Early 2011 Macbook Pro HOT!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Skulltrail, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. Skulltrail macrumors newbie


    Mar 29, 2012
    Is it normal for my MBP to idle at 45*C and reach 80*C with only 25% CPU usage? I'm thinking about selling it and going with the 2012 MBP non-retina. Anyone have that model? How hot does it get? Stress test it by opening 8 terminal windows/tabs and entering "yes > /dev/null" in each to max out each virtual/physical core.

  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Your Mac is not overheating. The Intel processors used in Macs are designed to automatically shut down to prevent damage if they truly overheat. CPU Tjmax = 105C, GPU Tjmax = 100C on i3, i5, i7 processors. (Source: Intel) If you're not already using it, 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.

    It is also quite normal for your Mac to become extremely hot to the touch during intensive operations. The aluminum body transfers heat more effectively than other materials used in computer casings, so you will feel the heat more. This doesn't indicate that it's overheating and will not harm the computer to be hot to the touch.

    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). iMacs have 3 fans with minimum speeds in the 800-1200 range. 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.)

    The intake and exhaust vents are in the back of the computer near the hinge on all Mac notebooks (except the new MBP with retina display, which has intake vents along the sides at the bottom). The iMac vent is a slot on the back near the top of the computer. Make sure the vents remain unblocked to allow your computer to perform at its best.

    Learn about the fans in your Mac
    Apple Portables: Operating temperature

    For Flash-related issues:
  3. Skulltrail thread starter macrumors newbie


    Mar 29, 2012
    How about reading/understanding my post instead of copying and pasting some generic Apple Support response? :(

    I know the MBP is designed to shut down at a very hot temperature to prevent permanent damage, but seeing as though I'm only at 25% CPU usage and already at 80*C, imagine if the CPU is fully bloated. If I stress my CPU now while it's idle, it won't rev up the fans fast enough. The temps will reach 95% in no time and the computer will freeze. If I pre-emptively set the fans to 100% speed and then stress test, temps remain around 85-92*C. Normal?
  4. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    Being an a$$hat is not a good way to get help. I guess it's to be expected with new MacRumors members.
  5. ender land macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2010
    wow you run one of the processors at 100% and it gets hot?

    NO WAY
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    How about reading and understanding my response, which is not "some generic Apple Support response"? I read your post and and addressed your questions directly, if you took the time to read it. Your temps are perfectly normal.
  7. chrisperro macrumors 6502


    Oct 24, 2009
    i have a 2011 15" and 45c is normal for idle plus we dont know what you have MBP what 13" 15"?
    2011 or 2010? 13' run a bit hotter cause the 1 fan.
    anyways if not happy reinstall the OS but you should read what GGJ post if not just go buy a new one ,obviously money is not a problem for you.
  8. Skulltrail thread starter macrumors newbie


    Mar 29, 2012
    CPU is at 15% usage and the fans are maxed out... this can't be normal.

  9. umeflippen macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2011
    No way that's normal. I just bought a 2011 late macbook pro 17'' quad 2.4.
    At around 70% cpu usage it tops 85 with fans running at 3900 rpm.
  10. PAPO macrumors 6502

    Aug 24, 2009
    see now that's actually proper detail, you never said your fans were working that hard at moderate load you just said it was hot, no that's not normal take it to an Apple store
  11. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
  12. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
  13. calvol macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2011
    Skull, for some reason, GG doesn't understand that thermal stress shortens the life of electronics, especially CPUs. Saying that Macs can't overheat is different than the reality than heat will break down any component over time. It's like saying your car will not overheat at 105 MPH, maybe, but run it at that speed very long and see what happens. Running any component at the margins is asking for trouble. Your MBP at 80C/25% load is not normal, should be down in the 60's. First thing I would do is reset the heatsink with a good thermal paste like Artic Silver.
  14. GGJstudios, Jul 2, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2012

    GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    I understand that completely. I also understand that the shortened life is still much longer than most people own their Macs. Incidents of Macs dying from this long-term exposure to heat are extremely rare. I challenge you to link to statistics or even forum posts that indicate otherwise.
  15. Queen6 macrumors 604


    Dec 11, 2008
    Land of the Unexpected
    Look at the dependencies of the GPU with gfxcardstatus, the CPU is not the only part of the system capable of generating high thermals. You may be surprised at what app`s call for the discrete GPU, Apples cooling algorithm takes into account several sensors across the system.

