Solution to the noisy fans on a Core 2 Duo Intel Mac Mini
As those who’ve been reading my blog may know, I started my conversion to the other side (Mac) on the 28th of Feb, 2005 with the purchase of a 1.42 GHz Mac Mini after gushing over my now wife’s 12″ Power Book.
I was taken by its size, it’s sleek lines, OS X and last but not least, its comparative silence next to my air moving PC.
I kept this machine for 3 years before handing it over to my brother in a vain attempt at getting him to move into the digital world (he is an artist of insane calibre, but with zero digital knowhow).
To replace it, I bought an Intel Mac Mini when the Core 2 Duo models were released.
Since then, I’ve been enjoying trouble free compting, but have had only one issue with my machine.
It’s an issue that started the moment I upgraded the RAM from its inital 1Gb to 2Gb and Continued after a further upgrade to 3 and then 4Gb.
That issue is a fan that revs up as soon as the system comes under even minor stress, drowning out the sound of my beige box Windows 3GHz P4 system with 4 hard disks!
I’m not talking about a fan that revs up and gets loud shortly after booting and stays loud constantly, I’m talking about a fan that revs up as soon as the system shows even a modicum of activity.
With the supplied 1Gb stick of RAM, this issue did not occur, but add a second stick and the fan goes berserk at any opportunity. The fan revs up so much that the CPU, GPU and HDD actually cool down below their respective idling temperatures!
Anyway, there is a Really Simple Solution (TM).
Step 1: Download and install SMC Fan Control.
Step 2: Open a terminal window
Step 3: type the following:
/Applications/smcFanControl.app/Contents/Resources/smc -k F0Mx -w 3e80
And your fan will become a much more sedate affair.
Why? Because this limits your fan to about 4000 RPM rather than the ear numbing 5500 RPM it is usually capable of.
A 20% or so reduction doesn’t sound much, but remember that fan noise often has sometimes a squared or cubed relation to rotational speed, and that ignores a system working at its mechanical limits, so even a minor reduction can give big gains!
Try it and see.
For the curious, the 4 digit number after the -w is:
HEX (Base 16) : Fan Speed x 4
If you set the speed too low, I recommend installing ANOTHER FAVE OF MINE, Temperature Monitor to keep an eye on your newly silenced computer, especially in summer.