Should my iMac be completely silent?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by johnsmith153, Jul 13, 2011.

  1. johnsmith153 macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2011
    I have just taken delivery of a new 8GB i7 with SSD iMac, however it makes what I would call a buzzing sound.

    There is nothing coming from the speakers and adjusting the volume does nothing.

    Adjusting the brightness makes no difference (someone said somewhere that this could be the issue).

    The noise is the one that you hear when the Mac is first turned on and the noise you last hear before it is turned off. So if I sleep it, the screen goes black first, and the noise stays on until the last second when everything goes off and completely silent.

    I can't work out which side of the iMac it is coming from though.

    The problem (or I think it's a problem) is that it's permanently on, although it is quite quiet. I would say it's the same noise volume as an HDD makes (although it's not the HDD and it's constant and it doesn;t sound like a HDD, I'm just using that to explain how loud/quiet it is).

    Should the iMac be ultra silent, like say an iPad/iPhone/any mobile phone, or do you expect this buzzing noise permanently?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    It's perfectly normal.

    An iMac is a big computer and it has large PSU, fans and a mechanical HDD. All these parts make noise. You can't compare it to an iPad which has no moving parts and also consumes much less power.
  3. Icaras macrumors 603


    Mar 18, 2008
    California, United States
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    He didnt mention having an HDD.

    My wife owns a MacBook Air and the only thing you ever hear are the fans. When idle, yes it's completely silent just like an iPhone or iPad is.

    However for an iMac, it would have larger fans so it will always get louder when it starts to do anything intensive. Booting up also kicks starts the fans. But also, since it uses a discreet GPU, I'm guessing it also has fans of it's own, which would further add to the noise.

    But really, other than the fans, if you have no HDD and are not doing anything heavy, the iMac should be silent.
  4. Birdy1062 macrumors member

    Dec 8, 2008
    Same here, if I touch slightly left and right of Apple logo I can feel a slight vibration.
    I'm pretty sure this vibration is resonating on my wooden desk, still have to find something to isolate the foot.

    Went in Apple store the other day and half the 27 had this faint vibration (and so the other half didn't, so I wouldn't call it "normal"....).

    If I eject my rotating HD (Hitachi 2 TB) it goes away immediately but then it comes back after a while with th HD still ejected, quite strange.....:eek::eek:
  5. johnsmith153 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2011
    It makes the noise when it's just sitting there doing nothing, and not being touched at all.

    It's pretty quiet, but it's not completely silent. My PC and its monitor makes all sorts of humming noises, so is much worse.

    I'll phone Apple Care soon but wanted to check with people who use them every day.

    Any other thoughts? The previous guy said it should be completely silent when idle, it definitely isn;t that.
  6. John T macrumors 68020

    John T

    Mar 18, 2006
    Unless it's asleep or switched off, no computer can ever be completely silent!
  7. txhockey9404 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2008
    I can't speak specifically for the 27" iMac, but every Mac I have ever had has always made some noise. My 24" iMacs make a little bit of noise (fans mostly) that sounds like a soft hum but can get louder under load to sound like a very small hair dryer. My Macbook Pro 13" is NEVER silent. I can always hear its fan moving even while it is just idling on my desk. Apple products are generally known for being fairly quiet, but NONE are silent. All of their computers use fans, and fans make noise. Your iMac may have a noisier fan than most due to a bad bearing or something of that nature, but it will never be silent because the fans will always be running when the computer is on.

    Now it shouldn't be audible across a room. I have built gaming computers that have 6 or 7 high air flow fans and those are LOUD, but a Mac (other than a Mac Pro) is generally quiet.
  8. txhockey9404 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2008
    If it just spins up then calms back down after a minute or two, the noise could just be the OS spinning up the drive to check that it is still attached then letting it spin down.
  9. Fuchal macrumors 68020

    Sep 30, 2003
    My 27" iMac is very close to silent unless I'm stressing the system or reading an optical disc.
  10. likegadgets macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2008
    When fans are not at high RPM due to heavy processor use, my 27 is very silent (hard drive model). But as others said not 100% silent
  11. MythicFrost macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    You should only hear your fans spinning quietly, but you should not hear buzzing.
  12. Texran macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2011

    I hear the fans during startup, but extremly quiet, hear air movement more than actual fan noise. If I have a cd inserted in the optical drive during startup I'll hear noise from that.
    I really have no strange, or unusual noise, yellow tint, dead pixels, dings, dents, or anything.
    After my ram upgrade my imac wouldn't restart after the recent OS update, made like 4 beeps over and over, turned off, unplugged for 60 seconds all good. Ran memtest x 10 to test it, checked out ok. No problems since.
    I can here my pc running at my other desk.
    Really if mine would have made some loud or unusual noises I'd have sent it back.
  13. basher macrumors 6502


    May 27, 2011
    Glendale, AZ USA
    I can hear the fans surge at startup, but once the iMac is booted it's totally quiet. I have to put my ear to the iMac's case to hear the fan(s).

    You might want to go to an Apple store to hear how silent the iMacs are in store.

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