How do I pick a laptop when low noise is one of my top concerns

I don’t do a lot of intensive things with my computer. I do do some steam gaming but those are cheap $5 games that are several years old. based on what I’ve seen on YouTube, the games I play will work on integrated graphics. other than that I just use it for browsing online and watching YouTube.

I don’t want a loud laptop. my current laptop randomly has the fan running. which is annoying as hell, even when it’s sitting there doing nothing.

is a SSD quieter than a HDD?

is it best to avoid things like an I7 processor or dedicated graphics if noise is a concern? on average are I5 processors and integrated graphics quieter than an I7 or dedicated graphics?

ive heard some of the more powerful laptops have a quiet mode where they run slower but are quieter. but I don’t know how common or effective that is.

What should I look for to avoid noise?

Go fanless maybe - these machines are in permanent “quiet mode”! I didn’t realize until I looked at this list - even the latest Macbook Air is fanlesss.

Ssd is infinitely quieter than a regular HD, yes. But that is inconsequential to fan noise.

I appreciate the link, but I also want a 15.6" screen and something powerful enough to do some gaming, also with a cost under $1000. plus I’d like the ability to (if needed) add another hard drive to get to 500gb storage. I’m not sure I can get all that in a fanless model.

You may be backing yourself into a corner. Something along the lines of:
cheap, fast, silent - pick any two.

The new Macbook Airs and 13" Pros with the M1 chip are miraculous. Graphics performance is remarkable - much better then Intel integrated, and totally fanless. But if you want a Windows box and the conventional MS environment, a Mac of any kind isn’t going to happen. Let along the screen size. Apple’s prices for bigger storage options is little short of price gouging.

There is already lots of interest in gaming performance on the M1.

The difference between i5 and i7 is inconsequential. It makes a performance difference in a small set of use cases. The chips ability to throttle and manage power use is the key. That varies by generation, not between level within a generation. The precise choice of chip, packaging, and thermal design of the case is what will determine your thermal signature. It is going to be very difficult to judge how things will work out from simple specs.

Apple price gouging? :slight_smile:

I am halfway intrigued by the M1 - for my specific use-case (Digital Audio Workstation and music production) I need to wait until the relevant tools have been delivered as native applications (as opposed to Rosetta2 x86 emulation). But when that happens and some benchmarks come out, I may have to overcome my natural reticence about things Apple and consider taking the plunge.

The suggested performance of the M1 and thermal efficiency suggest that it may make a really good silent system for recording and performing.

The M1 13" Pro does have a fan. In fact, the fan seems to be pretty much the only difference in spec between the M1 Air and the M1 13" Pro. However much the chip improves, would it ever make sense to do away with the fan for the Pro models? Presumably you could just have a silent mode where it does exactly the same thing as the fanless Air and throttles back if necessary, but why lose the option of turning the fan on to get better performance. Or does the physical arrangement mean that it’s either/or, that if you have a fan you can’t put in such an efficient heat sink and radiator?

There’s apparently an even better “M1X” chip next year, which will debut on a new 16" Pro.

Yeah, I did know about the fan in the 13" Pro, but didn’t have time to edit the post.
I’m typing this on an 8 month old 16" Pro. I don’t want to hear about the M1X. :neutral_face:

I’ve had my Costco bargain HP laptop since June '19 and I’ve never heard any “noise”. Now you’ve got me curious, I’ll have to pay more attention to find out if it makes noise.


Maybe my laptop is on its last legs. it’s a budget gaming laptop and the fan will run full blast at random times even when it is sitting there doing nothing.

I’ve been surfing on my HP lap top all evening while we watch TV. It makes no noises at all.

If the gaming you plan to do only uses integrated graphics, then you don’t really need anything too powerful. When people talk about “powerful enough for gaming,” they usually mean titles that require a dedicated GPU.

That said, AMD’s mobile offerings probably have the best integrated graphics right now, based on the stuff I’ve been looking into. It probably wouldn’t hurt to look at the Ryzen 4000 series.

I also wouldn’t see much need to add a hard drive in this day and age. If you need extra storage where speed isn’t an issue (which would be the only reason I’d want a hard drive over SSD) I’d just throw in an SD card. So maybe look for a laptop with a decent sized SSD but that also has a (micro)SD card slot.

As for keeping it silent, I’d just look into being able to modify the fan profile so that the fan doesn’t kick in unless it has to. Maybe even use different modes: a silent mode for normal use, and possibly a gaming mode where you let the fans ramp up somewhat.

Rosetta2 is not emulation in the traditional,sense. It translates the code so that it runs natively. Because of a memory ordering issue, Rosetta2-translated applications have to run in a strict mode that tends to have some impact on performance, but you might not even notice the difference.

Yeah, I should have used translation, instead of emulation. And I am aware that the results have been remarkable, in many cases. But it has been clear that Rosetta2 struggles with audio applications and plugins in particular.

But the fact is that using binary translation to RISC on CISC optimised code is not as fast as a native-optimised binary. So it will be interesting to see the performance of native apps.

And I’m old enough to remember DEC using dynamic binary recompilation from x86 Windows binary to Alpha RISC binaries.

I have a Surface Pro 7. It’s a tablet. It’s absolutely positively silent; other than the speakers it doesn’t have any component that can make noise. It’s fast as heck. With the optional docking station and a Bluetooth keyboard and an external monitor in addition to the tablet screen I have lots of screen space and an easy to use keyboard.



Like any laptop you can run the price up with a high enough config. Like the 1TB internal silent SSD.

But you might be amazed what you can get in a tablet form factor that beats the tar off a 4 year old laptop.