6 Replies Latest reply: Sep 13, 2009 10:22 AM by cesaric
armaniGT Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I bought a brand new MacBook Pro yesterday and have noticed a high pitch "whining" sound coming from the top left of the keyboard around the speakers. It is much more noticeable when you put your ear near that area. I've done some extensive research and it appears that this is the CPU making this noise and the Intel Core Duo processors are known for this in both macbooks and pc laptops. However, most people who reported this issue on MacBooks have the older plastic models (either the while or black models); I haven't seen too much on the unibody MacBooks. People have also said that when an application is open that uses a lot of processor power, then the sound tends to go away. There is a topic on this on Apple Support (Article # TS1823).

I called AppleCare earlier and they had me reset the PMU which didn't do anything. Then she had me open up a finder window and then drag it around in a circle. All this did was lower the amplitude of the noise a little but not significantly. She then told me to go to an apple authorized service center or apple store and have them examine it. The problem with the apple store is that it is very loud in there and it's unlikely they will hear it unless they take it to the back. I've also noticed some third party applications like QuietMBP are available but i don't want to do that yet.

Does anyone else with a new unibody macbook pro have this issue? Are there any solutions? If not, I may look into exchanging it since I still have 2 weeks. I plan on going back to the apple store to see if the macbooks in the store make this noise but i doubt i will be able to hear it since it is noisy in there. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks.

macbook pro, Mac OS X (10.5.7), high pitch whining noise
  • carl wolf Level 6 Level 6 (14,360 points)
    "I ... have noticed a high pitch "whining" sound coming from the top left of the keyboard around the speakers. It is much more noticeable when you put your ear near that area."
    Since sound pressure decreases by the square of the distance, I'm not surprised that the opposite is true.

    "I've done some extensive research and it appears that this is the CPU making this noise"
    The CPU is not located in the area that you described.

    "People have also said that when an application is open that uses a lot of processor power, then the sound tends to go away."
    Have you found that to be true?
  • armaniGT Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Then where is the Intel Core Duo processor located on these computers? People are saying that the sound is due to the processor switching between power states (thus when it is idle it is a little louder than when the computer is busy). I haven't loaded any CPU intensive applications yet, but I did notice the sound decreased when I had photobooth open.
  • armaniGT Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I've also noticed that when I am on safari and it push apple-F to search for something, and then I scroll down or up using two fingers on the track pad, the amplitude of the whining noise in the same area under the keyboard gets louder. Possibly an electric part that is making this noise?
  • armaniGT Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I've scheduled a meeting with the genius bar at my local Apple store for tomorrow to see what they see. I'm hoping that I can exchange the system for another one since I have yet to install anything on the system and it's only 3 days since my purchase and this issue was present upon first turning on the system.

    In the meantime, if anybody has any input I would greatly appreciate it. As i mentioned previously, it appears that this CPU whine noise or capacitor vibration or whatever it is was an issue with the macbooks from 2006 and early 2007, but not really with the unibody aluminum macbooks.
  • armaniGT Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Problem solved--the genius at my local apple store was able to hear the sound and said that the left fan was defective. The computer was exchanged for another.
  • cesaric Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I just purchased a Macbook Pro (3.06 Intel Core 2 Duo, backlit LED display) delivered Sep 4th 2009. I'm running OS X 10.6. I've noticed the whining noise near the upper left side of the keyboard/speaker when I increase my display brightness. There's 16 ticks on the display brightness meter. I was hearing it between the 7 to 15 tick range. At full brightness (16th tick), it went away.

    After playing around with the "Energy Saver" settings, I was able to narrow the noise down to the 10-15 tick range. It's pretty annoying because in a quiet room it feels like I have a ringing noise inside my ear like right after leaving a loud concert.

    For me it doesn't matter if I have the power chord is plugged in or not. I also disabled the second processor core as a possible fix on some other forums I've read and that had no effect. I can't see this being a fan problem (or sound like one). Sounds like a CPU or resonance issue with the display.

    Called Apple Support and they suggested that I take it to an Apple store. It's an hour away for me so I'm not to inclined to make the trip to have someone possibly give me the run around since this could be classified as "unimportant". Anyone have have any luck getting this resolved?