15'' or 17'' (2.2GHz i7), which one heats up more?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by AldusJ, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. AldusJ macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2011

    I am planning to get a new 2011 MBP and I am undecided between the 15'' and the 17'' with 2.2GHz cpus. I am leaning toward the 17'', but my only concern is the laptop heating up (I had a lot of problems with my 2007 MBP 15'' heating up and had to replace the logic board multiple times)

    Is there info out there comparing how much the 15'' and the 17'' heat up? Or do any of you have comments about it?

    The most intensive applications I will be running are Aperture and streaming Netflix. I don't do much gaming on the laptop (but who knows...). Other than that it would just be XCode, browsing, email, etc...

    Thank you!
  2. TheUndertow macrumors 6502

    Feb 20, 2011
    My guess is all things equal, the 17" should run cooler based off of having more room in the enclosure.
  3. stefmesman macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2010
    the programs you name are not very intensive. go for the 15'' with hires screen.

    it will suit your needs. as far as the 17'' goes. ull get a few more pixels.

    the only things that do make these things heat up are games and or rendering of video. most other tasks only need temporal processor power and will only temporarily heat up a little.
  4. mac jones macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2006

    I took the DVD out of a early 2011 15".

    I'm going to monitor the heat now and see if this helps. I'm not expecting anything, but there is now a rather larger air space right next to fans. It might just improve the ventilation a bit.

    who knows.
  5. AldusJ thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2011
    I wonder about this. It is also true that the graphic card has to drive a bigger screen though.
  6. Macsavvytech macrumors 6502a


    May 25, 2010
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    Considering the 15" doesn't overheat, temperature is a non issue.
  7. mrsir2009 macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    But the graphics card isn't the only part of a computer that generates heat. CPU and GPU are the main sources :)
  8. AldusJ thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2011
    By graphic card I meant the GPU :)
  9. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    My 2.3 runs ridiculously cooler than the 2.2. I am sitting at a scorching 126F jammin to some Bob Marley and making a PowerPoint demo and talking on here. Perhaps it is just mine and my buddy's but this is the coolest running laptop I have ever owned as crazy as that sounds. With that said, it may be due to a different cooling system as the fan design is slightly different than my previous 13....who knows?
  10. Erasmus macrumors 68030


    Jun 22, 2006
    Hiding from Omnius in Australia
    I'm not surprised. These new MBPs are real beasts. I can play Full HD 1080p mpeg 4's with my quad 2.2, and the CPU sits using around 20% utilisation of a single core (ie, like 5% of full system resources). My old dual 2.2 would be crying. I'll have to try it, but I'm sure my old Core 2 Duo would start burning up.

    To OP;
    Basically, the new MBPs will take anything any normal user would want to throw at them in their stride, while still idling. One of the benefits of having eight very fast virtual cores.
    And the 17" will run cooler than the 15" as it is physically larger, with the same amount of stuff inside. So it has larger cooling pathways. But if you're just going to be doing the things you described, you'll never get either of them hot.
  11. AldusJ thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2011
    Thank you for all the answers!
    I think I am going with the 17'' then.
  12. dblissmn, Apr 27, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2011

    dblissmn macrumors 6502

    Apr 30, 2002
    Depending on how you have your machine configured, it goes all over the place. It doesn't make sense to me that the 2.3 would run substantially cooler than the 2.2 unless the 2.2 in question is defective. The 2.3 presumably has slightly better silicon but runs more cache memory. Surely it's a wash. In any case, for me on my 2.2GHz, I get 35C CPU battery-only idle, 37-39C using it (better performance if on a desk rather than my lap), 39C mains idle, in the mid 40s mains while charging, or even on battery if I've got a really large file on in Office, in the upper 40s mains with an external display and wired keyboard, in the mid 50s mains idle with an external display and flash use, in the 70s for doing time-series analysis on a big dataset with the single-processor version of Stata, and up to the mid 80s running Aperture's face detection feature on a big photoset. I simply don't think people understand how dramatically the temperature output on these machines varies with how you configure it, and with more and more people using laptops as desktops, these issues arise.

