Silent running Mac (PXEBoot/Compact Flash?)

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by tyr2, Aug 29, 2006.

  1. tyr2 macrumors 6502a


    May 6, 2006
    Leeds, UK
    I've got a rev A PowerPC Mac Mini that will soon be retired to the living room. I was giving some though to how I could reduce the noise it makes (not that it's very noisy but silent would be good) and had a couple of ideas. Just wondering if anyone had tried these or has any other suggestions?

    1 - PXEBoot the Mac and mount disks over NFS.
    Is this possible, does the NIC in the mini support pxeboot? If it does I guess it would be possible to run Linux, however does OSX support running in this fasion?

    2 - Replace the hard drive with an internal compact flash drive, using a ATA/CF converter. Has anyone tried this?
  2. dpaanlka macrumors 601


    Nov 16, 2004
    CF disks (used with Cameras etc) are slow and unreliable - they're not meant to be used as a traditional hard disk.

    There are solid state "flash drives" that are suited for this purpose, but they are prohibitively expensive in any size category that would be useful with OS X.

    I do own a machine with such a disk, a SimpleTech 800mb model that cost me about $50 about a year ago. It is in a PowerBook 1400c running Mac OS 7.6.1. It is literally silent... think like using a huge PDA with a keyboard. In the sound department, it might as well be off.
  3. Sesshi macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2006
    One Nation Under Gordon
    3.5" drive > 2.5" converter plus a 2.5" drive might work wonders. Even the largest capacity two and a half incher runs significantly cooler and quieter. Generally speaking though with any PC you're going to have to work on the fans and PSU more than the HDD.
  4. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    The poster has a mini--it's already using a 2.5" disk.

    You could look to replace the internal drive with a quieter one (I can say that even the 7200RPM drive in my MPB is functionally silent unless I put my ear on the case in a quiet room, so there are VERY quiet options available). This would be a lot cheaper and easier than flash or network alternatives. The fan, however, you're stuck with, since it still needs to cool the chip.

    On the topic of booting over a network, any even remotely modern Mac supports booting from a network volume... but as far as I know you need to have an OSX Server box sharing the NetBoot volume to do it. There may be an open source alternative, but I'm not aware of one.
  5. runplaysleeprun macrumors 6502a


    Jul 27, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Would it be possible to under-clock the CPU to reduce heat, thus, the necessity for the fan to be running as often/fast? That could help as well.
  6. Sesshi macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2006
    One Nation Under Gordon

    *slaps head*

    I'm a moron. Thought it was a G4 tower for some reason. Do excuse my moronicity (sic). Well, the Mini is one of the quietest PC's you can get... it ain't going to get much better. The HDD only adds the operational whine in normal use, and even that is reasonably attenuated by the case. You'll probably have to work on passive cooling solutions which will probably be more trouble than its worth.
  7. kalisphoenix macrumors 65816


    Jul 26, 2005
    All modern Macs support netbooting. The problem is that, for the inexperienced OS X-user, the easiest solution will require you to have OS X Server, which costs $499.

    There should be an easy solution in the form of shareware or freeware, but unfortunately I haven't seen such a thing. I myself was wanting to turn my old (and problematic) G3 iBook (many many moons ago, when I still had the damn thing) into a netbooting client, but as I had no cash to drop on OS X Server, the idea was untenable.

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