PSA: Coil Whine on MBP 16

milhous

macrumors member
Original poster
May 17, 2007
64
16
How bad is it really? Are you having to put your ear closer to the computer to hear it? If so who cares?

I ask because I’m on my third (two returned for other reasons - one cosmetic blemish and one a ram upgrade) and none of the three have had any noticeable coil whine

Also, how old are you? I’m mid thirties and a musician who I guess may have diminished upper high frequency hearing from playing loud guitar and from shows. I feel my hearing is pretty good but it’s a possibility. Maybe younger people or people who haven’t been exposed to as many loud noises are more sensitive.
Let me be clear that I'm not placing my ear directly up against the computer to listen for coil whine. I can hear it while using the computer normally, on a desk in a quiet room. Some may say the issue is needless nitpicking, and that the computer industry as a whole has similar challenges and just have to live with it. I read the boards for other makes such as Dell and Razer, and they have similar problems too. I get it.

But coil whine is something I don't expect from Apple's products because of their above average quality control and use of premium components. My frame of reference comes as an owner of two SSD-based Macs before getting this machine. A MacBook Air in 2010, and a Late-2013 15" MacBook Pro that was traded-in to get the machine I have now. Those machines didn't have coil whine and operated silently, with fans kicking on only as needed. In addition, I've owned many iPhones and iPads over the years (all containing SSDs), and have never heard coil whine from them either. So I'm looking at this from the perspective that coil whine isn't a common characteristic/behavior of Apple products.

I'm in your age range, and am betting that other people would be able to hear it as well, but don't notice it because they're not using their systems in quiet environments. Instead, they're in places that have ambient background noise such as offices and coffee shops, and are listening to audio through headphones and external speakers, easily masking coil whine.

I've also shown in a previous post how the machine's built-in microphone setup, a Studio‑quality three-mic array with high signal-to-noise ratio and directional beamforming, was able to capture coil whine from the machine itself, making the use of the microphones less than ideal in certain cases.
 
  • Like
Reactions: greenmeanie

macos2008

macrumors newbie
Dec 4, 2019
4
1
Not really every unit, because I already returned the first one for uneven trackpad, but I didn't note any noise as I did with this one.
I did the geekbench test and I heard it again from the first category until the end of the test, the sound is like when writing in an old hard disk.
Conf:
Intel Core i9-9880H with 32Go ram and 8Go Vram
Update:
I have returned it and just received a new one with the same configuration but still has the noise and it's more in intensity, the fun is also more in intensity...if only I had not returned it :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: butterflyscisstor

antoine92

macrumors newbie
Jan 30, 2020
4
1
I got my MBP 16" (i9 2.3, 32GB, 5500 8GB, 1TB) 2 weeks ago and had to return it. It had all kinds of coil whine (CPU, GPU and SSD), I just couldn't bear it. For the first time I'm greatly disappointed in Apple. It is not what you expect from such an expensive computer. My MBP 16" was built on 1/6/2020. Will try to order another one.
 
Last edited:

simonmet

macrumors 68020
Sep 9, 2012
2,216
3,004
Sydney
Can confirm coil whine on my unit (see my recent post in the “I just bought/ordered/received” thread). I don’t know how mine compares to other units but it’s tolerable, just. I think it lessens after the computer warms up, or that could just be my ears getting used to it and filtering it out. I can’t hear it if there’s any audio playing or the fans are on full blast (or silent, obviously).

It’s my only complaint so far with this otherwise excellent laptop, so I hope it’s something Apple can look into.
 
Last edited:

Alex9

macrumors newbie
Feb 14, 2020
3
1
Have coil whine on my 16" base model i7 :confused:
Especially in Capture One editing 42mpx raw or 4k video in iMovie.
My 3rd and last macbook I think.

UPD: can hear it while watching 4k youtube video (ssd noise) in chrome.
 
Last edited:

Remox

macrumors newbie
Feb 15, 2020
3
0
Hello,
I have a SDD Coil Whine too :(

I've been to the Apple Store (France) twice :
• first time, the Genius Bar has changed the the fan.
The noise is already here.

• the second time, the Genius Bar has changed the trackpad + keyboard + battery.
The noise is already here.

When I went to the Apple Store I wasn't aware of all the feedback on the forum.

From what I understood, there are people who have exchanged their MacBook and the noise is still there.

I don't know if I insist on the Apple Store or I keep my laptop because it's a common phenomenon...

What would you advise me to do ? 😕
 

robvas

macrumors 68030
Mar 29, 2009
2,950
454
USA
Hello,
I have a SDD Coil Whine too :(

I've been to the Apple Store (France) twice :
• first time, the Genius Bar has changed the the fan.
The noise is already here.

