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Macbook Pro & MacMini noise

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Hi all,


I'm getting either a mac mini or a macbook pro for music server, to be placed alongside my system so I need to know if any of them is silent enough for the task. I tried listening at retailers but as one would imagine it's impossible with the ambient noise. Any of them will not be used to control playback or do anything while music is playing, all will be controlled via iphone remote, the macbook will be closed (graphics off) so they will be almost idle (just itunes playback).


So any feedback on their noise in near-idle situations is welcome as I can't try it properly before I purchase one. Also I need audiophile feedback on this because 'silent' in an audiophile context is very different from a consumer-grade context.


thanks in advance.



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Neovibe - I have found both to be very quiet (I use primarily a Mac Mini in my audio rack, but occasionally connect my MBP 13"). Can't hear the fans on either (I think you'd have to be playing HD video to get the fans spinning up, and if I had to wager a guess, in this particular case I think the MBP fan would be comparatively louder, but should be moot for audio).



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I agree with Silverlight. I have 4 Macs I can use as audio servers.


Apple Cube, which is the quietest = no fan at all.


Mac Mini, the second most quiet computer I use, I practically need a stethoscope to hear it.


Macbook Pro, mine is not as quiet as it should be, due to a fan that needs to be replaced. Prior to that, it was plenty quiet.


Powermac G5 - sounded like a Huey (vietnam era helicopter) when I first got it, but after retrograding the video card, and installing an SSD, it's as quiet as I can imagine any computer with 9 fans could be. :)

More importantly, the noise level is now easily acceptable for in the room usage.





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I'm surprised your two choices are so different in price. Instead of spending the money on a display, keyboard, etc. that you may never use - why not consider a mac mini with an SSD? That would be really quiet.



Corey[br]Apple TV[br]Peachtree Audio nova[br]PS Audio Trio A100[br]B&W 602 s2

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I think of all options mac / pc MacMini wins for me .


Use external HDD (firewire or usb); if you have huge library and growing consider DROBO (very quiet) .

Connect your DAC via otical out (Toslink) and you are a winner !


Cheers !



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Thank you all for your replies. Now I'm more confident that any of them is silent enough to stand next to my hifi rig. :)


a couple of clarifications:


- my options are not mac mini OR macbook but more like macbook OR macbook+macmini


- regarding external storage, be it macbook or macmini, library needs to be in another room. the only way I can alow any library disks near my hifi is through my current solution: custom case, rubber-band-suspended hard drives. but that's another topic...


cheers all




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.....this is depending on your requirement, how big your external HD has to be.

I can not hear my HD at all - its a 320 GB, 2.5" FW Seagate to Go (see below).


I'm sensitive as well for noise and find my MBP fan is too noisy, bur not the external HD.


Audirvana Plus ->15"MBP 16GB 1TB SSD -> USB-> Intona USB Isolator -> USB -> Chord DAC ->Borbely Balanced Preamp->Active X-over-> 4 Class A Monoamps->3 Way SpeakerHeavens SE

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- about disk noise I'm talking of full size drives, not 2,5" drives (too big of a library)

- seems like mac mini is accepted as quieter than macbook pro

- my place varies between 10º celsius and almost 30º celsius, so it gets a bit hot (but only a couple months a year), but for music playback the machines will be almost in idle, with no video out so...


by the way, for anyone interested in silent pc's, just suspend your drives... I assure you you will be amazed with the difference (try ANTEC cases)


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Still not certain that your music needs to live in another room. I run my 1 TB music folder from a NewerTech mini-stack, which fits nicely under the Mac Mini (and which tends to run hot). The only way i can tell if either is on is my looking at their lights -- they effectively run silently.


If you're looking for a smaller hard drive, you might consider is a Little Big Disk Quadra, which comes in a 1 TB size, but only measures 1.5" by 3.5" by 5.5" (approximately). I use this at work, where I do occasionally notice some noise, as the hard drive is less than two feet from my ears.


One distinct advantage to this method is you automatically have a back-up copy of your music folder for when the inevitable occurs. I also like the LaCie, because it allows me to keep a second back-up off-site. And the drive is so small I can easily throw it it in a briefcase if I'm heading out of town for the week-end.


I have a Drobo Pro as my Time Machine disk, and can report that it's very quiet as well.


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I am open minded about this, and local drives certainly make everything more simple (e.g. time machine).


my experience with pc's tells me any screwed drive (not suspended by rubber bands) transmits a lot of noise to the chassis which will hum a lot. drives themselves make little noise. so it depends on the enclosures (and where you put them). maybe they are more quiet nowadays... I will look into it.


however, if I only get a macbook, the setup needs wireless storage so might as well put them away.


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