Extended clamshell mode dangerous?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by blairh, Mar 7, 2009.

  1. blairh macrumors 68030

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #1
    Hey guys,

    So I'm expecting a new monitor to use in conjunction with my MBP any day now. The idea is that I'd use my MBP in clamshell mode for extended periods of time (up to 12 hours max, but going in and out of sleep mode at times through the day).

    But now I'm having fears that this is not safe for the MBP. From my research on this forum, people have warned about the MBP getting too hot while in clamshell mode for long periods of time. I would not be doing anything intensive while in clamshell (word, web, email, itunes, etc). Down the road I'm planning on getting into video editing but by then I assume the MBP will be open and the external will act as a second screen.

    The way my desk is setup, the MBP would ideally need to lie flat on a glass surface (so an Mstand is out of the question). I'm aware of "notebook coolers" but have no idea if they are useful or are a solution.

    Would greatly appreciate your knowledge and advice on the matter. Thanks!
     
  2. halfbelgian macrumors member

    halfbelgian

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    Location:
    Winnipeg, Canada
    #2
    FWIW here's what I wrote in another thread:

    The stand is from here:

    http://www.koolsink.com/

    I also have the istat pro widget to monitor temps and the smcFanControl app which can adjust the fan rpm's if it's felt to be necessary,but haven't had to use it so far.

    So far close to two months of mostly clamshell mode use and no issues. I do use it as a laptop once a week just to give the battery some exercise and have calibrated the battery once so far and plan to do so monthly.

    This is my first laptop and my experience is very limited so I follow these threads with great interest.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Gunga Din macrumors 6502

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    Jan 1, 2008
    Location:
    Old Trafford
    #3
    Why do people use the MBP in clam shell mode anyway? I like having the extra 15" screen real estate. I leave a few programs running on the MBP screen and work on my ACD. I just leave the screen open, never have problems.
     
  4. halfbelgian macrumors member

    halfbelgian

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    Location:
    Winnipeg, Canada
    #4
    Why do people feel the need to answer threads looking for info or help by deriding the op's choices? :confused:

    If you have nothing useful to contribute it's ok, even on the internet, to have an unexpressed thought. :rolleyes:
     
  5. blairh thread starter macrumors 68030

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #5
    i second what halfbelgian says. gunga din, obviously there is a specific reason why i have desires to go clamshell mode only. the reason being with my computer desk, there really is no room to have the MBP open. i need to keep it closed and hidden in specific area. it would be a lot easier for me to explain if you could see the way the desk is set up.

    having said that, there really is no reason to make a post that attempts to challenge what i plan on doing. before commenting you should think that maybe the OP has a reason for doing what he or she wants to do. such is the case with me.

    halfbelgian, thanks for your suggestions and knowledge. i'm going to read what others have to say here and then make a decision.
     
  6. belvdr macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #6
    Considering most of the heat is not exhausted up from the keyboard, it's not a problem.
     
  7. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #7
    Its not exhausted, but it is passed through the keyboard especially the newer unibody since our heatsink comes in contact with the bottom of the keyboard.
     
  8. belvdr macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #8
    Either way, clamshell mode is not dangerous. It's not as if the only way for the heat to escape is through the keyboard.
     
  9. blairh thread starter macrumors 68030

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #9
  10. Gunga Din macrumors 6502

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    Jan 1, 2008
    Location:
    Old Trafford
    #10
    Just asking if there was a specific reason lol, jeez some of u are a little defensive, no?.

    I'm not challenging anything. But I see your pt, in clamshell mode u could put it in a smaller area if u didnt have the room.

    Also, from what i've read, there should be no heat issues in clamshell mode. I believe there is a vent out the back and when the lid is closed, it would actually give more room to the vent.
     
  11. toolbox macrumors 68020

    toolbox

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2007
    Location:
    Australia (WA)
    #11
    I have had my mac for about 4 months, It stays in clamshell most of the time - No problems. I will open the lid if i am doing a lot of video editing but other than that it stays closed.

