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earlyadoptermakeshistory

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 4, 2020
39
8
Hi everybody.

It's been a week since my new top of the line MBP 13" 2020 10th gen i7 with 32 gigs of ram and 4TB Hd arrived.

My experience has been mixed. In the first couple of days I had always the fans on while migrating (I have a lot of data both on HD and dropbox, plus a lot of photos in apple servers, plus a lot of mail both in apple mail and in Outlook..., therefore it was quite expected).

Aftwerwards and in the last days, I feel that the machine it's mostly quiet while doing standard stuff like browsing, email and editing word documents. This also if I connect my external 5K LG Ultrafine (latest model) which by the way works perfectly.
However, as soon as I open a video in YouTube, start working on a VM in Parallels or I start doing even easy raw edits in Lightroom (levels, convert to b&w...) the fans quickly ramp up to full speed (over 5.000 rpms) with a noise that frankly I don't like.
It is true that as soon as I stop such activities, the fans quickly turn down to normal and almost inaudible levels.

So my question is: would I have less fan noise with a MBP 16" i9 2,3ghz, 32 gig of RAM, 2TB hd, Radeon 5500m 4Gb which I could get for almost exactly the same price trading my 13" back in to Apple (I'm still in the 14 days period to return the product)?

My use is word, email, navigation and photo editing with 40-50 megabytes raw files. However I'm quite a nervous user, with many browsers windows open, I like to keep a parallels VM with windows 10 pro open, etc. etc.

I had chosen the 13" because I really don't care for video editing and 3d graphics (rendering / games / etc).

What do you suggest? Stick with the 13 which is almost inaudible most of the time but makes a lot of noise when under even a medium stress, or should I get a 16"?

Does anybody here do photo editing? How does the machine operate "fan-wise" and "noise-wise" in such scenario?

Thanks!
 

chrfr

macrumors G4
Jul 11, 2009
11,254
4,794
Hi everybody.

It's been a week since my new top of the line MBP 13" 2020 10th gen i7 with 32 gigs of ram and 4TB Hd arrived.

My experience has been mixed. In the first couple of days I had always the fans on while migrating (I have a lot of data both on HD and dropbox, plus a lot of photos in apple servers, plus a lot of mail both in apple mail and in Outlook..., therefore it was quite expected).

Aftwerwards and in the last days, I feel that the machine it's mostly quiet while doing standard stuff like browsing, email and editing word documents. This also if I connect my external 5K LG Ultrafine (latest model) which by the way works perfectly.
However, as soon as I open a video in YouTube, start working on a VM in Parallels or I start doing even easy raw edits in Lightroom (levels, convert to b&w...) the fans quickly ramp up to full speed (over 5.000 rpms) with a noise that frankly I don't like.
It is true that as soon as I stop such activities, the fans quickly turn down to normal and almost inaudible levels.

So my question is: would I have less fan noise with a MBP 16" i9 2,3ghz, 32 gig of RAM, 2TB hd, Radeon 5500m 4Gb which I could get for almost exactly the same price trading my 13" back in to Apple (I'm still in the 14 days period to return the product)?

My use is word, email, navigation and photo editing with 40-50 megabytes raw files. However I'm quite a nervous user, with many browsers windows open, I like to keep a parallels VM with windows 10 pro open, etc. etc.

I had chosen the 13" because I really don't care for video editing and 3d graphics (rendering / games / etc).

What do you suggest? Stick with the 13 which is almost inaudible most of the time but makes a lot of noise when under even a medium stress, or should I get a 16"?

Does anybody here do photo editing? How does the machine operate "fan-wise" and "noise-wise" in such scenario?

Thanks!
The 16" will still speed up the fans to an audible level when running virtual machines and doing work that taxes the processor and/or GPU. Noise levels shouldn't be a primary consideration between the two models as noise levels are unlikely to be very different.
 

matram

Contributor
Sep 18, 2011
781
415
Sweden
The 16” has a discrete GPU which you must use with an external monitor, worst case that adds 17W of thermal load on top of the CPU.

I have switched away from Adobe and now use Affinity and CaptureOne. Even without an external monitor fans spin up (but mostly not to max) when exporting photos or doing heavier work in a VM on my 16”.

Your use case sounds like fairly heavy usage combined with a monitor you will probably hear some noise.

