Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

10.4: Avoid a noisy hissing problem on MacBook Pros System
Tiger only hintIs there a 'hiss' bothering you on your new Intel-based MacBook Pro? It isn't so terrible to me, but it does get annoying when I am cranking my iTunes really loud. Here's a fix: open up iChat and choose Video: Video Preview, or just open Photo Booth. I imagine any app that starts the built-in camera might work.

Now your MacBook Pro is silky silent. Leaving the preview on in iChat makes almost no performance hit (seriously, 5% tops -- yay! new hardware!).

I swear I am not making this up.
    •    
  • Currently 2.33 / 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  (3 votes cast)
 
[33,248 views]  

10.4: Avoid a noisy hissing problem on MacBook Pros | 20 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the '10.4: Avoid a noisy hissing problem on MacBook Pros' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
10.4: Avoid a noisy hissing problem on MacBook Pros
Authored by: diamondsw on Mar 03, '06 08:02:20AM

Note that this is not a universal fix, although it has been reported elsewhere. For instance, this does nothing on mine.

On my MacBook Pro, there are three distinct noises:
1) A quiet hum from the upper left, which is always there
2) A quiet buzzing when running on battery power
3) A high-pitched whine when running on anything but full screen brightness

Now, before anyone panics about these, the only one I can usually hear is the first one, and it's more white noise than anything else.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Avoid a noisy hissing problem on MacBook Pros
Authored by: StevenRiggins on Mar 03, '06 08:59:13AM

The screen noise is a bad power inverter. Apple knows about it (according to Apple Discussions) and will repair it. The cpu cycling is fixed by PhotoBooth, Mirror Widget etc because it keeps a more even (power hungry) load on the cpus, opposed to running the cpu, powering it down, running it, 1000 times a second. I guess some cpus are more sensitive to this (or the switching power supply to the cpu)



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Avoid a noisy hissing problem on MacBook Pros
Authored by: latchkey on Mar 03, '06 09:05:35AM

I have problem #3 and the camera on trick doesn't work for it. I was told by an apple store 'genius' that it is probably a bad power inverter and that I should have my machine considered DOA and he gave me a fedex label to send it back and that they would send me a whole new machine (who knows if it is going to fix the problem... I'll just keep sending it back until it does). There is a ton of people talking about this on the apple discussion forums so it is a really common problem. Can you say brand new hardware? =)

http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=1831110

In fact, here is a pretty good recording of the high pitch noise I was hearing that is refereced from the link above. It's painful to work with.

http://homepage.mac.com/jimdufek/mbp/movies/squeal_noise.mov



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Avoid a noisy hissing problem on MacBook Pros
Authored by: kuruption on Mar 03, '06 06:22:37PM

So I've had my MBP for over a week now and never noticed any hissing until reading this little "hint".

I have to say, the only way I was able to really hear it was to mute the tv, turn off the other computer in the room and put my ear within 1" of the camera, and THEN I was able to hear it. Yes, it goes away when I open Photo Booth or some other camera app.

So it seems like if you don't have your ear an inch away from the camera and have a ambient room decibal value above that of outter space, it isn't an issue.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Avoid a noisy hissing problem on MacBook Pros
Authored by: diamondsw on Mar 03, '06 06:54:08PM

Cancel that - noise #2 disappears when using Photo Booth, or when disabling one of the processors. Noise 3 is still present.

Hmmm - still not sure if it's significant enough to warrant replacement. Mine is nowhere near as loud as the others on the discussion - it probably wouldn't be audible in a busy Apple store. However, in my quiet office (with a few fans running but little else) I can hear it.

I just hope it doesn't turn into something nasty the day after the warranty expires. :(



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Avoid a noisy hissing problem on MacBook Pros
Authored by: galendw on Mar 03, '06 08:04:14AM

I've heard this story several times now. It seems very odd to me, but I have no way to test it because I don't have an MBP.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Avoid a noisy hissing problem on MacBook Pros
Authored by: CHM on Mar 03, '06 10:28:09AM

Even better solution: download the Mirror widget: http://www.apple.com/downloads/dashboard/webcams/mirror.html

Start it up in dashboard. The sound goes away. Close the mirror widget. iSight turns off, but the sound stays gone.

I don't know why it works but it does. I can even put my MBP to sleep and when it wakes up, the sound is still gone. Only restarting requires re-doing the mirror widget trick.

(note: this will not solve the problem with the MBPs that have the buzzing defect caused by a bad screen inverter)



[ Reply to This | # ]
No performance hit either
Authored by: CHM on Mar 04, '06 10:51:56AM

I forgot to mention that this doesn't tax the CPUs at all (at least not measurably with Activity Monitor) once you've turned the mirror widget back off.

Sound stays gone until restart. No penalty.



[ Reply to This | # ]
No performance hit either
Authored by: CargoCult on Mar 04, '06 05:27:30PM
A few minutes ago, my MacBook was doing the high-pitched *VVVVVVRRT* noise when it was running off the battery. Connect up the power again, and it shut up. Disconnect power, noise was back.

So I downloaded the mirror widget, briefly started it up, removed it from the Dashboard and then deleted it entirely.

The sound has gone. Disconnect power, no change. Reconnect power, no change. Send MacBook to sleep -like so - wake it back up again, and the sound still hasn't returned.

Wow.

I thought it was some strange hardware thing, like a tiny, shrieking fan which changed behaviour depending on what the processor was doing - but maybe not. It's gone! (For now...)

