How much would you spend on a water cooled MacBook Pro stand

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by smellalot, Dec 9, 2012.

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How much would you spend on a water cooling system for (Retina) MacBook Pro

  1. $50

    4 vote(s)
    3.6%
  2. $100

    7 vote(s)
    6.3%
  3. $150

    2 vote(s)
    1.8%
  4. $200

    2 vote(s)
    1.8%
  5. $250

    1 vote(s)
    0.9%
  6. $50 - but only if I don't have to open my MacBook Pro

    3 vote(s)
    2.7%
  7. $100 - but only if I don't have to open my MacBook Pro

    5 vote(s)
    4.5%
  8. $150 - but only if I don't have to open my MacBook Pro

    1 vote(s)
    0.9%
  9. $200 - but only if I don't have to open my MacBook Pro

    1 vote(s)
    0.9%
  10. $250 - but only if I don't have to open my MacBook Pro

    2 vote(s)
    1.8%
  11. Nothing. I'm not interested.

    83 vote(s)
    74.8%
  1. smellalot, Dec 9, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012

    smellalot macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Hello everyone,

    I am making this poll to find out how much people would be interested in water cooling their MacBook Pro / retina MacBook Pro.

    This is how I'd like to do it:

    - No changing / manipulation parts on the MBP
    - Maybe adding a few parts on the inside. These would be removable.
    - Thus the warranty would not get voided.
    - No water will get into your MBP at all. No tubes in the MBP or anything like that.
    - The cooling system will keep your MBP cool enough to keep the fans running at minimal RPM even when it's under heavy load (gaming, video processing) for hours.

    The MBP would sit in a dock on your desk where it would be water cooled. When you take it with you, it'll continue to work like it always has.


    So the big question is: how much would you be willing to spend on this cooling system.


    I will appreciate any feedback. Also I'm sorry if my english sounds funny, I am from Germany.
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #2
    I can see a WC solution for desktops to allow hobbyists the ability to push the hardware beyond what the rating is. I have to say doing a water cool solution for a laptop doesn't really seem to make sense to me. I'm not seeing the benefit, given that its a portable computer and you cannot take the WC device with you. So any work done would be best suited to the desktop.

    Just my $.02
     
  3. attis macrumors member

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    Nov 18, 2012
    #3
    Haha, nothing wrong with your english. That line was kinda funny though!

    I have thought about this too. Thing is, I think a water cooling system would only really be effective when the computer is very hot, when the difference between room temperature and the underside of the mac is quite big. Unless you have come up with some great and safe solution to get the water cooling connected to the insides of the computer.

    Personally I think soem sort of active peltier cooler would be more effective, since it works even when the computer isn't fully loaded and screaming hot, it actually prevents it getting hot to begin with. If set up properly of course. Maybe you could implement that in your plans?
     
  4. old-wiz macrumors G3

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    #4
    There is virtually no room inside the MBP to add parts. It would frighten me to add parts involving water inside an MBP. Adding parts would leave some trace, even if you removed them, so the warranty would go down the drain fast.
     
  5. smellalot thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    What you are saying is true. But I think a lot of people have one place / desk where they do most of their work or where they do their heavy work. For me personally the noise of the fans is the worst part. So thats the place to put the water cooling system.

    Well in case the the temperature difference is small enough the fans are all you need. But as soon as your computer dies any heavy tasks, the difference will be big enough.

    Regarding the peltier cooler. I did a quick wikipedia search and these seem to use a lot of energy.

    OK, I need to make this clear. No water will get into the MBP at any time. Does that change the way you look at this?
     
  6. attis macrumors member

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    Nov 18, 2012
    #6
    You're not planning on powering the WC from the computer are you? Or is it a USB-powered system you plan on buildning?

    Sure a peltier uses a lot of power, but I don't really see the problem of an added 30-90W when you are already using 85W to power the Macbook to begin with.

    It just seems to me that the water cooler wont be so good at actually bringing the temperature of the laptop -down-. It has no leverage to do so since its temperature Delta is limited by the room temperature. It just allows the Macbook to run closer to its Tmax for longer, bringing it down from maybe 95C to 90C, and by then the fans will already be running at max.

