Bill Bradford may have put his finger on at least one iMac G5 noise problem:
I've had my iMac G5 (17", 1.8Ghz, SuperDrive) for almost a month now. Due to my ambient "computer room" noise, I never noticed any problems with the iMac (which replaced my quite noisy "Wind Tunnel" MDD 867 G4). After reading some of your Reader Reports concerning system noise, I turned off all of my other systems and had a listen. Sure enough, that's quite an annoying whine.
I took the back of the iMac off, and noticed that the CPU fan vent cover (below the CPU, the part with the metal "bar" across it) had a tiny bit of "play" - it would move or rattle when I tapped it with a finger.
I taped a piece of an old nylon backpack strap on top of it to eliminate any clearance with the back cover that would allow movement, put the back cover on, and fired everything back up. The whine is COMPLETELY gone - all I hear now is normal fan noise, and no whine at all. Even the "100% CPU" full-fans-on noise is much quieter.
Looks like this is a problem that Apple can possibly solve by application of some pieces of sticky-back rubber, or other padding material (as someone else mentioned, furniture leg pads would be perfect).
Besides the fix, two interesting points:
1. It's nice to have a self-service system.
2. The Mac community is a large distributed problem solving system that adds substantial value to Apple products. I wonder if Apple includes it in their "goodwill" valuations. (joke).