    Then there's the whole question software and firmware glitches. Airport usage is very power-efficient and cool-running on these machines compared to past efforts, but with really inconsistent performance that some have speculated is due to aggressive power management. I've occasionally had odd behavior with the Quicktime plugin for Dashboard staying on when it shouldn't, and that has definitely made a few degrees' Celsius difference.

    Lastly, how do you use the computer? One thing, NickZac, judging from the iStat screen shot you posted a while bag and considering how you've described the way you use the computer is you're running on battery without an external display and presumably without any peripherals attached. And then there's the whole question of how much memory you have, with the more you have meaning more power usage.

    What I do know is that in every single category that I've compared it with my Early 2008 Core2Duo Penryn MBP, the 2011 2.2GHz quad-core runs faster at a lower temperature with lighter fan use.

    I think it's important though that people do comparisons on these kinds of points because they can make a difference to how you use the computer. The computer manufacturers simply don't do very much about explaining differences between the configurations. If it turned out that, say, one of the 2.3 or 2.2 were cooler and quieter than the other, it would make a big difference for musicians who need to avoid background noise in a recording environment, or for those who depend on the battery, and in the long run also for anyone who places a premium on durability.
  13. thermodynamic Suspended


    May 3, 2009


    According to their tests, the 15" remained cooler (by 7C).

    My own 17" MBP, based on recent tests, doesn't get hotter than 93C (hovers between 88 and 93). The 15" model probably had a better amount (read "less") of thermal compound applied.

    Since I do number crunching apps (Poser, Bryce, etc) I will want to get AppleCare in case problems develop over the next 3 years. Overheating will wear down the lifespan of a computer over time, especially under frequent or heavy usage at higher speeds. (thankfully the CPU controls all overclocking functions, user-based overclocking would lead to real troubles!)


    The rounded areas are where the fans sit, with the straight edge going out the back. Since the layouts are identical, there is zero benefit in terms of chip cooling.

    (BUT 17" units will benefit from the palm rest area remaining the same temp, since they are farther away from the chips. That is where people will feel a difference, but it's circumstantial; there is no functional difference as the layout of the chips on both boards proves.)

    Some of this is just laws of physics and case design being limiting factors - laptops in general do shove a lot into a small space and such cramped quarters is quite typical. If anything, Apple telling their manufacturing company to use less thermal compound and applying it more carefully would reduce temps by 10C or more.


    I don't recommend doing that unless you have the dexterity and stamina and don't mind nixing Apple's warranty for what is clearly a very risky endeavor. :)

    I'll always prefer Macs as the OS X feels more solid and consistent, backing up apps and moving them to a new Mac is a breeze, battery life is unsurpassed, and the UI makes more sense. Most apps work really nicely as well. But I've seen enough pics; enough thermal grease for 3 machines is used in 1. That's a waste of materials, which also leads to higher cost on the part of the factory and costs are what get trickled down to we customers. :)
  14. dblissmn macrumors 6502

    Apr 30, 2002

    The tests you quote were for a 2.0GHz 15 inch and a 2.2GHz 17. No test of a 2.3GHz, and no comparison of the same processor in two different cases.
  15. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    Thus far, the reports I have seen with the 2.3 show it to run cool. I am at 117F right now, browsing the net and playing some music. The system has been on for about 4 hours, and the LCD has been lit for the past 45 minutes. When I posted the shot, I was livestreaming a HD vid. With my C2D, a HD vid sucked up 25% of the CPU; with the 2.3 quad it is between 1-4%. Obviously, the 2.3 will then produce less heat. I use this system to run statistical programs which are notorious for eating RAM and CPU resources, especially SAS. Basic MickeyMouse systems, like Excel, do nothing with a max of 600,000 rows and columns...but when I run a SAS database with 3 or 4 million variables, it is a task that you really, really want a fast computer for. Historically, SAS systems have had an association with the Mac Pro for good reason, especially because SAS can get far more involved than what I currently use it for. I will get my MBP up to 170-175+/- when computing regression analysis/crosstabulations/advanced graphics on large files. As I said in a previous post, the fan in the 15 is different from previous years. Is the 2.2 and 2.3 using a different fan? Probably not, but either way, the 2.3 I have runs cool, and each time I have mentioned this, other 15 inch 2.3GHz owners have agreed. Perhaps it is partially associated with most 2.3 owners getting 8GB of RAM and an SSD, as that seems common, which I have myself and bought it with RAM and SSD from the factory.

