Heat and fps issue

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Fillonte, Jul 26, 2017.

  1. Fillonte macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2013

    A brief disclaimer first: despite sitting in front of a computer most of the time, my knowledge on the more technical aspects of it is close to that of a 5 years old, so please bear with me if my question may sound dumb.

    So, I have a late 2011 MacBook Pro and whenever I play games on it (I mostly play World of Warcraft but it happens with other titles as well) I have quite significant fps issues. And I'm ok with it: a rather old machine, bad GPU, not a lot of RAM and such. I end up playing with low setting and I endure the low fps.

    What does drive me crazy is what happens during the first 5 mins of any gaming session: it feels like I'm on a completely different machine, my fps go as high as 50-60 (I usually play at 7-10) and everything is smooth and much more enjoyable. Then (I guess) the internal temperature goes up, and my Mac goes literally crazy, slows down to Commodore 64 levels (seriously for a couple of mins even the finder becomes unbearably slow, especially during the Summer) and then everything goes back to normal, except the game I'm playing, which settles around the 7-10 fps I mentioned.

    However, doesn't that mean that my Mac is theoretically able to run games much better than it actually does? Is there a way to have it keep the level it has during those "magical" first 5 minutes? Is it everything because of the high temperatures?

    And if it is, is there a way to tell it to ignore the temperatures and keep going (I already have the fans set up to max when I play), or will it "melt" if I do?

    Thanks a lot for any inputs
  2. Flint Ironstag macrumors 6502a

    Flint Ironstag

    Dec 1, 2013
    Houston, TX USA
    Used to game on my MacBook Pros all the time and it certainly accelerated their demise. What's happening is called throttling. Laptops aren't designed to run full tilt for extended periods. They can't dissipate the heat quickly enough, so they have to down clock (throttle) in order to use less energy and hence produce less heat.

    You're in luck. Your MBP has Thunderbolt. Head over to egpu.io to learn about the wonderful world of external graphics.

    In short, it's a box with a power supply and a thunderbolt connector. Install a regular desktop graphics card in there and BAM - your Mac can now play all the latest titles without melting. It's the GPU that produces most of the heat; now it's outside the laptop.
  3. Fillonte thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2013
    Thanks a lot! I didn't know you could do that.

    Is it very expensive?
  4. Janichsan macrumors 68000


    Oct 23, 2006

    Before considering that, I would…

    a) …clean the air vents and fans of your Mac. It's quite old, and very likely a lot of dust accumulated inside. Clean it, and your Mac will very likely be able to keep its temperature in a workable range again.

    b) …download smcFanControl (or another fan control software of your liking) and up the base fan speed a bit. I'm not sure what the default on your machine is, but it's most likely around 2000 rpm. Set it to 2500 (or 3000 if necessary) and your machine should throttle less, if at all.

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