Granted, they can't do what this person's high-spec workstation can do, but they do most of the computing tasks most people use (used) noisy fanned computers with clacking disks for and in many cases do those tasks better.
And unless I'm just losing my hearing, my smartphone is completely silent as long as I don't accidentally press the Golem Invoker, er, Siri button.
4-6 months ago I built a new workstation for work. I had used one of those Corsair closed loop water coolers with the prior build, so I set one up on this guy. A month or so later my workstation was running really sluggishly, and I realized it was drastically throttling the CPU because of heat. I installed some software to spin up the fans on the cooler to keep it down under 100C, but now it'll get kind of loud when I run much heavy CPU.
Now, this is a pretty heavy duty workstation, 64GB of RAM and 3 displays. But, if I were doing a new machine for home to be quiet, I think it'd be a NUC. Then I'll put the box that has the 6 drive ZFS array in a closet and call it good.
Their highest end is available with ECC ram and a discrete graphics card: https://fit-iot.com/web/product/airtop2-build-to-order/
And the lowest end fitlet2 can be configured with an atom in a reasonable configuration for around $300 (it's $130-$200 for case/cpu/motherboard depending on which CPU you configure).
Gigabyte also has their BRIX products, which are similar to the NUC.
I was at a hotel this weekend and at check-in they had a monitor with a "ThinkVantage slotted in the back of the monitor, that might be a nice setup.
Eventually I just bought a cheap USB desktop fan and ran it facing the NUC.
It has made me think that instead of getting a NUC, for a quiet desktop system I should have just gotten a second used MBP and ran it permanently docked in clamshell mode with the monitors and keyboard attached. (with the added benefit of being able to go portable when I want to)
Neither the NUC nor my MBP is completely silent but for my purposes I find that I seldom tax either of them enough to where the fans become audible enough to be annoying. Still, I do find the difference in performance between them to be apparent just in things like iteration time on web development and IDE responsiveness.
You could hear the whine from across the room a few seconds before a call would ring through.
People always asked how I managed to answer the phone so fast. Electromagnetic Supplementary Perception, of course.
It was clearly electromagnetically "noisy", but I do't recall ever having heard any on my phones make any unexpected audio noise... (My old-and-abused rock concert and motorcycle weary ears probably can't get up as high as inverter whine any more though...)
Also, GSM phones used TDMA (keying the transmitter on and off to occupy one of -hm- eight, I believe - time slots on a given channel.)
This is practically asking for EMC issues.
LTE, on the other hand, transmits continously (I believe - I do not work in RF engineering anymore, but try to read up on new tech every now and then.:) - much less interference-causing than the constant on/off of TDMA.
Some were barely noticeable, while one in particular (a Droid Turbo) was so loud I could hear it getting ready to receive a call from another room. This was regardless of whether they were plugged in or not, although charger whine was its own separate issue.
Thankfully it does seem to be getting better over time- my current S8 is, as far as I can tell, genuinely silent.
There's a TDMA modulation frequency at 217Hz and this interferes with all sorts of nearby audio devices. CDMA and WCDMA phones have a much broader interference spectrum, which is why you don't hear it much anymore.
I considered returning it, but I find it charming. I miss the days when you could tell exactly what your PC was doing by all the sounds it was making, and I find dead silent electronics to be elegant but a little sad.
The easiest way to experience this is to plug in headphones and hear the clicking before/after a sound is made.
My Samsung Chromebook from 2012 has an ARM processor, solid state storage, and no fans. It is pretty slow by today's standards though.
I think several companies make cases for the Intel NUC boards that radiate the heat away and have no fans, too.
My Samsung Chromebook 3 gets a touch warm but never uncomfortably so like my 2012 Retina MacBook, which lets you really feel it when your code is inefficient. (Granted, the Chromebook is a lot less powerful)
525 lines / 2 for interlacing * 60 fields per second = 15750
They were still using CRT TVs in 2012 when I finished high school. I wouldn't be surprised if there were still plenty of schools with CRT TVs and VCRs for educational material.
I find coil whine a worse background sound than the lower frequency fan hum.
I was worried about performance, but it has been very acceptable. It depends what you need it for, but I can run 2 monitors, a Linux VM and atom all while streaming HD video. Or I can do light web browsing for 10 hours on battery. I love it.
On the rare occasions I need more power, I spin up a spot instance.
