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Apple Mac Studio M1 Ultra: Fan Noise

Consult with Lloyd on your computer or photographic purchase, backup strategy, archival and storage strategy, etc.

See the in-depth review of the Apple Mac Studio M1 Ultra.

Apple Mac Studio, front and rear

Don H writes:

When you were conducting various tests on the Studio in yesterday’s heat, did you ever hear the fans ramp up? (I haven’t on my Max, but I wasn’t really stressing it.)

With all the questionable design decisions of Apple’s over-stylized hardware, it seems that they do a decent job addressing the thermal/noise balance. (Perhaps they learned a humbling lesson with the 2013 Mac Pro that was supposed to have a great, innovative cooling design but ended up throttling future CPU plans.)

Considering over half of the volume of a Mac Studio is taken up by cooling components (and most of its weight), I’d hope the payoff would be a near-silent machine under load.

MPG: Even at full computing load at 90°F in my office, the Apple Mac Studio M1 Ultra is not audible at 3-4 feet away, unless the office noise level is 28 dB or less (so quiet that many people have likely never experienced it).

The 2019 Mac Pro (a very quiet machine for a desktop) was quite noticeable under those conditions and even ramped up its fans. And my iMac 5K was a nuisance by comparison (when under load).

Apple has done a world-class and unprecedented job at keeping the fan noise level down ubelievably low. We’ve never before had this much computing power in so compact a package, and so quiet that in absolute terms it is surely unrivalled.

I always have to snort in derision when someone compares an “equivalent” but “cheaper” PC to a Mac. The PC is usually loud as sin.

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