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Old Jan 28, 2013, 10:23 PM   #1
jhachtel
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MacBook Pro Overheating

I own the first generation Intel MBP, 2.0 GHz. The SuperDrive no longer works, my HDD is full, and the wireless card is worthless. Also, it overheats. I've dealt with these issues for a couple of years by various methods, but am now prepared to dig in and replace some things. I have a new SuperDrive, HDD, and wireless card on the way. I don't know what to do about the heat issue though and am pinning my hopes on the new equipment putting me back to normal on that count.

Let me be clear, when I say it overheats I do not mean it seems like it should be cooler or that its uncomfortable to the touch. It is, but I base my assessment on the fact that my computer becomes unresponsive due to the heat.

I first noticed the heat issue when my SuperDrive started having trouble reading disks about three years ago. One day I was working in a situation where a fan was blowing full force across my laptop and the drive was flawless. I was able to get it to work that way for about six months. During that time my systems degraded to the point that the drive no longer works for any disks at any time, and I have to be within 10 feet of my AirPort Extreme to get wireless. It doesn't work at all anywhere else, even with full signal, and even going through all the steps to create a new location, etc...

SMC Fan Controller keeps my MBP from freezing up, making it possible to continue operation. I feel I should not have to use it given the light work I give to my machine. No games, no audio or video editing.

Since I will be replacing these other parts, is there anything else I should replace, other than the logic board, while I've got it open? Anything I should be on the lookout for?

Thanks in advance,

- Jeff
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 10:31 PM   #2
jav6454
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You probably have to reapply thermal paste and make sure the vent grills of your heat sink are properly clean and free of obstruction to air flow.
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 10:36 PM   #3
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I agree with the thermal paste bit. A system that old would probably really benefit by a re-application of its paste.

I would also double check the fans, and be prepared to replace.

Careful with the cables that get plugged into the logic board when you do the maintenance. When you plug them back in to put everything back together, don't put too much pressure on them, or you could damage the cable or the port on the logic board, or both.
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Old Feb 1, 2013, 08:03 AM   #4
jhachtel
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Post Repair Update

I installed the new hard drive, CD drive, and wireless card. Feels like a new computer. I also cleaned off the old thermal paste and put new on. The old was caked on and brittle. They used way too much, I think. Only upgrade I'd be interested in now is the processor, but that seems to be way too expensive. Might as well just buy a new computer for the prices I'm seeing.

Alas, my heat issues persist. I do get something in the neighborhood of 10 more minutes of use before it locks up, though.

SMC Fan Control does spin up both fans, so I know the fans are working.

Without SMC Fan Control the fans come on, but do not spin faster depending on temperature. It's as if they are blind.

Temperature Monitor shows temps for all sensors and all temps vary sensibly with conditions, so I believe the sensors are working.

Since the sensors work and the fans work, and SMC Fan Control is able to control the fan speeds, I am of the opinion that something in the OS or underlying software isn't getting the message (or sending it) that the computer is getting hot.

I don't know what to do about that, but that's where I am now.

Thanks again for your advice about the thermal paste.

- Jeff
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Old Feb 1, 2013, 08:05 AM   #5
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Try changing your thermal paste. Zalman, Thermaltake or Corsair or any branded paste.

Question, Is the CPU is one overheating or the board?
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Old Feb 1, 2013, 08:34 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by UnwiredTech View Post
Try changing your thermal paste. Zalman, Thermaltake or Corsair or any branded paste.

Question, Is the CPU is one overheating or the board?
Paste is fresh as of two days ago. Arctic Silver 5.

I am not savvy enough to know if it is the board that is overheating or just the CPU. When I feel around it seems as if all the heat is coming from two areas.

1) The processor/Heat pipe area.
2) The power supply.
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Old Feb 1, 2013, 08:36 AM   #7
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Install istatmenus and check. I am new to Mac but temp on CPU should not exceed 70degress celcius. Hard drive around 45 and RAM between 38 to 45 on full load.
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Old Feb 1, 2013, 08:37 AM   #8
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your processor may be a dud.
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Old Feb 1, 2013, 09:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhachtel View Post
Paste is fresh as of two days ago. Arctic Silver 5.

I am not savvy enough to know if it is the board that is overheating or just the CPU. When I feel around it seems as if all the heat is coming from two areas.

1) The processor/Heat pipe area.
2) The power supply.
Upgrading the CPU is not possible, it's soldered to the board, like 99% of laptops out there.
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Old Feb 1, 2013, 09:34 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by UnwiredTech View Post
Install istatmenus and check. I am new to Mac but temp on CPU should not exceed 70degress celcius. Hard drive around 45 and RAM between 38 to 45 on full load.
With fans on full speed, CPU is 31-32 degrees Celsius. I will shut down SMC Fan Control, reboot, and give a report on temps at shutdown.
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Old Feb 1, 2013, 10:17 AM   #11
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Overtemp Shutdown Report

Here is a screen clip of the temps when lines started showing up on my screen. The computer froze a few seconds after I took it.
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Old Feb 1, 2013, 11:11 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by UnwiredTech View Post
Install istatmenus and check. I am new to Mac but temp on CPU should not exceed 70degress celcius.
That's simply false.

