I've a 30" Apple Cinema Display (A1083 EMC2011) that makes a noise when lowering brightness (low brightness = more noise, full brightness = no noise).

Gently slamming the side of the screen usually makes the noise go away, for a while, but it always comes back sooner or later.

The phenomenon reminds me of the floor lamp in my living room, which also makes a similar (albeit somewhat louder) noise when dimming down the light.

What I'd like to know is: Is this "low brightness" noise present in all 30" Apple Cinema Displays? (In which case I can save myself the time of asking a hardware guy to dismantle it in search of a cure.)

PS! I should mention that I use the screen with a Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI-adapter. I don't know if this would contribute to the problem.

  • Of all the Cinema displays I’ve managed (marketing alone had about 40), none made noise at any level brightness. You have a failed component in yours.
    – Allan
    Jan 20, 2019 at 12:57
  • What is the manufacturing date of your matte 30 Cinema Display? Same one as this or do you have several? apple.stackexchange.com/questions/349023/…
    – bmike
    Jan 20, 2019 at 14:26
  • @bmike: See added product codes. It's the same display. I posted "Is noise normal?" as separate posting since you guys seem to insist on "Exactly one question per posting".
    – forthrin
    Jan 20, 2019 at 15:06
  • Can you get an approximate sound decimal level for the noise or record it and upload it? Would low background music (say a mellow string quartet or romantic period piano piece) cover for the buzz?
    – bmike
    Jan 20, 2019 at 15:32
  • @bmike: It doesn't take much to mask the sound. So it's low, but still audible. I'll try to get a recording of the sound.
    – forthrin
    Jan 20, 2019 at 20:15

1 Answer 1


It is not normal for the aluminum or polycarbonate cinema displays to make audible noise. They have been used 24x7 for a decade in recording studios and 3D and production cutting rooms where we put the CPU in a sound isolating box and never had to mitigate a Cinema Display due to noise until they start to fail. Many of these places are very low light so brightness is often way below max for us.

When the power transformer starts to fail, that can then make the display make noise and these displays and power bricks were manufactured in pairs so swapping power supplies from two working pairs would make both get noisy. Don’t just assume the part that makes noise is the culprit.

Like Allan and bmike have said there is something wrong with your display when driven by the adapter that supplies the transformed power from mains.

If you have to hit something to make it behave properly... Well an Apple Cinema display is not a mid 60s-era color TV and that should not happen.

You can do two things

  1. Replace it
  2. Have it repaired
    1. Repair could be conditioning or filtering the mains power so the Apple power supply does less work and filtering.
    2. Locate a new power supply that makes your display quiet again.
    3. Have the LCD panel disassembled and inspected. If physical hits and taps alter vibration, it might just be a failed internal physical mount that needs repair.

I would imagine that #2 might cost more than the value of a replacement unless you’re unable to source a matte LCD panel of that size.

  • Not to be too snarky but most 30 inch matte pane displays were manufactured between 2004 and mid 2011. One thing is certain, over time, they all become absolutely silent since they no longer work. This slapping the unit and noise increase is just temporary and will pass. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Cinema_Display
    – bmike
    Jan 20, 2019 at 14:24
  • @bmike: I want a large and beautiful matte display, and the ACD is the only product I know that meets these demands. Age is of no concern. Was there anything in the Wikipedia article you wanted to direct my attention to?
    – forthrin
    Jan 20, 2019 at 15:12
  • I know @forthrin - we still keep a room with 30 of these and 60 power supplies to keep a couple of people happy at work. The devotion to this product is not to be underestimated. I have added my experience to flesh out repair and power contributions to the noise. We have about 5 that still work flawlessly.
    – bmike
    Jan 20, 2019 at 15:28

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