Default fan speed vs force higher fan speed

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Teuthos, Sep 17, 2014.

  1. Teuthos macrumors member

    Mar 21, 2014
    I've been playing Kerbal Space Program on my new MacBook Pro (15-inch, late 2013 default high-end model with 750M). I've installed smcFanControl to monitor and, if necessary, change the speed of my fans. The default speeds are about 2160 rpm (on the left side) and while gaming it only goes to around 2800 even though the temperatures are ridiculous.

    I know the computer runs hot when doing tasks, but when I use the High Speed mode on smcFanControl the temperatures immediately drop to okay-hot. I don't understand why the fans don't go over 2800; then again, I get nervous when the computer is so hot it can boil tea and switch on high-speed mode once it gets hot, so it might rise a bit more, but that sort of low fan speeds and ridiculous temperatures is a bit weird.

    So is this normal? When gaming, what sort of fan speeds do you get on your 15-inch high-end MacBook Pro?

    Also, another question - I've read people on other forums claiming that higher fan speeds can wear out the fans faster, but if my computer is running extremely hot, wouldn't the temperatures cause more problems in the long term than fan wear-out?

    Finally, could anyone link me to a free, Mavericks-compatible CPU and GPU temperature monitoring program?
  2. meson macrumors regular

    Apr 29, 2014
    Based on my observations and personal experiences, Macs have always been designed to run as quietly as possible, regardless of whether its an entry level machine or a top spec high power machine. If you launch something processor intensive, and watch the temperature. The fans stay at idle speed until the CPU approaches 100˚C. When it gets there, it begins ramping the fans until it reaches some threshold equilibrium temp. If you continue very intense usage, the temps will continue to rise and fans ramp accordingly until they are at max speed. If the CPU is still running too hot, then I suspect the system will begin to throttle itself to keep from burning up the CPU.

    Since the days of PowerPC CPUs, Macs have always run at higher temps than some would prefer, yet when treated within reason they still last quite a while.

    Don't worry about the temps and use the machine. It will take care of itself and handle the heat just fine. If you search, you will find pages and pages of people complaining about the temps, but very few ever experience any sort of system instability because of it. If you were to decide to run your machine with the CPU pushed to the max 24 hours a day in the heat of Arizona, then you may run into trouble down the line. In this case, it would be advisable to use the machine in some sort of climate controlled environment where you can assist the machine's internal cooling system, or choose a system better suited to this sort of usage pattern. If you are occasionally pushing the machine, you'll be just fine.
  3. Teuthos thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 21, 2014
    Thank you for replying. I think I'm going to occasionally use the higher fan settings though, but perhaps lowering the settings form 4000 rpm to 3000 rpm, when gaming for long times. I was just working on Corel Painter 2015 and noticed that though it got very hot at first, it quickly cooled down afterwards.

    Though the computer certainly can keep care of itself, as you said, a bit of extra cooling couldn't hurt. Especially with a dGPU machine, I think that might be a good idea long term, even though the chances of failure are pretty slim.

    If anyone knows a free GPU/CPU monitor for Mavericks, please post a link.

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