Intel CPUs, especially in those older models, can and will reach upwards 100C. Yours can too, you simply haven't pushed it hard enough or long enough for it to happen.
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Old Feb 1, 2013, 11:23 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by snaky69 View Post
That's simply false.

Intel CPUs, especially in those older models, can and will reach upwards 100C. Yours can too, you simply haven't pushed it hard enough or long enough for it to happen.
I can't speak for him, but don't have the opportunity to push it long enough or hard enough to get that hot. My system freezes up and that's that. I'm sure it continues to get hotter the longer I leave it on, but after a few minutes of unresponsive computer I force it to shut down. I've left it on for hours before to see if it would shake itself out of it, but it never does. I didn't bother to take a thermometer out to record the temp, and since the software and screen were frozen I couldn't read a temp from a report like the one above.
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Old Feb 1, 2013, 11:32 AM   #14
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All we really know is that your computer is locking up. It may be due to the heat, but not necessarily due to overheating. It may just be that a component has failed. Since you're seeing lines on the screen you can't rule out that the GPU has failed or is failing. The temps you are seeing are not out of the ordinary for these computers, and it may just be time to retire it unless you want to spend the money on a replacement motherboard that is also 7 years old.
You've already cleaned out the old heatsink compound and the fans are working so this is most likely not a matter of simple overheating. You can only reduce the temperatures so much.
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Old Feb 1, 2013, 11:41 AM   #15
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I think you have something else going on, as these temps are well within the operating range, with the CPU just below 70C. I have a 2.4Ghz C2D 15" MBP 4.1 and it easily copes with CPU temps around 100C. Does the machine feel overly hot to the touch? If you were hitting the three figure mark the symptoms would be more understandable at 70C it not temperature unless the system has a hardware fault, bearing in mind that your Mac is now getting on a bit.

I would start looking at what software you have recently installed, a fresh instal of the OS wont hurt btw what version of OS X is the machine running. A lot of newer apps are not compatible with older versions of OS X. As you have a new drive and I assume the old drive I would wipe the new one and do a clean install OS X and see how the system performs, as you need to try and isolate the issue to either hardware or software.

I would also look at UltraFan as it`s a far better option for fan control SMC Fan Control is a very good app, however it has basically stopped development in functionality. UltraFan wont spool up your fans unless needed, saving wear and tear and less noise, which is always a good thing.

More on Mac cooling here:
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthre...1#post16346518
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Old Feb 1, 2013, 11:56 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by chrfr View Post
All we really know is that your computer is locking up. It may be due to the heat, but not necessarily due to overheating. It may just be that a component has failed. Since you're seeing lines on the screen you can't rule out that the GPU has failed or is failing. The temps you are seeing are not out of the ordinary for these computers, and it may just be time to retire it unless you want to spend the money on a replacement motherboard that is also 7 years old.
You've already cleaned out the old heatsink compound and the fans are working so this is most likely not a matter of simple overheating. You can only reduce the temperatures so much.
As long as I run SMC Fan Control and max out the fans I can play any game the computer will run for as long as I like. Without the fans running full blast, I can't even do simple office chores for very long.

I don't doubt that something has failed. But again, I would think that the heat that is generated, and registered by the sensors, would indicate to the fans that they should rotate a bit faster. That is not happening. I'm not a computer engineer, nor am I an Apple Certified anything, but I don't recall any conversations or information that would indicate to me that the GPU has anything to do with controlling the fans.

If the GPU were overheating, would that not cause trouble, such as lines on a screen?

Either way, I appreciate all the feedback. SMC Fan Controller is helping me limp along a little while longer. It's just annoying to hear the fans blowing full blast, knowing that something isn't working properly. Makes me want to fix whatever is wrong. I can tell this convo is headed down the "Macs get hot, deal with it" road, and I'm not interested in that. I know the computer gets hot compared to other laptops. It always has. It gets unusually hot compared to itself in good condition, and to other MBP laptops that are running normally. Everything works fine until it gets hot.

I have heard that you shouldn't worry about the heat until the machine gets hot enough to quit on you. Until then it is fine. Well, it gets hot enough to quit. Now, am I to believe that EVEN if it gets hot enough to quit I still shouldn't worry about the heat, instead it is something else?

Are we concerned about causality? As in, "Is the heat causing the failure?" or "Is a failure causing the heat?" I buy that. Something is broke in the middle between the fans and the sensors. Whatever that is can be bypassed by SMC Fan Control. What does SMC Fan Control bypass? I think that if I knew the answer to that question I would know what is not operating properly on my MBP. Now, if that thing, whatever it is, is repairable or not is another question.

Am I missing something?

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Queen6 View Post
I think you have something else going on, as these temps are well within the operating range, with the CPU just below 70C. I have a 2.4Ghz C2D 15" MBP 4.1 and it easily copes with CPU temps around 100C. Does the machine feel overly hot to the touch? If you were hitting the three figure mark the symptoms would be more understandable at 70C it not temperature unless the system has a hardware fault, bearing in mind that your Mac is now getting on a bit.