Can you test out a 16” before your return window expires?
 

earlyadoptermakeshistory

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 4, 2020
39
8
Thanks for both replies. So basically fan noise with a professional notebook is expected and to be accepted as normal these days?
A close friend has a 15" MBP from 2018 which never uses fans except when doing 3d rendering.
I wish I had a 16" to test but I don't.
I was hopeful somebody here on the forum owns a 16" and is willing to share his/her experience with fan noise.
 

chrfr

macrumors G4
Jul 11, 2009
11,254
4,794
Thanks for both replies. So basically fan noise with a professional notebook is expected and to be accepted as normal these days?
A close friend has a 15" MBP from 2018 which never uses fans except when doing 3d rendering.
I wish I had a 16" to test but I don't.
I was hopeful somebody here on the forum owns a 16" and is willing to share his/her experience with fan noise.
The fan noise is what allows the computer to dissipate heat and maintain performance. I work on a 16" every day and fan noise isn't constant but it does occur in the conditions you describe. I have a 13" 2018 of my own and it too will run the fans when working hard, just as I'd expect; there's no way a 15" 2018 is always quiet when under load.
 

matram

Contributor
Sep 18, 2011
781
415
Sweden
Intel should take a large part of the blame. When their process development stalled 5 years ago, they started to add more cores and boosting clockspeed on basically the same 14nm process. Hence the CPU run hotter and hotter.
 

earlyadoptermakeshistory

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 4, 2020
39
8
Thanks again, so basically your suggestion is I stick with the 13" and accept the noise as part of the deal.

@chrfr I have just asked a couple friends to do a little test to check for fan usage

this is the test video:

it's a standard demo reel of 5k video.

Friend number 1, with a brand new 16" i9 MBP told me the fans were silent for a while, then started running

Friend number 2, with a 15" 2016 MBP (2,7 ghz i7) told me the fans were completely silent for all the duration of the video

My experience with the mbp 13 2020 10th gen i7 is that fans start running at medium noise after a little while (about 4/5k rpm).

What does this tell us? Why an older machine is silent and the new ones are noisy?
 

magbarn

macrumors 68030
Oct 25, 2008
2,591
1,801
Intel should take a large part of the blame. When their process development stalled 5 years ago, they started to add more cores and boosting clockspeed on basically the same 14nm process. Hence the CPU run hotter and hotter.
The OP's MBP 13 is using Intel's latest 10nm process, which still produces quite a bit of heat. Unfortunately silicon power savings have really dried up with these smaller processes. We don't see the significant power reduction with each generation we used to see when silicon process was improving by leaps and bounds every year.

If you want a quiet machine while running power intensive tasks, get a desktop. iMac would be my choice (even the mac mini gets loud too so there's an exception) On my Windows 10 Ryzen 2 machine, it's as quiet as a mouse even when running hard as I have a huge case with a Noctua D15 with the fans barely running... heck the hard drives are the noisiest part of the machine as the power supply fan hardly ever turn on either....
 
Last edited:

matram

Contributor
Sep 18, 2011
781
415
Sweden
My 2016 15” was 4 cores and disipated 45W. The 16” has 8 cores and can dissipate up towards a 100W. There is no way you can dissipate this amount of heat without fan noise.

If you want high performance with low noise, an iMac will be a better optio.
 
Last edited:

magbarn

macrumors 68030
Oct 25, 2008
2,591
1,801
Thanks again, so basically your suggestion is I stick with the 13" and accept the noise as part of the deal.

@chrfr I have just asked a couple friends to do a little test to check for fan usage

this is the test video:

it's a standard demo reel of 5k video.

Friend number 1, with a brand new 16" i9 MBP told me the fans were silent for a while, then started running

Friend number 2, with a 15" 2016 MBP (2,7 ghz i7) told me the fans were completely silent for all the duration of the video

My experience with the mbp 13 2020 10th gen i7 is that fans start running at medium noise after a little while (about 4/5k rpm).

What does this tell us? Why an older machine is silent and the new ones are noisy?
That's using Google's codec VP9 which Apple refuses to support, so the cpu takes the load instead of the gpu. Watch the same videos in bootcamp in Windows 10 and the fans will stay silent as the iGPU will process the videos much more efficiently. Unfortunately Apple refuses to properly set up power savings in windows 10 so the machine will eventually get hot too as the cpu doesn't idle enough.

Your friend's 2016 macbook 15 will actually run pretty cool compared to more modern machines as you have the same thin chassis (but still has a much bigger heatsink than the 2020MBP 13), but running a cpu that is only quad core (even the macbook 16 has pretty much the same cores but double in the i9 models). So while the cpu has to work just as hard, it has much more mass to dump the heat into before the fans have to spin up. As I've said in my previous post if you have a very large heatsink like the noctua d15, you can run a 150-200watt CPU all day while staying quiet, while a 25 watt cpu (boosts to 35+ watt) builds up heat very fast in Apple's thin chassis.
 

limo79

macrumors 6502
Jan 9, 2009
287
133
Yeah blame Intel for everything because Apple use tiny heatpipe!!! It is up of hardware team what thermal solution they apply to cool laptop efficiently. Apple use 25W chip while competitors 35W and they do not have such problems even if they pair it with discrete GPU like NVIDIA MX250/MX350!!! All under Windows OS which consumes more power so stop blaming Intel for 5000 rpm fan noise which was Apple responsible to make it silent even under such mediocre load. Compare heatpipe size / mass in Huawei Matebook X Pro or Dell XPS or another brand. Even in LG Gram seems to be larger but they limit TDP to avoid such problem like Apple with obsession about benchmarks.
 
