rMBP Owners - Is the fan really quieter on full speed?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mgartner0622, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. mgartner0622 macrumors 65816


    Jun 6, 2010
    Colorado, USA
    I'm posing this question because my current Late '11 machine has really begun to annoy me. 80% of the time I use it docked to my Thunderbolt Display, and the fans are running on full blast. I remember when the rMBP was released, it was talked about how the fans were differently designed to be quieter. Is this true, and are the fans notable, at least when compared to an older Unibody Pro?
    I looked online last night and my local Best Buy has a 512/16GB model open box. If it really makes a lot of difference, I may purchase it.
  2. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    At idle and relatively low speed, it's quiet as hell... Almost silent unless I put my ears right next to the hinge in a sealed room at midnight.

    At max, I don't think it's any quieter than my old '11.

    But it's harder to push to max for sure.
  3. AndersBrohus macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2012
    I would say that it's not quieter at fully speed but its not that annoying like the normal MBP.. :)

    But yeah it's really silence i dont hear mine when i just use it to write documents or anything but when i start WoW, it begins speed up and at max speed its not quiet or silence anymore but its not annoying like the normal MBP as i have written :) I love mine!
  4. Cassadian macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2012
  5. toondw macrumors 6502

    Jun 28, 2009
    Northumberland, UK
    When it is loud the sound sort of disappears into oblivion, you quickly ignore it as its not a loud fan noise if you follow, its more of a subtle sound, at least in comparison to my alienware laptop i used to have.
  6. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    No. It is no different. I mean yes, it is totally quieter. Depends on the Hz you can hear.
  7. switon macrumors 6502a

    Sep 10, 2012
    RE: Fan noise...


    Nobody mentioned this, and you have probably already checked this out, but under normal workloads the fans on my 2011 MBP did not run at full speed even when attached to an external Thunderbolt Display. So unless I was compiling code on 8 cores simultaneously (or perhaps running the WoW video game, which I don't have and thus can not run), the 2011 MBP normally did not usually run its fans at 6000+ RPM. If your 2011 MBP does run its fans at full speed under normal workloads, then you might want to check what process(es) are using so much CPU load to see if there is something running that should not be. In other words, I did not find that simply using the Thunderbolt Display caused the 2011 MBP to run its fans at full speed under normal working conditions.

    Personally, the broader spectrum noise from the rMBP's fans I find much less noticeable than the much sharper spectrum noise from the MBP's fans. In a quiet room I don't even notice the rMBP's fans at all, even though when I check they are indeed running at <2000 RPM, under normal workloads. When the rMBP is stressed with all 8 cores cooking, then its fans ramp up to 6000+ RPM and you can hear them quite well, but once again the broader spectrum of the rMBP's fans makes the noise less intrusive than the MBP's fans, in my experience anyway.

    Of course, it could also be that the antediluvian troglodyte ears of a cantankerous old curmudgeon, i.e., me, no longer hear the frequencies emitted by laptop fans...

  8. mgartner0622 thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jun 6, 2010
    Colorado, USA
    You and a few other people have mentioned this. I'm pretty sure I can hear low and high frequencies pretty well, as CRT TV's still annoy me with the high frequency they emit.

    As far as processes on my laptop, I'm sure it's not a problem with too many things running. I don't play games, pretty much the only things I do on my computer are code in Java, use MS word, Browse the internet with Safari, and watch movies on Netflix.

    I'm also debating whether or not I want to leave my antiglare screen. I've always had an antiglare model and use my computer outside quite often, so I'm wondering if not having one would create a problem, although I've heard because of the way the panel is designed on the retina, glare is less of an issue than before.
  9. nontroppo macrumors 6502


    Mar 11, 2009
    My rMBP certainly doesn't ramp up fans when connected to a 27" cinema display, it is inaudible for hours at a time, even doing fairly substantial work. When it is fully maxed out, it sounds significantly nicer than my mid2010 15" MBP does.

