'18 or '19 MBP: clamshell mode?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jimtron, Jul 23, 2019.

  1. jimtron macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    #1
    I currently have a 2015 MBP, I use it mainly at home in clamshell mode (closed, vertical in a stand), with external display. I'll likely be buying a 2018 or 2019 MBP soon, and wondering if anyone has experience with either of these in clamshell mode; want to be sure there's no issues with that.
     
  2. justinf77 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 18, 2003
    #2
    No issues, I use my 2018 15" MBP in clamshell mode all the time.
     
  3. subjonas macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2014
    #3
    Is there any difference between regular and clamshell mode in regards to performance/heat when under heavy load, and wear and tear over time?
     
  4. smirking macrumors 68020

    smirking

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #4
    Just don't leave it lying flat on a table. Mount it in a stand of some sort to allow for better ventilation. Someone started a thread around here a while back where he noticed that his MBP ran around 10% or so hotter on a consistent basis when he had it in clamshell mode and sitting flush on a desk.

    I use mine in clamshell mode all the time. I've used all of my MBPs going back to 2010 in clamshell mode and all of those survived ok. I transitioned from being a Mac Pro desktop user to a laptop user and to this day my laptops are still used like a desktop when I'm not on the go.
     
  5. jimtron thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 27, 2008
  6. x-evil-x macrumors 601

    x-evil-x

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #6
    Ventilation will be no different turned. The vents are in the sides and if you open the lid you’ll get better cooking. It’s just the way it is. I keep mine slightly opened because of this. I’d rather have less heat over the life of the computer than more. So I leave it cracked.
     
  7. smirking macrumors 68020

    smirking

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #7
    I don't doubt that's true, but it's still going to run hotter with an entire side insulated by a a material with poor heat conduction qualities than when fully exposed.
     
  8. x-evil-x macrumors 601

    x-evil-x

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #8
    What do you mean entire side? There’s vents on both undersides aiming out so the vents aren’t blocked while sitting on a table. Slightly open adds more venting through the back opening by the kid and heat to dissipate better.
    i don’t see how temperature would be better on its side compared to on a table both being closed. It’s not like on a table it blocks the venting.
     
  9. smirking macrumors 68020

    smirking

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    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #9
    I mean that the table may not block the vents, but it still acts as an insulating surface against the exterior shell of the laptop to impede additional heat loss that could happen through radiation into the air.
     
  10. x-evil-x macrumors 601

    x-evil-x

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #10
    negligible :p
     
  11. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #11
    I run a 2018 13" MBP in clamshell full time and it works perfectly. Before that I ran a 2016 and had no issues.
     
  12. Crossbow.Wallaby macrumors member

    Crossbow.Wallaby

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2017
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #12
    2018 15" MBP run it in clamshell mode often, for days at a time, sometimes standing flat sometimes vertical in a mount. Have not noticed any issues. I can check the temps in Macs fan control and compare in each mode if it helps you out? Not sure how much of an accurate reflection that gives though.
     
  13. smirking, Jul 24, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019

    smirking macrumors 68020

    smirking

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #13
    Well, I just tried an experiment. I exported 1000 RAW photos from Capture One Pro and had a watermark added onto them. I exported them with my 2018 MBP in the following modes:
    • clamshell vertical with vents on bottom (minimally obstructed by stand)
    • clamshell vertical with vents on top
    • clamshell flat on desk
    • clamshell flat on desk with lid slightly cracked
    I ran the export and once the fans kicked on strong, I started changing positions with my MBP. My expectation would be that if any one mode had a heat penalty, I'd see the package temperature start bumping up, but I basically saw nothing conclusive. If any of the modes were better for heat than others, it was only better by 1 degree Celsius. Once the temperature stabilized, it ran at around 78 degrees +/- 2 degrees Celsius no matter how I oriented my 2018 MBP. It mostly stayed within 1 degree of 78.

    Now it could be that the fans were working slightly harder in one mode than another and I couldn't tell the difference. That's totally possible, but that would mean that the fans were working well in all modes and any real difference would have been hard to distinguish... at least for this particular scenario. My job stressed the GPU much harder than the CPU. Maybe results would be different if someone pushed all 8 CPU cores for 10 minutes instead.
     

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12 July 23, 2019