    Cooling the underside of the computer with a peltier gives you the ability to introduce an area of sub-room-temperature close to/on to the computer. If the Macbook Pro is designed to allow for a 70C increase in temperature; that from 25C room temperature to its maximum of 95C (just making up numbers for the sake of the equation), if you then lower the effective room temperature by making the aluminium underside of the computer cooler (assuming that the computer is at idle) than the surrounding 25C, say ~10C. The previous 70C increase in temperature at full power might still be just a ~70C increase, wich gives a lower total max temp, wich in turn might keep the fans from speeding up to full rpm. If the temperature stays at ~85C it wouldn't have to throttle down over time. Or just make the silicon last longer, and the computer stay quieter.

    A combination with a watercooled peliter would probably be the most effective. (The peltier gets hotter than the computer, and would benefit more from WC.)

    As others say; my $0.02.
     
  7. justperry macrumors 604

    justperry

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    #7
    I use this, and no I am not joking, a cheap $5 fan.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. SDAVE macrumors 68040

    SDAVE

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  9. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #9
    For the life of me I can't see the need for any MBP/MBA. My rMBP is not a PC tower with grossly over clocked CPU, memory, and chipset.

    Please provide technical information about the need and benefit.
     
  10. justperry macrumors 604

    justperry

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    #10
    Pure alcohol won't damage electronic's:D
     
  11. smellalot thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #11
    How fast are your internal fans spinning?

    I like my Mac quiet. If I can manage to keep the fans from spinning up, thats a huge benefit for me.
     
  12. Freyqq macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    #12
    as you can't really integrate this into the macbook pro without some serious modifications, and having a stand that is water cooled wouldn't really add much benefit over a stand with fans, i don't see many people going for this.
     
  13. Mr. Buzzcut macrumors 65816

    Mr. Buzzcut

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    Ohio
    #13
    If you're the type of person who likes to tinker and find better ways do do things, I think it's important to do so and come here with results before asking that question. Because of the way the system is cooled, your idea doesn't seem practical or even possible. It's your job to prove it does. Then you can ask how much it's worth.

    My $.02.
     
  14. smellalot thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #14
    I was kind of thinking the same thing. The poll result is very obvious so far. I still believe more people would be interested. But as you pointed out, one has to see that it works to see the actual benefits. I'll make a prototype and see if I can make it work.
     
  15. justperry macrumors 604

    justperry

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    #15
    I am in a hot climate and if I do any heavy load I switch on this small (4"-10cm) fan, I have an older Powerbook though and I don't want it to run too hot.
    If I don't use the fan Temps on Proc. go up to 65 Celcius, if I use it a lot less, also one of my fans makes screeching noise, have to take it out someday, might be possible to repair.
     
  16. theuserjohnny macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    #16
    I'd be interested if I do not have to open up my rMBP in any way.
     
  17. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

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    Dec 5, 2009
    #17
    I doubt there can be any truly effective heat transfer. Real water cooling is so good because it removes heat fast and effective but this setup would end up only cooling some accessible parts of the MBP that heat up. The notebook would still be air cooled only the chassis would be cooled which lowers the temps somewhat but doesn't change the game.
    I agree with attis any serious cooler that really wants to work even under high load would need some kind of peltier solution that effectively drops the temps of the top end of the chassis with the coolers to temps of about 20C. The battery wouldn't like that so much therefore only the part near the hinge should be cooled such.
    A water cooling solution would cumbersome huge and noch much better than a simple air cooling setup with say 3 120mm fans mounted to cool the chassis on the right spots. The pump right there on the desk won't be silent either and potentially delivers a more annoying sound.
    It think it is too expensive too big and too ineffective compared to a simpler version.

    Es ist umständlich. Entweder man zielt auf die effektivere Peltierlösung, oder schraubt einfach zwei extrem leise 140mm Fans aneinander.
     
  18. Queen6, Dec 10, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012

    Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #18
    I would pay right enough, however i don't see anyway you can do this with a water cooled cooling stand, as you would need to reduce the temperature significantly to achieve any real cooling effect beyond what a traditional powered cooler with a large fan already does. This and the advances Apple is making with making Mac`s run cooler likely make this a hard one to sell.
     
  19. switon, Dec 10, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012

    switon macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 10, 2012
    #19
    RE: Are you cooling the air?

    Hi smellalot,

    Firstly, let me state that I have no hard data about the cooling of a rMBP, something that I'd love to have, by the way, but I don't have the equipment to accomplish such thermodynamic experiments.

