Gaming in Clamshell Mode

lgwells1

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 27, 2011
251
5
COMO
I downloaded Arkham Asylum on my 2011 MBP, and would like to play it on my tv. So can I put it in clamshell mode or do I have to leave it open when I game, kinda worried about high temperatures.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
767
Macs are designed to operate in clamshell mode, as the vents are located in the rear, near the hinge. Having said that, heat dissipation is reduced somewhat with the lid closed, so if you're gaming or running other resource-intensive apps, you may see a slight reduction in temps or a reduction in fan speed with the lid open.
 
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Consultant

macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
13,292
20
Clamshell actually uses less power because your Mac's display would be turned off.
 
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doh123

macrumors 65816
Dec 28, 2009
1,304
1
I've seen that they usually run much hotter with the screen closed, not just a bit... I'd never game that way. The back vent has much more open space for the fans with the screen open normally.
 
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DustinT

macrumors 68000
Feb 26, 2011
1,556
0
I've seen that they usually run much hotter with the screen closed, not just a bit... I'd never game that way. The back vent has much more open space for the fans with the screen open normally.
I agree. While it's true the exhaust vents are on the back, the air intake is through the keyboard. With the lid closed, the rubber gasket at the edges blocks much of the air flow. It can be done if the screen isn't closed completely. I've seen some users close the screen with a pencil or some other soft object used to maintain a quarter or half inch of space for airflow. This seems to help a good bit.
 
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GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
767
I agree. While it's true the exhaust vents are on the back, the air intake is through the keyboard.
That is false. There is no air intake through the keyboard. Both intake and exhaust is through the vents in the rear. There is a solid sheet under the keyboard, preventing any meaningful airflow.
 
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Jethryn Freyman

macrumors 68020
Aug 9, 2007
2,329
2
Australia
Don't be worried about temperature, I don't know why so many people are. I used my MBP in clamshell mode for pretty intense stuff all the time and it never skipped a beat.
 
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DustinT

macrumors 68000
Feb 26, 2011
1,556
0
That is false. There is no air intake through the keyboard. Both intake and exhaust is through the vents in the rear. There is a solid sheet under the keyboard, preventing any meaningful airflow.
You know, I didn't believe you when you at first. But, a little digging revealed you are actually correct... Shocking! :)

I will admit, I lol'd when you posted a picture of the 2008 Macbook Pro.
 
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GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
767
You know, I didn't believe you when you at first. But, a little digging revealed you are actually correct... Shocking! :)

I will admit, I lol'd when you posted a picture of the 2008 Macbook Pro.
That's just one example. The same is true for all Mac notebooks. There's no need to get a different picture for each model.
 
Last edited:
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GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
767
I think I'm also correct in saying that if the temperature really does go way up, the machine will shut down?
Correct. 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).
 
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DustinT

macrumors 68000
Feb 26, 2011
1,556
0
Correct. 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).
Yup, they will do that. They also slow down considerably before they shutdown. Your game would become unplayable but the system wouldn't actually crash. Intel calls it throttling.
 
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Risasi

macrumors 6502
Sep 16, 2011
338
0
Macs are designed to operate in clamshell mode, as the vents are located in the rear, near the hinge. Having said that, heat dissipation is reduced somewhat with the lid closed, so if you're gaming or running other resource-intensive apps, you may see a slight reduction in temps or a reduction in fan speed with the lid open.
I'm sure there are no heat issues significant enough to overheat the machine to the point of system failure, or even cause a safeguard shutdown. However, I have wondered if it might shorten the life of the display?

The reason I ask is because lately at work I've been experiencing neck pain and headaches from looking down at my screen. Long work hours staring at a user's dual monitor pc I'm remoted to via my 13" MBP has a tendency to do that. I also do some light gaming.

I actually sold it and am making do with a few spare windows machines I keep spread out. I'm trying to give my neck a rest. It won't last long...I miss OSX.

So I'm debating eventually getting a refurb 2011 15" MBP and use it on an mstand, or putting VESA mount brackets on the back of a few strategically placed 22" 1080p monitors and using an 11 or 13" MBA in clamshell mode.



What say you? Do you have any concerns about shortening the life of the screen?
 
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Risasi

macrumors 6502
Sep 16, 2011
338
0
Interesting, thank you for the prompt response.

Sounds like I need to think carefully before making a decision. Two or three days out of the week I am sitting at a desk for long hours, sometimes 12-14 at a time. Then the other days I "float", in and out of client offices, datacenters, on the road, moving around, and on and off my laptop all day. And maybe once or twice a week I play a couple different games at night.

I actually bought a 17" MBP for the second time a few weeks ago. It's still too big to cart around as much as I move about. And that's when I realized I have the same problem with the screen being too low. Thank you for the input.
 
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Dekard

macrumors 6502
Sep 7, 2011
394
2
Dallas, Texas
How do you boot windows in clamshell mode? I didn't think you could, I thought you have to still boot enough to choose which mode to boot into?
 
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VI™

macrumors 6502a
Aug 27, 2010
636
1
Shepherdsturd, WV
I tried this with a first gen unibody playing Age of Legends(I htink that's right, RTS fantasy game) on a 30" monitor and I'd get a good solid 2-3 minutes out of it before it overheated and shut down. It had to be ran open with fans all the way at max just to not overheat to the point where it shuts itselfs down.
 
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Jethryn Freyman

macrumors 68020
Aug 9, 2007
2,329
2
Australia
I tried this with a first gen unibody playing Age of Legends(I htink that's right, RTS fantasy game) on a 30" monitor and I'd get a good solid 2-3 minutes out of it before it overheated and shut down. It had to be ran open with fans all the way at max just to not overheat to the point where it shuts itselfs down.
There's something wrong with your hardware then.
 
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edddeduck

macrumors 68020
Mar 26, 2004
2,059
13
There's something wrong with your hardware then.
Could be 1 on of a hundred things, bottom line I would not play games with the lid closed unless it was on a cooling mat or something to keep the heat build up down.

Most Apple laptops will be on max fans already after 5 minutes of BMAA so reducing the cooling will likely cause the CPU to throttle down to a lower speed to deal with the high temperatures resulting in a lower frame rate in game.

Edwin
 
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Dekard

macrumors 6502
Sep 7, 2011
394
2
Dallas, Texas
you still have to boot with the macbook open, it only resumes by the keyboard if it's asleep or hibernate correct?
 
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Ungibbed

macrumors 6502a
Dec 13, 2010
637
131
USA
you still have to boot with the macbook open, it only resumes by the keyboard if it's asleep or hibernate correct?
Correct.


That being said, I game quite often on my 13" MBP using my 27" ACD. Playing heavy Call Of Duty 4 or Bioshock only seems to rev up the fan, otherwise even with the lid closed, after a couple hours of play, my Mac never crashed or had any throttling issues at all. It would cool down to normal and go back to it's silent state after five minutes after quitting the game.
 
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groove-agent

macrumors 65816
Jan 13, 2006
1,103
837
On my 2008 MBP I gamed a lot with it in clamshell mode closed, and sometimes slightly open. Years later the bottom left corner of the screen started to separate from the top lid. This is positioned over top of the hottest spot of the laptop, where the GPU is. I believe over time the glue wore out from the constant heating and cooling from gaming with the lid closed.

Eventually I had a repair play epoxy it back together, but it has since then separated again. I now try to put a fan on my 2012 cMBP when gaming.
 
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