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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Are the new MacPro's Quiet/Silent?

Are the new MacPro's Quiet/Silent?
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AppleGirl1990
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Jan 23, 2008, 10:09 PM
 
I just ordered a new MacPro. My question is how quiet are these new machines? I also have a dual 2.5ghz G5 PowerMac and at times the fans go crazy. Since it's the same casing design as the older machines, i am starting to wonder how quiet it will be especially because the graphic card is so much better now and i'm getting 2 huge hard drives.

Anyone get a new MacPro yet?
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Bigfoot
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Jan 23, 2008, 11:01 PM
 
Coming from a Dual 1.24 G4, I'd say the new MacPro is very quiet. From what I can tell it has three fans and a rotor/turbine type of spinny thing on top of the video card. Most of the time I can't hear it. The fans will increase in speed, but even then its pretty quiet.

However... the other night it started this annoying buzzing that got louder after a couple hours of being on. It sounded like a fan blade was hitting the shroud somewhere. I couldn't for the life of me find the source no matter where I pressed & pushed. It was now at a loud, gee this could be bad volume. I shut the computer down and could hear this noise grind to a halt as it shut down. Now I'm guessing it was a fan or perhaps a bad drive. I just installed one the day before. I went to bed figuring I had a ride to the Apple Store ahead of me the next day.

Booted up the computer the next morning and no noise... until after about an hour it started again. Got my ear up to this thing and it sounded like the noise was coming from the optical drive bay. There was nothing in it so how could be spinning. Pushed, tapped and poked on the area to no avail. Buzzing was getting loud again like last night. Just for giggles (except I'm not giggling... my blood pressure is going up) I press the open tray button on the keyboard and what do you know... loud annoying buzzing stops.

There are two little plastic roller pins on the metal drop down gate that have just enough play in them to start a sympathetic vibration, I guess from what little vibration the fans cause over time.

It has only happened two other times over the past two days. Solution is to open the tray, which pushed the gate down, which turns those rollers enough to stop the buzz. No buzz all day today, so they must be in such a position not to start vibrating.

So yeah, other than that, its very quiet.
MacPro 2.8/8-core Xeon/10.5.8/8GB ram. MacBook Pro 2.26/10.6.2/4GB ram/250GB drive. Airport Extreme 802.11n
     
himself
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Jan 23, 2008, 11:35 PM
 
You could also set your Mac down on a soft surface (like a carpet, or just put some kind of cushioning under the "feet") and I'm certain the vibrations will stop.
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ballison
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Jan 24, 2008, 09:36 PM
 
mine is super quiet...im very familiar with the G5 jumbo jet noise...


this thing is incredibly quiet with the only thing I can really hear unless its super quiet is the optical drive. very very impressed! Im even pushing all 8 cores around 80-90% right now and I cant hear anything
     
Bwa
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Jan 24, 2008, 10:11 PM
 
12 GB of RAM, 3 video cards, 4 hard drives in mine.

Silent. Way quieter than my old 2 GHz dual G5 or my 1.25 GHz MDD (doesn't even compare really). I think my MacBook Pro is louder, but honestly they are just quiet boxes.
     
AppleGirl1990  (op)
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Jan 24, 2008, 10:48 PM
 
Thanks, that was helpful.
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ebuddy
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Jan 25, 2008, 07:59 AM
 
Anyone recording with it? Can you hear processor chirp/buzzing in your recordings?

I'm using a dual, 2GHz G5 and from day one I had to load CHUD tools which included a 'disable nap' feature for a processor pref to silence this chirp/buzzing. I'm hoping this is not the case with the new Mac Pros.

thanx.
ebuddy
     
Bwa
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Jan 25, 2008, 10:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
Anyone recording with it? Can you hear processor chirp/buzzing in your recordings?

I'm using a dual, 2GHz G5 and from day one I had to load CHUD tools which included a 'disable nap' feature for a processor pref to silence this chirp/buzzing. I'm hoping this is not the case with the new Mac Pros.

thanx.
My G5 had that problem too. Drove me crazy because I could hear it just sitting at my desk. I am not recording with my Mac Pro but with my ear up to the case, I don't hear any of the chirping. It's possible my ears are worse than they were 2 years ago :-) but I am pretty sure this box is significantly quieter.
     
SierraDragon
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Jan 25, 2008, 12:05 PM
 
Stock 2006 MP in a very quiet environment and it is the quietest tower I have ever not heard.

-Allen Wicks
     
mduell
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Jan 25, 2008, 07:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
Anyone recording with it? Can you hear processor chirp/buzzing in your recordings?

I'm using a dual, 2GHz G5 and from day one I had to load CHUD tools which included a 'disable nap' feature for a processor pref to silence this chirp/buzzing. I'm hoping this is not the case with the new Mac Pros.
Chirping was unique to the G5s.
     
chipchen
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Jan 27, 2008, 02:56 AM
 
Just got a few of the 2008 Mac Pro's in.... very quiet... like their predecessors. WARM in under a desk... just a warning...
     
