Power Mac G4 MDD Noise: Resolution

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
February 22nd, 2003 • 1:14 am

It’s been a long time coming, but it looks (sounds!) as if Apple has finally done the right thing and provided a fix for Power Mac G4 MDD owners affected by the horrendous noise levels produced by certain machines.

The Power Mac G4 Power Supply Exchange Program is here.

I am one of those affected, even though my Power Supply Unit was already replaced by my local reseller and the replacement unit is significantly quieter — but my machine is still quite noisy. Hopefully this fix will make it even quieter — and bring it back somewhere close to the level of my previous G4, which was a Power Mac G4/450 AGP and was much quieter.

I’ve described my experience with this hardware flaw in a recent Apple Peel column.

Congratulations are in order for the folks at www.g4noise.com, who worked very hard to get this issue acknowledged and fixed by Apple. I know how hard they worked, because I was involved in a little part of it :).

While Apple did the right thing here, one still wonders how such a problem could have happened in the first place. Quality control standards seem to have slipped somewhat at Apple in recent years. I know the pressures of the market and the competition are such that it’s hard to always ensure optimal quality for low-end machines — but there is really no excuse for such a flaw in such an expensive computer. People are willing to pay a premium for such computers precisely because they expect the absolute best in all aspects of the computer’s design and features.

As well, the 5/6 months of unbearable noise that many people have had to endure must have been a very painful and traumatic experience. It is not, after all, a hardware flaw that you could “work around”. I know, because I tried. I purchased an ADC Extension cable from Dr. Bott to try and “hide” my noisy G4 in a closet, only to find that the cable was not strong enough to carry the signal to my flat screen (contrary to Dr. Bott’s claims). In addition, the noise was such that hiding the machine in a closet would not really have fixed the problem anyway. It was literally a noise that could pierce through walls. As I said, things are somewhat better for me now, but I am still hoping that this PS replacement kit (which also includes a new processor fan) will bring the noise further down.

The “trauma” of these 5-6 months will take a long time to go away and have definitely shaken the beliefs and trust of a lot of people.

One hopes that this particular problem will have taught Apple a lesson or two about quality control in high end computers.

I also feel that Apple spent way too much time denying that anything was wrong. There’s nothing more frustrating, as the recent buyer of a brand new, high-end, expensive machine, than to be repeatedly told: “Oh yes, these machines are noisy, nothing that can be done about it” when you know very well that the noise you are hearing cannot possibly be normal.

For example, as recently as January 15, 2003, Apple posted an AppleCare Document that, once again, claimed that “increased noise levels” are to be expected, and that the only abnormal noise was a “clicking” noise. I don’t think that there is one single user among the hundreds that have reported problems to g4noise.com that has ever experienced a clicking sound. The problem was fan noise and whining.

The same thing happened with the AirPort range of the TiBook . Here again, Apple spent way too much time denying that anything was wrong when the problem was obvious, and only recently acknowledged it when releasing the new aluminium-based PowerBook G4s, with the AirPort antenna back behind the screen.

Unfortunately, in that case, Apple never did provide a fix. Fortunately, there were possible workarounds; however, they were costly and not always effective.

I certainly hope that we’ve seen the last of these obvious hardware flaws in Apple’s most expensive machines. I personally have been burnt twice, both with the TiBook and with the G4 MDD, and I am not impressed!

One final note to the mainstream Mac media: Shame on you for not making any effort to side with end users and pressure Apple to do something. Makes your already highly irrelevant “hardware reviews” even more out of touch with the reality of real computing in the real world. I, for one, will never trust another Macworld review again.

2 Responses to “Power Mac G4 MDD Noise: Resolution”

  1. Dennis Spear says:

    I was unaware of any fix from Apple and just found G4noise.com The replacement program is already history. I am so upset about this and still have to deal with the noise.

    What number can I call to talk with a human about this issue at Apple and get a new power supply without noise? I’ll even pay for it full price! Who and Where?

    Dennis Spear
    loyal Apple fool

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    Sorry you missed the replacement program. You should contact AppleCare and see if they have any kits left that they might sell you.

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