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Quieting Your G5?

highcaffeine Re:Usual Suspects (190 comments)

I was going to use the last of my mod points on some other posts in this story that gave some really good tips. At least until I saw this post.

Nothing personal, because I'm sure your comments were made with the best of intentions, and in the PC/non-G5 computing world they'd be great suggestions. However, I would not do any of the "standard tricks" with a G5. Here's why:

Apple has done a serious amount of engineering with the cooling in the G5s. Nine fans, 21 temperature sensors and four "thermal zones". Not to mention those gigantor heatsinks. Replacing their fans, or going so far as to run them at different voltages (and thus speeds), may well cause the opposite effect you're looking for. Mac OS X may end up running the fans much more often to keep the ambient case temperature in the zones you've "played with" at their target temperature(s).

You can get a brief overview of their cooling design here: http://www.apple.com/powermac/design.html

Are you still in the original warranty, or did you add AppleCare? If either of those is true, you may not want to start mucking around with the cooling system components. If I were you, I'd check the warranty/AppleCare legalese very closely first to make sure that you're not voiding those agreements -- especially if you end up damaging your system.

Here's what I would suggest instead:

- Close all unnecessary background programs (fewer programs == less CPU usage == less waste heat == less fan noise) when you are recording your voice overs.

- The type of recording discussed in the parent article won't need remotely near the power of the G5. Because of this, it may also help to go into the Energy Saver system preference panel and switch to the "reduced performance" power profile. This should reduce the need for the fans. When you're done recording, switch back to Automatic or Highest.

- Keep discs out of your superdrive when recording. That drive, when it has a disc in there spinning around, can be loud.

- Get a good directional mic and don't have your G5 tower in front of the mic, where you'll be sitting to do the recording.

Having said all that, you may have something else going on that's causing the noise in your machine. I vaguely recall something about a batch of power supplies in earlier G5s that (I think) Apple will replace under warranty/AppleCare because of excess noise/hum. Maybe you could look into that, as well.

And just to put all my comments in more context, I also have a G5 (dual 2GHz), an Mbox and have used ProTools for voice overs. My G5 is dead silent, and always has been. When I'm sitting at my desk, I literally hear more fan noise from other people's machines down the hallway than I have ever heard from something inside my office, including my G5.

I can't recall, since getting my G5 last October, ever hearing the fans kick into a high speed (and this includes the times I've had FCP4, ProTools, Cinema4D, DVD Studio Pro, Photoshop and LiveType all running at once). And on the recording side, for reference, I've been using a Shure KSM27 mic.

more than 10 years ago


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