    Has the machine been exposed to a dusty environment, the cooling system may just be partially blocked, however your idle temp of 45C is not unreasonable for this machine, my own Late 2012 15" 2.4 i7 idles in the mid to high 30`s and easily pushes to mid 40`s with little activity. 80C @ 15% does need some further investigation, it`s not harmful, equally something is driving up the the temperature.

    What`s the location of the machine, desk, elevated, cooling stand, ambient temp etc all play a part.
  16. Blaine macrumors 6502a


    Dec 3, 2007
    Abilene TX
    No you didn't. You hit copy and paste.
  17. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Some of your links are very good. A lot of the content is worth reading. The issue I find is the idea that if something doesn't go into thermal shutdown, it's fine. Prior to actual overheating and shutdown, the machine does start to throttle. This can generate a lot of hiccupy behavior. If the machine is working perfectly, it won't hit this range when operated within the certified ambient temperature and humidity range.
  18. kettlecorn macrumors 6502

    Jan 21, 2011
    Question: Does it feel hot to the touch, to the point where it's uncomfortable? And by "it" I mean top left above the F1-F4 keys if I remember correctly.

    My so called temps were "fine" by the numbers but trust me, it was not fine. I had a thread about this and rendering 1080p youtube on my Early 2011 Macbook pro 13" had it spooling up the fan and netflix was unbearable. It was getting ridiculously hot. Way too hot for my lap and the top (as described above) was really hot to the touch, couldn't touch it for more than 1-2 seconds. Well, turns out, I was ****in right. I sold that one and a few months later ended up getting the same model 2011 MBP 13 and this one was SILENT and cool. 1080p and netflix was no problem.

    Could be a thermal paste issue or something but just know that just because your temps are in the normal RANGE doesn't mean it's optimal. If you're running near the top of the "normal" range 80% of the time, that's not exactly normal.
  19. Hyper-X macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2011
    The simplest and easiest thing to do in this case is to reset the SMC. The SMC controls many functions to include the fans.

    If that doesn't work and want to try a 3rd party fan control app, there's 2 I recommend (before you take it to Apple to have it looked at).

    1. smcFanControl - this app allows you to see the temp as well as the fan speed on your menu bar. However it only gives you manual control over how fast you want your fans to operate at. http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/23049/smcfancontrol

    2. Fan Control - this is my favorite and I like it over smcFanControl because it's a much smarter app than the above. Unlike smcFanControl, it's automated and doesn't require manual adjustment of the fan speeds. You can alter when you want the fans to kick in to hit a target temperature, so if you're the type that needs the CPU temps to be as low as possible, you'll notice that you're going to have to put up with more fan noise. http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/23137/fan-control
  20. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    You raise some good points so let me post some of my anecdotal experiences.

    I've not experienced any hiccupy behaviour when running at 100% CPU and around 96-100 degrees C for hours on end. This is on a 2009 13" MBP C2D 2.53 GHz, a 2011 13" MBA i7 1.8 and a 2011 Mac Mini Server quad. The closest I've seen to an issue is in Handbrake itself, but this was related to a specific build where the developers forgot to allocate CPU time to the UI loop so it looked like HB was hanging and you couldn't stop or pause the encode, but it was still going, if you left the app alone.

    This is nothing to do with throttling or heat though and the issue went away with the next build and wasn't present in a previous build. When a computer is truly overheating, you’ll know about it. I’ve fried a couple of computers due to overclocking in my younger days. You’ll experience very obvious instability, such as a restart or the particular application that is causing the load crashing. Then you will experience a funky noise, possibly some pretty lights if you have the computer open and a smoke display. I’ve not seen any instability related due to throttling on current generation CPUs.

    Will a laptop throttle back more than a desktop? Sure, but that is the trade-off for portability. Laptops are becoming stupidly powerful these days, but it would be nice to see some advances in cooling technology too. There are some methods being worked on at universities right now and they seem like science fiction so hopefully we will start seeing some of this future tech soon.

    Back to whether one should be concerned about the temperatures inside a laptop: I've encoded more movies and series than I care to remember on my 2009 MBP (around 4.5 TB of mkv files in total) and it still runs quite happily today. There is, however, a real issue with this particular computer in my opinion. The heat does not impact how it works, but it impacts the user experience, because the top left corner gets hotter than I would consider to be acceptable, even if one is just editing code in Xcode and doing a build every couple of minutes. I basically had to get an external keyboard to alleviate the sweaty hands. I assure you that I am not normally a sweaty person and it wasn’t comfortable after 30 minutes of typing. I also like to rest my fingers over that area. Perhaps it’s bad ergonomics, but damn it, that’s how I do it. The 2011 MBA does not exhibit this and is comfortable to use in the same scenario.

