Fixing the 2011 MBP Heat Issues

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by 1BadMac, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. 1BadMac macrumors 6502

    1BadMac

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    #1
    One of the things I noticed in going from my '10 MBP to the '11 MBP 13" was the amount of time the fans were running and the average temperate when doing light activities.

    My average "email and light browsing" temperature was showing around 45 - 49 C. I noticed the fans would kick in and back off when processor activity was slightly more intense.

    I also noticed in gaming (Star Trek online through Wine - CPU intensive as it is) it was hitting 90 - 95 C.

    Based on the iFixit tear down of the 15" 2011 and the ridiculous amount of thermal compound they found on the Thunderbolt chip, I thought I'd go ahead and do the cleanup on mine and apply the correct tiny amount of Arctic Silver 5 compound.

    I performed the tear down of my own and the results were what I expected. There was a ridiculous amount of compound on the Thunderbolt heat sink and chip. There was also a random / uneven amount of compound on the CPU / controller.

    I carefully removed the excess compound from all the heat sinks and chips and applied a thin amount of Arctic Silver 5. Put the machine back together and have been monitoring my temperatures again.

    My light browsing and email usage is now showing between 37 - 45 C, spending most of its time around 39C.

    My in game high CPU temperature has dropped to 83 - 90 C.

    I also like to control my fan a little more closely than SMC allows out of the box, so I wrote some scripts to allow me to set the fan to 1800 RPM max for when I'm doing simple tasks, and crank up the max when gaming.

    The result is that this thing is now whisper quiet and cool. I'm sitting here now uploading and doing this post staring at the 38C temp with the fan running @ 1800 RPM max.

    I will post updated results as this compound settles and this thing sees some more extended usage today.

    In short - the Chinese assembly line once again had an excess of thermal compound that they felt necessary to glob all over the MBP internals. :)

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  2. alphaone macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2003
    #2
    Sweet jesus! That is a crapton of thermal paste. Haven't they heard the expression less is more?
     
  3. murdercitydevil macrumors 68000

    murdercitydevil

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Location:
    california
    #3
    Yup, this is one of the first things I did on my MBP. Voiding warranty or not, I think it was well worth it...running a solid 10 degrees cooler at load than it was out of the box. Not a single heat related crash yet.
     
  4. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #4
    Ah another brave member capable of fixing Apple's lamest mistake! Kudos man! This needs to be a sticky because newcomers to the Mac line may not realize this is all they have to do and if they can't, they need to make Apple do it.
     
  5. melterx12 macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 22, 2010
  6. neteng101 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2009
    #6
    What is the best way to get rid of all that thermal grease? Ie. how do you clean it best, before doing Arctic Silver 5.
     
  7. 1BadMac thread starter macrumors 6502

    1BadMac

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    #7
    Well for THIS much, I actually used a tiny rubber scraper tool to get the globs off. Then 91% Isopropyl alcohol on a cotton ball, followed by the same on a q-tip. Canned air to dry / blow off any particulates.
     
  8. melterx12 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    #8
    paper towel + isopropyl alcohol
     
  9. impulse462 Suspended

    impulse462

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    #9
    Wow, some pretty amazing results after you applied a small amount of AS5, impressive.

    And that is way too much thermal paste, damn.
     
  10. nikhsub1 macrumors 68020

    nikhsub1

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    mmmm... jessica.'s beer...
    #10
    I did this to mine in 2007, they still have not learned. FYI, AS 5 will eventually dry out and become less than effective. Really you should use a better paste such as Ceramique (it is very stable and will last forever) or something like shin-etsu. When I say a better paste I mean something that lasts a long time and doesn't dry out and become ineffective.
     
  11. ninjaboi21 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #11
    Getting my top 15" MacBook Pro in a week and a half - can't freakin' wait!
    I am not sure how the heat is on this machine, but let's say it's pretty hot, how hard is it to do the Thermal Paste job? Is there any good guides out there?

    I have never torn a notebook apart, and I have no experience in pasting the thermal. From a scale of 1 - 10, how hard is it, 10 being hardest?
     
