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Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by TorchMusic, May 28, 2008.
Mac newbie, I need help figuring out CoolBook settings. Please share detailed instructions.
2 text files in the .dmg give very clear instructions.
I think he/she meant voltage settings.
It depends, some air owners with 1.6GHz can undervolt to 0.900Volts for all speeds from 600MHz to 1.6GHz while others can't. Each system is built slightly differently. My 1.6GHz cannot be undervolted below 1.000Volts without KPs. You have to test them out to see what settings you can have.
Here's the "official" coolbook thread.
11 pages of coolbook goodness.
my xperience with coolbook 2.16
ok, first things first, if u want to eliminate thermal issues on ur mac air, dont place it on any soft material, sush as a mattress, a blanket or ur laps....
now on to my review on coolbook app + fan controllers
i played with a 2.13Mhz SSD128, nvidia9400M mac air
for my xpreminets i used:
coolbook 2.16 (8 euros)
smc fan controller 2.2.2 (free)
fan control 1.1 (free - in.settings applet)
i also used tinkertool (free, extra settings applet) & osx automator
first i dloaded, purchased, installed and activated coolbook 2.16
coolbook is 2 things:
1. a low level driver that (hm...) appears to DISABLE Intel Speedstep driver ( more later)
2. a small applet that is used to monitor/configure the driver.
after activation i opened the "CoolBookControler" app and added the following:
0798 Mhz @ 0,9250V (lowest possible). Access that by clicking B/2
1064 MHz @ 0,9250V
1596 Mhz @ 0,9250V
1862 Mhz @ 0,9250V
1995 MHz @ 0,9250V
2128 MHz @ 0,9250V
so, as u can see i pretty much set all speeds to lowest possible voltage. default voltage for max speed (2128mhz) is 1.0125.
i also set Throttling level HIGH and Temp limit 85C. finally, i checked Throttling active & coolbook active
From the coolbook controller menu i chose Preferences, checked menu display and entered my account/pass in the Keychain to avoid being asked for pass whenever coolbook controller was run. Using Tinkertool i added coolbook controller to my startup folder.
coolbook controller DOES NOT need to run as it is the low level driver that does the job, but running the controller displays useful information.
what then happens when a user installs coolbook?
coolbook advertises that it lowers cpu voltage ( since version 2.15 also in snow leopard). I wasnt able to verify that with a third party app. After searching for a voltage monitor i only found a freeware applet called cpu x, which correctly identified cpu specs but was unable to display cpu voltage although such a tab existed inside cpu x ( it was blank).
Coolbook also advertises that it's usage reduces cpu heat. Third party applications, such as smc fan controller or the well known iStats, however, have a different opinion. More specifically whereas coolbook internal cpu monitor will report a temperature of 70C, iStat & smc will report a temperature of apprx. 79-80C, and when CB will report a temperature of 80C, iStat and other appz will report 90C+. It is therefore hard to believe coolbook....
so is there a difference... well, there is.... it appears that CoolBook, regardless of whether it manages to reduce cpu voltage and whether or not this has any effect on cpu temperature, IT INDEED DOES something ELSE: and this is to disable Intel SpeedStep.....
now a bit of low level tech..... back in the old years CPUs didnt even need a fan.... however, as cpu chips became more complex and power hungry, they produced more heat and fans were implemented. What then happens if a fan... fails....? ancient cpus simply & literally burned up! Intel then (followed by AMD) implemented a rather crude on-chip algorithm that simply SHUT DOWN the cpu once a specific temperature was reached. That saved the hardware but .... resulted in a system crash....
Today CPU chips are so powerful that a fan is in many cases inadequate to cool them down. CPU makers discovered that their chips would benefit, heat-wise, if they could implement a much more complex algorithm, which instead of shutting the entire cpu down, would be able to shut down portions (= individual cores) of the chip and/or reduce the frequency (MHz) of portions of the chip. So far so good but it was also discovered that unless OS was signaled and aware of such measures, still OS would hang as a result of these cpu activities. It was then made clear that this complex on chip procedure of powering down portions of the cpu chip had to go side by side with an OS driver, actually the OS driver would be the one to MANAGE the cpu power downs.... that is Intel Speedstep technology.....
CB appears to DISABLE mac osX driver for Intel Speedstep and place its OWN Driver in its place. CoolBook driver will then ALLOW both cpu cores to CONTINUE TO OPERATE even if cpu exceeds 90C....
on a regular mac air, as soon as u start playing a 1080p divx movie (mkv format wont play at all @ 1080p) temperature will start rising according to iStat and once it reaches 80C+.... movie says bye bye.....
if u install coolbook and do the same test, u will notice that when coolbook's internal temp monitor reaches 79-80, iStat and all other temp monitors will be reporting a threatening temp of 90-95C BUT movie will still be playing... In my opinion, iStat is correct, ur mac air's temp at that moment is indeed 90C+, but CB, having disabled the speedstep driver , leaves the cpu running and only intervenes to lower the frequency by a little bit (speedstep would completely shut down one of the 2 cores).
Computer will run nicely though.... in my view this is due to the fact that intel chips can actually sustain themselves up to temperatures a little bit above 100C ( up to 105-110 i have seen in PCs).