    I cannot speak for the 2011 MBP with any conviction, but I did not experience the sweaty hands problems in the couple of hours in total that I've spent mucking about with it in Apple stores. My experience also says that this isn't something solely inherent to Apple's laptops. When I was still working for a large consulting firm I had the "pleasure" of using various PC laptops, such as HPs, Dells, VAIOs and Lenovos since the company would issue a laptop and I would get a laptop from the company I was consulting to as well.

    I don't know what I was doing wrong, but the HPs would get stupidly hot and in two years I had 4 replacements. Twice due to the motherboard and twice due to the hard drives. The Dells would also get hot, but I only needed one replacement due to a hard drive. I also used Sony VAIOs for two years. The first one would get ridiculously hot and the hard drive died after 4 months of use, but I never really heard the fans. I think there was a problem there since after the HDD was replaced I continued to use it for a year and the fans would work.

    Unfortunately that was stolen in San Diego airport out of my hold baggage by the TSA security officials after I had checked my bag in. I am now using a brand new Sony VAIO thing that is probably the worst laptop I've ever used. It continuously spins up the fans for no reason at all and it sounds like a jumbo jet taking off. It stutters at simple tasks like hibernating or waking up or restarting or opening any application. Woe unto the user that tries to right click on a cell in Excel and choose "Format cells..." just after a spreadsheet is opened or created. It's actually comical because it takes 10 to 20 seconds, even on an empty cell. Around the 15 seconds mark Excel says it's no longer responding and the wheel starts spinning. The patient user is finally rewarded with the Format Cells dialog and it comes up quickly the second time.

    It's a clunky POS, but the accountants feel they are saving money with crappy machines that slow people down, even though these people cost more per day than the machine. That's financial sense for you.

    Out of all of these computers, the only one that I could use on a lap was the Lenovo. That 11 or 12 inch Lenovo was the coolest (in both definitions of the word) little PC laptop that I’ve ever used.
  21. MagicBoy macrumors 68040


    May 28, 2006
    Manchester, UK
    Perhaps partially true, although they are edited to fit. I've never seen an GG post an inappropriate response.

    I find it infuriating the number of n00bs who sign up to MR to ask the same old questions and don't bother reading the FAQs or searching (either the forums or that thing called Google). Props to GG for bothering to try and help them at all, given that there's a good chance they will be ungrateful and argue against the advice that they came here to request!

    Here's to the GGJStudios knowledge base.
  22. DutchAmerican macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2012
    Drunen, Netherlands

    Excuse me. It is not expected because I am definitely not that type of group you try to subscribe. I am new, yes, but I try to be respectful as possible and I have an awe for the people who know so many about the iDevices. When you are new you got to have respect and growing slowly in the community so you also can be respected as a full member of Macrumors.

    So take it personally with a person and don't shave all the newbies with the same brush.

  23. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    I didn't copy and paste. I read the post and posted an appropriate response, which the OP failed to read, or they wouldn't be asking the same questions again. Also, several others have suggested things already stated in my first response, such as resetting the SMC. So you think they didn't read the OP's post, as well, since they suggested some of the same that I did?
    That is false. Like any computer, Macs are not designed to handle unlimited workloads. Regardless of the ambient temp, if you put enough workload on a Mac, it will overheat and shut down, and that is not a flaw. It will throttle about 5C before shutting down, which doesn't generate "hiccupy behavior". It only means the CPU is restricted from operating at full speed. Any erratic behavior is due to the software not handling the throttling.
  24. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    That is not false. We are not talking about treating the machine like a server where this could happen 24/7. It should be capable of running at the capacity of the hardware, and throttling should be there only if this happens for extended periods of time. If you can make it shut down due to high temperatures while operating the device within its intended environment, there is something wrong with the device. The most common time people have complained about throttling on here is during gaming, but any application that makes heavy use of either of the cpu or OpenGL can be irritating. I have personally seen computers shut down at random times, and if it happened within the warranty period, I would take it in for service.
  25. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    While it may be irritating that shutdowns happen, such as with extensive gaming, it doesn't indicate something is wrong with the Mac. It only means that the Mac wasn't designed to handle such loads for extensive periods. While you certainly may disagree with Apple's design and the Mac's capabilities, it doesn't mean the Mac is defective. It more likely indicates that you didn't buy a computer best suited to your needs and intended workload.

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