Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

Subtle buzz MBA 2020

guiguigui

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 13, 2020
21
20
Hello, so yesterday I received my MBA 2020 i5 and, first of all, say the sound of the fan is not as loud as ANY of the other computers I have at home (dell/MBA2012/MBP2010/huawei etc). However, when the fan spins, apart from the 'FFFF' sound of the generated wind, there's also some kind of vibration induced in the background. It's very subtle. I only hear it if I'm in a completely silent room.

The audio attached has been recorded with an iPhone 6s, close to the top right of the keyboard (above the fan). It starts with an induced 3000rpm and switches to 4000 (using Macs fan control). You can hear the shift in pitch from lower to higher at around 1.5 seconds.
Audio: https://voca.ro/hxtM1aSnTfa

Wanted to share this to see if it's a normal behavior of these type of fans or I got a defective one with some kind of off-centered rotation that induces this sound. Shops in Barcelona are closed so have nothing to compare, let's see if someone with a MBA 2020 can share their experience. Thanks!

Btw in my case, the 'loud fan noise' in this model (i5) is completely overblown. CPU temperature spikes and goes down as you work with the machine, but nothing to care about and you don't even notice if you are not monitoring the number. The machine is cold to the touch while working 'soft'. Going with harder tasks it gets warmer but nothing crazy, you can still have the Mac on your lap with no inconvenience at all.
To me:
Soft: having safari with 2 windows and 40+ tabs including some YouTube and google sheets, Microsoft Remote Desktop monitoring a remote server, Telegram, and a bunch of Sublime Text windows & tabs: 0rpm. Sometimes the fan turns on and spins @ 2700-3500 for a few seconds if you open multiple tabs at once or sth that pushes the cpu, not more.
Hard: compiling code or installing something heavy. Running cinebench never surpassed 6000rpm and got an score of 1007.
 

thadoggfather

macrumors G5
Oct 1, 2007
12,597
10,234
ya know, after having my laptop for over a week I swear I heard it in a completely quiet room too when the fans kicked up for just a bit.

it wasn't until after using the laptop with an external attached for a while that I noticed and had to put my ear against it to hear something similar

I think it may be normal acoustics.. in a completely quiet room in certain situations

I wouldn't necessarily worry if its just in fringe scenarios but I understand why you would
 

guiguigui

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 13, 2020
21
20
Thanks guys, not sure if it's bad or not. Called the online service and she scheduled a replacement unit right away, not even asking 'what kind of sound' whatsoever, very good service. Will tell you with the new one if it also happens or not. It's not that subtle that you need to put the ear close to the keyboard to hear it.. If you're in a silent room you can listen it from normal working distance. Maybe that's the reason why some reviews said fan sound is a bit more annoying than other laptops.

Minimal thing, apart from that I'm super pleased with the product, as a software developer the Mac is like an extension of me so I wanna have it perfect from the beginning. Also tend to keep them for a long time (last one was a 13" Pro from 2010!).
Also tend to find myself coding at my room late night, complete silence, and there's where I notice the buzz. To me, the fan wind sound is not annoying at all without the buzz behind.

Anyway, if it also happens in the new one, I assume it's normal and won't be worried at all.
If it doesn't happen, everyone will know it's better to replace the MBA if you're in the same situation :)
Will keep you updated!
 
  • Like
Reactions: kocered

thadoggfather

macrumors G5
Oct 1, 2007
12,597
10,234
Thanks guys, not sure if it's bad or not. Called the online service and she scheduled a replacement unit right away, not even asking 'what kind of sound' whatsoever, very good service. Will tell you with the new one if it also happens or not. It's not that subtle that you need to put the ear close to the keyboard to hear it.. If you're in a silent room you can listen it from normal working distance. Maybe that's the reason why some reviews said fan sound is a bit more annoying than other laptops.

Minimal thing, apart from that I'm super pleased with the product, as a software developer the Mac is like an extension of me so I wanna have it perfect from the beginning. Also tend to keep them for a long time (last one was a 13" Pro from 2010!).
Also tend to find myself coding at my room late night, complete silence, and there's where I notice the buzz. To me, the fan wind sound is not annoying at all without the buzz behind.

Anyway, if it also happens in the new one, I assume it's normal and won't be worried at all.
If it doesn't happen, everyone will know it's better to replace the MBA if you're in the same situation :)
Will keep you updated!

Good luck!

yeah you shouldn't be able to hear it from the distance, I would imagine. Definitely keep us posted!
 
  • Like
Reactions: guiguigui

kocered

macrumors member
Mar 19, 2020
43
26
I'm having the same problem(If) as well. I started a new thread about it too. It would be nice if other MBA users could provide some feedback. I'm thinking it is because of the acoustics but I'm not sure.
 

guiguigui

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 13, 2020
21
20
I received my new unit two days ago. I can now confirm that this sound is either normal, or faulty on both machines.
I prefer to assume it's normal. The reason to me is that the fan is silent enough when moving the air, that if you listen closely the mechanical spin is louder enough to be heard. As @thadoggfather said: normal acoustics. It sounds like an 'electric' vibration behind the air like @kocered pointed in another thread.

However! in the first unit, at ~2700rpm I could hear a cyclic RRRR-rrrr-RRRR-rrrr. A cyclic wave with around 0.5s period. That's not happening on this new one. I assume the first unit had a louder vibration inside which made me notice this 'electric' background. Now I'm probably biased with the first unit and if I focus and try to listen to that sound, I can. So will value the replacement as a success assuming it's more quiet now.

On some reviews I read 'the new MBA2020 fan sounds annoying'. Well, to some people might be. To me it's so silent that you can hear both the airflow and the mechanical spin at really low rpm and really quiet rooms. Once I realized it's normal this is not bothering at all anymore.

To sum up, I'd go for a replacement if a) you hear something cyclical and not constant or b) the buzz bothers you.
Even if after all you find it's normal, you'll sleep better knowing you didn't get a faulty unit.
And if you are not in the window for a replacement, be 99% sure if there's a very subtle constant buzz behind the airflow sound, that you can only hear in very quiet rooms, that's NORMAL.
 
  • Like
Reactions: kocered

thadoggfather

macrumors G5
Oct 1, 2007
12,597
10,234
Thought it was !
But couldn’t comment on the extremity you were experiencing.

I’ve still only heard it the one time on my machine faintly

Thanks for reporting back
 
  • Like
Reactions: guiguigui
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.