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How to make a quieter Mac Mini?


HiFiInsider
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That's a tough question. I don't think I've ever opened a Mac Mini up to see the inside. I can't imagine there is a lot of room.

 

Is it noisy only when you rip CDs or is it noisy other times? Playing music usually doesn't heat the system up very much as opposed to ripping CDs.

 

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... something doesn't 'sound' right here. Now ..... while I know that one man's quiet is another man's cacophony, the Mac mini (at least previous versions) is a pretty darned quiet machine. Silent usually unless it is working hard. It shouldn't be working hard to just play back music from the hard drive, no matter what the resolution of the audio is. It will be somewhat noisy when playing an actual CD from the drive or when ripping a CD to the HD however.

 

How far away from the mini is your listening position Dj?

 

- markr

 

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Yes, I did mod the Mini with a Sammy 500gb, 5400rpm hard drive. It sounds like the hard drive is making the noise. It's not as loud as a CD spinning while ripping, but it is louder than I prefer while listening to music at low levels. The Mini is located a few feet away to my right side. I thought about putting it in a drawer, but I need to use the infered remote. I am afraid to apply Dynamat on the inside of the case because I don't want the product to interfere with the three antennas. There is a bit of space between the hard drive and SuperDrive. Any thoughts on what to do?

 

 

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... how I imagined the situation would be Dj - you sitting very close to the computer while listening at a low volume level. I think you must find a way to move the mini several more feet away from your listening position. I don't think that you will be able to make the modded mini more quiet without re-installing the original HD and using an external HD instead. You are doing this to be 'in range of the wired keyboard and mouse, correct? If you could move it across the room and use the blue tooth to utilize a wireless keyboard/mouse or use an iPod touch or even the apple remote instead, you will get your improvement in ambient noise. I would not recommend a drawer for the mini - too much heat build up there & a resultant low life span for the mini and the hardware therein.

 

regards,

markr

 

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I wouldn't start putting stuff inside. You'll reduce the already restricted airflow and the fan may trigger more often, making the whole thing even noisier.

 

If it was quiet with the original HD and you still have it, as makr suggests I'd recommend putting it back. Get an external firewire enclosure, put the original HD in it, make a bootable backup of the 500Gb, then swap them over. Then locate the 500Gb HD farther away or in a cupboard.

 

I know it is a physically neater solution upgrading the mini's hard drive, but - especially given that there are mini lookalike HDs and HD enclosures available - I'd always stick to external for this model.

 

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... specs for its SPL given at mac.com for the mini, escapes. Getting more info on this right now would seem to be hindered by the fact that the new mini is only a week or two old at this point. In my experience, the 'spinner' device that draws the least current will be the one that is the most quiet however. Not an absolute fact, but nearly so if you are dealing with very similar devices. I'm guessing the one with the *smaller* drive will be the quieter......GUESSING.

 

markr

 

 

 

 

 

 

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That would be my guess as well. Wish I has an SSD option with no internal HD, just enough memory for OS and some apps, would be quieter and cooler. My first Mac wish me luck. Going to get iTouch as well for remote. Thanks again

 

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escapes

 

I just bought and am using a "new" Mac Mini. I'm using it with 2-1TB iomega mini max HD's. One for the music files and one as a backup (partitioned) for the music files as well as the Mini OS. I'm using SuperDuper! (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED). It's soooo easy to use.

 

Anyway, to answer your question, it is VERY quiet. I don't hear it at all and I'm about 10' away.

 

W10 NUC i7 (Gen 10) > Roon (Audiolense FIR) > Motu UltraLite mk5 > (4) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference +4 subs

 

Watch my Podcast https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXMw_bZWBMtRWNJQfTJ38kA/videos

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I doubt the size of HD makes much difference to the noise - it is more likely to be the speed. A 7200rpm HD will run hotter and cause the fan to kick in. Standard Mac minis are not noted for making a racket. Stuff in as much RAM as it will take and that should reduce the amount of time the OS accesses the HD.

