(Early 2011) 2.3 i7 17" overheating...repair or dump?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Teej guy, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. Teej guy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    #1
    I'm running a Pro Tools mixing rig off my laptop.

    With SMC Fan control cranked to 5500rpm @ idle, the computer sits around 52C. From opening Pro Tools in this state, it takes roughly 30 seconds of playback at 50% CPU usage for the computer to hit 93C. The CPU then throttles back and playback stops.

    I've reinstalled OS X 10.6.8 and run an external display with the internal display off but with the lid open. I'm not in an overly hot room either.

    I've got a couple weeks of downtime ahead of me and I've seen the many overheating related threads/thermal paste issues/etc...please advise as to whether:
    a) an Applecare repair would fix this problem
    -or-
    b) I should sell this computer, buy a Mac Pro.


    Happy Holidays!
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #2
    93° C is NOT overheating, though your Mac is a bit hot for just 50% CPU usage.
    I guess you already looked at Activity Monitor and selected to show All Processes?
    Are the vents not blocked? Could you open the Mac and see for yourself, if it is too dirty?
     
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #3
    The Intel processors used in Macs are designed to automatically shut down to prevent damage if they truly overheat (around 100C/212F - 105C/221F, depending on your processor). iStat Pro will give you accurate readings of your temps and fan speeds, among other things.

    Unless there is a rare defect in a Mac, most temps are well within the normal operating range, considering the workload being put on it. Websites with Flash content, games and other multimedia apps will put higher demand on the CPU/GPU, generating more heat. This is normal. If you're constantly putting high demands on your system, such as gaming or other multimedia tasks, expect temps to rise and fans to spin up accordingly. It's just your Mac doing its job to maintain temps within the normal range.

    Your fans are always on when your Mac is on, spinning at a minimum of 2000 rpm (for MBPs) or 1800 rpm (for MBAs, MBs and minis). They will spin faster as needed to keep temps at a safe level. If they're spinning up without increased heat, try resetting the SMC. PRAM/NVRAM has nothing to do with these issues, so resetting it will not help. Also, make sure you don't block the vents, which are located at the rear, near the hinge.

    Learn about the fans in your Mac
    Apple Portables: Operating temperature
     
  4. Teej guy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    #4
    I'm happy pulling apart computers but I'm more just trying to gauge whether these computers are all defective or if I've got a lemon.

    ----------

    As per OP, internal screen off, hinge open, cold room. The info regarding SMC Fan Control in the OP relates that I've given the computer the absolute best chance possible at not overheating.
     
  5. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #5
    The 2011 MBPs had some problems with their thermal paste appliance, but many have remedied that via reapplying thermal paste.
    Other than that, you may have a lemon, but to be sure, you could just look for dirt and the thermal paste.
     
  6. Teej guy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    #6
    I'm sure reapplying thermal paste voids the warranty? Unfortunately not an option on a production machine :(
     
  7. VMMan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    #7
    @OP,

    How can one determine if the CPU is throttling?
     
  8. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #8
    The point is that if it's hitting 93C, it's not overheating. That's still within the normal operating range. If it were overheating, it would shut down. It throttles the CPU about 5 degrees below shut-off temps.
     
  9. Teej guy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    #9
    CPU meter in Pro Tools sits at 50% regardless of playback state under 90C. Temperature reaches 93C after 30 seconds of playback and the CPU meter starts rapidly jumping back and forth from 50% to 80%+red* state.

    *red CPU meter in Pro Tools signifies over CPU capacity.

    ----------

    It's throttling back to prevent overheating. Same difference to me because it interrupts my work. Either the computer can handle the process load or it can't.
     
  10. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #10
    ______________________________________________________
    Have a look at Activity Monitor (Applications / Utilities /) and select All Processes and sort by CPU to see what the culprit may be.
    Also check the "System Memory" tab to see what your "Page ins:", "Page outs:" and "Swap used:" are.

    image below uses sorting by CPU as an example
    [​IMG]
    Further reading:
    ______________________________________________________​
     
  11. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #11
    It's not throttling at 93C.
     