Bigfoot
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Jan 27, 2008, 08:36 AM
 
I noticed since I added 8GB of ram the fans run just a tad faster, still a quiet machine compared to my MDD dual G4. Also, if I set energy saver settings to never sleep> uncheck "put drives to sleep whenever possible" the fans run at the same constant all the time. Check the drive sleep setting on and the fans will throttle down to barely a whisper (when the drives are sleeping). I leave that setting unchecked as there are times when you go to do something and you'll get the spinning ball waiting for the drive to spin up. Seems if your idol for just a couple minutes the drives go to sleep.
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Ph.D.
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Jan 30, 2008, 11:09 PM
 
I moved from a Power Mac G5 Dual 2.5 GHz water cooled to an octo-core 2.8GHz.

Preface: I'm very sensitive to noise issues, especially "annoying" noises. I say the following as someone who actually owns all three of the below-mentioned machines:

The Imac has a quiet and relaxing low-volume, low-pitched fan noise (really more like a blowing air noise - you really can't hear the fans themselves), only spoiled by the high-frequency edge of the hard disk. Over-all it's quite livable.

The dual 2.5 G5 was very noisy - no doubt about it. On hot summer days it was EXTREMELY loud - jet-takeoff loud. It also made unusual gurgling noises due (I presume) to the water pumps. On the whole the character of the noise was not terrible, but the volume was quite bad.

My octo-core (2008) has 3 hard disks in it but not much memory yet. It's NOT "silent" by any means - not even close. They are definitely and distinctly louder than the new imac, for example. They are, however, far, far quieter than the old G5's. The character of the noise is not great the fans make some uneven, soft, rattling-like sounds that actually isn't too different than the old G5's, and there is no sound deadening to block the hard-disk's noise. I wouldn't call it terribly livable for long use in a small, very quiet, hard-surfaced office like mine. In a room with carpeting and heavy drapes, on a busy street, with it positioned out of the way, etc., it's probably much better and reasonably livable.

A few other comments: That old G5 was a beast - the new octo's are not much faster under general use. But the water cooling is a disaster waiting to happen. Mine fried.

I hope this helps.
     
Kenneth
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Jan 31, 2008, 01:13 AM
 
The Mac Pro is pretty quiet IMHO.

I had the MDD (late model) and QS before. Funny to say, the QS was noisy than the 'Wind tunnel' MDD.
     
iDaver
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Feb 4, 2008, 12:56 AM
 
Just got my Mac Pro. While it is almost silent when I'm not doing much with it, something as simple as running a screen saver will make the fans speed up and slow down, which can be heard throughout the room. It's much like the mooing effect of the MacBook (before that problem was fixed with a firmware update). I would rather hear a consistent slightly faster fan noise than to hear the fans speeding up and slowing down continually.
     
AppleGirl1990  (op)
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Feb 6, 2008, 08:00 AM
 
How is the speed compared to your previous Mac when doing simple stuff like iPhoto, iTunes....
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iDaver
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Feb 6, 2008, 11:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by AppleGirl1990 View Post
How is the speed compared to your previous Mac when doing simple stuff like iPhoto, iTunes....
No difference. The only thing on which I've noticed a difference, so far, is with processing video such as for iMovie and EyeTV. It's three or more times faster than my Dual-core 2.0 G5 for that stuff. Fortunately, the fans don't run any louder/faster than they do when running a screen saver.
     
AppleGirl1990  (op)
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Feb 6, 2008, 01:15 PM
 
There must be a difference with normal use.
it's a much better machine.
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iDaver
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Feb 6, 2008, 01:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by AppleGirl1990 View Post
There must be a difference with normal use.
it's a much better machine.
Nah, normal use doesn't require much processing power. You don't need four cores to run iTunes. (Music encoding probably runs faster but I haven't encoded a CD yet.) A lot of "normal" things are bottlenecked by the speed of a hard drive and most 3.5" drives are pretty similar these days.

There is probably a slight improvement in these normal things with a Mac Pro but nothing I've noticed. The only intensive tasks I do are related to video.

The fact is, most people would be well-served by a Mac mini. It'll do most everything plenty fast. I got a Mac Pro only because I wanted something a little better (needed dual-link DVI) and it was the only next step up.

On topic though, the Mac Pro is definitely more silent than my G5 Power Mac was.
     
Bwa
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Feb 6, 2008, 03:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by iDaver View Post
Just got my Mac Pro. While it is almost silent when I'm not doing much with it, something as simple as running a screen saver will make the fans speed up and slow down, which can be heard throughout the room. It's much like the mooing effect of the MacBook (before that problem was fixed with a firmware update). I would rather hear a consistent slightly faster fan noise than to hear the fans speeding up and slowing down continually.
Running a screen saver on 6 screens here (3 2600 ATI cards) doesn't change the silence of my Mac Pro.
     
iDaver
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Feb 6, 2008, 03:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by Bwa View Post
Running a screen saver on 6 screens here (3 2600 ATI cards) doesn't change the silence of my Mac Pro.
Maybe there's something wrong with mine then because fan speed definitely starts to vary as soon as the OS X screen saver kicks on. It's not loud, but it's noticeable if there is no other sound in the room.
     