 

The other trick is to optimise and defrag the HD from time to time so it reduces too much hunting round. A program called Onyx does this rather well (it's almost as good as SuperDuper). You can find it on versiontracker.com

 

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Mac Mini owners .. don't suppose either of you know whether the display port output can perform an HDCP handshake over the displayport to HDMI connector ? The machine has the ability to be a fully fledged, all encompassing media player .. ie: music playback under Mac OS. Bootcamp with Vista & external blu ray drive for video - the graphics hardware can handle it...

 

If the above works, it's the perfect setup at a decent price.

 

Matt.

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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BEEMB

 

If you are wanting to know if the DVI>HDMI cable will work the answer is YES. I used the mini DVI>DVI cable included then bought a 3' DVI to HDMI cable (http://firefold.com/HDMI-Male-to-DVI-D-Male-Digital-Cable-3-Foot-Black-P1429C85.aspx) going to my 42" LCD. Works Great!!!!

 

I hope this is what you are asking...

 

 

W10 NUC i7 (Gen 10) > Roon (Audiolense FIR) > Motu UltraLite mk5 > (4) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference +4 subs

 

Watch my Podcast https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXMw_bZWBMtRWNJQfTJ38kA/videos

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Umm - not quite. I had the previous Mac and the DVI to HDMI connection did not pass HDCP - so you could not watch any copyright protected high definition material.

 

I know the display port can handle HDCP - I don't know whether Apple are doing anything with it though.

And then trying to run blu ray from Vista I wonder whether the 9300 PC drivers will know what to do with the display port.

 

I'm trying to find a way to e-mail them .. but their support site is far from straightforward.

 

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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Thank you for your comments. I think the best way is to remove the 500gb drive in put it in an enclosure and run via firewire 800. I have a Lacie enclosure I can stick it in a drawer and put a pillow over it since it is bus-powered. I plan to let the Mini boot from the 500gb since I don't want to make any changes to it other than making it external.

I will install the stock 320gb hard drive and use that as a movies drive.

 

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DJ, what is your impression of the new Mac Mini? I've got an 'old' (8 months) one utilizing an external Western Digital drive.

Thanks

 

Mac Mini, ITunes, McIntosh, B&W, Wireworld, and a Rega Turntable for those big black discs!

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If you put it in a drawer and put a pillow over it, I suspect you will shorten the life of that hard drive immensely. My very effective solution here is that my desk, and listening station, is on one side of my small home office; an Airport extreme, with the external hard drive that holds my music files, is on the other side of the room, sending my music wirelessly to my iBook. I rarely hear anything.

 

Tim

 

I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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Quote "I know the display port can handle HDCP - I don't know whether Apple are doing anything with it though."

 

I'm not sure for definite, but I know when Mac introduced the MacBook laptops with display port there were people having troubles with non-HDCP televisions/displays, so I suspect they do support HDCP. See http://www.macrumors.com/2008/11/18/apple-incorporates-hdcp-copy-protection-in-new-laptops/ and for standard def playback the issue was resolved with a Quicktime update http://www.macrumors.com/2008/11/25/quicktime-7-5-7-for-displayport-allows-standard-definition-playback/

 

Hope this might help you with your HDCP question.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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  • 1 month later...

How about starting from scratch with 1GB/120 (the cheapest one), upgrading to 2GB for $50, replacing the 120GB hard drive with a 256GB SSD (or maybe 512GB when Toshiba releases it)? Seems that would eliminate drive noise, and run much cooler, hopefully eliminating fan noise. I assume the 2.5" SSDs would fit--please correct if I'm wrong.

 

Would a SSD introduce any other issues (like RF) if the Mini is near the USB DAC?

 

Thrasher

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Hi there,

It has been known for some time that when you upgrade the HDD in the Mac-mini if you are not careful and put the heat sensor back correctly on the HDD the fan(s) will go into full RPM. Before giving up I would open it up again and check everything once more....there should be a piece of tape or something to hold the sensor in place on the HDD.

 

Best of luck,

 

casp

 

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