One thing u will notice when using CB is that disabling the default speedstep driver has at least one side effect. Once the FAN reaches a specific RPM, IT WIIL NOT BACK DOWN even if temperature falls significantly. That means that whereas a regular mac air will drop the fan speed to 2.5K if its temp drops below 60C, after coolbook is installed, mac air cpu fan will start low but once it reaches a higher rpm even for 1 sec, it will remain there regardless of temperature fluctuations. How can the user mitigate that and relax his fan from running at full speed needlessly?
There is a freeware applet called smc fan controller. By default this app only sets the LOWEST RPM but one can use the osx terminal to set MAX speed.
the command is :
/Applications/smcFanControl.app/Contents/Resources/smc -k F0Mx -w 3e80
and it will set a MAX fan speed to 4000RPM. This is a crude solution that prohibits the fan from rotating above 4K RPM, EVEN IF NEEDED. From what i have seen, fan will actually reach 5K RPM if cpu is really stressed but it will never reach 6.2K rpm....
The above command must be rerun after each start up but u can use automator to create a script which will run at startup....
the combination of these 2 appz will result in the following.
cpu will run without cores shutting down at temperatures above 80C and this seems to enable lots of 720p/1080p high definition movies to display at acceptable fps and particularly without lockups. The fan will start low but once it gradually reaches 4Krpm it will fluctuate between 4K and 5K+ RPM until system is shut down, regardless of cpu temperature. Keeping in mind that mac default min setting for the fan is 1500 and for light activities it almost always rises to 2.5K rpm the extra burden on the fan is just 1.5K rpm, much lower than 3.7K rpm burden imposed on the fan if coolbook is run without the smc....
With these settings mac air seems to be operable and the fact that cpu will reach 95C during video pback doesnt seem to hurt it. I also noticed that HD playback will not force the cpu above 100C, even if mac air is placed on a soft bed...
dont know if this will help u boys and girls... i hope it will and i tried to be as precise as possible. these are indeed dangerous games and no test will be enough to prove the opposite. Obviously intel and apple had their reasons to limit their products as they did but for people like myself who believe that tweaking their gadgets is part of the fun of owning them, this thread is very interesting... just bear in mind that mac air is an expensive gadget and u might destroy it or shorten its life significantly by playing with and changing/disabling cpu voltages, fan speeds and the built in temperature reduction features. having said that and apart from the fun, it is indeed sad that bad software and bad thermal design have rendered this quite powerful computer unable to easily play publicly available hd video formats out of the box.
1) Speedstep was originally created to save energy in laptops, heat was considered but it wasn't the top priority. When you're idling, do you really need 2.13GHz? No, you can manage even at 100MHz.
2) The CPUs are powerful, but the design flaw is that the Air is so thin, a massive heatsink or even an adequate heatsink isn't available or even possible on something this thin. By thin, I'm talking about the clearance of about 1-2mm for air flow. You don't see this type of underclocking happening on the MacBook or MacBook Pro's because they have a larger heatsink and larger fans providing more air flow.
3) If you search for a post I've done a while ago, my Air's fan stopped running and I was able to run the system for hours without any major issues. While it is true, these CPUs are more complex than before, it is still possible to run without fans, as long as the heatsink is large enough to draw the heat away from the diode.
4) The stock fan speed is actually 2500RPM, not 1500RPM or 1800RPM. The programs apparently slows down the fan to a limited 1500RPM or 1800RPM.
5) HD videos are kinda meh for me. I am able to run 1080p MKV files fairly well but in reality, I wouldn't need to. The screen only allows 1280x800 and a 1080p video is 1920x1080. Talk about a waste of CPU usage for something that the screen cannot show all the area on the screen. A regular 720p runs nicely on the Air.
Lastly, I don't even bother using Coolbook on the Mac side anymore. I see no real benefits and it seems to make the system run hotter. On the Windows side, I have configured nVidia nTune to actually overclock the CPU to 2.6GHz, which is able to sustain provided I had enough cooling, otherwise it'll downclock to 1.95GHz, still better then the 1.6GHz before, for heavy tasks such as Gaming and BOINC. If you want fans to be more dynamic, disable programs such as Coolbook and Fan Control. smcFanControl is fine because it doesn't interfere with the normal SMC operations of the fan.
I agree 100% with your posts.
The mba 1st gen, needs Coolbook and SMCfancontrol.
Every update, i tried to un-used this applications, and finally i install this applications again......
re: my xperience with coolbook 2.16
Where'd you get 2.16? 2.15 seems to be the latest on the Coolbook website...
Yeah, I was wondering about 2.16 as well.
Also, on my snow leopard install, Every time I launch coolbook, I get the message installation failed and the coolbook active checkbox is unchecked at all times!
un-install then re-install coolbook
on another note: since performing the 10.6.2 update, has anyone else been getting the message 'this update requires a reboot' when launching the coolbook controller?? it's bugging me..
From a thread about Coolbook and 10.6.2 in the MacBookPro forum, posted by n3092:
Dear CoolBook user,
I'm getting a lot of questions regarding the 10.6.2 update. Here is some information about it.
The current SL CoolBook beta does not work with OS X 10.6.2.
I will release a fixed version later this week.
Your current CoolBook installation does not interfere with OS X, so you don't have to uninstall it. Turn off throttling to disable CoolBook completely until the update is released.
The dialog window about the update is a bug. No update was performed.
A working uninstaller will of course be included in the next release.
Do not use any third party uninstallers. If you need to manually uninstall CoolBook, let me know so I can help you.