Apple Mac Mini (Late 2012) Very Hot

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Miscellaneous, Jun 28, 2018.

  1. Miscellaneous macrumors regular

    Miscellaneous

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2014
    Location:
    London, UK
    #1
    Hey Everyone!

    My Late 2012 Quad Core i7 Mac Mini has been getting much hotter than it usually does. I use it mainly for Music Production and Graphic Design. I know that these are quite demanding tasks for the Mac Mini but it has began to get much hotter than it used to do.

    My system specification is as follows...

    Mac Mini (Late 2012) MD388LL/A CTO
    INTEL CORE i7 2.6 GHZ PROCESSOR
    16 GB RAM
    2 x 750 GB CRUCIAL MX300 SSD

    Things to note that may be useful...
    • The Mac Mini is in a well ventilated environment.
    • The internal fan and other components are very clean.
    • As this is a US model I replaced the power cable with a Genuine UK Apple Mac Mini cable.
    • I first noticed this issue about a month after upgrading to macOS Sierra.
    What I have tried so far...
    • I have tried PRAM and SMC reset procedures.
    • I have made clean installations of every version of macOS from 10.9 Mavericks to 10.12 Sierra.
    • I have tried a different power cable.
    • I have tried booting from an external SSD.
    My knowledge is very limited and most of which is based on what I can find through google on the subject. I know that there are quite a few threads on this but I couldn’t find a recent one that I could contribute to. If anyone could give some input on this issue that would be a great help!

    Cheers ✌️
     
  2. Snappers macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2016
    #2
    Is it hot all the time, or just when using your music and design production apps? What is Activity Monitor telling you about your cpu usage when you notice it is running hot?
     
  3. Miscellaneous thread starter macrumors regular

    Miscellaneous

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2014
    Location:
    London, UK
    #3
    Hi Snappers!

    It's very cool when doing less demanding tasks e.g. browsing Safari. When I start my Music Production sessions it gets really hot within about 1 hour.

    The Mac has never slowed down or anything like that, the fan stays quiet but the chassis gets very hot. I have ran Apple Diagnostics and do not get any errors so I'm quite sure the fan is working.

    I don't really know what I should be looking out for in Activity Monitor? I could post some screenshots when I'm next working on some music if that would help?

    Thanks
     
  4. Miat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    #4
    Mine gets pretty warm during video encoding, when all four cores are working hard, but the fan is kicking in hard too, can't miss the noise it makes.

    If your fan is not going hard, then it (or the control system for it) might be the problem. Easy to replace the fan, and should be 2nd hand ones available.
     
  5. Miscellaneous thread starter macrumors regular

    Miscellaneous

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2014
    Location:
    London, UK
    #5
    Hi Miat!

    I have never really noticed the fan noise much, the only time I can really recall hearing it was when I was reinstalling macOS, Windows BootCamp and all of my applications. This was all done in succession and the Mac mini got very hot then too but I guess it would do working that hard for around 5 hours straight.

    When producing music I try to do so in 1-2 hour sessions, I do this in order to keep my ears from tiring and this also helps to keep things fresh creatively. I usually listen to my productions at low to reasonable volume levels and hardly ever hear the fan at all. It is one of the things I love about the Mac Mini!

    I have some screenshots and further information to share, please see my next post for more information if you have time...

    Thanks
    --- Post Merged, Jun 28, 2018 ---
    More Information

    I managed to get some time in my home music production studio and did a bit of troubleshooting. I've taken quite a few screenshots of Activity Monitor and Temperature Gauge Pro (Trial Version) in a few different scenarios. To be honest I'm not sure what I should be looking out for so if anyone has any pointers that would be greatly appreciated.

    • These first set of screenshots were taken while what I consider to be in an idle state. The Mac Mini had been switched on for around 10 minutes and then I launched an Ableton Live Intro 9 session and left it open but not working on it for around 10 further minutes. The Mac Mini chassis was very cool at this stage. I then began working on the session and took some further screenshots.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. borgranta macrumors 6502

    borgranta

    Joined:
    May 9, 2018
    #6
    Putting it in front of an air conditioner vent may help cool it down and probably yourself as well.
     
  7. Miscellaneous thread starter macrumors regular

    Miscellaneous

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    #7
    • Here are some further screenshots, I had this session running for around 45 minutes in total and by then the Mac Mini had become hot to touch however I still could not hear the fan at all and did not encounter any issues.
     
  8. Miat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    #8
    Ha ha ha! :)

    I think I see the 'problem'. You clearly live in the Arctic. :D

    Your loaded temps are more like my normal unloaded temps! (Around 60-65C. Coz I live in the tropics.)

    That explains why you are not hearing the fan. It is not running up yet because your machine is not getting hot enough to trigger the fan to go faster.

    Those Intels CPUs are temperature throttled at 100C, and Apple's default fan settings don't increase fan speed if your machine is not at (or near) that temp, so the fan will not be running up from its baseline speed until it hits those temps.

