Fan Noise & Heat Issues, Mid 2010

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mfvisuals, May 28, 2012.

  1. mfvisuals, May 28, 2012
    Last edited: May 28, 2012

    mfvisuals macrumors regular


    Sep 9, 2009
    SacTown, CA
    As a disclaimer, I'm not complaining about the heat that my MacBook Pro normally generates, as I'm versed well enough with this forum and the MacBook Pro to know that it is somewhat standard for the case to heat up during use to dissipate heat.

    That said, I noticed several things happening with my MacBook Pro lately.

    First, at least once or twice per day, the fans will start to get really noisy. Much noisier than they normally do when they spin up the full sub-6000rpm speed that they are capable of reaching.

    I took the MBP to an Apple Retail Store and had them run the standard hardware test but nothing unusual was found. They tried to listen for unusual noise, but naturally the Mac didn't act up while I was in the store.

    After taking the MBP back home, the issue started again.

    I've reset the PRAM and SMC, uninstalled Fan Control, updated iStat Menu, and even tried installing smcFanControl, but none of it has had an effect on this intermittent issue.

    I also compared the temperature of my Mac (as determined by iStat) to the normal operating temperatures specified for my Mac on the Apple support website.

    With only Safari (no flash), Adium, and iPhoto open (Divvy, TextExpander, smcFanControl, Little Snitch, Droplr, and iStat in background), my Mac averages about 45 to 50 degrees celsius, which is 10-15 degrees hotter than specified on the support page. I've also seen my Mac get as hot as 95 degrees celsius when playing a game like Diablo 3.

    EDIT: I did switch off the automatic graphics switching feature, and it actually seems to lower the operating temperature by about 8 degrees.

    I have upgraded the memory in the Mac to 8Gb total and I've swapped out the default hard drive for a 7200rpm Seagate hybrid drive, but unsure if that has anything to do with anything.

    So my question/concern is this: is my Mac getting hotter than it should be? If so, could that be an indication that the fans aren't working correctly? They do show that they're able to reach their top speeds when needed.

    Any other advice on how to handle this?
  2. cheesygrin macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2008
    Is it possible that there could be a dust problem inside the CPU heatsink? Particularly if the laptop is left in a dusty environment, such as a bedroom, this could cause overheating issues. You could try blasting out the air vents with a can of compressed air and see if that shifts any clogged dust and makes a difference.

    It is also possible that the faster spinning 7200 drive could produce more heat, though I would't have thought that on its own would make such a difference.
  3. mfvisuals thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 9, 2009
    SacTown, CA
    Is the CPU heatsink going to be underneath one of the fans?

    I will definitely get a can of compressed air and do a bit of spring cleaning to see if that helps.

    And yes, I do use the Mac primarily in my bedroom (which is also my home office area) but I tend to keep things pretty clean.
  4. mfvisuals thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 9, 2009
    SacTown, CA
    So I opened the bad boy and got rid any dust I could find.

    I've been running it for about 5 days now with no unusual fan noise.

    I've also been keeping tabs on the temperature and fan speeds.

    The temp hovers at around 47-55 degrees celsius during normal usage that doesn't include anything heavy like video playback or gaming.

    However, fans seem to be constantly running (though not super noisy like before) at close to full speed (~5300rpm).

    About 2 hours ago, I encountered a random kernel panic while reading some email and listening to music from iTunes.

    Now, however, everything seems to working okay.

    Does anybody have a 15" MacBook Pro with similar set up (8GB ram, hybrid hard drive, 10.7.4) who can tell me what their normal running temp for their Mac is, as a point of comparison?
  5. calibrationx macrumors member

    May 7, 2012
  6. mfvisuals, Jun 4, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012

    mfvisuals thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 9, 2009
    SacTown, CA
    After that Kernel Panic from yesterday, I looked up the panic message in Console and determined it has something to do with a communication issue with my hard drive.

    I've already ran multiple hardware tests both at home and via the Apple Store, so I googled my hard drive and after some research determined that the firmware for my HDD was several versions behind (was at SD25, latest was SD28). After updating that firmware, my system temp average has dropped about 4 degrees celsius and overall performance seems to have improved!

    I report back after a few days of testing if needed...
  7. bvanlieu macrumors member

    Dec 28, 2008
    Temp range is rather large for these CPUs...I think you are overthinking this.

    My light load temps range from 45-60c all the time on my 6,2 i5 (8G). Have SSD now but was same with 7200 RPM drive.

    lap vs. desk will change temps a bit due to lap being warmer.

    full load, temps go to 88-95C.

    Happy computer.

    - b
  8. Dizzie20vt macrumors member

    Oct 28, 2009
    my i7 (8GB) is sitting at 56oC right now just looking at Facebook and here before going to bed. The laptop is on my legs on the quilt so would be warmer than usual.

    Fitted with SSD + 500gb in the optibay also.
  9. mfvisuals thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 9, 2009
    SacTown, CA
    Thanks for the input, guys.

    Yeah, I rarely use my MBP on my lap, and I been using it on desk lately, with it plugged into a 27" LED LCD Monitor while sitting snugly in a Twelve South BookArc stand.

    I just tried some gaming (Serious Sam 3 BFE) and although the performance of the game wasn't terribly great, the temps didn't get above 83 degrees celsius.
  10. bigstick macrumors newbie

    Dec 29, 2007
    Wales, UK
    I have a mid 2010 MBP running Lion, and I almost always use the machine on my lap. It's too hot to use there without a cushion or something under it. I have what looks a bit like a permanent burn (it's not sore, just looks like patchy sunburn) on my left thigh. It's not painful unless it's being heated by the machine. The CPU temperature is always up at around 85 degrees with almost nothing running. Activity monitor shows % idle around 80%.

    The fan is running almost constantly, do I need to ring Apple, and does this sound normal?

    I have read the previous posts, but these seem to be related to heavy use, things like WoW, and general gaming. For my machine it seems to heat up to this temperature pretty quickly without any apps running.

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