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darthjones Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I just picked up an 11 inch Macbook Air (1.6GHz/4GB memory/128GB storage) and I find it to be completely silent unless I hold the system up to my ear. When I do that, I can hear the fan going even on idle.

My question is - when people say that it's completely silent, do they mean that it's completely 100% silent even when they hold the system up to their ears? Or do they just mean under regular use (i.e. with the system on their laps or on the tables in front of them). Don't get me wrong - it's awesome as it is right now. I just want to know if I have a defective unit while I can still return/replace it.

Macbook Air, Mac OS X (10.6.5), Picked up an Air for light development
  • Toocool4 Level 2 Level 2 (365 points)
    Take the 100% silent with a pinch of salt. In a quiet room with you ear to the Mac you can hear the fan.

    But it’s so quiet that you would not notice it in everyday use, you may notice it if the fan was working over time if the CPU was hot.

    You do not the fan replaced.
  • Rhyd Level 3 Level 3 (795 points)
    Silent means you can hear the fan if you really try by holding up to ear. Remember that the fan always runs when computer is on--- it sort of idles at 2000. Under stress, it can maintain over 6000 and still be normal.
  • dbs Level 2 Level 2 (155 points)
    As another poster noted, the new MBA fan runs at about 2000 rpm all of the time. In a normal residential room environment, you won't hear anything "at idle".

    But, if you start CPU-intensive tasks, the fan will accelerate into the 6000 rpm range. At that speed you can definitely hear it.

    I had a late-2008 MBA before this new one; the new one is a lot louder, at full song, than the previous model.

    But I say again: most of the time you won't hear anything...
  • Brian Caslis Level 3 Level 3 (795 points)
    darthjones wrote:
    I just picked up an 11 inch Macbook Air (1.6GHz/4GB memory/128GB storage) and I find it to be completely silent unless I hold the system up to my ear. When I do that, I can hear the fan going even on idle.

    My question is - when people say that it's completely silent, do they mean that it's completely 100% silent even when they hold the system up to their ears? Or do they just mean under regular use (i.e. with the system on their laps or on the tables in front of them). Don't get me wrong - it's awesome as it is right now. I just want to know if I have a defective unit while I can still return/replace it.


    This is normal. If it's on your lap or desktop then it's effectively silent. If you hold it to your ear in a quiet place then you can hear the fan. Nothing to worry about.
  • harlekinrains Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    "This is normal", should become the new catchphrase for Apples consumer complaints management -

    Me and others have a massive problem with a highpitched humming noise coming from the fan, which gets amplified by the Macbook case itself, which is constantly noticeable, even distracting, when working in calm surroundings.

    Not only is it noticeable in a normal working environment, at normal working distance, regardless of the workload, and constantly, it is out and out unnerving and the result of some questionable design decisions. To take a look at the complaints, please visit the following thread here in the forums:

    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2631985&tstart=0&start=30

    Thank you for acknowledging the problem.
  • Adam Getliff Level 3 Level 3 (820 points)
    No noise from mine - if I press my ear to the machine I struggle to hear a faint hum...

    <can't believe I even replied to this one>
  • Brian Caslis Level 3 Level 3 (795 points)
    harlekinrains wrote:
    "This is normal", should become the new catchphrase for Apples consumer complaints management -

    Me and others have a massive problem with a highpitched humming noise coming from the fan, which gets amplified by the Macbook case itself, which is constantly noticeable, even distracting, when working in calm surroundings.

    Not only is it noticeable in a normal working environment, at normal working distance, regardless of the workload, and constantly, it is out and out unnerving and the result of some questionable design decisions. To take a look at the complaints, please visit the following thread here in the forums:

    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2631985&tstart=0&start=30

    Thank you for acknowledging the problem.


    The thread you are referring to has nothing to do with the MacBook Air. Do you have one? I have no such noise that you are talking about even in a dead calm room at night let alone in a working environment. I have no idea what you mean by acknowledging the problem. I don't work for Apple.
  • rerickson Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    My 11" Air (1.6 GHz) is extremely quiet. I run BOINC, so both processors are at 100% for hours on end.
    Holding it up to my ear, I can hear a very quiet fan - and I'm generally fussy about noises.
    So if people are reporting loud fans, something's wrong!
  • harlekinrains Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Ok, what do we have here now... An individual that seems not to bee able to read a thread titles, or their content, or has problems clicking on links - but does state that he doesn't work for Apple, while asking the obvious.

    And another one that states that if there is a problem, well there must be a problem, right?

    The only thing productive I can take from this thread is, that there are Macbook Airs out there which don't have the problem (yet?), or Macbook owners with far less sensitive hearing. Point taken.
  • hawleyrw Level 3 Level 3 (625 points)
    I've only heard my fan once - when I was initially loading up apps on it. Must have stressed it some. System reports it normally running around 2000RPM, and with these posts - had to do the obvious, and hold it up to my ear. Even then, VERY hard to hear. Mostly, what I actually was hearing was a slight rush of wind against my year - THAT was audible. Virtually silent when under normal use.
  • JoeyR Level 6 Level 6 (8,275 points)
    It's generally not a great idea to run a distributed computing project on a notebook at the default settings of 100% CPU usage. Notebooks are not designed to be used under that great a load for extended periods. Machines like the MacBook Air have very limited room for cooling as well. Granted, the CPU in the Air is relatively low powered, but running it at 100% continuously will cause unnecessary excess heat which is not a friend to your batteries or fan. If you really really want to run BOINC, you might consider going into the options and dropping the max CPU usage down to something like 20 or 30%.

    Even on my desktop... with a huge case and tons of cooling... I back my CPU usage off a bit. It'd be nice to have a way to throttle GPU usage a little as well... but they have yet to implement that option.
  • xalcyx Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Mine just started making a 'clicking' noise on the left side. It's been going every 5 seconds for about 5 minutes now. Anyone have any clues what this could be? I've never heard it before. Have not done anything with it (such as dropping/abuse). Simply have used it normally. It's something inside the machine - nothing to do with the volume. I've only had it about 5 days.
  • Brian Caslis Level 3 Level 3 (795 points)
    xalcyx wrote:
    Mine just started making a 'clicking' noise on the left side. It's been going every 5 seconds for about 5 minutes now. Anyone have any clues what this could be? I've never heard it before. Have not done anything with it (such as dropping/abuse). Simply have used it normally. It's something inside the machine - nothing to do with the volume. I've only had it about 5 days.


    It sounds like you might have a problem with the fan. I'd install iStat Pro widget and use it to check the fan speed. Even at minimum the fan should show about 2000 rpm. If it's not running then you will need to take it to Apple for repair or exchange.
  • Qui Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    Hi. I just bought a refurbished Macbook Air 11". There is a constant whirring noise coming from the left side of the keyboard that is quite audible in a quiet room. I can pinpoint the sound to just under the Q and W buttons on the keyboard. In fact, pressing my fingers over the Q and W buttons muffles the sound. I believe the fan is located in the area below these keys.

    For those users on this thread that have only heard the fan noise by holding the computer up to your ear, I would appreciate any opinions you have on whether the issues I am having are normal fan noise issues or pehaps a problem that I should have inspected by the Genius Bar.

    Thank you.
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