In common environments like offices and silent environments (library, home office) the noise, a mechanical buzz rather than air noise, was unnoticeable. In a quiet environment, it’s another story. Here’s what we said in the Z830 review
To quantify the noise is difficult. It can barely be measured at close range with a consumer dB meter in a quiet room but we did manage to mask it with the quietest of music streams. Groove Salad, a downbeat music stream, at a system volume of 9% (WMP volume 100%) was enough to mask the noise and it resulted in our dB reading going from around 45 to 50dB. 50dB is quieter than most offices so this is only something that will affect quiet-room use. Unfortunately for the home user, it might be enough to be a major issue.
Interestingly the Z830 stays very cool at idle temperatures and it appears that there is scope for either turning the fan off or reducing the rate. There’s also reports that some fans are quieter than others to the point that some owners are saying they only hear air noise. Our recommendation, if you often use notebooks in quiet places, is to 1) Keep checking forums for potential BIOS updates or other fixes 2) Test the Z830 in a shop before you buy it. Note that store noise is likely to masks the fan noise so pick it up and put it to your ear!
Thanks to a reader tip, we’ve just checked some forums and sure enough, there’s a new BIOS that appears to address the issue well.
Version 1.60 – 2012-02-15
Modified: Fan control.
One owner makes this comment: “Yep… I’m at home… been browsing, IM’ing… fan is off. Feels a bit warm but I guess not warm enough to turn it on.”
After reading through some comments it sounds like Toshiba are now setting the fan off in idle and low-usage scenarios. For those with clean builds, it’s likely that one can do a little text input, maybe a little basic browsing and some other activities but obviously in heavier usage scenarios, the fan will be needed.
The Toshiba Z830 needs some reconsideration now! I’ve updated the Toshiba Z830 review to suit.