Meadowfield
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Feb 6, 2008, 04:06 PM
 
It just might be. Mine is whisper quiet unless I'm running Aperture... and, of course, during boot up when the fans kick in momentarily after the infamous "boot up from sleep" malady we're all having now
     
AppleGirl1990  (op)
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Feb 6, 2008, 04:23 PM
 
so you really think the hard drive speed would give the biggest boost to 'normal' application use speed? I have never had a hard drive faster than 7200rpm, but i would imagine that a faster one would be louder.

not sure why i think that though.
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iDaver
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Feb 6, 2008, 05:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by AppleGirl1990 View Post
so you really think the hard drive speed would give the biggest boost to 'normal' application use speed? I have never had a hard drive faster than 7200rpm, but i would imagine that a faster one would be louder.
There are many things that come into play when it comes to performance. Various parts of the system affect the speed at which your task is completed, depending on what you're doing.

Just one of those things is hard drive speed and it's often a bottleneck. I noticed a difference when I upgraded the 4200 rpm drive in my laptop to a 5400 rpm model. Everyday tasks such as saving and copying small files was noticeably faster.

I wouldn't recommend going with a 10,000 rpm drive unless you're really seeking the best performance possible for high end work that is disk intensive. I expect it would be louder, and hotter but I don't know.
     
himself
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Feb 7, 2008, 03:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by AppleGirl1990 View Post
so you really think the hard drive speed would give the biggest boost to 'normal' application use speed? I have never had a hard drive faster than 7200rpm, but i would imagine that a faster one would be louder.

not sure why i think that though.
I would say that raw processor speed has more of an effect on application performance than the number of cores... at this point, you'll really only find professional-level (and geek-level) apps that take advantage of multiple cores (though I guess you will see across-the-board improvements due to load reduction on any single core), so I wouldn't really expect to see huge performance increases in apps like iPhoto and such until core speeds jump significantly.

It is telling that while general usage doesn't seem to be much faster, these machines don't appear to come close to breaking a sweat under even moderately heavy usage, thus keeping them silent (had to get my post back on topic somehow ) I look forward to ordering mine in next month.
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AppleGirl1990  (op)
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Feb 7, 2008, 08:03 AM
 
Why doesn't Apple make all the iLife software use multiple cores? I don't see a negative in them doing so.
Sure, sounds like a little 'overkill', but why not?
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camo
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Feb 7, 2008, 06:34 PM
 
I've just switched from AMD 400+ running XP with 2GB RAM and 3 hard drives in a Sophrano case with 4 fans. The difference in noise, temperature output and processing speed is awesome. I would say the Macpro (Early 2008 8 core 2.8Ghz with 2GB Ram & 3 hard drives) is more than 1/2 as quiet as the old AMD, has some minor impact on my little home office temperature (the other machine turned it to summer all year round!) and is at least 3.5 times faster in basic tests like Lightroom exports. One old Photoshop test (to rotate a picture of a horse) used to take about 1min 25 secs on the old machine & does it in about 7 or 8 seconds on the Mac pro. Crazy, so pleased I made the change. Took a while (still!) to figure all this MAC stuff out but a true convert now.

Good luck!
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camo
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Feb 7, 2008, 06:36 PM
 
"I''ve just switched from AMD 400+ running XP"
Sorry that should have read AMD 4400+ dual core running XP...

Cam

PS. NOT a big fan of the flash Macpro thin aluminium keyboard. Seems to miss a lot of my keystokes. Prob' user error!
     
mduell
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Feb 7, 2008, 07:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by AppleGirl1990 View Post
Why doesn't Apple make all the iLife software use multiple cores? I don't see a negative in them doing so.
Sure, sounds like a little 'overkill', but why not?
Requires programming skill, effort, time, and money and it may not produce any substantial gains in user experience.
     
iDaver
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Feb 7, 2008, 10:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by camo View Post
One old Photoshop test (to rotate a picture of a horse) used to take about 1min 25 secs on the old machine & does it in about 7 or 8 seconds on the Mac pro.
Wow, that must be a really big horse!
     
dpicardi
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Feb 8, 2008, 05:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by iDaver View Post
Maybe there's something wrong with mine then because fan speed definitely starts to vary as soon as the OS X screen saver kicks on. It's not loud, but it's noticeable if there is no other sound in the room.
What video card do you have?
     
iDaver
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Feb 8, 2008, 06:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by dpicardi View Post
What video card do you have?
The standard 2600 XT.

For what it's worth, since I added more RAM last week, I have not noticed the "mooing" fans as I did before. I suppose the extra heat from the RAM makes the fans run a more consistent speed—still very quiet.
     
cnlevo
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Feb 8, 2008, 10:37 PM
 
I didn't read the rest of the thread because it's pretty big, but the loudest part of my Mac Pro (dual xeon 2.8ghz with the standard 2600XT for now because I couldn't wait) is the dvd/cd-rom. Other that it's pretty near silent. Nothing at all to complain about. I have noticed the HDD a couple times when I first got it and was transfering ALOT of data at once, but since then it's not bad at all.
     
   
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