Noisy new iMac - fans?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Hicksville, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. Hicksville macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2008
    #1
    Hi all. I have a 3.06 24" with all the trimmings, running iStat Pro as a widget. CPU and hard drive fans idle @ 1200 rpm and hard drive fan @ 700 rpm. Thing is.....I thought iMacs are supposed to be almost silent? Customer care have been excellent so far and a replacement was sent pdq but was slightly worse on the decibels - so that went back.

    As a recent convert to Apple, I am used to screaming fans courtesy of big bad Bill, but I must say that the constant background drone is becoming annoying. The computer itself is fantastic....all that I had hoped for. I'm just disappointed with the 24/7 background noise that sounds like fan/fans activity.

    Any thoughts or advice?
     
  2. Mark Morb macrumors regular

    Mark Morb

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    Location:
    Norfolk
    #2
    I am on my 3rd 24" 2.8GHz iMac since February, they have all had the "droning" sound to a greater or lesser extent. I've decided to keep the current one and just live with it...shame as it's the only thing that spoils my enjoyment of the machine.
     
  3. Morod macrumors 68000

    Morod

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Location:
    On The Nickel, over there....
    #3
    I have a late 2007 24" 2.4GHz Al iMac.
    Your fan speeds look normal. If you shut down the iMac, does the noise go away? I ask because my iMac is dead silent. The only noise is when the Superdrive takes in or kicks out a CD.
    Does the noise sound like the fan blades are hitting a wire maybe? Are you near an Apple Store where you could go in and listen to one of their display models?
    Morod
     
  4. mreg376 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #4
    Same with my iMac -- it's so quiet I have to put my ear next to it when the display is asleep to make sure it's still running. Maybe the noise is from the newer/larger hard drive?
     
  5. Zephirus macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    #5
    I have a 3.08ghz imac and its dead silent. I had to rev up the fans with smcfancontrol to convince me they were actually working.
     
  6. Hicksville thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2008
    #6
    When I shut the iMac down, all is normal although the sleep takes up to 30 seconds. The background 'drone' is a great analogy.
    Nearest service centre is probably 2 hours away so would need to get it fixed while I wait....assuming it could be fixed.
     
  7. RemarkabLee macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    #7
    Does it drone at idle or when under load?

    When powered up after a sleep (at least an hour) does the drone start immediately, or after a while?

    What is your average room temperature?
     
  8. Detektiv-Pinky macrumors 6502a

    Detektiv-Pinky

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    #8
    I am not the original poster, but I have the same problem with my 2.8 iMac.
    There is a constant fan noise from the machine. Fans are at 1200/1200/700 as reported by iStat Pro. Environment is at 20°C.
    The noise is always on, as soon as the machine starts and goes away when I put it in sleep-mode or power-off. It does not sound as if there is anything wrong/broken with the fans. They are just there and noticeable. From listening closely to the machine there seems to be a more high-frequency ('turbine-like') sound source at the lower left side of the screen and a second rather low-frequency hum from the upper center of the screen.

    I already talked to Applecare via the phone and they told me that I could not expect the machine to be completely silent. They also suggested that it might be my setup, with the iMac directly in front of a wall - go figure :confused:
     
  9. st9046 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    #9
    I had exactly the same problem with my 20" iMac. The fan kicked in five days after I received it and wouldn't stop. It sounded like a plane taking off. I hadn't had time to do anything with the Mac since I got it, even load any software. This seems to be a common issue with iMacs judging by the number of threads on it here.

    I seem to have resolved it as per an earlier thread which suggested pulling out the power cord while the Mac was running. When the computer boots back up the fan noise is gone. Don't know why but it worked for me !
     
  10. skellener macrumors 68000

    skellener

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    So. Cal.
    #10
    New 24" 3ghz Aluminum iMac. Got it May 25, 2008. Absolutely zero noise from it. :D
     
  11. Detektiv-Pinky macrumors 6502a

    Detektiv-Pinky

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    #11
    Just to clarify. This is not the issue with my iMac. The fans are at their normal 'idle' settings and still far from silent. The issue you are talking about (fans going full speed) has not occurred with my machine and still I find it to noisy.
     
  12. Hicksville thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2008
    #12
    Detektiv-Pinky and I have exactly the same observation on different configurations. The drone is all the time from power up to power down. I would agree with his 2 fan theory. Environment at around 20c and the power cord trick didn't work for me.
     
  13. divarumours macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    #13
    The reason I joined MacRumors was because of a hissing/shhhhing noise on my beautiful, wonderful 24" iMac, so I'm very interested in this discussion. The thing is, mine is usually blissfully silent and only occasionally has these hissy-fits. It seems to happen if I turn on the RealPlayer to listen to radio and if I have several applications open, or if I download a particularly big file for work.
     
  14. Sir Cecil macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    #14
    My experience was that a ticking fan-like noise was apparent on my iMac. It decreased when the screen was positioned absolutely vertically, but any kind of slanting of the screen increased the noise. Anyway, I'd decided to live with it, but then had to exchange the computer for a different reason.

    The replacement iMac is as close to silent as I've ever known in a computer. No distracting noise whatsoever, from fans or hard drive. It made me wonder if the fans were actually working (!) but they are – and the iMac actually seems to be running a lot cooler than the previous one.

    If you are undecided about whether you should exchange a relatively noisy iMac, all I can tell you is that there are near-silent machines out there. I know because I have one.
     
  15. Detektiv-Pinky macrumors 6502a

    Detektiv-Pinky

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    #15
    It is interesting that your iMac now runs much cooler. Can you report your current temperature readings?
     