  12. pricej636 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2010
    Location:
    Colorado
    #12
    If you have to ask, dont do it. This can and will void your warranty on your new machine if Apple can see any evidence of you doing it.
     
  13. Chwisch87 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2008
    #13
    how long do you keep these machines?? 3 or 4 years maybe?
     
  14. nikhsub1 macrumors 68020

    nikhsub1

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    mmmm... jessica.'s beer...
    #14
    Yes I still have my mid 2007 santa rosa MBP... old but still working very well. AS 5 can dry out and become powder like in a matter of months really.
     
  15. 1BadMac thread starter macrumors 6502

    1BadMac

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    #15
    If you've never built a PC or taken apart a notebook computer before (more than just RAM and HDD - we're talking going all the way down to the board and removing all of the wires that connect sensors, etc...) - then I'd rate it a 10 for you.

    If you have a background of PC / notebook repair, then it's a 2 or 3. It's more of a PITA keeping track of everything than it is difficult.
     
  16. Krevnik macrumors 68040

    Krevnik

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2003
    #16
    The results of mass production on lines going for consistent, high volume production. It's easier to overdo it, and compress the excess paste out than it is to get people doing it right in double the labor cost (and possible mistakes that lead to dead machines). Designing it to operate with that level of thermal paste was likely intentional.

    It's one of the cases where building it yourself, or at a small company that puts it together themselves will beat out mass production assembly because of the economics and scales involved. Can it be done better? Sure. Can it be done better at the prices they pay to have it assembly done now? Not a chance.
     
  17. TheHoff macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    #17
    damn, what a ridiculous amount. But you're braver than me voiding the warranty on a brand new machine. My new 17" idles around 40-44 so I don't think I'm going to do it yet.
     
  18. jjk454ss macrumors 601

    jjk454ss

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    #18
    Is this something the Apple store will do if you bring it in? Or do they send these types of repairs/fixes out? I'm just noticing the temps on mine, 91C running Handbrake and a little surfing, fans are louder than I've ever heard my previous MacBook.
     
  19. impulse462 Suspended

    impulse462

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    #19
    No they'll probably just replace it with a new (or refurb) unit.
     
  20. TheHoff macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    #20
    They most definitely will not open up a new MBP to the point of getting to the thermal paste in an Apple store. That would be sent out. If your machine is new, I'd just swap it... though 90 running Handbrake which pegs out the CPU isn't that out of line. What does it idle at when sitting on a table?
     
  21. impulse462 Suspended

    impulse462

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    #21
    Idle temps are more or less meaningless, If your CPU is max'd out and its sitting around 90C, I'd say thats pretty normal.
     
  22. jjk454ss macrumors 601

    jjk454ss

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    #22
    OK, thanks. I'll keep on eye on things for a while. Its the fan that I noticed, my old C2D Macbook never got near as loud.

    But now since Handbrake finished, temps went right down to 39C, and the fan is nearly silent again.

    Thanks for the quick responses.

    I downloaded Temperature Monitor to check, but whats the best app for keeping an eye on temps over the long term?
     
  23. TheHoff macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    #23
    Sounds fine then. Try out iStat Menus -- it puts CPU usage and temp and such right in your top bar.

    Also google Fan Control if you want to manage how they kick on.
     
  24. impulse462 Suspended

    impulse462

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    #24
    I guess iStat pro, but in actuality, it only shows the CPU Diode temperature, which, for the most part is useless, the core temperatures are what really matter, but iStat Pro doesn't show those so.

    A quick easy way to check if your CPU has cooling problems is if you're running handbrake, if the temperature shoots up to 90C+ within ~5 seconds there is most likely a problem. Idling at 39C is completely normal though.
     
  25. 1BadMac thread starter macrumors 6502

    1BadMac

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    #25
    I didn't have much luck with FanControl. I could never get it to be as quiet as I wanted no matter how I tweaked.

    I finally downloaded SMCFanControl so that I could leverage the driver and I wrote a few scripts that allow me to toggle the fan speed maximum. This, for example. sets it to 2,000 RPM max which has been whisper quiet all day and keeps the temp below 41C.

    do shell script "/Applications/smcFanControl.app/Contents/Resources/smc -k F0Mx -w 1f40"
     

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