Mac Pro: Take 1 – The Quietest Desktop Mac Ever

Today I received my new Mac Pro. I ordered it about a week ago, and opted for the 2 x 2.66 GHz model, with 2 GB RAM and Bluetooth. I didn’t need any additional hard drives (anyway, they’re cheaper from third-party vendors) or optical drives (I have an old IDE DVD drive that I might add). I’m not the kind who usually goes for either top-of-the-line Macs, or for desktop Macs, preferring, in recent years, the iMacs and iBooks. But this time, I wanted to get something fast, and something that might last more than the usual 18 months (I’ve changed Macs about every year-and-a-half for a while). I wanted an Intel Mac, for a variety of reasons (both speed and the need to update one or more of my books for Leopard, which will entail talking about running Windows on the Mac).

So this is the first of a series of articles I’ll be posting about the Mac Pro. Each one will be short, and focus one one specific aspect of the computer and its performance. Today’s installment: the Mac Pro’s noise level.First, I’m someone who has always searched for quiet Macs. Even since I suffered the noise of a Performa 6400 (I actually built a cork-lined enclosure to try and cut down the decibels on that one) I’ve opted for the quietest possible Macs. The early iMacs, with no fans, were perfect for me. So were iBooks: I had a G3 and still have a G4 iBook, which, other than when their fans go on (which is rare) make no noise at all. My last Mac, an iMac G5, was more noisy, but I accepted it for the quality of its screen and the overall performance of the computer.

So when friends and colleagues were at the WWDC, the first thing I asked was, “How noisy is it?” Given that they were only able to check out the machines in rooms with people milling about, their “Very quiet” answers were to be taken with a grain of salt. But reading some users’ comments, saying that it is “whisper quiet” or that they “only hear the hard disk”, I was convinced that it was time to take a chance. (I live in the country, so can’t go to any store and try out a Mac.)

Well, I’m certainly stunned by the lack of noise that comes from the Mac Pro. It is whisper quiet; and you can only hear the hard disk (a noise that, oddly enough, doesn’t bother me). It is, without doubt, the quietest computer I have ever used (aside from those laptops, when their fans aren’t running). I have it right next to my desk, and can barely hear it; with music on, it is as though the computer is not even there.

So, if you want a quiet Mac, the new Mac Pro is for you. And, if you buy from Amazon.com, you can take advantage of a $150 rebate. What a machine…

Coming installments of this series will discuss the computer’s speed, its innards, and much more.

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