    My other two have been in clamshell too there still operating perfectly
     
  12. blairh thread starter macrumors 68030

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #12
    gunga din, water under the bridge mate. it was just that the way your phrased your original reply had a rude tone. asking something like why would i even bother to use clamshell mode, etc. regardless its passed, no worries.

    toolbox, do you think the MBP is safe heat wise if it runs in clamshell for an extended period of time in casual use (say up to 12 hours, but with big breaks in between at times?). i would love to refrain from purchasing the laptop cooler i listed just to save the money. especially if i don't really need it.
     
  13. vga4life macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    #13
    I use one of my MBP's (15" Santa Rosa) exclusively as a desktop. Before the new mini came out, it was the most affordable way to drive a 30" dual-link DVI display with adequate performance. (The Mac Pro was and is overkill for the 2D imaging work I do.)

    It stays in clamshell mode all the time on a hard and flat desk, and often gets 8-12 hours of use in a day. I did have to have the logic board replaced last week due to the faulty nVidia 8600M GT GPU in it. It's possible that running in clamshell mode accelerated the failure of the known-defective GPU. As far as I'm concerned, it's fine with me if running it in clamshell mode stress-tests the parts. That's why I buy Applecare, though in the case of the GPU, Apple have extended 2 years of warranty coverage to everyone with an 8600M GT.

    Bottom line: clamshell mode is a documented feature. It wouldn't be advertised if it weren't safe: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3131?viewlocale=en_US
     
  14. ryannazaretian macrumors 6502a

    ryannazaretian

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2008
    Location:
    Mississippi
    #14
    If it's under warranty, I wouldn't worry a bit about it. The MBP sucks air in from the keyboard and speaker grill. With the new Unibody Macs, I think clamshell will be worse as they have a rubber gasket around the screen. I ran my old non-Unibody MBP in clamshell for a while, then the hard drive died, trackpad stopped working, and it got extremely hot.

    I haven't used my new MacBook Pro in clamshell yet. I don't have an external monitor here at college anymore because the monitor took up too much room.

    I would say in OSX, it's fine to run in clamshell mode if you have SMCFanControl installed, or FanControl installed. In Windows, I get scared running it open, let alone closed.

    But like I first said, if you're warranty is good, I see no problem running it. If it dies because of the heat, cuss Apple out and they'll fix it.
     
  15. w00t951 macrumors 68000

    w00t951

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    #15
    Certain Conditions

    If you look at the black or grey strip of plastic at the back to the computer, then you will see what looks like a long piece of plastic running down the length of the computer, with slots in it. It is the main exhaust vent, and they must never be blocked while the computer is running. The design of the computer makes the strip of plastic swing with the screen to cover the vent while the computer is closed to keep out debris, and that is what you are doing when you close the lid on the computer. However, when you leave the screen open at a 45 degree angle, then that is the optimum cooling position, as the vents are opened all of the way. What the Apple article is referring to when talking about 'clamshell mode' is leaving the lid open halfway and turning off the screen. And I would not recommend using clamshell mode while gaming or doing some heavy duty encoding, because the fans suck HUGE amounts of air from the keyboard and speaker grills. (You can test this by propping your mac on it side while running, and holding a piece of tissue paper to the keyboard, and watching it stick.
     
  16. MarkSTi04 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Location:
    Illinois Side of St. Louis, MO
    #16
    Im glad I found this thread. I know the underside of the MBP got warm, but running in Clamshell with the heat does bring up a concern about over heating issues when running alot of intense programs. Keep posting, I think this will help everyone out. :apple:
     
  17. halfbelgian macrumors member

    halfbelgian

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    Jan 31, 2009
    Location:
    Winnipeg, Canada
    #17
    Really, because it doesn't say that:

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3131?viewlocale=en_US

     
  18. blairh thread starter macrumors 68030

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #18
    I'm gonna second what halfbelgian just pointed out about w00t951 quote. I really don't think Apple is referring to clamshell mode as you state it. Instead it is meant to mean when the lid is fully closed.

