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Noisy Mac Pro tower fan

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Peter Wolsey
Noisy Mac Pro tower fan
on Apr 19, 2012 at 2:32:08 pm

Thought this might be worth sharing for those who have been plagued by a noisy Mac Pro tower.

The fan noise from the Mac tower (around 4 years old) in one of our edit rooms was getting increasingly noisy, but as with everything that changes gradually over the years I never gave it much thought.

Finally I thought 'This is getting ridiculous', took off the side panel and found that the video card was very hot to the touch (no, I didn't poke my fingers into the electronics, just the plastic fan ducting). I was surprised because we periodically carefully clean the dust from the Mac to avoid problems like this.

It took a quick internet search to find the solution. The hidden fine cooling fins on our video card (ATI Radeon X1900) were completely blocked with around 4 years of dust, though it was impossible to see this whilst the card was plugged into the motherboard as they're shrouded by a plastic fan duct. The solution was to carefully take the card out and use a paintbrush to clear the dust from the fins, together with a fair amount of blowing.

Now the card is running at a normal temperature the fan is really quiet again and our editors can sleep undisturbed.

Just be careful to make sure you're grounded so that the card isn't fried with static.


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Joseph Hung
Re: Noisy Mac Pro tower fan
on Apr 19, 2012 at 5:08:39 pm

Yep that'll do it. I generally clean that vent out every 3-4 months. My tower is up off the floor so it's not so bad, but if your tower is sitting on the floor or carpet, you may have to check it more often.


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