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 Post subject: apple's latest noisy powerbook drives me crazy
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:20 am 
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Posts: 2
I just returned the latest verison of powerbook 12" to apple. Because it's so noisy.

I choose apple's laptop because many people in this forum said apple's laptop is very quiet. But that is not ture, at least for the latest laptop from apple (made since Nov. 2005)

The laptop has a G4 cpu running at 1.5Ghz, 80G Toshiba HD at 5400rpm, and a 64MB 3D card from Nvidia.

When I first turn on the powerbook G4 I notice the noise comes from the left part of the laptop. It seems the cooling fan is running all the time at low rpm. Together with the working noise from HD, it's impossible not to be disturbed in a quiet room working in front of the laptop.

I phoned apple saying the fan is always on, which is obviously uncommon. They then arrange a replacement for me.

When I got the replacement (which is also brand new), I think this one should be quiet, but again I'm wrong. The background noise is the same as the first one I got. After consulting apple's user discussion forum, I found such noise is considered *normal* for a powerbook G4.

The book also runs hot very quickly. I already runs it at reduced speed (1Ghz), and lift the case with a notebook stand. The temp. of the cpu quickly jumps to 45C in 30 minutes even I'm just composing an email. Then the *real fan* turns on, with very loud noise for 1 minutes, only to drive down temp. by 3C. Then after 5 or 10 minutes, the temp. goes up to 45C again and the fan kicks in again. This happens even I'm just listening music through itunes which typically has a cpu usage of 15-20%.

The really bad thing happens when I watch a movie encoded in h.264 using quicktime7, a format apple said providing "stunning quality". Unfortunately, enjoying the "stunning quality" means the cpu will work at 70-80% (at reduced clock rate of 1G), and the cooling fan will run crazily all the time! A good movie can be easily ruined by the noise from the cooling fan. In fact I only watch a movie for 40 minutes and then quit quicktime because of the noise.

I then made a test: just turn on the powerbook and does not run any application, then the fan will fire up in one and a half hour! After that, the fan will kick in every 10 minutes, and I'm sure the cpu usage is as low as 5%!

I phoned apple again, and again they said it's normal, since the fan will kick in whenever the cpu is too hot.

I'm fed up finally and ask a refund to end my very unpleasant experience with the latest powerbook.

Now I understand why Apple will switch to intel's chip next year, power G4 is simply too hot for a laptop.

Previously I read some post from this forum saying the ibook is very quiet. If that is also true for the latest ibook (1.25Ghz), I probabily will get an ibook instead. Or wait till Jan. next year when apple release its Pentium based intel laptop.


Or should I get a laptop from ibm or dell?

What's your opinions?

Thanks,
ejoy


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 Post subject: Re: apple's latest noisy powerbook drives me crazy
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 7:07 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2005 3:43 am
Posts: 34
Apple has been known to have problems with overheated laptop processors. It's one of the reasons the went to Intel for their new platform. I'd just return the whole thing and buy a Dell. Or you could wait a while and buy a new IntelMacTop.

My gf bought a Dell Inspirion 9300. Truely a magnificent machine and it's fairly quiet. The CPU fan goes on once in a while, but never makes a lot of noise and the only other sound I can hear are the seeks of the harddrive.

It's much better than my IBM 41 series laptop.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 7:37 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 7:14 am
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Just to throw in a couple tidbits:

1) the 12" Powerbooks run notoriously hot and loud - too much heat in too small a space. The 15" & 17" powerbooks are much quieter.

2) 45° C is -not- an unreasonable temp for a G4 - as long as they don't hit 65° under load, you're ok. You might want to invest in a laptop cooler such as Vantec's lapcool 3. It's not silent, but it'll be drowned out by the noise of your typing, or pretty much anything else (An air conditioner, someone taking a shower 2 rooms over, the dishwasher in the kitchen, whatever). Then again, the 12" PB's fan issues are pretty much incurable.

3) How exactly are you underclocking your processor? Apple-supplied G4s have never had much of an ability to be over/underclocked without soldering leads (some aftermarket G4s can be manipulated via jumpers).

