Would a thicker but cooler and quieter iMac be a better idea?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by gravyboat, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. gravyboat macrumors member

    Nov 26, 2005
    First off, please don't get me wrong- I love the new iSight iMac. It's a stunningly designed computer. But my friends and I were having a discussion today and the following issue came up.

    Bear in mind that two friends just exchanged their new 20" iMacs for quieter models. One got a very quiet replacement, the other didn't and may try another exchange. Both had dealt with various problems with the Rev A iMac. I brought my old Rev B in for testing twice before returning it due to whining fan noise.

    The upshot is this: the slim case is a design nightmare. Gorgeous, yes, but when you're sitting at a desk using it would it really matter if it were, say, another inch thicker, giving all the components more breathing room? Personally, I'd take the thicker case if it meant that some of these issues would be resolved. How many people derive any significant benefit from the slim design once the computer is placed on a desk facing (generally speaking) a wall?

    Form vs. function. I'm not complaining. I'm just asking.
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    I. Am. Horrified. :eek:

    Form versus function? Are we talking about the same Apple here? As a lucky user who hasn't had any problems with iMac sound, I can safely say I'd be very disappointed if Apple came out with a significantly thicker iMac.
  3. spencecb macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2003
    While this thread is fine for fantasizing, it's pointless to think that Apple would back track and make the case thicker, since they just slimmed it down even more for th Rev. C. The only change that is going to come to the iMac line is when an entire new form is released for the next generation of iMac.
  4. p0intblank macrumors 68030

    Sep 20, 2005
    New Jersey
    My dad has the previous model iMac G5 and I always thought it was a little on the thick side. But with the new iSight model, I think it is just right. Maybe even a little thinner, that'd be great also! But to make it an inch thicker just for cooling purposes? No way... Apple is all about form and function. And from what I can tell, the design is just fine how it is.
  5. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    I love my Rev B iMac -- it's quiet, it's relatively cool (I have monitoring software to be sure of that) and it's just...lovely! The day of the announcement of the Rev C iMacs I knew right then and there that I wanted to grab a Rev B while they were still available because I just like the looks better and I wasn't interested in the new features offered with the Rev C iMacs. Also I wasn't impressed by the looks of the thinner iMac because of the bulgy bit in the back. Mine is nice and sleek all the way around, even if it is a bit thicker. I hustled right over to my local Apple store and got my Rev B the day after the announcement of the newer models....and I am so glad that I did!

  6. alex_ant macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2002
    All up in your bidness
    No matter how thick the thing is, the G5 inside is going to need considerable cooling, plus there is a GPU and an internal power supply to worry about. It's obvious that cooling was just not a priority in the iMac's design. Why not more ventilation? Because it would disrupt Ive's perfect flat surfaces. Gravyboat is right, it's form over function. Expect iMacs to get thinner, not thicker, nevermind that thickness doesn't matter in a desktop computer. If the iMac gets any quieter, it will only be incidental.

    One more thing - to everyone who has chimed in saying they're happy that their iMac is "quiet" - it could be silent if Ive/Apple had placed a higher priority on quietness. I think silence is something one can only appreciate after one hears it, and a lot of iMac owners just get used to the relatively loud fan.
  7. stevietheb macrumors 6502a


    Jan 15, 2004
    Our rev A iMac G5 was whisper quiet when we first got it. After doing a little hard drive replacement, I noticed that the fans were much louder. I reopened the case...didn't see anything wrong—fans were still loud. Just for grins, I decided to reseat the RAM—back to whisper quiet.

    Go figure...
  8. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    I haven't had any fan/noise problems with my iMac G5 rev. B, so I can't really comment, because I don't belive Apple made any compromises. My processor stays in the safe opperating temp range and so does my HDD, and yet my iMac is quieter than most PC's I've heard (including laptops).

    I like the look of the new Rev. C, when I first saw it, I didn't see a big difference, but when I went to adjust the screen, when I first touched it the difference seemed huge! It was amazing, but not enough for me to buy a new one already. ;)

    I love the look and preformance of the iMac G5's!
  9. iMeowbot macrumors G3


    Aug 30, 2003
    Oh yes! When they're on top of their game, the people at Apple can be wonderful about integrating good design and good engineering. But they're not always on top of their game, and often looks win over practicality.
    If there is one thing you can count on with Apple, it's that you can't count on them to be consistent. These are the people who dropped their most popular product a few weeks ago after barely a year in production, just because they could. There has long been a certain fascination within Apple over fanless computers, and these recent noisy beasts just have to be generating a lot of i-told-you-so in meetings.

    I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a completely different cabinet for the next iMac, if it happens to satisfy the predominant Jobs or Ive fetish of the week.
  10. Will Cheyney macrumors 6502a

    Will Cheyney

    Jul 13, 2005
    United Kingdom
    A powerful processor generates heat. Simple!
    You need something to cool the components no matter how 'thick' they decide to make it.
    Perhaps the Intel chips will provide a solution to those worries about a little functional noise :)
  11. Willy S macrumors 6502

    May 8, 2005
    Our iMacs are not very loud but they aren´t silent either. They can get rather loud when they are e.g. encoding video or converting raw files to jpg.

    I would definately want the imacs to be a bit thicker and as quiet as the Mac Mini.
  12. shadowmoses macrumors 68000


    Mar 6, 2005
    The mac mini's are only quiet when idle, when they start doing some intensive processor work they fire up the fans and become somewhat of a noisy beast,

  13. BakedBeans macrumors 68040


    May 6, 2004
    What's Your Favorite Posish
    use a PC for a year then use those 'noisy' imacs...... drop dead silent :)
  14. gravyboat thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 26, 2005
    Thanks for all the feedback.

