Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

What Are Your Temperatures Under A Full Load?

  • 80° - 85° C

    Votes: 3 16.7%
  • 85° - 90° C

    Votes: 3 16.7%
  • 90° - 95° C

    Votes: 12 66.7%

  • Total voters


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 26, 2015
My computer, a 2013 MBPr 15" 2.3GHz, has had a persistent issue with undervolting my CPU and GPU when the temperatures hit between 95° and 100° C. And as much as this is normal, and to be expected of any motherboard when determining that the temps of its components is too high, I remain unsatisfied that I cannot fully saturate my CPU and GPU while retaining the clock speeds as advertised by Apple itself.

So, having had a similar issue with my previous MacBook Pro, and having fixed it by replacing the thermal paste myself, I brought my computer in to the Apple store for this to be done. I was dismissed as uninformed and paranoid under the argument that there was no issue. The “Genius”, admitting to not understanding anything about the issue I was presenting, ran only the diagnostics available to him, which told him that the computer was running fine. Which is to say that the computer was not malfunctioning. But of course it isn’t — the system is throttling the internals to ensure that it doesn’t malfunction. And throttling itself is a core function of the machine. Nothing was actually “wrong” with the machine because the logic board scales back its voltage to prevent anything from being wrong. In other words, the computer is designed to underperform due simply to the quality of the cooling system available to it.

When I escalated the issue to their “Lead Genius,” I was told unequivocally that the CPU can run comfortably at 120° C. and there was no issue. Both Apple Tech Support and Intel Tech Support later clarified that it can, perhaps, hit 120° for an incredibly brief period, but that instability is to expected at 100° and higher. I should also mention that I was asked if I meant “degrees or Celsius” when referencing the temps, and was told that 120° C < 200° F……

I understand that I have a responsibility to provide the computer the best opportunity to work as efficiently as it can. But provided that I keep the computer in a chilled environment, well-vented, and clean, there is no reason for me to not be able to leverage the full base power of both the CPU and GPU, and I simply can’t. My GPU clock speed occasionally drops from 925 MHz to a low point of ~600 MHz. My CPU will dip as low as 1.5 GHz when it hits 100° C, and slowly climb, then dip; then rinse and repeat.

If I am conforming to Apple’s specifications regarding an optimal environment for this thing to work as advertised, it should work as advertised. But when I have to fight tooth and nail to get Apple to recognize not just that the computer is performing sub-optimally on a consistent basis, but that such an issue is not okay for a $2200 machine, then we all have a problem.

I know Macs run hot. But what’s par for the course shouldn’t define the gold standard. And in truth, I don’t care how hot my computer gets. I only care that I get the performance I was promised.

Dark Void

macrumors 68030
Jun 1, 2011
My computer, a 2013 MBPr 15" 2.3GHz, has had a persistent issue with undervolting my CPU and GPU when the temperatures hit between 95° and 100° C. And as much as this is normal, and to be expected of any motherboard when determining that the temps of its components is too high, I remain unsatisfied that I cannot fully saturate my CPU and GPU while retaining the clock speeds as advertised by Apple itself.

Sorry, but I am confused, what is it that you're looking for then? If it's normal, to be expected, and its reality, how will you become satisfied?
  • Like
Reactions: ABC5S


macrumors 65816
Apr 3, 2010
Heart of the midwest
"I remain unsatisfied that I cannot fully saturate my CPU and GPU while retaining the clock speeds..."


1. This is where a desktop comes in, where it isn't thermally constrained like a thin high performance laptop. More space, more fans, better cooling.

2. You could use a bigger, thicker, heavier laptop. We've got an Alienware 18 at work and it can run full throttle indefinitely with an i7, and two Nvidia 765m's in SLI no problem. It has three huge fans, is nearly two and a half inches thick, and weighs 15.2 pounds with the 330W AC adapter. We've also got an Asus ROG 17" with an i7 and an 860m that is a similar story.

So if you want portable and thin with good performance and a good build all around, the MBP is a great match. If you plan on running something at 100% all the time, a desktop/desktop replacement would be in order.

What exactly are you running on it anyway out of curiosity?