Unfortunately, the problem is partly Apple's - Freescale has had cooler running G4s (90nm) with higher bus speeds and higher clockspeeds for a while. It's a shame they're rushing so much to get the IntelBooks out the door and neglecting to upgrade their current product line.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 7:47 am 
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stratusgd wrote:
Just to throw in a couple tidbits:

2) 45° C is -not- an unreasonable temp for a G4 - as long as they don't hit 65° under load, you're ok. You might want to invest in a laptop cooler such as Vantec's lapcool 3. It's not silent, but it'll be drowned out by the noise of your typing, or pretty much anything else (An air conditioner, someone taking a shower 2 rooms over, the dishwasher in the kitchen, whatever). Then again, the 12" PB's fan issues are pretty much incurable.


3) How exactly are you underclocking your processor? Apple-supplied G4s have never had much of an ability to be over/underclocked without soldering leads (some aftermarket G4s can be manipulated via jumpers).

Unfortunately, the problem is partly Apple's - Freescale has had cooler running G4s (90nm) with higher bus speeds and higher clockspeeds for a while. It's a shame they're rushing so much to get the IntelBooks out the door and neglecting to upgrade their current product line.


I think it's ok for use in an office, but for my room it's too noisy. I just put the machine into reduced mode which should run on 1Ghz. While typing this the cpu is around 50C and the fan kicks in again.
My friend has a ibm T42 laptop running 7/24 and never hears the fan turning on.

Now I'm waiting for apple to arrange a collection. I would say the after-sale service of apple is great. No hassle at all. The os x is also a great piece of software. But their hardware is not.

ejoy


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 3:45 pm 
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ejoy wrote:
I think it's ok for use in an office, but for my room it's too noisy. I just put the machine into reduced mode which should run on 1Ghz. While typing this the cpu is around 50C and the fan kicks in again.
My friend has a ibm T42 laptop running 7/24 and never hears the fan turning on.

Now I'm waiting for apple to arrange a collection. I would say the after-sale service of apple is great. No hassle at all. The os x is also a great piece of software. But their hardware is not.

ejoy


Well, I'm glad at least some of your experience is positive. One note on the power-saving modes - they tend to act as a 'suggestion' to the system - under periods of high stress (i.e. exporting h.264 video) the power savings features still allow the processor to bump back up to full usage, whether you have it set on auto or reduced.

Again, the fan noise is pretty common on 12" Powerbooks though - you might've gotten a particularly hot sample, but they're just not as quiet as the 15" Powerbooks. (For comparison, I leave my 1Ghz PB on 'highest' (as it's my main work machine), and only hear my fans ramp up above a whisper under extended gaming, or if I'm doing big chunks of video.

I assume Apple has done some troubleshooting with you?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 4:56 pm 
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Location: Suomi Finland Perkele
My dads 12" Powerbook is silent during idle and light load, except for a faint hdd idle noise. Its bloody noisy during heavy load though.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 10:58 am 
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Hey ejoy, what ambient room temps do you normally have?

My mum has a 1.33Ghz 12" PB, and the only idle noise is the HDD - it's not the quietest HDD in the world, but it's not loud by any means.

My 1.33Ghz 12" iBook is much quieter - probably due to the slower CPU, slower bus (and RAM), and slower GPU. All these things contribute heat into a very small case. It still gets loud when the fans kick in, but I'm yet to see a laptop that doesn't.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 11:12 am 
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Location: UK
Quote:
My friend has a ibm T42 laptop running 24/7 and never hears the fan turning on.


So why didn't you get that if quiet is important to you???


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2006 8:35 pm 
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Location: San Francisco, CA
I scanned through the thread really quickly, but maybe larger versions are quieter because my 17 inch powerbook is really quiet IMHO. I'd bet with a slower rpm hdd it would be even more quiet but I don't mind the extra performance so much, and rather not go to the hassle to change it to a lower spec drive just for 1 db reduction or so.

Apple to a dell is IMHO a great reduction in quality. I think IBM makes better laptops than dell in terms of quality IMHO if you want a PC and not a mac (and as you know, current macbook pros that run windows are really expensive!). IBM's designs sure are dull though. Function over form - its not for everyone, but it sure is nice once in a while.

-Ken


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2006 4:54 am 
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Location: Suomi Finland Perkele
My dads 12" pwoerbook is really quiet when doing simple stuff, the fan never turns on and it doesnt get too hot. Its comforttable to keep in the lap without burning my balls off, unlike the Fujitsus we have..

When editing video it gets really loud though, with the fan spinning full speed.

But overall it´s the second most quiet laptop i´ve heard, the quietest being the iBook wich has a quieter HDD. Under idle at least, an IBM with a PM ULV cpu was obviously more quiet under load.

No doubt the models with larger screens will be cooler though..


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