Many thanks for your discovery; I'll be keeping a copy of the mirror widget thingy around for until Apple sorts out a software fix... ;-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

No performance hit either
Authored by: CargoCult on Mar 04, '06 05:42:01PM

Hmm. Seems like having it in a non-VVRRRT-ing state uses the battery more quickly I had an estimate of ~2:54 instead of the usual 3:30 on a near-full battery.

Started Photo Booth up again, quit it and the sound is back - and the battery life estimate is back to 3:30 again. Odd.

(This was a HIGHLY unscientific test, and may be complete rubbish!)



[ Reply to This | # ]
No performance hit either
Authored by: CHM on Mar 04, '06 11:19:40PM

Going off your comments, I just did the same thing. Started up Photobooth, quit it, the sound came back. Checked my battery life estimate, it said 2:04. Did the mirror widget trick. Sound went away. Battery life said 2:10. So I actually was getting estimated longer battery life. Maybe it's just the error in the estimates that happened for you and higher for me? At some point I'll try it again (multiple times) and see if the battery life estimates change.

Either way, it's better battery life with the mirror widget trick, then just leaving photobooth or iChate running with the iSight on, right?



[ Reply to This | # ]
No performance hit either
Authored by: CHM on Mar 05, '06 09:07:18AM

OK. Round 2:

Better battery life setting: 3 different attempts: (switching rapidly)
begin (mirror widget, no noise): 1) 2:50 2) 2:46 3) 2:46
after photo booth start and stop: 1) 2:38 2) 2:48 3) 2:47
after redoing mirror widget trick: 1) 2:46 2) 2:40 3) 2:47

So far, it seems to be just statistical error in battery life error.

Better battery life setting: 3 different attempts: (counting to 10 between steps)
begin (mirror widget, no noise): 1) 2:37 2) 2:35 3) 2:25
after photo booth start and stop: 1) 2:40 2) 2:36 3) 2:34
after redoing mirror widget trick: 1) 2:36 2) 2:44 3) 2:34

Still seems like estimate errors. I guess a better measurement would be to monitor the battery life over the course of say, 1 or 2 hrs with and without that noise.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Avoid a noisy hissing problem on MacBook Pros
Authored by: sven on Mar 03, '06 10:40:48AM

I received my MacBook Pro (2GHz) on Wednesday. I had read about the hissing noise and sure enough shortly after unpacking and playing with the machine I noticed it as well. Ah well, I thought, let's give it a run to see the performance before I send it back.

I was compiling code while loading up World of Warcraft (believe it or not, I had 30+ fps while compiling mysql...) and spent a whole evening putting load on the machine. Very much later (after WoW and the TV were off again) I suddenly noticed that the hissing noise was gone!

Previously, the only way to get rid of it was dimming the display until it was off. I'm not sure which category of hissing that falls in but at least in my case it seems like some "burning in" of the machine got rid of it. (Yeah, I know how unrealistic that sounds, but what are the chances my hearing degraded that same night ;))

I am *very* happy with the machine's performance and they'll have to pry it from my dead cold fingers if they want it back ;)

Sven



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Avoid a noisy hissing problem on MacBook Pros
Authored by: Mikey-San on Mar 03, '06 05:50:39PM

Am I the only one who thinks 5% for something you're not using is a "big hit"?

(This is not a comment on the usefulness of the hint itself. I don't even have a MBP.)



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Avoid a noisy hissing problem on MacBook Pros
Authored by: sven on Mar 04, '06 01:05:52AM

Considering that another proposal to fix it was turning off the second core via the CHUD cpu preference panel I'd say it isn't so bad.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Avoid a noisy hissing problem on MacBook Pros
Authored by: transeau on Mar 04, '06 10:12:06AM

Wow! I was just at the Apple store last night because this was pissing me off.

The On Hand Nerd's response... "It's just the fan"

My solution is a little simpler, but has a bigger impact on speed.
Install the Developer Tools, and add the CPU Tool to the menu bar. Turning off Core-2 causes the MBP to go silent. I turn CPU-2 back on when I need the extra power.

I've called apple on this twice now, and I am trying my best to get a silent replacement.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Avoid a noisy hissing problem on MacBook Pros
Authored by: jasenko on Mar 04, '06 05:39:30PM

I had the same problem (screen). Solved it by squeezing the lower end of the screen, the one near the magsafe and tilting the screen few times. It will probably come back, but no noise for a week could be a good sign.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Avoid a noisy hissing problem on MacBook Pros
Authored by: petber on Mar 05, '06 02:19:57AM

A good trick seems to be to run Mirror Widget until the hissing sound disappears but instead of closing it afterwards, just hit the i (prefs) button on the widget. This will cause the widget to flip over and not use any cpu. Next time you want to shut the hiss up just flip the Mirror Widget back on just for as long as it takes.



[ Reply to This | # ]
another solution
Authored by: hayne on Mar 23, '06 01:36:41PM
Note also the small utility program developed by Daniel Jalkut as reported on his blog
The reader 'Cryptonome' has made some comments to that blog that indicate a possible better solution.

[ Reply to This | # ]
another solution
Authored by: horizonstar on Apr 08, '06 07:19:26PM

Of the two solutions he provides at the bottom of this page:

http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/macbook-pro-noise-complaints/

I've found that the QuietMBP solution works great.

The MagicNoiseKiller (similar to the MirrorWidget trick) didn't work for me at all, unfortunately.



[ Reply to This | # ]