 If you use Linux on a laptop, install "tlp". It optimizes battery life without a noticeable reduction of performance.
Obviously newer models are different from older models, and Air models probably don't have the fans that Pro models do, but the claim that Macbooks don't have fans is a bit too broad to be true.
This is why these 'simple' naming schemes are confusing.
In Jobs' 2x2 matrix, the portable half was initially populated by iBook and PowerBook, later by MacBook and MacBook Pro.
It's unfortunate that Apple has confusing brand names, but the fact remains that the Macbook indeed has no fans so the original comment who hears fan noise is obviously using a different model of laptop.
So if you say that recent Macbooks have no fans, that may well be true. But it's not true for all Macbooks.
I mean it depends on what you do - but for many people it's a realistic solution.
Apple have put faster chips in their smartphones than in their laptops.
This is all alluded to in the article and the macrumors post that the article is based upon, here are some quotes:
> "Sure, that doesn’t mean the A11 Bionic can do all the things a desktop CPU does."
> "Though the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 offer impressive Geekbench scores, how that translates to real world performance remains to be seen."
There's no question that the iPhone chips deliver amazing performance, but there's a reason people still lug Macbooks around.
Geekbench always seems like an odd benchmark - the variability between runs alone is kind of odd. If I could run a compiler on an iPhone, for example, would I really see similar performance to my MBP?
It also doesn't pass the smell test. Even Atom CPUs are preferred over high-end ARM for netbooks. But a Xeon is way more powerful than any Atom.
Whereas on a normal computer, a light goes on and the fans start spinning, not because it's useful but just to indicate that it's on now. It's a miracle.
Then it dawned on me: I was currently logged in on the machine on his desk.
Some of the Chromebooks and such have no moving parts. I'm probably taking my Pinebook to the next conference I attend.
Can't you just use any USB-C Dockingstation?
This is due to the form factor, not the capability of the devices. A high end smart phone is more than capable of producing a good desktop experience.
> Even though this system is not meant to be a gaming rig, there’s no harm in putting in the best GPU you can without blowing the thermals.
You can get rid of that sound as well: just flip the switch on the left side of the phone.
Under-performant computers can and have been silent for a while. A phone falls into that category.
The trouble is making a good performance computer silent.
And even the case the article advertises, is pure garbage. I had the smaller ones (and the author should really have bought the black anodized one!). It works fine while underpowered. But as soon as you hit the 5h compile/rendering levels of workload, that thing cannot move heat away without airflow. period.
Smartphones are capable of computing and are sometimes very powerful, but the analogy is totally out of wack in my opinion.
If you can live without using an actual computer, it means you don't really need computers. You can check your email and browser the web on a Kindle, on your TV, or even your car.
Everything is a computer, then.
I think a computer is a productivity tool. Smartphones (and I'd definitely say tablets, too) are to consume content, not produce it. Some companies (most notably Apple I think) believe otherwise, but I think they'll have to come to realize that smartphones and tablets are horrible to produce most kinds of content.
You're just making up your own definition of "computer" and then claiming a smartphone isn't one because it doesn't match your made up definition.
You have programs, you have a UI to control them, they have a CPU and memory.
Otherwise everything is a computer.
Maybe cut to the chase: what specific capability is an iPhone lacking that every “real computer” has?
It's possible that I could be somewhat productive on a tablet in an emergency, but not as my main machine like Apple suggest people should do.
I have tried using an iPad Pro for productivity, and it's living hell.
Wouldn’t that mean most servers aren’t computers? Not to mention the DOS machines I grew up with, or everything made before the Xerox Alto?
> I have tried using an iPad Pro for productivity, and it's living hell.
Not going to disagree with you there. But that doesn’t make it not-a-computer.
If we want to classify devices, we need to group them somehow. Otherwise we call them devices and call it a day.
We already classify them: smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, servers are all groups of computers.
At that point, you're running a mouse-centric, multi-window OS with a wide array of software, that can run basically whatever you want.
So that's a computer, definitely, right? When does it stop being a computer? If you disconnect the display? Is it using a stylus instead of a mouse? Maybe the software keyboard instead of a hardware keyboard? (But then is the MS Surface not a computer when you detach the keyboard case?)
That said, I still think smartphones qualify as computers even by your productivity definition. Newer smartphones would sit somewhere above older netbooks on a ranking of overall utility.
I can on mine…