How can I better regulate the heat temperature on my Macbook?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Zen Desk Pro, Sep 26, 2015.

  1. Zen Desk Pro macrumors member

    Aug 18, 2015
    Chicago, Illinois
    My current setup is a 15'' Macbook pro that is plugged into a Thunderbolt display (which has an external keyboard plugged into it - and subsequently, a mouse attached to the keyboard).

    About 90% of the time, my Macbook is connected to the Thunderbolt, closed, in clamshell mode. However, it gets kind of hot sometimes

    Even when I'm doing normal things like browsing Safari with 10 or so tabs open. The laptop heats up.

    Today, when I was browsing Safari, the window froze up! My mouse was moving, but I couldn't click any folders on the desktop, or get my dock to pop up. Then after about 5 minutes, my mouse froze, then I undocked my Macbook from the Thunderbolt display, and just reset the computer by holding the power button.

    This upsets me because I got the laptop and monitor no more than 2 months ago. And it's already giving me heat issues.

    Is there anyway people who use their laptops in clamshell mode can better regulate the temperature of their machines? Isn't the vent designed to be able to ventilate even when the notebook is closed?
  2. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    Probably not a heat issue at all TBH - may well have been something in the window you were browsing. Generally MBPs work fine in clamshell, they do get warm to the touch but the fans should come on as required.
  3. Zen Desk Pro thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 18, 2015
    Chicago, Illinois
    So you don't think this is a case of overheating?

    Do certain webpages have the ability to cause your entire computer to freeze up? I wanted to pull up activity monitor, but had no idea how to. What do you ordinarily do in the case that your entire system freezes up?
  4. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    Do a spotlight search for activity monitor, that will let you bring it up, set it to run in your dock and show the icon as cpu usage.

    Not all websites/pages are the same in terms of system impact - if you were running flash on 10 browser pages then yes that could easily lock it up so could various other scenarios.

    If genuinely overheating then the MBP will throttle the cpu, this will make it run slow but not freeze, nor will overheating therefor cause what you were experiencing.
  5. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    No, not it isn't a case of overheating.

    Web pages can freeze a computer if the script in them has a bug in it or just flakes out.

    A overheating laptop will shut itself down to prevent damage. You did not experience overheating and likely never will.

    Just a pet peeve of mine, but temperature is just the amount of heat. You cannot have "heat temperature".
  6. Queen6, Sep 28, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2015

    Queen6 macrumors 604


    Dec 11, 2008
    Flying over the rainforest at dawn - Priceless
    Being an owner & user of the 15" MacBook Pro forever; Over the years the 15" has frequently struggled with it`s thermals, especially when an external display is connected as the dGPU switches on as default, internal temperatures soar. In this instance I tend to think that the Notebook is not "overheating" and got hung up on a bug in the code of a specific webpage, equally there are some steps that can be taken to reduce the systems temperature;
    • Elevate the rear, aluminium passive coolers generally work best (I use RainDesign`s mStand & iLap)
    • Increase base fan RPM to 3K or as much as you are comfortable with (MacsFanControl or SMC Fan Control)
    • Limit the dGPU`s usage with gfxCardStatus
    • Swap out Chrome for Chrome Canary as it`s way more optimised for OS X and will extend battery run time, reduce thermals
    • Swap out VLC for Movist as again it`s a reduced load on CPU/GPU
    • Uninstall or block Flash
    • Install an ad blocker Ublock extension works well
    • Powered coolers are very much a "mixed bag" when it comes to Mac portables, you need one that has a high capacity (100 CFM minimum) and preferably a large single fan, this can help to keep the 15" internal fans below 4K which for many is good enough as often it`s this point and beyond where the fans become intrusive. Don't expect a powered cooler impact internal temperatures, beyond a couple of degrees
    • Older machines can benefit from cleaning of the cooling system
    • Replacing the thermal paste has been hit & miss, some with very positive results, some with no improvement over stock. Personally I would only do this on a Mac Portable that was either very old, or one that I can confirm was definitely running hotter than stock.
    • If your MBP has a discrete GPU, it will fire up when an external display is connected as default, temperatures will rise rapidly.
    • Consider a specific vertical stand when using a MPB in "Clamshell" mode allowing for greater circulation of air. Some recommend inverting the MBP in the stand with the exhaust at the top & intake at the bottom (Retina`s)
    The key to a quiet life with a 15" MacBook Pro is several incremental changes that do add up to reduce thermals. From my experience over the years if your going to push a 15" hard the fans are going to max out fast, with associated noise. If your using it with a moderate load life can be made quieter :) For the most part your MBP runs hot as that`s how Apple designed it, the trade off for form over, function, thin & light...

    The old adage still applies; it`s easier to keep a system cool, than cool-down an already overly hot machine. This being said it`s not strictly necessary, equally it`s nice to know that there are options for reducing temperature out there.

  7. ckWTB macrumors member


    Aug 24, 2014
    Portland, OR
    Having to hard reset your laptop is not normal, but as others have indicated, a website can cause your web browser to crash. If you encounter a similar problem in the future try pressing the following keys at the same time “command + option + esc” and then find the problematic application listed in the popup window. If you experience the kinds of problems you have described (unresponsive, spin ball mouse pointer, etc), then there’s a good chance the application will be highlighted in red with “application not responding” text next to it. If that is the case then select the application and click “Force Quit” to remove the problem and if you choose, report the problem to Apple. This should hopefully help you to avoid having to resort to a total system restart/crash.

    Running your laptop in clamshell mode with a high-resolution external monitor requires more power from the GPU, which in turn generates more heat, which can lead to more processor throttling and thus reduced performance, especially when running your laptop hard. A high-performance supplemental cooler is capable of making significant improvements in laptop performance. These improvement has been thoroughly tested. For laptops, the built-in cooling capacity usually limits performance.

    If you want to watch for problematic applications then you will want use Apple’s Activity Monitor.

    For instance Apple Spotlight, Apple Diagnostic Reporting, Apple Time Machine, DropBox, other icloud storage systems can increase temperatures.

    If you want to watch for throttling then checkout Intel’s free Power Gadget application so that you can accurately monitor CPU temps, CPU power and CPU speeds with the data logging function. This is one of the best ways to see what is really going on because most real time monitors jump all over the place and it becomes impossible to get a good sense of temperatures and whether your machining is throttling. It is what I use for performance testing.

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6 September 26, 2015