From my experience every MacBook I've had has hit 200°f. First was my 2008 unibody with the 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo and an Nvidia 9400m. It would easily hit 200° running Burnout Paradise in Boot Camp or encoding via iMovie/Handbrake/FCP. Similar story for the 2010 15" MBP I had for a while, though it was a little better with the dedicated GPU and 2nd fan it would get up there in the high 190's playing Call of Duty or encoding. The 2008 is still running perfectly to this day despite the high heat for many years.

My 13" rMBP hasn't hit over 180°f in the last year that I've owned it, but it's just more efficient and I haven't done much heavy gaming. It runs the same Call of Duty and Burnout Paradise as the old MacBooks but doesn't get near as warm because it's so much faster, haha. And they're old games. Even Portal 2 doesn't stress it out at 1080p. But if I did encode for a long time I wouldn't be surprised to see it hit 200° like the rest before it.
  • Like
Reactions: Ovedius


macrumors regular
Jul 4, 2013
Bedford, UK
I thought i would play along and add that under load my processors constantly peak at 100ºc (MBP17 2011) which is a bit scary. In honesty the only time it has done this is using WINDOWS UPDATE when it tried to batter my poor mac into submission.


macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2004
Adelaide, Australia
Umm dude. Replacing the thermal paste more than likely will not do anything. Now here is the good news! If you cover up all of the holes on your mbp, and place the laptop within an extremely cold liquid, you will be able to retain those speeds!

And finally, if you're not happy with it, you should return it and get a monster Windows laptop as suggested above. Apple doesn't offer what you want.
  • Like
Reactions: Mnowell69


Jan 3, 2014
I remain unsatisfied that I cannot fully saturate my CPU and GPU while retaining the clock speeds as advertised by Apple itself....I only care that I get the performance I was promised.

So your machine runs at its advertised base speed? It Turbo Boosts up when it can? You are unhappy it can't sustain permanent boost?

Laptops are all a compromise between size, battery life and cpu power, the MBP adds flexible power to let it achieve both better battery life AND better cpu power when needed but everything has its limits. Power = heat and there are limits to how much heat can be sustainably dissipated.

If you wish to run continually under full cpu load then, plain and simple, you have bought the wrong machine, not the machine is failing in any way, it is neither designed nor advertised as being able to run continually at it highest power setting, there are other models in the Apple lineup for that.

Just a heads up but your car also cannot sustain maximum speed and its advertised mpg at the same time.
  • Like
Reactions: ABC5S and Meister


macrumors 604
Jan 6, 2005
^^ Exactly. Nor can the majority of the cars on the market run at wide open throttle for any significant amount of time without causing issues.

You need to understand that every piece of technology is built to maintain a certain duty cycle. The Macbook Pro is expressly designed to balance better than average computing power with much better than average portability. You can't ask it to run full tilt all the time. Apple never claimed you could. If you need a computer that can run 100% flat out all the time, buy a workstation. And a warranty.


Oct 10, 2013
Linustech recently uploaded a video were they water cooled a macbook retina externaly. They were able to sustain boost speed that way.

To the OP I'd recommend cooling the macbook down to enhance performance.


Staff member
May 3, 2009
My computer, a 2013 MBPr 15" 2.3GHz, has had a persistent issue with undervolting my CPU and GPU when the temperatures hit between 95° and 100° C.
Yup as mentioned that's by design so the CPU doesn't cook itself. I believe most if not all laptops do this.

What are you doing that pushes the CPU/GPU to full load all the time?


macrumors G3
Simply the price you pay for the design, there`s good reason why high performance Windows Notebooks are far thicker with significantly more ventilation. Only way your going to keep the system running at full "Turbo" is by keeping it cooler. Read through this thread below, you will get a lot out of it, equally no easy fix