    From what I'm understanding, clamshell mode is safe as long as the work you are doing is considered on the "light side". The problem I'm now having is being 100% confident that I'm safe even if I do light stuff (web, email, word, itunes) which is what I'd be doing regardless.

    I'm going to encourage more people with knowledge about this topic to let us know what you think. Not just for me but for future Mac users who want to do this. Thanks.
     
  19. Ptyger macrumors member

    Ptyger

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    #19
    Huh. I run my MBP in clamshell mode whenever I'm at my desk. This means I'm watching HDTV on it through iTunes, browsing, e-mailing, and playing World of Warcraft. I have absolutely NO issues whatsoever with running it for an extended time like this. When it comes time to head to school, I just disconnect everything and put it in my bag.

    So I would say that no, there really isn't any danger in running your notebook in clamshell mode for an extended period.
     
  20. toolbox macrumors 68020

    toolbox

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2007
    Location:
    Australia (WA)
    #20
    Yes i believe it is ok, mine is elevated though on a M Stand. If i am doing general use like websurfing, listing to music i will leave it shut. But if i start doing video editing, then i will open the lid just so it keeps a little cool.
     
  21. blairh thread starter macrumors 68030

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #21
    Hey guys,

    So I emailed Clint at Ars Technica after coming across an article he wrote that mentioned clamshell mode in passing with his MBP. Here is what he was kind enough to email me back with.........


    I personally use my MBP in clamshell mode 90% of the time I'm using it. I don't sleep the machine at night either. The machine runs generally 24 hours a day, 6 days a week in clamshell mode while I work and sleep and such.

    I've been operating the machine in this manner since I purchased it in October. Every friday I work from a coffee house and I use the machine in its laptop mode, obviously. I also used it for a week while in San Francisco and Las Vegas for Macworld and CES in laptop mode.


    As for the notebook cooler he says he thinks it would work but he doesn't use one.

    I've done a lot of thinking and from what Clint says, clamshell mode should be just fine, if you decide to go that route. However, I personally am going to just keep the MBP's lid open while having it attached to my external monitor. I just came up with a way to have it sitting on a stool off to the side and out of the way. For ventilation reasons, I'm going to come up with a homemade way of lifting up the MBP a bit using its four corners while on the stool. I don't want my laptop sitting on anything directly, plus having it raised a bit will keep it cooler for long periods of time.
     
  22. steve31 macrumors 6502a

    steve31

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Location:
    Edmonton Canada
    #22
    I always have both my MBP and MB in clamshell mode with the Apple 24 cinema display with no problems at all. I also do a lot of gaming with my MBP. Zero issues! The way I see it is that Apple made both of these so they must be ok.
     
  23. blairh thread starter macrumors 68030

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #23
    Yeah I agree. If it was honestly dangerous Apple would say so.

    I'm just going to try out both methods (clamshell and open lid) and see what I like best and report back.
     
  24. Shivetya macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    #24
    Since I was looking into heat issues and this is only a month or so old.

    My new MBP 2.4 lives in clamshell mode... and it does heat my glass desk quite a bit. I run it with the 9600gt enabled and have done four hour WOW stints with three copies going at once...

    I am leaning towards the zalman cooler... I have a constant fan use while gaming and it runs for up to a minute after exiting the game.

    Recommendations for temperature monitors? I would be curious
     
  25. reallynotnick macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
    #25
    While I can't comment 100% accurately on your setup, but just keep in mind the risk you have of it falling off the stool, cords being tripped, knocking into it, ect. Plus if you raise it off the stool it is going to have that much less contact with stool which is great for cooling but makes it easier to be knocked off. At least with it overheating in clamshell mode, Applecare covers that, falling off a stool not so much.
     

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