  16. stillill macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    #16
    Just adding to this thread, I have the same setup as the OP, and after one month of silent running, the fans now run constantly at 1200,1200,700.

    There is an audible whirring and light ticking sound as the fan turns which wasn't there before. I thought maybe I'd installed something that was messing up the system. But I have restarted the SMC and I ended up scrubbing the machine and rebuilding it from the installation discs. Still the problem persists.

    Want to return it for a silent one (that's part of the deal right - it was silent when I bought it, one month later it's already faltered). Don't expect perfection, but the machine has deteriorated (admittedly with a relatively minor issue) in a short space of time. Doesn't give me much hope that it'll last for years.

    Any advice on getting joy from Support, or are they pretty eager to please? Bought it via Apple.com/uk online - am I going to have to lug this beast to my nearest store?
     
  17. Event Horizon macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    Way Out West
    #17
    I could have written your thread Stillill - I'm in exactly the same boat. The first 14 days or so passed without so much as a whisper then the fans and an underlying hum kicked in. Applecare said take it to a store - I'm miles away from any store so they said take it to your local authorized repairer. I spoke to them and they gave me no confidence - they said they'd listen to it (in their noisy workshop - so I bet they'd hear nothing) and if they opened it and spent time on it and could find nothing, they'd charge me for the privilege not Applecare. I'm kinda stuck until someone works out what's happening and lets us know. Or I bite the bullet and book an entire day out to take it to an Apple Store where they might treat me better. Like you, I expect it to run quiet - if I'd wanted a noisy box, I'd have bought a PC. Having worked my ass off to get the big bucks needed to buy an iMac, I'm a little disgruntled right now.
     
  18. fivepoint macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    IOWA
    #18
    I have a last-gen 2.8ghz 24" iMac. I would say that the noise of the machine is one of my favorite parts. The computer is absolutely silent! I can barely hear it if I try!

    A true pleasure to use. I hope yours improves, but it sounds to me like the new ones (maybe just the 3.06's) are getting more aggressive fans to deal with the heat? I don't know, but it shouldn't be that way.
     
  19. Detektiv-Pinky macrumors 6502a

    Detektiv-Pinky

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    #19
    Can you locate the source of the noise?

    By listening closely to the screen I could make up two distinct noise sources on my iMac. One being the Harddrive in the upper center of the screen, the other (more annoying) coming from the lower left side (which is probably the fan that sucks the air into the machine). Is this similar with your machine?
     
  20. stillill macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    #20
    Cheers for the replies, glad I'm not the only one feeling slightly aggrieved.

    The sound mine makes seems to be coming from the bottom-to-middle right as you face it. Not sure what is in that bit of the machine. The loudness seems to vary. I have left it sleeping for a couple of days, and moved it about 18inches from the wall (as another poster on the Apple Support forums I think) suggested moving it. It's quieter than it was, but still audible. Upon waking, iStat shows fans instantly at 1200,1200,700. All the time. Even when idle or hammering Photoshop etc.

    It's in my bedroom, and if I leave it on overnight (downloading/whatever) it is annoying. Not enough to keep me awake, but a bit like "whu wassat? oh". I agree with Event Horizon, the silent running of Macs is what attracted me after years of noisy XP laptops.

    The London main apple store/genius bar is reasonably close, but it is a taxi ride/expense/days holiday. The product was bought online and delivered to me, seems like it should be returned to base by the same means, but that's another issue I guess.

    The 'Limited Hardware Warranty' I get with my purchase may not cover it as I admit it is 'trifling but disappointing', so would happily splash for Apple Care if need be to get my once-silent £1400 iMac back :(

    [Edit, just called Support]
    Phoned Apple Support there to raise it with them. Chap said it was a fairly common issue, but is usually remedied by the SMC reset. I told him I'd already tried this. So he suggested doing the SMC reset, then the PRAM reset immediately afterwards.

    I'm not at my machine, but will try when I get home. He said if this doesn't remedy it, to come back to them as it may be something more serious. I have about 15% confidence in the suggestion given the numbers of posts about this issue...

    :/
     
  21. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #21
    Every white iMac I've ever used was basically silent unless you were pushing it hard (rendering video, etc.). If noise is a feature of the new high-end iMacs, that is a real shame. Silence is a lovely feature.
     
  22. Detektiv-Pinky macrumors 6502a

    Detektiv-Pinky

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    #22
    Hi, thanks for this comprehensive reply. I have included a photo from one of the guys that actually changed their iMac HDD.
    http://web.mac.com/khuffman/Site/Tom_Sawyer_files/imac_hd/3.jpg
    This pretty much gave me the clue that it must be that big fat fan in the lower left corner making itself heard.

    I will also try the combined SMC and PRAM reset on my system. However, trying it it out individually has not changed anything.
    My trouble really is that there is no Apple Store in Germany at all, only authorised repair shops...
     
  23. stillill macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    #23
    Well just reset the SMC and the PRAM immediately afterwards, and issue persists. Not really surprised, guess the 'turn it off, then on again' strategy works for lots of issues though thought someone would have posted if this was the simple fix...

    Onwards to Support / Genius Bar I guess.
     
  24. stillill macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    #24
    Called Support again for some advice, after some to-ing and fro-ing and suggestion to reinstall Leopard/boot into safe mode, chap says it sounds like a hardware issue so needs to be taken to the Genius Bar.

    I can see how the love-affair with Apple can quickly sour if their hardware quality is starting to slide.
     
  25. Detektiv-Pinky macrumors 6502a

    Detektiv-Pinky

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    #25
    Same (non-)result here: Resetting SMC and PRAM did not help in any way.

    Could you please post the results of the operation in this forum? I would be extremely thankful for it when I need to consider my next moves...
     

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