• the second time, the Genius Bar has changed the trackpad + keyboard + battery.
The noise is already here.

When I went to the Apple Store I wasn't aware of all the feedback on the forum.

From what I understood, there are people who have exchanged their MacBook and the noise is still there.

I don't know if I insist on the Apple Store or I keep my laptop because it's a common phenomenon...

What would you advise me to do ? 😕
If it's unbearable, take it back.
 

iMacDragon

macrumors 68000
Oct 18, 2008
1,778
305
UK
On mine, I noticed some whine when the setup application was working when first turned on, but not since..
 

antoine92

macrumors newbie
Jan 30, 2020
4
1
If it's unbearable, take it back.
Agreed! At first I thought that even if I exchange it it might have same problems so I decided to keep it. Then it started seriously getting on my nerves so I applied for return right away:mad:
 

Remox

macrumors newbie
Feb 15, 2020
3
0
Video demonstrating effect:
Returned to store.
Prod. date: 11/19.
Hello,

Thanks for your replies. It was the same noise on your video but I've barely heard any noise for two days...
I don't understand why but then all the better !
 

kmahmood

macrumors member
Nov 16, 2019
35
25
Now it makes sense why Apple were keen to release the noise cancelling AirPods Pro before the MacBook Pro 16.

Can anyone with both a MBP 16 and AirPods Pro advise if the loud fan noise and coil whine noises can still be heard from MBP 16 with noise cancelling AirPods ?
 
  • Like
Reactions: simonmet

simonmet

macrumors 68020
Sep 9, 2012
2,216
3,004
Sydney
So I think my issue isn't coil whine but a noisy fan. I have a high-pitched frequency when my fans ramp up, which is annoying and distracting (I have good hearing and am sensitive to annoying sounds). The laptop is perfectly silent with fans anywhere under 3,000 RPM or so.

I've not noticed anything like the annoying sounds in that video by Remox above, fortunately; I'd have returned it instantly if I had. More annoying however, is the bad AMD driver that turns thin white lines or high contrast edges blue. My cursor in this text field looks blue (to varying degrees) most of the time. I have dark mode enabled.
 

Alex9

macrumors newbie
Feb 14, 2020
3
1
Is your replacement MacBook no longer making noise?
Got my money back (with 3% loss).
Russian service center does not consider it a sufficient problem for a refund or replacement.
Wanna buy 16", but don't wanna face with that problem.
Now looking for information on a quiet batch.
 

DDDamask

macrumors newbie
Feb 19, 2020
2
0
Just got my 2019 16 inch Macbook Pro for few weeks. And today when my room is very quiet, I heard it very clearly that there is some faint noise but still noticeable hum coming from the device. I'm sure it's different from the fan noise when I stick my ear to the device.

The noise sounds really like it's shown in this video (
), so I guess it's the so-called coil whine.

My question is that is this a problem that might cause potential other issue in future on the device?
 

bosozoku

macrumors regular
Feb 23, 2018
153
73
Tokyo
Just got my 2019 16 inch Macbook Pro for few weeks. And today when my room is very quiet, I heard it very clearly that there is some faint noise but still noticeable hum coming from the device. I'm sure it's different from the fan noise when I stick my ear to the device.

The noise sounds really like it's shown in this video (
), so I guess it's the so-called coil whine.

My question is that is this a problem that might cause potential other issue in future on the device?
This is due to a poor quality capacitors, when the capacitor voltage/current waveform is not constant and contains time harmonics, some harmonic electric forces appear and acoustic noise can be generated. It would not affect the performance or damage your machine in any way (I had it in my 13inch unibody 2011 mbp for 4 years), but it is non pleasant to ears. I would ask for change...
My 2015 machine doesn't have this issue.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Remox

DDDamask

macrumors newbie
Feb 19, 2020
2
0
This is due to a poor quality capacitors, when the capacitor voltage/current waveform is not constant and contains time harmonics, some harmonic electric forces appear and acoustic noise can be generated. It would not affect the performance or damage your machine in any way (I had it in my 13inch unibody 2011 mbp for 4 years), but it is non pleasant to ears. I would ask for change...
My 2015 machine doesn't have this issue.
Thanks for the explanation. I also saw someone posting that their 3rd replacement still have coil whine, which is disappointing. My 2015 15in is running so well and has no issue at all. Miss that quality control.
 

bosozoku

macrumors regular
Feb 23, 2018
153
73
Tokyo
Thanks for the explanation. I also saw someone posting that their 3rd replacement still have coil whine, which is disappointing. My 2015 15in is running so well and has no issue at all. Miss that quality control.
so true. 2015 mbps are still the best imo