I would start looking at what software you have recently installed, a fresh instal of the OS wont hurt btw what version of OS X is the machine running. A lot of newer apps are not compatible with older versions of OS X. As you have a new drive and I assume the old drive I would wipe the new one and do a clean install OS X and see how the system performs, as you need to try and isolate the issue to either hardware or software.

I would also look at UltraFan as it`s a far better option for fan control SMC Fan Control is a very good app, however it has basically stopped development in functionality. UltraFan wont spool up your fans unless needed, saving wear and tear and less noise, which is always a good thing.

More on Mac cooling here:
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthre...1#post16346518
Thank you. No, I did not do a clean install with the new drive. I cloned my old HDD onto this one. I did do a fresh install a year or so ago thinking the same thing you are, that one of the programs I installed might be the culprit. In my case that does not appear to be the culprit.

I will look into UltraFan. I hope that it does regulate the fans a little better since right now they just blow full blast.
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Old Feb 1, 2013, 11:59 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by jhachtel View Post
I don't doubt that something has failed. But again, I would think that the heat that is generated, and registered by the sensors, would indicate to the fans that they should rotate a bit faster. That is not happening. I'm not a computer engineer, nor am I an Apple Certified anything, but I don't recall any conversations or information that would indicate to me that the GPU has anything to do with controlling the fans.
The fans are set to ramp up speed by the firmware (more accurately, they're set to ramp down at lower temperatures and speed up as things get warm.) These ramps can't account for a failing component that has lost heat tolerance somehow.


Quote:
If the GPU were overheating, would that not cause trouble, such as lines on a screen?
Yes, but other GPU failures can cause that too.

Quote:
Either way, I appreciate all the feedback. SMC Fan Controller is helping me limp along a little while longer. It's just annoying to hear the fans blowing full blast, knowing that something isn't working properly.
To be fair, the original 2006 Core Duo Macbook Pros did run really hot. Do you still have the original discs for the computer? If so, run the built in diagnostics if you can to see if any errors come up.
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Old Feb 1, 2013, 12:06 PM   #18
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FWIW, the last IBM Thinkpad (a T42 from back in 2006) I had before the current one I'm using for work had the same symptoms that you are having with your Mac.

The conclusion with my system was that it suffered heat damage (long running processes that were very CPU intensive.) Although the components are "designed" to shutdown when a certain threshold has been breached ... it's not always the case. Failures resulting in damage can still happen.

Once the heat damage has been done, you need to look at replacing the logic board. In your case, it's most likely not going to be worth it.

If I were in your position, I would continue to limp along as you are, with SMCfancontrol keeping the fans running enough to stop the system from freezing. In the meantime, start to budget/save for a replacement system.

It sucks, believe me, I know. I've been there. Unfortunately, that's the harsh reality.
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Old Feb 1, 2013, 12:18 PM   #19
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@chrfr

Thank you.

Ok.

Yes, I know they ran really hot. I remember that from when I first bought it and went looking for a solution. Everyone said they ran hot, so I didn't worry about it. I only started caring when began to quit on me. It seems to me that it is significantly hotter than it used to be. I cannot prove that as I didn't bother to record any temps back in the day.

I remember that I would characterize my computer to other people as "A little warmer than I'm used to", not "hot". It is now "hot" to the touch. I cannot leave it in my lap at all, and haven't been able to for some time. I use an aluminum thing I bought years ago to give it airflow underneath and to save my legs and b***s.

I do have the discs. I will run the check tonight. I haven't done that.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by duervo View Post
FWIW, the last IBM Thinkpad (a T42 from back in 2006) I had before the current one I'm using for work had the same symptoms that you are having with your Mac.

The conclusion with my system was that it suffered heat damage (long running processes that were very CPU intensive.) Although the components are "designed" to shutdown when a certain threshold has been breached ... it's not always the case. Failures resulting in damage can still happen.

Once the heat damage has been done, you need to look at replacing the logic board. In your case, it's most likely not going to be worth it.

If I were in your position, I would continue to limp along as you are, with SMCfancontrol keeping the fans running enough to stop the system from freezing. In the meantime, start to budget/save for a replacement system.

It sucks, believe me, I know. I've been there. Unfortunately, that's the harsh reality.
No worries. If that's the answer, that's the answer. I'm prepared to do just that.

I can see how there could be some damage that is lowering the heat threshold of some component(s). If the fans aren't supposed to spool up until later, when it's hotter, then it makes sense that they don't at the temps I'm experiencing. It does leave me wondering if the sensors are reporting the actual temps, because the thing is hotter than it used to be when the fans would come on.

I don't know.
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Old Mar 26, 2013, 12:55 PM   #20
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Mine runs constantly hot from the moment I turned it on. In the 75c to 99c range. With two apps open, Firefox and VMware with a single VM running windows 7 that is not doing anything but connected to a corporate VPN, it will stay at 95c the entire time VMware is running.
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