PowerMac G4 Quicksilver...why is this thing not also called the "wind tunnel Mac"?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by PowerMac G4 MDD, Sep 1, 2014.

  1. PowerMac G4 MDD macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

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    #1
    So I have a PowerMac G4 MDD that I use day-to-day, and I am aware of how loud the machine is and how the term "wind tunnel Mac" was coined by its users. I also own a Power Mac G4 Quicksilver that normally sits in its original packaging with accessories, receipts, etc. Today I decided to pull it out and play with it again. I didn't quite remember how loud the thing was, and I was sure it was going to be rather loud but nothing like the MDD is. Well, I turned it on and it too is a wind tunnel. Amongst the chorus of fans is this one fan that has an annoying motor-like noise. In fact, I am pretty sure this thing is as loud as an MDD. How come I only hear complaining about the MDD's noise levels and not this Mac's? Well anyway, getting Tiger on this thing so it's complete. This is the second time I have seen errors/security errors happen with the software updates... I don't get it.
     
  2. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #2
    When I first bought my Quicksilver, it sounded like a coffee grinder(or blender-take your pick) when powered on.

    I traced it down to a crack in the main case fan causing it to bang against the fan guard. I meant to order a replacement, but superglued it back together as a temporary fix. I've not gotten around to ordering a replacement, but the computer has been turned on pretty much 24/7 for the past four months, and the fan is still fine.

    I've been grinding on my Quicksilver pretty hard for the past few days, and really do not notice it being particularly loud. In fact, I'd say the hard drives are at least as loud as the fans in mine.

    One thing I will add was that mine was absolutely filthy when I bought it, and I spent a lot of time cleaning it out as I was upgrading components. It was noticeably quieter after I cleaned the small fan that sits between the heatsink and the back of the case. I changed the heatsink in mine(as I upgraded it from a single processor to dual processors) but the original heatsink was dirty and I suspect contributed a lot of noise also.
     
  3. PowerMac G4 MDD thread starter macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

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    #3
    Rather odd... I was thinking mine was being noisy due to dust, so I VERY thoroughly dusted it out with an air compressor and it isn't any quieter. Maybe I have an issue with one of the fans? I don't know... the collective noise from these fans ties this thing with my MDD PowerMac. Aside from that odd motor-like sound, which probably comes from one of the smaller fans by the main I/O, the rest of the noise is pure air-buffeting noise from all of the fans. The hard drives adds to it, but barely. Every computer is different, and some may not be as loud as others, but this really brought my attention forward. Yes, I am sillily worrying about a computer that's from 2001, but I was just surprised that this Mac wasn't complained about in terms of noise levels. Maybe I ought to make a video that demonstrates how loud the thing is. I put it all back into its original box, etc. and am done for now. I had errors installing software updates for Tiger, maybe because I was doing it on wifi with a low signal, and then the system was locking up after I had to force quite Safari. I called it a night for that Mac, but maybe I will ask around and see if others have this issue. Sooner or later I will make a video of this.
     
  4. havokalien macrumors 6502a

    havokalien

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    #4
    thermal paste

    Um after a decade of heat and age I would think the thermal paste is concrete and not helping a whole lot.

    I suggest removing the heat sink, clean, re apply. When temps go up the fans will speed up to try and help cool.

    Also fans gum up with dirt. I use transmission fluid myself as it expands to push out dirt and quiets noisy twenty year old fans like on video cards and in my old SE macintoshes. Takes usually 2 or 3 applications but it gets better instead of worse over time the more you use it.
     
  5. weckart macrumors 68040

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    Nov 7, 2004
    #5
    Mine are also noisy and both cleaned out. The cpus do not get overly hot and pretty much all the noise comes from the crappy Acbel psus. I stripped one down to clean it but it made no difference. The psus also account for all the heat emanating from the QSes.
     
  6. CYB3RBYTE macrumors regular

    CYB3RBYTE

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    #6
    In reply

    Hi. I too have noticed that my Quicksilver is quite a loud machine, especially compared to my Late 06' iMac. The reason for it being so loud is because unlike today's modern computers, the PowerMac doesn't have a fan control chip, so the fans are just on all the time and powered by the PSU.

    That's one cause, but another is that my Quicksilver always has the built in speaker on, and it is always making white noise when applications aren't using it. I wonder if there is a firmware fix for that at all?

    Anyways, despite them being loud, they definitely are some of the coolest Power PC Macintoshes!
     
  7. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #7
    I think that there's likely a lot of truth to this.

    A Quicksilver really only has three fans(counting the one in the PSU) but a you said they run full blast all the time.

    G5 Powermacs have 9 fans, but all are individually controlled and generally don't run all that hard. When I repasted the GPU in my G5 and forgot to reconnect the fan on the card, I got to hear at least some of the fans in mine running full blast and it was quite loud. In normal use, however, it's very quiet.

    I've been playing with some IBM servers lately, which have 10 fans(plus probably a few other hidden ones) as well as 6 15K RPM hard drives. When those are powered up, all the fans run at full blast for a second or so-the effect is not unlike a jet taking off. Even idling, they are quite loud. So, after playing with them, pretty much any computer sounds quiet.
     
