Heat dissipation in iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by snorby, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. snorby macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2007

    I intended to buy a Mac Pro as I thought they would be updated with the iMac, but now I am considering buying an iMac instead as my needs lies in between the two computers.

    I do a lot of video encoding (i.e. converting videos from one codec to another, something I can let run all night without supervision). This means that the CPU of the computer runs at 100% activity for long periods of time. So, I am a little worried about the heat dissipation in "small enclosures" as the iMac.

    My current machine is a Mac Mini and the hard drive died of overheating last christmas. It was only 18 month old, but the CPU spent those 18 months working very hard, with the fan turning at full speed, and the ventilation is not so good in a Mac Mini (I don't blame Apple since the Mac Mini is clearly not designed to be used for these kinds of tasks: my fault for over-using the computer). Replacing the hard drive wasn't easy but it was doable, whereas for all I know, it's close to impossible for a non-professional in an iMac.

    It is important to note that for me CPU power is not the most important criteria: I don't care whether it takes 12 or 24 hours to encode a video. I just want to be sure I won't damage the computer by having its CPU runs at full speed and generating lots of heat for long periods of time.

  2. timswim78 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 8, 2006
    Baltimore, MD
    I seriously suggest getting an external hard drive to do the kind of stuff that you mentioned. You'll avoid the overheating drive issues, and even if a drive does die, it's external and a lot easier to replace.

    Also, Mac mini's run much faster on external firewire drives than they do on the built-in laptop drives.

    If it is of any assurance, the new iMacs have a cooling fan for the hard drive. However, I'd still suggest getting an external drive and not abusing the internal one.
  3. snorby thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2007
    Actually this is what I am currently doing, I have an external FW hard drive on which I store the original video and generate the converted one (I actually do this because my Mac Mini hard drive is too small to store the kind of videos I have working on).

    The problem I was referring to is not overheating of the hard drive because it get used too much, but overheating of the whole enclosure due to the CPU working at 100% for long periods of time. The fact that it was the hard drive that failed first in my Mac Mini is probably due to the fact that 2.5" hard drive are very sensitive to heat but it would have been the same if it had been the RAM or video chipset (well it would have been worst with the GPU since I wouldn't have been able to replace it...).

    So what I am afraid of is that the CPU will generate a lot of heat, that this heat won't escape the enclosure because it is not ventilated enough, and that finally something (hard drive or anything else) will break due to working in an overheated environment.


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