Last edited:

earlyadoptermakeshistory

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 4, 2020
39
8
@magbarn thanks for your very detailed, logical and reasonable explanation.

Wow. I'm coming from a 27" 5K retina iMac from 2015 (first release) which is basically always silent except for very badly written apps. I expected this 2020 MBP 13" i7 to be a serious jump ahead in performance, but what I see is only marginal improvement in speed and, on the negative side, a lot more noise even doing only medium stress tasks like a light photo editing.

@magbarn what is your advice to me then? to just stick with the 13" or to return it for a 16" (maybe an i7 6 core would be less noisy?), would this improve on the fan noise since the 16" has more mass to dump the heat into?
 

chrfr

macrumors G4
Jul 11, 2009
11,254
4,794
@magbarn thanks for your very detailed, logical and reasonable explanation.

Wow. I'm coming from a 27" 5K retina iMac from 2015 (first release) which is basically always silent except for very badly written apps. I expected this 2020 MBP 13" i7 to be a serious jump ahead in performance, but what I see is only marginal improvement in speed and, on the negative side, a lot more noise even doing only medium stress tasks like a light photo editing.

@magbarn what is your advice to me then? to just stick with the 13" or to return it for a 16" (maybe an i7 6 core would be less noisy?), would this improve on the fan noise since the 16" has more mass to dump the heat into?
The 16" has more space but also the CPU uses more power, as does the GPU. The 16" is definitely not silent.
 

Dhock_Holiday

macrumors regular
Sep 17, 2019
188
203
The 16 inch MBP and 13 inch 10th Gen. are about the same when it comes to fan noise. I will say the 16 inch has a more pleasing fan noise than the more shrill 13 inch.

As other have said neither is silent, if you want silence I would wait until WWDC and pickup one of the new redesigned iMac's that are rumored to be released.
 
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magbarn

macrumors 68030
Oct 25, 2008
2,591
1,801
@magbarn thanks for your very detailed, logical and reasonable explanation.

Wow. I'm coming from a 27" 5K retina iMac from 2015 (first release) which is basically always silent except for very badly written apps. I expected this 2020 MBP 13" i7 to be a serious jump ahead in performance, but what I see is only marginal improvement in speed and, on the negative side, a lot more noise even doing only medium stress tasks like a light photo editing.

@magbarn what is your advice to me then? to just stick with the 13" or to return it for a 16" (maybe an i7 6 core would be less noisy?), would this improve on the fan noise since the 16" has more mass to dump the heat into?
The posters above have answered the way I would've. My MBP 16 is more silent than my MBP 13 with regular mild to moderate loads, but if being stressed they are both loud. Plugging in the MBP 16 into a 4-5K monitor is even louder than the MBP 13 as it forces the power hungry dGPU to always run (unfortunately due to software/hardware bug it will also consume up to 20 watts continuously for no good reason, the only option is to run the MBP 16 with the lide closed). The MBP 13 Intel GPU uses much less power in the same situation even with lid open.

The ARM based macbooks should run cooler, but still no guarantee
 

donleon

macrumors newbie
May 30, 2020
25
16
Florida, USA
I'm in almost the exact same boat as OP...new 13" 4-port MBP is almost always dead quiet unless I'm watching videos or exporting something.

Right now, I'm writing from a fresh refurb 16" which I have been testing out.

If you're worried about fan noise - DO NOT get the 16". It's impossibly noisy with an external— despite using TG Pro to configure custom fan parameters and disabling turbo boost (which one should not have to do to on a +$2k machine). It spins up the fans loudly for any cpu spikes and from seemingly normal use (while using with external).

Caveat: she is quiet while not hooked up to an external display. and I don't exactly miss having the external while using the 16", which is otherwise a requirement while using the 13". But still, I shouldn't have to choose between using an external and not. or running in clamshell mode (aka shelling out more money to basically use the computer for it's processing in which case get a mac mini or imac)
 

earlyadoptermakeshistory

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 4, 2020
39
8
@magbarn so the tradeoff in trading the 13" in for a 16" would be getting a little less noise while operating without external display but getting a lot more noise while operating with external display, unless one would operate the 16" with the lid closed.

