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Cooling solutions for the Mac minis?

GoodGuy12345

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 26, 2018
68
29
Canada
I am looking at purchasing a used Mac Mini that can run the latest (Mojave) as my next computer, but I have heard and seen online that the aluminium unibody Mac minis all have an issue with overheating. They get extremely hot when put on load and the heat can be felt through the aluminum casing.

I was wondering, if there are any solutions I can buy along with my Mac mini to keep it cool and running smooth, so it doesn't throttle or anything bad that extreme heat can do. I couldn't find anything solutions to cool the Mini, but to just stick a computer fan under it or pop off the plastic base. I hope to hear that there is a better way to ensure the computer gets properly cooled. I would love to have a Mac at a low cost, but for it not to bake at high temperatures.
 
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archer75

macrumors 68030
Jan 26, 2005
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It doesn't throttle in that it doesn't go below the base clock speed. The aluminum enclosure acts as a heatsink so it getting hot helps to remove heat.

Intel has thermal controls built in to the chip. It's not going to overheat. It's fine. And it's only noticeable when you max the CPU at 100% for long periods of time.
 
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Poakwoods

macrumors newbie
Nov 16, 2018
5
5
My Mac mini has arrived about a week ago (i7 - 512gb ssd - 16gb ram). I have put it under stress for the entire weekend with long renders with Cinema 4D (12 hours with all cores working): average CPU temperature 95-98° C (never going over 100°), average frequency 3,4-3,5 GHz. The aluminium case was lightly warm, never hot.
 
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GoodGuy12345

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 26, 2018
68
29
Canada
My Mac mini has arrived about a week ago (i7 - 512gb ssd - 16gb ram). I have put it under stress for the entire weekend with long renders with Cinema 4D (12 hours with all cores working): average CPU temperature 95-98° C (never going over 100°), average frequency 3,4-3,5 GHz. The aluminium case was lightly warm, never hot.
Isn't 95-98 degrees a bit too close to the 100 degree mark where it could damage the cpu?
 
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GoodGuy12345

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 26, 2018
68
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Canada
Thanks, I guess PC users make it sound more scary than it really is on temperature. Also wouldn't the heat just degrade the life of the computer in general?
 
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Juggar

macrumors member
Jun 6, 2016
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Thanks, I guess PC users make it sound more scary than it really is on temperature. Also wouldn't the heat just degrade the life of the computer in general?

As a PC user I would be heavily alarmed by those temps, it would absolutely indicate thermal throttling, thats right on the ragged edge of TJunction max. But, thats how its always been with macs and cooling so its not really a big deal.

If my i7-8700k were running those temps I would take corrective actions immediately. The CPU will throttle and if you are OK with that then there is no issue.
 
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Jorbanead

macrumors 6502
Aug 31, 2018
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As a PC user I would be heavily alarmed by those temps, it would absolutely indicate thermal throttling, thats right on the ragged edge of TJunction max. But, thats how its always been with macs and cooling so its not really a big deal.

If my i7-8700k were running those temps I would take corrective actions immediately. The CPU will throttle and if you are OK with that then there is no issue.

I haven’t seen a single person state their mini throttles below base-frequency. My mini can hold a steady 4.0 GHz under fairly heavy loads. Also, I know there’s a lot of apprehension around cpu temperatures in the PC world, but it’s perfectly fine to run a cpu in the 90s. Cpu’s can last over 20 years, and even if excessive heat reduces this lifespan by half, that’s still a solid 10 years. And that’s assuming your using your mini constantly and pushing it to 90C. Most users will be looking at an upgrade before that point, and many users won’t be pushing their mini to those extremes 24/7.
 
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GoodGuy12345

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 26, 2018
68
29
Canada
From what I can see, even if the heat degrades the life of the cpu by half, it's still ok since the average lifespan is 20 years. Guess that I should continue with the mini without any worries. Just wished that Apple would put some effort on the cooling aspect, so people wouldn't have to fear, if they came from the PC world.
 
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leo-tech

macrumors regular
Sep 23, 2017
186
172
When I load CPU in my Mac Mini with occasional heavy tasks (which can be observed on animated Activity Monitor icon in Dock), I also switch on the nearby external cooling fan, blowing stream of air in the direction of Mac Mini case (from the front), not that it is strictly necessary, but still it helps somewhat.
 
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leo-tech

macrumors regular
Sep 23, 2017
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I wonder if some automated routine can be used to switch the external USB-powered cooling fan ON and OFF, depending on current CPU load or temperature?

 
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maflynn

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Staff member
May 3, 2009
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Isn't 95-98 degrees a bit too close to the 100 degree mark where it could damage the cpu?
I would say, simply because the heat is trapped in the tiny enclosure and we're not talking about just the CPU, there are other components that are sensitive to heat. Plus how will running a CPU so close to the threshold will do for longevity.
 
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archer75

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Jan 26, 2005
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I would say, simply because the heat is trapped in the tiny enclosure and we're not talking about just the CPU, there are other components that are sensitive to heat. Plus how will running a CPU so close to the threshold will do for longevity.
Luckily we can check the other temp sensors in the mini with Macs fan control. The heatsink and fan do a very good job of removing the heat of the cpu so it doesn't spread to the surrounding components. While the CPU can be in the 90's the next nearest component is usually 30c less than that.
And being an aluminum enclosure it conducts heat acting as a heat sink.
 
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SkiHound2

macrumors regular
Jul 15, 2018
237
165
Anyone have idea if placing the mini on some kind of raised grate that allows air to freely circulate or mounting it vertically so that more surface is exposed to freely circulating air would have any benefit?
 
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Reality4711

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2009
668
519
scotland
Get your mini off your desk, so air can cool the bottom too.
I use a a 6X6" block of half inch thick aluminum.
The Mac runs much cooler now.
Gold or copper slabs would work too, depending on what you have on Hand.
All three conduct heat well.
Steel is a bad choice.
"GOLD SLAB"!!!!!!

18 cubic inches of GOLD!

Just why would you not use the GOLD to get a computer(if needed) that already had good cooling??
 
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