Being an owner & user of the 15" MacBook Pro forever; Over the years the 15" has frequently struggled with it`s thermals, especially when an external display is connected as the dGPU switches on as default, internal temperatures soar;
  • Elevate the rear, aluminium passive coolers generally work best (I use RainDesign`s mStand & iLap)
  • Increase base fan RPM to 3K or as much as you are comfortable with (MacsFanControl or SMC Fan Control)
  • Limit the dGPU`s usage with gfxCardStatus
  • Swap out Chrome for Chrome Canary as it`s way more optimised for OS X and will extend battery run time, reduce thermals
  • Swap out VLC for Movist as again it`s a reduced load on CPU/GPU
  • Uninstall or block Flash
  • Install an ad blocker Ublock extension works well
  • Powered coolers are very much a "mixed bag" when it comes to Mac portables, you need one that has a high capacity (100 CFM minimum) and preferably a large single fan, this can help to keep the 15" internal fans below 4K which for many is good enough as often it`s this point and beyond where the fans become intrusive. Don't expect a powered cooler impact internal temperatures, beyond a couple of degrees
  • Older machines can benefit from cleaning the cooling system
  • Replacing the thermal paste has been hit & miss, some with very positive results, some with no improvement over stock. Personally I would only do this on a Mac Portable that was either very old, or one that I can confirm was definitely running hotter than stock.
The key to a quiet life with a 15" MacBook Pro is several incremental changes that do add up to reduce thermals. From my experience over the years if your going to push a 15" hard the fans are going to max out fast, with associated noise. If your using it with a moderate load life can be made quieter :) For the most part your MBP runs hot as that`s how Apple designed it, the trade of for form over, function, thin & light...

The old adage still applies; it`s easier to keep a system cool, than cool-down an already hot machine. This being said it`s not strictly necessary, equally it`s nice to know that there are options for reducing temperature out there :apple:



macrumors 6502a
Nov 21, 2014
Open it up, clean the dust out, close it agian, experience a 15-20 degree Celsius drop in temperatures.

At least in my case it did.


macrumors regular
Oct 9, 2014
Here's a post I made in a similar thread:

In general, these processors aren't designed with the intention of running turbo boost for any extended period of time. This is exactly the way Intel designed these processors / Apple intended the MBP to function. This is why Intel / Apple only advertise the base frequency as the processor speed and the turbo boost speed is preceded with "up to." In other words, the notion that the processor is somehow overheating because it throttles back to the base frequency is a misconception.

Think about it like this. Say Intel simply capped these chips at 2.2 GHz, 2.5 GHz, 2.8 GHz (similar to the old Core 2 Duo chips that didn't have turbo boost). Now if you run a CPU intensive process (rendering or encoding for example), it might take a minute or two for the cooling system to become fully saturated (i.e. the cooling system, heatsink, aluminum case will gradually heat up and the fans will continue to speed up to compensate).

In the hypothetical scenario above, you have that period of time when the processor is being fully utilized, but the cooling system isn't fully saturated. In other words, a period of time where the cooling system is capable of dissipating more heat (and thus, a window where you could get more performance out of the processor if it permitted such a thing). This is where turbo boost comes in, allowing you to squeeze every last bit of performance out of a computer's cooling system. It's designed to give you that extra performance when it can be tolerated (short bursts) but it's simply not designed to run at that speed indefinitely (if Apple had implemented a more robust cooling system that allowed turbo boost to run indefinitely, then the MBP would likely be thicker / heavier and you'd again have that period of time where more heat can be dissipated, more performance can be realized and thus you now need a turbo boost for the turbo boost).

Anyway, I just wanted to clear up these misconceptions because I see people returning their computer / exchanging it over and over again for what they perceive to be an issue, when in reality this is exactly the way the machine was designed to operate.
  • Like
Reactions: Samuelsan2001


macrumors member
Aug 24, 2014
Portland, OR
Heat management and throttling is a universal problem that is inherent with current processor designs. It can occur when the processor is running above baseline speed in Turbo Boost, but it can also occur when running multiple threads at baseline speeds. There are many variables that contribute to throttling but in general it will occur when the laptop’s built-in cooling capacity cannot keep up with the amount of heat that the processor generates. The more powerful the processor, the heavier workload applied, and the longer the duration of the work then the greater the amount of heat generation. With more heat being generated there’s an increased potential for heat to build up internally, and once enough heat builds up the computer will throttle processor speeds to avoid overheating.

Providing significant cooling directly to the processors and removing excess heat build up will reduce or eliminate throttling. With enough supplemental cooling thin laptops can become more competitive to tradition desktop computers or larger laptops while still maintain portability. For instance, some users overclock their GPUs for gaming and other intensive graphics tasks when supplemental cooling has been provided.
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.