  8. gavinstubbs09 macrumors 65816

    gavinstubbs09

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    #8
    My MDD (like any other) was a windtunnel. Swapped all 3 fans and now it's quiet! The QS has always been quiet, I swear my Digital Audio G4 is louder.
     
  9. hamis92 macrumors 6502

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    Finland
    #9
    I think the eMac is loud too. I had never used one before buying mine and I was surprised by the fan noise. I'm waiting to get my hands on a slot-loading iMac G3 to hear the other extreme.
     
  10. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #10
    I've just spent the past few hours in front of my eMac burning DVDs.

    The drive door is a bit "sluggish" on mine and typically needs to be pushed all the way closed. I've noticed that if the door is open, there's a lot of wind noise that comes out of that door. It quietens down when the door is closed all the way.

    My eMac is parked right next to my slot loading iMac. I was playing games on the iMac(it's my main OS 9 machine for old games) while burning DVDs in the eMac. The hard drive is the noisiest part of a slot-loading iMac.

    With that said, my ears have always been able to hear the high pitched "whine" from a CRT, and that to me is also noticeable on the iMac. I think that the fan drowns it out on the eMac.
     
  11. PowerMac G4 MDD thread starter macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

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    #11
    Yeah, I was thinking applying fluid to the fans would help a good bit. And by the way---I don't know if my fans working harder is cooling it off or if it isn't running hot in the first place, because it actually runs at an average temperature of 105F

    ----------

    The eMac is loud, and mine is a little screwy, so it gives off a bad high-pitched noise sometimes. The computer really seems like it JUST survives with that fan. As for the slot-loading iMac, the hard drive is pretty annoying. I have heard some with really loud HDs and some with quieter and less-annoying HDs. However, I swapped the HDs in two of my slot-loading iMacs with newer, quieter HDs. It's pretty nice now, as the iMac runs better and the only noise you ever hear from it is the HD thumping. And of course, if you have an ever newer HD, the thumping shouldn't be so loud. However, there is echo in that case and the thumping is a little bit amplified. But that's a huge improvement from the whiney old HDs.
     
  12. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #12
    eMacs have good cooling. They were designed to be used in hot un-air conditioned schools. While their fans may seem loud when idle, they can ramp up to very high and loud speeds.
     
  13. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #13
    Here's the "quiet and loud" pair mentioned above. One of these days, I'm going to change out the drive in the G3 for something newer that will hopefully be not only quieter, but also larger and faster. Most of the newer 7200rpm drives I've used(even IDE) are a lot quieter than their older counterpart.
     

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  14. CYB3RBYTE macrumors regular

    CYB3RBYTE

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    #14
    Like I said earlier, my 20" Late 2006 iMac is pretty quite at idle, however it still has the original 500GB hard drive in it. It is a Hitachi drive and is quite noisy, especially when the machine is waking up from sleep. Also, it takes at least 12 seconds or more to fully spin up from sleep. I would definitely change it out for something newer, however I really don't have the time to take my iMac apart and put it back together. Since the drive still works, I have no problem with it, and it is pretty cool that every part inside the computer is original!
     
  15. three macrumors 6502a

    three

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    #15
    I was just about to say that. I've got an eMac and i'm amazed at how loud it is...
     
  16. CYB3RBYTE macrumors regular

    CYB3RBYTE

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    #16
    Wait a minute... I know the hard drive in the iMac G3's were loud, but didn't they all have passive cooling? I thought the eMac's had passive cooling as well, considering the iMac shares a similar design to it...
     
  17. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #17
    The slot loading G3 iMacs were passively cooled. But the tray loading models have a fan. EMacs don't have vent holes in the too. Making the need for them to require a fan or overheat when used in hot schools.
     
  18. hamis92 macrumors 6502

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    Finland
    #18
    As stated, eMacs do use a single fan for cooling (it's at the lower part of the transparent "ring" at the back) and it's a turbo fan if you ask me :D
     
  19. PowerMac G4 MDD thread starter macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

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    #19
    I put a 40GB WD HD, each in two of my G3s. It's not even that new, now a 7 or-so year-old HD, but it makes such a difference in noise and adds a speed boost. However, the semi-older ones, while they don't have whines, still have loud thumping that echoes throughout the bulbous casing. So it's good to get as new of an IDE drive as possible. Know that 128GB is the apparent maximum.

    ----------

    The tray-loader iMac G3 models had a fan that ran even while the machine was asleep, however there could be newer firmware versions that allow it to fully sleep in later versions of MacOS. However, that's a theory. The slot-loading G3s were passively cooled. The eMacs have fans for reasons that were already explained to you with other replies, but just know that the eMac's architecture is very different from the G3's architecture. In fact, the tray-loading G3 is far-off from the slot-loading G3 in terms of internal architecture.
     
  20. G51989 macrumors 68030

    G51989

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    #20

    I would say, replace thermal paste, it isn't working anymore.

    Find the same sized fans off Tiger Direct or New Egg and replace the stock Apple fans, the aftermarket PC fans move more air per RPM, and are quieter, and last longer, they can be had from 5-15 dollars depending on what you want.
    They will cool the G4 better than stock apple fans.
     

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