Apple is regarded one of the World's most inventive personal computer hardware manufacturers, and also well known for providing an operating system, MacOS®, and other software with an easy to use ergonomic human interface. Apple has manifested its thoughts on the importance of lowering noise emissions in products like the iMac®, and the now discontinued Power Mac® G4 Cube. Apple provides some reading on its products' environmental attributes and in them, below below the heading "Noise characteristics", you can read the following:
"Acoustical noise is becoming an increasingly important concern to computer users. It affects user comfort
and performance, and it may become disruptive and annoying to the user or others in the work
environment. For these reasons, Apple is concerned and designs our products to generate acoustical noise
levels as low as possible."
Apple's Power Mac G5 machines were June 24, 2003 advertised like this:
"The Power Mac G5 features a modern chassis constructed of anodized aluminum. Inside, an efficient
cooling system uses low-speed fans for superquiet operation - twice as quiet as a Power Mac G4."
And like this:
"Fans in the zones spin at very low speeds resulting in a system three times quieter than the Power Mac G4."
The Apple Power Mac G5 machines are from a technical/acoustical standpoint most interesting: They have been equipped with a hardware monitoring and controling "brain", which adjusts cooling in different thermal zones according to need. The Power Mac G5 computers also incorporate an automatic power management technique called bus slewing. Bus slewing is designed to run at high processor and bus speeds and high voltage when the demand on the processor is high, and to run at low processor and bus speeds and low voltage when the demand on the processor is low. Read more on this subject at the Intelligent PCs page.
The Mac Mini is one of the most recent additions to Apple's computers (January 2005). Advertizing the Mac Mini Apple says: "Best of all, Mac mini purrs along at a whisper-quiet sound level, so there’s no reason to hide it under your desk like an old PC to save your ears."
Comment: The Apple Power Mac G5 machines, are now noise declared according to ISO 9296, exactly conforming with the standard! Check here. It is hoped that this marks a new trend by Apple. The Apple claims regarding low noise emissions for the Mac Mini seems to be confirmed by independent reviews. G4Noise.com is a web site focusing on Macintosh noise issues.
Mac, MacOS, iMac, Power Mac, Mac Mini and Apple are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
IT Eco Declaration
IT Eco Declaration is a Swedish initiative, and alternative to ergonomic labeling schemes. This declaration standard complies with the 1-1SDoC concept; for many years promoted by the World's IT industry . IT Eco Declaration is now widely used by IT manufacturers, resellers and their customers in the Nordic countries: "IT Eco Declaration helps purchasers and persons responsible for environmental issues to make a professional choice when buying IT and telecom products."
Declaration of sound power level and sound pressure values in Operating and Idling modes per ISO 9296 is included in IT Eco Declaration.
Comment: Declaration of sound emissions in Sleep mode ("ACPI S3" for PCs) will hopefully be included in a future update of IT Eco Declaration: This since encouraging low noise levels or silence in Sleep mode not only at little cost provide better acoustic environments, but most often also is more ecological, because it reduces consumption of power: Pitifully enough, as it seems, a limited resource at this planet. See also US President George W. Bush's Executive Order 13221.
AOpen is an IT hardware company with a particular good reputation for their well-built PC motherboards. November 2002 AOpen proved that they also care about their customers concentration:
"Have you ever had the experience of being bombarded by the enormous noises from your CPU fan while you were enjoying music CD? Or in the still of the night, when you were obsessed in surfing the internet, you wish that this whole fan buzzing thing could stop for just one second? With years of research, involving Electronic, Air Dynamic Thermal, Mechanical Engineering and BIOS, AOpen proudly introduces "SilentTek", the Silent PC Technology, on our new generation of AOpen motherboards."
"..In addition to SilentTek, SilentBIOS technology is also being implemented on some of our motherboard. SilentBIOS controls noise level before OS boot, or during the Jukebox FM and Jukebox CD play time, but in the end will pass the controlling authority to SilentTek after OS boot."
Spring 2005 Aopen introduced a new intelligent feature named "Power Master":
"Power Master is a hardware controller to detect your CPU actual loading. And give your system the real time performance. When the loading is really low, it can lower the CPU current and make the fan slower to provide you the quietest working environment. On the contrary, Power Master will increase the CPU current and overclock in time to provide you the best performance."
Here are the AOpen links: SilentTek, SilentBIOS and the press release. Here's a SilentPCReview of SilentTEK, and here of Power Master.
Fujitsu Siemens Computers®
Fujitsu Siemens Computers is Europe's leading computer company. Below the heading Silence they tell:
"Less noise brings more productivity at no extra cost
Do you know the following situation? You work in a quiet room e.g. your office. When you switch off your PC, you suddenly notice how intrusive the background noise was. That is what happens to most people - you only perceive noise when it has stopped."
At the bottom of that page Fujitsu Siemens state: "Fujitsu Siemens Computers - the whisper PCs." It is at the same location also possible to view a most interesting high-quality movie on the benefits of quiet working environments, and to download some valuable reading on PC noise emissions.
Fujitsu Siemens patents related to optimized sound-ergonomy is the xcontrol™ for to reduce CD and DVD rotating speed, and their low-noise fan control reducing the PC operating noise:
"During the last few years an almost unbelievable increase in the performance of PC has been achieved due to rapid developments in processors and other PC components. Highly complex calculations, which hitherto were reserved for Mainframes, can now be carried out in a matter of seconds on PC. Data can be exchanged online via the Internet, even over long distances.
However, the operating noise of the components has been neglected. In many of todays' systems the hard disc, CD-ROM, power supply, processor fan etc... demonstrate noisily just how hard they are working, something which can prove to be more than tiresome during long periods of use, especially in the home."
Comment: Fujitsu Siemens Computers doesn't yet make it easy for customers to compare its products' levels of noise emissions. This is a pity since its computers often receive good test results for low noise emissions. It is hoped that this important IT manufacturer, investing so much efforts in a comfortable quiet computing experience, soon will update its Web site and product technical specifications to also include the important ISO 9296 sound power level noise values.
The Fujitsu Siemens Computers logo is a trademark of Fujitsu Siemens Computers GmbH.
TCO Development is worldwide known for its TCO
ergonomic and environmental labeling of computer screens, but TCO Development also sets quality standards for information technology like PC system units, peripherals and mobile phones. With the TCO'99 certification a low computer acoustic noise emission as a mandatory requirement was first introduced. It was updated July 2005:
"Acoustic noise from fans, hard disk drives, etc. can be annoying. To prevent such
annoyance, the aim shall be that Desktop computers shall cause a minimum of noise during usage. Many end users are sensitive to noise with different characteristics. To enable the end user to choose a product with a comfortable
noise level and acceptable generated frequency characteristics, this information should be declared, together with all other data related to a particular product."
The TCO'05 certification states that system units' acoustic noise emissions shall not exceed LWAd 4.2 bels when in idling and 4.7 bels in operating mode, if the system unit does not emit any prominent discrete tones, declared according to the ISO 9296 standard.
TCO'05 Notebook Computers also include demands on low noise emissions.
Comment: It is positive to see that TCO Development in its updated certifications now asks manufacturers to provide purchasers their actual noise emission values according to the ISO 9296 standard: This since a target sound power level value, based on some sort of average acoustic environment, always will risk become too high for quiet environments.