    (There are 3rd party programs to manage fan speeds to your preference. Such as Macs Fan Control, which I have installed. Note that Apple don't allow fan speed to be set below a certain value, 1800rpm for the Mini, I think.)

    Minis are designed to run at temps up to 100C, regardless of what the fan is doing. Though higher temps will accelerate normal thermal wear and tear. Cooler is still better.

    But practically speaking all that happens is the CPU won't let you push it any harder once it hits 100C, it won't do any more work than it is already doing. So you are protected against over temperature by both the fan and the CPU's own self-limiting.

    Try encoding a video with Handbrake, and see what happens to the temps and fan. Bet they take off. It will get hot and loud. If it doesn't then you may have a fan issue. Otherwise, should be good to keep right on. :cool:
     
  9. Miscellaneous thread starter macrumors regular

    Miscellaneous

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2014
    Location:
    London, UK
    #9
    HaHaHa... actually we're in the middle of the hottest part of Summer over here in London UK! I took the screenshots in the early AM though when it is much cooler.

    So I guess I shouldn't be too concerned about the temperatures I am experiencing? I was just worried that I was causing damage to my Mac Mini by letting it run so hot.

    Thanks
     
  10. Miat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    #10
    Being in the tropical southern hemisphere, we are in the in the middle of the coldest period of 'winter' here. Current outside shade temp at 3pm is 32C, night time minimum around 12-14C. Current Mini temp at the CPU diode is 61C, and I am only browsing, no video or music going on. :rolleyes:

    I'd love to have your temp ranges at any time of year. My Mini hits 100C, with fan flat out, within a minute or so when I crank it up in the middle of summer. :eek:

    Shouldn't be an issue. Modern electronics can handle much more heat than our mere flesh can. If you are only getting to 70C during the height of summer, you got nothing to worry about. :cool:

    The two main thermal issues to watch out for are internal dust, particularly on the fan and radiating fins on the heat sink; and the thermal paste between the CPU and heat sink degrading. In both cases the machine will appear to be behaving normally, but the CPU will throttle itself and the fan will crank up earlier than normal, and it will do less work for that temp. If your machine is hitting 100C in cold weather just starting up, then you got a problem or two.
     
  11. tubeexperience macrumors 68040

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    Feb 17, 2016
  12. Partron22 macrumors 68020

    Partron22

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2011
    Location:
    Yes
    #12
    Plastic base on that model makes it hard to use a big hunk of aluminum as a heat sink. That works on earlier models.
    You might try just putting the Mac up on feet, so air can flow under it. That'll provide some cooling.
     
  13. Miscellaneous thread starter macrumors regular

    Miscellaneous

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2014
    Location:
    London, UK
    #13
    Hi Miat!

    I haven't had any performance issues with the Mac Mini, so I guess I'll leave it as it is seeing as the temperatures are safe. It's very clean internally, I recently had a look inside and will check it every few months.

    Is Macs Fan Control a free app? I would buy it but wouldn't use it enough to warrant a purchase. I'm using Temperature Gauge Pro at the moment but only in trial mode for 14 days. To be honest I wouldn't feel comfortable in changing the fan settings to anything other than the default so I would only use such an app to monitor temperatures from time to time.

    I was actually thinking about replacing the thermal paste. I wouldn't do it myself as I have zero experience in this. Do you know what would be the benefits of replacing the thermal paste? Would it make the system run substantially cooler?

    Thanks
     
  14. Miat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    #14
    Thermal paste is easy enough to apply. Plenty of tutorials floating about showing how to do it. Like this one. Plus read the instructions for the specific paste, of course.

    But generally speaking, I wouldn't think about fiddling with it internally until you start hitting thermal limits, or you are doing an overhaul. No point. Apart from regular de-dusting.

    Also probably not worth it for you getting MFC or similar for the same reason. Useful for getting the fan to kick in earlier if you are regularly running above maybe 80C (why I have it), but probably not otherwise.

    Short version: As you were. Thank the climate you live in. :cool:
     
  15. Boyd01, Jun 30, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018

    Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #15
    I have the same Mini as the OP and only use it for audio and video. When I render video the fan sounds like a small jet engine. As @Miat says, try Handbrake. If you don't hear the fan after 30 to 60 seconds, something is probably wrong.
     
  16. RyanXM macrumors regular

    RyanXM

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #16
    Do the following:

    1. PRAM Reset
    2. SMC Reset
    3. Re-apply a quality thermal paste (Thermal Grizzly Kyronaut is great).
    - The factory paste is more than likely dried out and not optimal for cooling beyond basic tasks.​
     
  17. Gudi macrumors 68020

    Gudi

    Joined:
    May 3, 2013
    Location:
    Berlin, Berlin
    #17
    1. Look for a nice Fan Control app
    2. Set the minimum speed to 2.500 rpm
     
  18. cobracnvt macrumors 6502

    cobracnvt

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2017
    #18
    Make sure it's in a well ventilated area as well. Have an external fan to blow on it as well.
     
