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OT: Noisiness of latest MacBook Pros when number crunching?
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Author:  Markus Winter [ Mon May 06, 2013 4:20 pm ]
Post subject:  OT: Noisiness of latest MacBook Pros when number crunching?

Hi all,

how noisy do the latest MacBook Pros get when number crunching?

A friend needs a Mac laptop for number crunching, but I just sold my 2011 17in MBP with Quad Core i7 because I found the fans too loud when doing heavy work in the background (like video transcoding) - so I'm unsure what to recommend.

Author:  J.Sh3ppard [ Tue May 07, 2013 10:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: OT: Noisiness of latest MacBook Pros when number crunchi

Markus Winter wrote:
Hi all,

how noisy do the latest MacBook Pros get when number crunching?

A friend needs a Mac laptop for number crunching, but I just sold my 2011 17in MBP with Quad Core i7 because I found the fans too loud when doing heavy work in the background (like video transcoding) - so I'm unsure what to recommend.


Hi Markus.

I'm very busy developing right now so I'll keep this short :

1. This is probably not your solution but I've noticed my fan getting unusually loud when it's time to clean it. About every 8 months I need to remove and clean my internal MBP fan and this helps reduce the noise. I understand you are probably not talking about this type of fan noise you are talking about normal fan noise under serious load so see below .

2. Wear ear muffs or earplugs. This helps a lot if but earplugs can become uncomfortable if you buy the wrong type. They make soft and small ear plugs so buy the appropriate type. If you have money to spend you can have professionally fit custom earplugs made. Musicians use these. They work well. Companies also sell low cost form fitting plugs but I've never used them.

3. To quite loud computers musicians use an isobox (isolation box or isolation cabinet). You can buy these but they are expensive, often around $2,000.00 new. Used they're often around $500 to $700. If you don't have that kind of money to spend, you can make you own. Google DIY isobox but be careful. You must make sure you are venting the box correctly or inside the box will get very hot which is dangerous to the computer. While the computer is inside the box some people use wireless keyboards and mice, others use the corded kinds as some boxes have holes for cables or you can always drill your own.

To give you an idea of how effective isoboxes can be, musicians also use isoboxes to record inside the box and trap the loudness in the box. They will put their amp/cabinet with a microphone inside the isobox so they are able to crank up the amp and not disturb the neighbors, other musicians in the studio, etc.

You can still hear the noise outside the box but a good box will make a huge difference in sound trapping. How big of a difference can a good isobox make?

The difference of being able to talk to someone normally over the trapped noise or having to scream as in a club (and the person next to you still may not understand you) without the isobox.


You mentioned using a laptop. I've never seen a person use an isobox specifically made for a laptop but many of the professional isoboxes have see a through 'glass' window which you could probably use a laptop screen through, otherwise use an external monitor. Maybe a mac mini would be a better choice then? I think you mentioned while the computer is number crunching in the background so maybe you don't need to see the screen much.

4. It also might be possible to replace the internal fans with something quieter but I would not recommend that.

If your friend buys or builds their own isobox please post it here :)

Ok, hope that helps.

Author:  Thom McGrath [ Tue May 07, 2013 10:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: OT: Noisiness of latest MacBook Pros when number crunchi

I'm very satisfied with the noise level of my rMBP.

But I also don't mind my PC, which has 3 180mm fans, 2 120mm fans, and 2 high-end video cards. So I'm probably not as sensitive to it as you are.

Author:  Markus Winter [ Tue May 07, 2013 10:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: OT: Noisiness of latest MacBook Pros when number crunchi

J.Sh3ppard wrote:
earmuffs & isobox


Thanks for the answer but I don't think that will work for her. She is a student starting her PhD and wants a laptop but she also needs to do heavy data crunching - not the best combination, and I don't think she should provide the lab with processing power - they should provide her with the processing power needed to do the data crunching - but that's the real World.

Author:  Markus Winter [ Tue May 07, 2013 10:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: OT: Noisiness of latest MacBook Pros when number crunchi

Thom McGrath wrote:
I'm very satisfied with the noise level of my rMBP.

Thanks, but a Retina is unfortunately out of her budget range.

Author:  DaveS [ Tue May 07, 2013 2:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: OT: Noisiness of latest MacBook Pros when number crunchi

Mac Laptops make noise????? news to me... I have 3 of them... and do some pretty heavy work at times.....
and I NEVER heard the fans except when I put my ear on the case

Author:  me.self [ Tue May 07, 2013 2:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: OT: Noisiness of latest MacBook Pros when number crunchi

http://appleinsider.com/articles/12/12/20/patent-filings-detail-retina-macbook-pros-quiet-asymmetric-fans
IIRC I have read somewhere that all Apple laptops and the latest Mac mini have asymmetric fans now. However, after a bit of googling, I may be wrong:
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4086264?start=0&tstart=0
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1387112
iFixit says the MacBook Air Mid 2012 has asymmetric fans...
http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook+Air+13-Inch+Mid+2012+Teardown/9457/1
...while the Mid 2012 MacBook Pro has not:
http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook+Pro+15-Inch+Unibody+Mid+2012+Teardown/9515/2
Here's a Retina-MacBook video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IQIvdhho-0

And, J.Sh3ppard wrote it already...dirt on the fan, or inside the computer can make a big difference.

What else?
- She could go to a dealer and try herself.
- Or buy one, and if it doesn't meet expectations, just send it back.
- She could maybe install an app which limits an Apps CPU usage. At least on my Mac mini, fans are only noticeable louder when the CPU goes 100% with all 4 cores.

Kind regards
Christian

Author:  Markus Winter [ Tue May 07, 2013 2:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: OT: Noisiness of latest MacBook Pros when number crunchi

DaveS wrote:
Mac Laptops make noise????? news to me... I have 3 of them... and do some pretty heavy work at times.....
and I NEVER heard the fans except when I put my ear on the case


The 2011 MBP with QUAD core i7 I had begs to differ. Was the first one I had problems with but that might be due to the processor. It is also no secret that quite a few Mid 2012 retina MBPs had heat problems which were fixed in the 2013 version.

Author:  DaveS [ Tue May 07, 2013 2:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: OT: Noisiness of latest MacBook Pros when number crunchi

my i7 iMac makes zero noise.... all I ever hear is the fan in my external HD box

Author:  Markus Winter [ Tue May 07, 2013 2:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: OT: Noisiness of latest MacBook Pros when number crunchi

DaveS wrote:
my i7 iMac makes zero noise.... all I ever hear is the fan in my external HD box

Well, the iMac has a bit more cooling than a MBP, doesn't it? And the first 27in iMacs in 2009 were quite warm and could get noisy too - I remember testing one in a shop in summer and thinking "that can't be good for longevity". I have one here that I'm supposed to fix (screen goes dark after a while) and it is quiet even under heavy load so that doesn't seem to apply to all machines.

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