (which was present on all the MBAs that I have tested, even after a fan change by an Apple store) is not heard by everybody... because of the room's silence, the table's surface on which the MBA is, and the user's hears sensibility.

    But this noise is clearly present, and I think that Apple made a mistake with either the MBA's case design and/or the size of the fan.

    To fix this problem, I chose to sell my MBA and to buy a MBP. I will come back to the MBA when it is completely silent.
  12. claudeM macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2008
    A poor mans fix from part of Apple would be that they provide an SMC update which allows to turn down the speed to a minimum of 1000 rpm (hoping it is more silent at 1000 rpm), as is the case with my 2008 MBP 15".
    Because the ULV CPU barely heats with usual non intensive CPU usage (web browsing, document editing, tasks managements). And in case of intense use, the usual fan control system implemented in Apple's SMC would still raise the fan speed to cool the CPU properly.

    This is my only hope, as I do not want to exchange it, it perfectly fits my needs of portability on the go. For the rest, I use my MBP 15" connected to an external monitor.
  13. JoZoz Suspended

    Mar 11, 2011
    Do you think that a reduction of the fan speed will fix the problem ? Because the noise is independent of the fan speed : when the speed increases, the "whirring" noise is still the same, although a bit "hidden" by the airflow.
  14. claudeM macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2008
    I have no way to be sure, I clearly said: hoping that it would be more silent at 1000 rpm.
    As I replied at Apple's forum, I also suspect it may be the quality of this tiny fan used, the quality of the grease, or what ever. I guess I will take it back to Apple for servicing, even if it does not help at the end, it will increase the number of cases for Apple to finally consider this as a "problem".
  15. Bluezeno macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2010
    Yeah I do hear a slight buzzing noise and very very soft clicks every 2-3 seconds if I put my face near the left side of the keyboard. I guess it doesn't really bother me though because it's still much quieter than any other laptop I've used.
  16. Psilocybin macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    I'm not going to listen for the noise. If I dont know what it sounds like it won't bother me
  17. Scott6666 macrumors 65816


    Feb 2, 2008
    11" Ultimate. Silent almost all the time.

    Fan whirs up a bit on heavy load like games and video but under normal stuff including web and programming, silent.
  18. claudeM macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2008
    Ok, I found a temporary solution. When I work now on my MBA, I listen at the same time some heavy metal music, I don't hear the noise of the fan anymore ;)
  19. Psilocybin macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    I'll second this solution
  20. MacFever macrumors regular


    Feb 1, 2007
    This would be annoying if it as bad as customers on Apple discussions forums report it....

    I hope they have since fixed this in any newly ordered MB AIR's from March onwards.

    Anyone have a recording of the sound on Youtube to watch/listen too? I'm trying to get an idea of what to listen for.

    I'm in the market to get a MBA 13" but this would be annoying to me...:eek:

    A youtube video with the sound would help to see how bad it is... :(

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