  19. Expobill macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 30, 2018
    #19
    My Mac mini is getting hot by the USB ports as well, outside is about 100 degrees and I’m running 2 ipods, usb mouse and external HD. So I finished my music tasks, and put the mini to sleep.
     
  20. frank4 macrumors regular

    frank4

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    #20
    I had what I considered to be overheating on my 2011 Mini for the first 2 or 3 years but now the serious heating issues seem to have gone away. When running an intense job such as HandBrake the fan was very reluctant to go above the base 1800 rpm until the case got very hot and CPU temperature reached almost 100C. After the first 2 or 3 years I noticed the fan speed would go up more responsively at lower temperatures, so maybe Apple updated some software that improved the heat control.

    Fan speed is still reluctant to go above 1800rpm but I guess it's not really dangerous. I think Apple just wants their Macs to run very quietly and allow them to run hotter than some people would prefer. Personally I think electronics will last longer when not allowed to get near boiling water temperatures.

    I previously ran an old app called Lobotomo Fan Control and it was excellent for automatic fan control that IMO was better than anything that is now available, but Lobotomo ceased operations or dropped the product. Another company took over the product but their app has issues.

    Macs Fan Control is not bad, but in the versions that I used up to a couple of years ago, it would use a huge number of Idle Wake Ups per second (shown in Activity Monitor), up to 1000, that is considered problematic (warning messages about this in system logs) and I didn't like that rate so I stopped using the app. I don't know if the Idle Wake Ups issue has been fixed in the current version.

    Now I just use smcFanControl. It's a nice simple and free app that does basic manual control of fan speed. Actually all it does is let you set the base or minimum fan speed, and it can display the fan speed and temperature in the menu bar. It has no crazy high Idle Wake Ups rate (only 5 to 20 on my Mini). Normally I leave it set to default base 1800rpm, the standard Apple heat control will increase the speed if it detects high temperatures. But if I'm running a high-CPU app or room temperature is getting hot, or case is feeling hot I will raise the base rate to 2000 or 3000 or more. You can set up several standard rpm settings to make it easy to change speed, I have settings for default 1800, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000rpm. Not in Mac App Store but there are various online sources. In a warm room even when just web surfing the 1800rpm base rate is too slow IMO, heat will build up in the Mini case, in the summer I will set the rate at 2000.
     
  21. RyanXM macrumors regular

    RyanXM

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    Jul 7, 2012
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #21
    Anyone suggesting that he install software to tell the SMC how to control the fan, trust me when I say, he simply needs to do what I outlined in my above post. Apple has an aggressive ramp up on the fan on the Mini, but a lot of the "overheating" is simply the heatsink not being able to pull heat away from the physical processor and chipset because of old, worn out thermal paste. I've serviced over 500 Mac mini (2007-2014 models) and most thermal related issues are because of PRAM, SMC, and thermal paste. Yes, the fan and heatsink fans get clogged from dust and debris (mainly pet hair and lint), so check those things visually and do what needs to be done to resolve the dust and debris.
     
  22. marclondon macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    Location:
    London
    #22
    My 2012 quad i7 Mac Mini is also running hot and I'm in a very hot home office in a very hot London. It may well be that some damage is being done - 2 weeks ago one memory slot failed so I'm down to 8GB from 16GB ram.

    It's 22:37 pm and the CPU is running at 85 C and fan going at 3600. I do have quite a few programs running but it's browsers that stall the machine especially Safari.

    I'm going to replace the Mini with an iMac if Apple get around to putting out new models.
     
  23. SoCalReviews, Jul 2, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2012
    #23
    If you haven't already done so... take the cover off the bottom of the Mini and blow the dust out of the vents and the fan area. I did that recently with one of my Mac Minis. A lot of clumps of dust came out (dust bunnies, etc.) and the fan wasn't spinning up as fast and loud after I did that.

    You can also purchase small rubber adhesive feet and apply four of them to the bottom of the black plastic cover or near the corners of the Mini to help raise it up off the surface it's on. The standard plastic cover doesn't provide much distance underneath it for cooling. Adding the pads/feet may lower the temps a few degrees by simply allowing more free air flow underneath it.
     
  24. Xgm541 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #24
    If it's unusually hot where you live, that might cause issues too. I have a 2012 model, albeit with an i5, but I too have noticed the case getting unusually hot.
     
  25. Miscellaneous thread starter macrumors regular

    Miscellaneous

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2014
    Location:
    London, UK
    #25
    Hi RyanXM!

    Sounds like you have a lot of experience related to the issue I am having. As I’ve mentioned, the Mac Mini is very clean internally, almost spotless to be honest.

    However, the computer is almost 5 years old, I bought it brand new on eBay around a year and a half ago. It was still sealed by Apple and came with macOS 10.9 Mavericks.

    So I’m wondering if the thermal paste should be reapplied? Seeing as the original paste is 5 years old? I would love to hear your thoughts on this if you have time.

    My knowledge of computers is very limited and although I managed to upgrade the internal Mac Mini storage myself, I would not have been able to do so without guidance.

    Thanks ✌️
     

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