How can I make my dual 1.25GHz Powermac quieter?
December 16, 2004 11:15 PM   Subscribe

My Dual 1.25GHz PowerMac G4 (like most) is REALLY loud. I had the power supply replaced, which helped some, but the fans run constantly and it sounds like a wind tunnel.

This was a pretty big controversey in 02/03, but it seems to have died down. Well, now my Mac is driving me crazier by the day. Does anyone have any tips on how to make this thing quieter? Barring that, is the G5 quieter (say, in the Dual 2GHz variety)? I'd be willing to sell my current Mac on eBay and spend a few hundred bucks for an upgrade I really don't need, basically to get a quieter machine.
posted by b_thinky to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
The G5 tend to be quieter for normal use because they have temperature controlled fans. However, if you start doing something really processor intensive for extended periods of the time, the beast can sound like a wind tunnel if need be.
posted by Freen at 11:28 PM on December 16, 2004

Maybe drop these guys a line. They won't sell you anything because you're in the wrong country, but they're friendly and helpful and may have useful recommendations.

I bought an 80mm Papst fan from them which is truly unbelievably quiet.
posted by flabdablet at 3:27 AM on December 17, 2004

holy shit now's my chance for some karma payback.

(ahem) get a windows box.

wow that felt good. see how helpful that is? see?

seriously, there appear to be a lot more folks paying attention to sound output on windows machines than on macs. entire websites devoted to quietness, quiet cases, etc. might be a good place to look for fans that can be stuck into mac cases, if not entire cases that could have macs stuck inside of them. i don't believe the days of home-built macs are entirely over, are they? a lab across the street had a couple of machines running OSX that were built locally from standard mac clone parts.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:44 AM on December 17, 2004

My G5 (single 1.8) sits right underneath my desk less than a foot away from me and I never hear it. There's a Dell rack unit about 20 feet behind me that's noiser.
posted by rschroed at 6:49 AM on December 17, 2004

Back during the G4 noise controversy, the site G4Noise listed all kinds of things people would do to quiet down their systems. A German company caled Verax made a kit called "M11" made for G4s to quiet them down. Some people still sell them but they aren't cheap. Google around for it.

But, yeah, G5s in normal operation are very quiet, especially if you don't put them on your desktop. I'm a PC silencing freak that has spent big bucks on silencing my PC tower, and I am very impressed with the G5 out of the box.
posted by zsazsa at 6:59 AM on December 17, 2004

Any chance you could put the box in a closet or in a contained cabinet space? (My desk has such a space, my tower goes in there. I can hardly even hear it beep)

If not, you could always build something. I have built various enclosures that make it pretty much impossible to hear a 100 watt guitar amp, cranked at full volume, from outside them, using nothing more than 3/4" plywood and foam dampening material.

I also recently made a 3 phase power converter, which involves having a big 10HP motor running all the time. I made a baffle system using open cell foam, that is usually used, I think, to baffle the sound of motors and generators for house boats and stuff.

Someone mentioned this to me the other day: they used to make these screen doohickies to put around dot matrix printers that printed all day, to keep people from going nuts hearing it. They can be had fairly cheap I hear.
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:08 AM on December 17, 2004

I had that G4. That piece of crap drove me nuts.
The G5 is super-quiet; it changed my life.
posted by rajbot at 8:27 AM on December 17, 2004

I got the Apple replacement fan and power supply kit for my dual 867 MDD G4; it made a huge difference, but I still had what would be called a "loud" system. I replaced the 80mm CPU fan with a Panaflo L1A and that made a difference.

I've since upgraded to a damn-near-silent iMac G5 (1.8Ghz).
posted by mrbill at 1:35 PM on December 17, 2004

After I replaced the powersupply/fan, my Mac got gradually quieter, to the point where I can now sleep while it's on. It's still about as loud as my refrigerator, but I live in a studio apartment so the fridge is practically in bed with me anyway.

The Dual G5s are rated at 34 dB, I think - the sound of a soft whisper. They are liquid cooled! My G4 could get into the mid-70s when it was really humming, which is the sound of a BMW 3-series at full throttle with the windows up.
posted by ikkyu2 at 5:36 PM on December 17, 2004

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