  12. Teej guy, Dec 22, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2011

    Teej guy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    #12
    I'm watching it happen. The computer chokes back its processing power significantly when a session causes it to reach 93C (any reasonably sized session I'm working on.) I can stop playback, wait for the temperature to fall below 90, start playback again and playback will stop when I hit over 90.

    How is this not temperature related CPU throttling?

    EDIT: running same test with Activity Monitor open to confirm, please standby.
     
  13. apunkrockmonk macrumors 6502a

    apunkrockmonk

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #13
    Sounds like a hardware issue.

    The machine is under warranty. Make a genius appointment and show them what you described to us.
     
  14. Teej guy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    #14
    Confirmed running activity monitor...the CPU monitor in Pro Tools and Activity Monitor show the same activity and there are no other processes running when I run Pro Tools. Watching the temperature rise to 93C tells me when the computer's going to stop playback, every time.

    Which relates back to the OP...am I chasing a dragon or does my machine TRULY fall out of spec? I'm wary of all this SpeedBoost ******** now...
     
  15. simsaladimbamba

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    #15
    How many tracks do you play back, and where are those tracks stored?
     
  16. Teej guy thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 6, 2007
    #16
    I'm running Pro Tools 10 HD, tracks are streamed out of RAM.

    Typical session runs between 10 to 30 (mono) tracks of audio, lots of bussing and routing, usually 30 to 60 tracks after all returns/sends/etc accounted for. Some more, some less.
     
  17. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #17
    Can you run some other benchmark software to double check the temperature behavior?

    Thermal throttling should not create the behavior you describe.
     
  18. apunkrockmonk macrumors 6502a

    apunkrockmonk

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #18
    Personally I'm not a Pro-Tools user, I'm a Logic user but I don't work with anywhere near 60 tracks.

    Also I do not have the privilege of owning a Sandy Bridge machine either.

    But to me 30 seconds seems way to quickly to be ramping up to temperatures that would force the CPU to throttle.

    Sounds like a thermal paste issue to me. Since its a bit of a pain to disassemble the machine and reapply yourself it seems like it'd be worth it to have Apple take a look before your warranty is over.

    If the temperature monitoring software your using has separate readouts for the CPU diode temps and the heat sink temps I'd compare the two. A large difference would help confirm its a thermal paste issue.

    Have you had this issue since day one or has it only been happening recently?
     
  19. Teej guy, Dec 22, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2011

    Teej guy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    #19
    3 year Applecare on this machine. Thanks for the temp reading tip, I'll be looking at that!!

    It's hard to say...I've been upgrading a lot of different gear over the past few months and have been dealing with bottlenecks as I've identified them. With the move to a DAC with much more stable drivers than my previous one (New Mytek Stereo192 VS old M-Audio ProFire2626) and the move to Pro Tools HD 10 with RAM caching, the problem has only fully revealed itself now. I'm also realising I've probably been working around it this whole time. With a couple weeks of downtime ahead of me, I'm considering repair/replace.

    I've been observing this behaviour for awhile but today I installed SMC Fan Control and watched the temperature on this machine for the first time.


    Thanks everyone for your input and advice!
     
  20. bill-p macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2011
    #20
    I'm also with the opinion that this definitely deserves some time with the Genius Bar. If possible, I'd say take it in as soon as possible and let them take care of it. Show the Genius the behavior and tell them that you expect it to improve by the time you get it back.

    If it doesn't improve, I'd think the next best thing is to exchange that computer for a different one, or to sell it and get a Mac Pro instead. Voiding 3 years of Apple Care seems like a no brainer to me.
     
  21. apunkrockmonk macrumors 6502a

    apunkrockmonk

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #21
    Personally I use the free iStat pro dashboard widget for my temp monitoring. I think they have a cheap menu bar based version as well but it isn't free.

    http://www.islayer.com/apps/istatpro/

    And you're welcome. I hope you can figure out your issue so you can get the performance you need at the portability you desire, instead of having to resort to a Mac Pro.
     

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