    This post wasn't meant to be another complaint about fan noise. And I don't know if a thicker case would have made cooling any easier- it seems reasonable, but it was just an assumption.

    There does seem to be a range of acceptable noise that's troublesome. Many of my friends work late at night in quiet environments so perhaps they're more sensitive to it. I'd like to stress that fan noise per se is not the issue, but rather the high-pitched whine and/or buzzing. Everyone I know understands that machines make noise. It seems a bit odd though that you're plunking down $1,700+ dollars and hoping that you get a "good one."

    It would be nice to think that Apple takes customer feedback into consideration, but I'm under no such illusion. Perhaps the percentage of disgruntled customers is so small that there's really nothing that needs to be "fixed." With its loyal base, Apple seems somewhat immune to losing market share- my sense is that a very large percentage of customers would never go to the dark side no matter what Apple does or doesn't do.

  15. Josh macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2004
    State College, PA
    I'm not evening going to relive the nightmare I had w/ my rev-a iMac G5, aka the "air conditioner."

    My new dual-coare PM is at LEAST twice, maybe three times, quieter.

    And for everyone who says the iMac is quiet, I think the poster above who said iMac owners just get used to it, is correct.

    Keep in mind, Apple no longer advertises the iMac as "whisper quiet" as they initally did.
  16. Lacero macrumors 604


    Jan 20, 2005
    I wouldn't mind a thicker iMac. They are pretty noisy as is when run hard. Perhaps more airflow grilles, a larger heatsink, and a larger diameter fan to help suck more hot air out of the casing.

    Here's to the Crazy Ones [​IMG]
  17. FoxyKaye macrumors 68000


    Jan 23, 2004
    Livermore, Terre d'Ange, Bas Lag, Gallifrey
    My Rev. B seems OK - it's not "whisper quiet" for sure, but I think Apple did work out some of the excessive cooling kinks in it compared to the Rev. A model (which a friend of mine owns, and has had three mid-plane replacements in two years because of various heat-related issues).

    I only really notice fan noise when doing PhotoShop work, playing games that have lots of features (though this is very rare for me), doing multi-track sound editing and processing, and, believe it or not, browsing the Web with Firefox. So far I haven't worked it up into a fan frenzy, though I know how this sounds from my friend's Rev. A.

    I was mostly ambivalent about the Rev. C iMacs - the only features that really interested me were PCIe and DDR2, and I'm not really sure how much faster these would actually make the overall experience on the machine. Plus, as was being discussed in another thread, it looks like the Rev. Cs don't really support matching RAM - an option I have available to me by boosting my RAM to the full 2GB.

    I do think that the Intel iMacs will be astounding, though. Once those get to the Rev. B/C models they'll probably blow away even some of the low-end G5 PowerMacs released this year and last. I'd also predict that the Intel iMacs will be dual-core, a feature which may or may not happen in a theoretical Rev. D G5 iMac.
  18. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020


    This is the entire point of why Apple is switching to Intel chips. It's not to build faster machines. It's to build smaller, cooler and yes, hopefully faster machines. Expect the iMac to get even smaller the next time around, with Intel chips inside. The move to Intel was made to give Apple hardware designers more leeway in creating fantastic cases.
  19. BlizzardBomb macrumors 68030


    Jun 15, 2005
    I especially love the crackling sound PCs make when loading :D

    Well thicker iMacs eh... hang on... how about you shell the inside of an iMac G5 into an eMac case. Yup. Problem Solved.
  20. Mikael macrumors regular

    Aug 4, 2005
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    Excuse me? Are you talking about harddrive seek noise? In that case I'd like to inform you that Apple uses standard drives like everybody else and that the amount of noise simply depends on the drive you choose. Neither my Seagate nor Samsung drives had any disturbing seek noise.
  21. spencecb macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2003
    I think the point that was being made is most PC manufacturers use HDD that are noisier than the ones Apple use. You have to really concentrate to hear the HDD on my iMac. I can hear the HDD on my PowerBook without much concentration, but that is the norm with most notebook computers. Most PC's HDD are god-awful noisy.
  22. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    Sure the iMacs aren't "whisper quiet", but I don't know of any PC's that are, and they aren't even all-in-ones. My iMac G5 is quieter than any PC I've heard. I love my iMac, I can hardly ever hear it, and yes, I run "demanding" programs such as the Adobe creative suite, and Macromedia Studio. (Please don't argue with me, I know those aren't that demanding when compared to something like FinalCut, but just work with me.)

    You have to realize that the iMac couldn't really get much quieter, and you'd be exchanging the amazing form factor of the current iMac to save half a decibel.
  23. eva01 macrumors 601


    Feb 22, 2005
    Gah! Plymouth
    a coworker has a revision A iMac G5 and i always thought it was on the thick side a bit. Don't know why, but just did.

    I prefer the new version personally.
  24. budugu macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2004
    Boston, MA
    HELL YA!! i would trade another 0.5" for some peace of mind. Some poster about cheaper HDs in PCs .... just get your prejudice off and grow up ... Noise depends on the case and the sound proofing.
  25. nativesoul macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2005
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Quiet iMac

    I have not even noticed noise from my iMac wheather it be that I am editing photos, doing html, surfing, or any other application. At work it is the only computer that can't be heard, any minimal noise is drowned out by the screaming pc's around me!
    20" iMac G5, 15" Powerbook, 20 GB iPod Photo, 60 GB iPod Photo, Mighty Mouse

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