    Regarding the anti-glare, I think the rMBP is much better than Apple's glossy displays (sat next to my 27" apple display indoors under flourescent lighting the rMBP is significantly better), but I suspect it cannot compete outdoors with a brigher anti-glare MBP. For me it is a step up, and useable outside, but I live in London where the Sun is more often than not a theoretical concept... :rolleyes:
  10. boy-better-know macrumors 65816


    Jun 30, 2010
    True to Jony's words, I have never found my fans to be intrusive. Really impressed.
  11. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    I hear that.
  12. Exana macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2011
    This can perhaps help you : http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1435596

    Most time, my MacBook Pro did not go higher than 50% of CPU usage (according to my daily work). In this case, Retina is MUCH more quieter than 2011 et classic 2012. It's as quiet as my MacBook Pro 2010 but with much more horsepower. I really love it.
  13. jedolley macrumors 68000

    Sep 18, 2009
    I heard the fans for the first time last night. It's kind of weird to say, but the sound is different and I kind of like it... Usually though, I can't hear it at all especially with the noise being made by my work laptop, ceiling fan, or PS3.
  14. ColoArtist macrumors regular

    Jul 3, 2012
    Denver, CO
    The fans in my rMBP are much quieter than the ones in my '09 MBP, plus they kick in far less often.

    When the fans do run the sound is kinda different. The first time it happened I didn't even realize it was the rMBP. It sounded like some tiny motor started running in an adjacent room. Kind of like the new Mac was doing an electronic ventriloquist's trick.

    The other day I was cleaning up my old MBP for resale. What a heavy, noisy beast it now seems.

    With the SSDs the rMBP is spooky quiet.

  15. switon macrumors 6502a

    Sep 10, 2012
    RE: those processes...

    Hi mgartner0622,

    Sorry, I think I must have given the wrong impression, and I apologize for that. What I meant to convey is that I know you probably aren't running anything that should max out the fans (if you were you would be the one to know it), but rather there might be some other process that is running that you didn't necessarily start, except perhaps inadvertently. This is why I suggested checking...in the Terminal type "top -o cpu", or use the Activity Monitor sorted by CPU usage. Maybe there is a "mds" or "mdworker" process that is blazing away. Sometimes Flash left over from a visited website will be cooking too. The md processes will ramp up if you attach an external drive that has Spotlight turned on and that has not yet been indexed, then one or two CPUs will fire away at 100% trying to index the external drive. And, of course, worse-case scenario is that you have some malware that is chewing up your CPU cycles. In a nutshell, all I wanted to suggest is that you might want to check the cause of your fans running full tilt under normal everyday usage, that's all.

    I just wanted to assure you that simply connecting a MBP to a 27" display does not cause the fans to run at full speed for everyday activities.


    P.S. My old 2011 MBP with anti-glare Hi-Res screen could be used outdoors as long as I wasn't wearing a white shirt with the sun striking me in the chest -- then the glare was still too great to readily see the screen. The rMBP, on the other hand, definitely has more glare than the anti-glare screen on the MBP, but it also definitely has much less glare than a glossy screen MBP. I can use the rMBP outdoors as long as I'm careful about the sun striking me directly in the chest. In my opinion, the remarkable resolution and clarity of the Retina display far outshines (pun intended) the residual glare of the screen. So, it really depends on your usage: (i) if you use your laptop primarily outdoors in direct sunlight, then I think you would want to continue with the anti-glare screen, or (ii) if you use your laptop primarily in a lit room with the occasional outdoor usage, then you might consider the Retina screen. A rMBP is usable outdoors, but I wouldn't want to do it all the time because my tired antiquated eyes would not survive the effort. A glossy screen is unusable for me in a brightly lit situation, whether that is indoors or out. The anti-glare screen is usable as long as I'm careful with the positioning. ...just my opinion...
  16. Mabyboi macrumors 6502


    Apr 23, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    They are very quiet, and they kick in a lot less (or maybe I'm not hearing them). When they do come on and spin up to a higher RPM the sound is different, it's not the standard high pitch squeal that comes from most fans.. It's almost like the sound of someone blowing air out of their mouth (wider mouth than whistling that is)
  17. CFoss macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2011
    I find the main difference isn't how loud they are, but when the fans actually kick in. My family's 13" MacBook Pro fans would spin up whenever they were to do something as simple as opening a YouTube video. I'm sitting here with 20 Chrome Tabs open, iTunes, Mail, and Pages, yet the fans are silent right now.
  18. iaymnu macrumors 6502

    Mar 23, 2007
    It's quiet. Sometimes I have to put my ear to the machine to see if it's running. Even then it's hard to tell.
  19. Tea-Aholic macrumors 6502


    Dec 8, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    It's still loud at full speed (though it never does for normal usage, just for encoding video in my case) and it sounds different. The only way I can describe it is a 'compressed' sound. It's not high-pitched like other fans I've used.

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