I confess that having an extra screen and not being able to use it because of a glitch that creates excessive fan noise would not be pleasant.

Maybe I should just stick to the 13" and add a new iMac later on, even though my budget will not allow a new computer until some years have passed.

Anyway I don't know how current Mac laptop users can stand living with all this fan noise after Apple had obtained to run even its top of the line professional laptops almost quietly (see the 2016 15" I referred to above).

@donleon thanks for your experience. All things considered, what do you suggest I do? Keep the 13 or swap for 16? Is the 16" without external monitor (or with lid closed) really less noisy than the 13"? How much would less noisy if you could quantify it?
 

donleon

macrumors newbie
May 30, 2020
25
16
Florida, USA
Ultimately, the decision is yours.

I'm returning the 16" at end of grace period and keeping the 13". I recommend not doing what I did, aka picking up a 16" to test... because now that I've been using it, I'm tempted to keep it just for the screen. Because damn is the screen nice. BUT the issue with the fans (and heat) I've experienced over the last week is practically unforgivable. I'm not doing enough in Final Cut to bite the bullet and suffer through it in hopes that Apple will provide a software solution.

bc what's the point of having a dgpu if every time it comes on it drains battery and kicks off fans.

As far as noise. 16" is running at minimum fans ~1776rpm (hardly detectable) with web based apps open, including chrome, and running a youtube video in the bg. The 13" gets bw 2-3K rpm while the youtube video is playing, but is often at 0 rpm for the same workload.

So, for me, it's not worth it, despite the 16"s glory. And I'm in the same boat—I don't forecast being in a position to just upgrade to a new machine in a year or two as some people do.
 

earlyadoptermakeshistory

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 4, 2020
39
8
@donleon thanks for the advice. How do you achieve 0 rpm on the 13"? I use Macs fan control and it never detects a speed less than about 1k rpm even right after boot with zero app running... Of course 1k rpm is practically inaudible and therefore completely acceptable, but even if that is the case it makes me wonder... Maybe you use a different application to keep track of the fans? Maybe I have installed something that runs in background? How can I understand?
 

donleon

macrumors newbie
May 30, 2020
25
16
Florida, USA
Using Fanny app.

I see it at 0 rpm usually when waking from sleep, but it idles at minimum speed after they've kicked off.
 

duffyanneal

macrumors 6502a
Feb 5, 2008
678
104
ATL
I didn’t see it mentioned so I’ll add that Apple is much more aggressive with the fan ramping starting with the 16” MBP. There was so much complaining (some justified) about thermal throttling with the 2018 15” MBP that Apple enlarged the heat sinks and now spin up the fans much more aggressively. That would explain some of the OP’s friends’ observations. I didn’t own last year’s 13” MBP, but my 2021 i7 does seem to aggressively ramp up the fans to stay ahead of the heat.

To answer the original question the fan noise on the 13” seems about the same as the 16” I owned. The thing you have to watch out for with the 16” is that some apps activate the discrete graphics even if you have the app idle. Anytime the discrete graphics is enabled the fans will speed up and you will hear them. If you happen to be running on battery your charge will take a nose dive extremely fast.
 
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magbarn

macrumors 68030
Oct 25, 2008
2,591
1,801
What I find amusing is that the 2020 MBP 13's 10th gen iGPU is much much better than the pathetic one in the MBP 16 which was actually a downgrade compared to the iris pro found in the last 2015 MBP 15 non -dgpu models. I'm sensitive to lag, and my MBP 13 scrolls much better vs the MBP 16 when it's on its iGPU. Of course turning on the dGPU remedies it at a cost.

If you don't need 6-8 cores and don't need screen size or dGPU, keep the 13.
 

limo79

macrumors 6502
Jan 9, 2009
287
133
If you have obsession about fan noise I suggest to buy Lenovo Thinkpad, Dell Lattitude or Microsoft Surface Book. Lattitude 5500 for example has no spinning fans when you browse web or work in office. Case temperatures are great. Fan only active when you plug external dock and use external monitor to work remotely, browse multiple tabs etc. However if you are using heavily VMware Workstation / Parallels with multiple images running I suggest to buy workstation tower with multicore Xeon CPU and 64GB RAM. If you need you machine at work start to use laptop as a terminal (connecting using Remote Desktop Connection or other tool) and most of tasks do on workstation tower connecting to local network resources. Alternatively try to use some fan control tool on OSX (however for me it was always annoying to use such external tools on OSX - we buy Macs because we want to avoid use tweaks like on Windows).
 
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