    At the time of that I do not believe I was not on battery, but when I use battery, I run about 5.5-6 hours, give or take with program use of course. I do not run stat programs or stream vids on battery and my battery use is defined by Internet, music (non-vid), Excel, Email, PowerPoint, Word, iPhoto and a few other odds and ends...all of which use minimal system resources. I was initially running far less on the battery, but tinkering with a few programs, largely disabling Flash, has gotten me satisfactory battery run times. I'm still not thrilled with that, but it's good enough for government work. ;)

    Obviously, running anything off of the system will make it hotter...but I do not use an external monitor (which is why I bought a 15 over a 13), and I rarely use USB devices except a Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX, my external Scorpio Black, a printer, my camera, or flash drives.

  16. Uffish Thought macrumors member

    Apr 10, 2011
    17" 2.3GHz

    Right now I'm ripping a DVD with Handbrake, Chrome is open with ~25 tabs, and iTunes is streaming audio.

    Check the thread "Handbrake encoding Sandy Bridge" as there is a fair amount of temp data under heavy load located there.

    I'm perfectly happy with 85C while using 750% of my CPUs. When I shut everything down except Handbrake, my temp is the same, the fan speeds drop to 3,500RPM and the CPU usage goes up to ~790%.

    Attached Files:

  17. dblissmn, Apr 27, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2011

    dblissmn macrumors 6502

    Apr 30, 2002
    @NickZac; the iStat you posted a while back shows the power plug to be disconnected so you must have been on battery.

    Overall I'm not convinced from the numbers you've given that there's a significant difference between the 2.2 and 2.3 in terms of heat and battery use. If I had to split hairs I'd suspect my 2.2 is doing a little better at base power while your 2.3 is doing slightly better under load. Makes sense really.

    Your numbers for general use are close to mine, it would seem. One caveat; the temperatures you get on SAS are very close to, or a littler higher than, what I get with a similar calculation on Stata — BUT — Stata/SE of course simply cranks up one core; I don't know whether SAS is multi-processor aware. One thing you don't mention is what you're doing to even run SAS on a Mac. Boot Camp or virtualization? This is one area where, taking Windows into account, you may have a slight edge.

    I have 8GB RAM but no SSD, just a 750GB hard drive. Also a high-res screen.

    117F is about 47C. About what I'm getting for what you describe when hooked to the power supply and running an external display.

    Where you might have an edge with the 2.3 — if you haven't cracked 80C (176F) yet — is with extreme graphics of the kind that hammer a CPU as well as the GPU. Cranking Aperture up to consume almost the entire processor with running face detection on several thousand photographs pushed the temperature up to 86C (187F) at one brief point, but again, this was in clamshell with an external 1900x1200 24 inch DVI display and keyboard and printer connected. I've not pushed it past 80C unless I had the external display connected. One thing I do notice in extreme use is that the temperature difference between CPU and CPU heatsink gets enormous at times; it has been as high as a 39C or 70F difference.

    Your battery use sounds about right. I think I'm doing a bit better than that, although I find the display to be quite bright so I turn it down somewhat.
  18. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    Virtualized. If you run Stata, you are probably pushing the system harder than I am with SAS, especially depending on how you may use graphics. You are probably familiar with the state of the art graphics that SAS offers...and when I say state of the art graphics in regards to SAS, I am talking state of the art for mid 1960s, maybe early 1970s technology.

    I thought the most recent Stata multi aware? Or is that just one specific program they have, or like other stat programs a feature they make sure you can only get if you buy a whole new end-user agreement?

    Do you have thoughts regarding Stata over SPSS or SAS? Most people I know who use it swear by it.

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