The Silence of the iMacs

The Ars Technica review of the new 27” iMac is here. The team over at Ars ordered a fully maxed out model — fastest CPU and GPU available and the biggest 768GB SSD. The only spec which wasn’t fully upgraded was the RAM, because it’s possible (and cheaper) to customise aftermarket. The machine they ordered is exactly what I’ve got my eye on.

My concern with these new iMacs has been noise: would the heat caused by the powerful components result in high fan noise during normal use? The answer appears to be no:

The 27-inch iMac looks sharp—metaphorically and physically—and it's very, very quiet. There's only a single fan inside, and the lack of a mechanical hard disk drive or any other moving parts makes for a near-silent desktop. The fan spun up a bit during benchmarking, but it didn't make very much noise—it was the loudest thing in the room, but my office is pretty quiet. During a multihour gaming session, the fan stayed spun up at a constant level, but the noise was still less than the previous-generation 27-inch iMac under load. As soon as the CPU and GPU dropped back to near-idle, the fan began to spin down, and the computer was near-silent again within about 30 seconds.

Older iMacs had three fans inside. These new iMacs have just one — and they’re dramatically thinner, meaning components are snugly fitted together. I was concerned these changed would combine to create a noisier machine.

Looks like I was wrong.

I’ve had some experience with older iMacs and have always been amazed at their almost silent operation. If the new 27” model is even quieter, I will be delighted.