    Given that caveat, let me begin by asking, "Just what are you cooling with your water cooler?"

    The reason I ask is because from my own crude experiments with attempting to cool the outside case of the rMBP led me to the following conclusions (equally suspect because of the crudity of my experiments):

    (1) As a first approximation, the algorithm controlling the fan speeds, and consequently the rate of airflow through the rMBP, is roughly controlled by the temperature sensors inside the machine. The higher the internal temperatures, the faster the fans spin and the greater the air flow, and therefore the faster the rate of heat removal which tends to lower the internal temperatures. Conversely, at lower measured temperatures, the fans slow their spin rates in order to quiet their operation which necessarily decreases the rate of heat removal via the lower airflow which tends to increase the internal temperatures. In other words, there is a negative feedback system established that tends to keep the internal temperatures from varying too far even while the computation loads vary over a much greater range.

    (2) Newton's Law of Cooling applies to the heat transport of a rMBP, that is, the rate of heat transfer across a boundary is directly proportional to the temperature difference across said boundary.

    (3) The majority, and I'd even say vast majority, of the heat removed from a rMBP is accomplished by the outgoing airflow passing through the rMBP. This is supported by both (1) and (2). Item (1) increases the airflow through the rMBP as the heat load goes up, and item (2) means that as the temperatures rise then the rate of heat transferring from the heat pipe to the airflow also increases.

    (4) Given (1), (2), and (3), what you really need to cool is the incoming air, not the bottom case.

    So, what evidence do I have for my contentions? Well, in my own crude experiments, I found that even when I cooled the case by both metal-to-metal conduction and drastically increased airflow across the case when the rMBP was operating at medium loads at around 80-85C, this case cooling did not lower the operating temperatures at all, they stayed at 80-85C. To a first approximation, what this did accomplished, in my experiments, is for the fans to slightly reduce their speeds thereby reducing the rate of airflow through the rMBP thereby reducing the heat removed by the slower airflow. I found remarkably small declines of the fan speeds, supporting item (3) that cooling through the case is minor compared with cooling via the airflow. In other words, the algorithm controlling the fan speeds worked to keep the temperature at roughly 80-85C: if I increased the heat removal through the case by external adjunctive cooling, the rMBP compensated by decreasing the heat removal via the airflow through the case. And cooling via the case is a minor perturbation on cooling via the airflow.

    Only when the amount of heat removed by the airflow passing through the case (i.e., when the fans are spinning at their maximum spin rates) is at its maximum, does heat removal through the case become important, and only under these conditions will it potentially lower the internal temperatures. (Once again, for any scenario where the rMBP's heat removal by airflow is not maxed out, then the algorithm for the fan speeds works against lowering the internal temperatures.) Why do I state only "potentially lower the internal temperatures"? Well, when the rMBP is at maximum load and its internal CPU temperatures approach 105C and the fans are at their maximum spin rates and thus the maximum amount of heat is being removed via the airflow, then the rMBP will throttle the CPUs's frequencies lowering the heat generated by the CPUs and keeping the temperature from going above 105C. Therefore, what heat removal by increasing heat conduction through the case accomplishes is that it allows the rMBP to run its CPUs for a longer time at their maximum frequency before it throttles them. In other words, to a first approximation, you won't get lower temperatures, rather you will get longer times at full CPU frequencies.

    What occurs when the rMBP is at idle? In this scenario the CPUs do not produce enough heat to keep the temperatures from falling when the fans are running at their slowest speeds (a little less than 2000 RPM). In other words, the fans at their lowest speeds and thus lowest airflow rates are capable of removing heat faster than it can be generated by the CPUs at idle, thus the internal temperatures drop until the rate of heat removal declines because of Newton's Law of Cooling (lower temperature differences means lower rates of heat transfer) and a new equilibrium is established at lower temperatures, say 35-45C depending upon the ambient air temperature and humidity level, but necessarily still above the temperature of the incoming air, say at 25C.

    Returning to (1) and (3), cooling the case actually has little effect on the rate of heat removal from the rMBP. For instance, cooling the bottom case is actually inefficient since the batteries are glued to the bottom of the case and they act to insulate the cooler case from the internal heat pipe of the rMBP thereby decreasing the rate of heat flow through the case bottom.

    If my contentions (1) and (3) are approximately correct, then by (2) the best way of actually increasing the rate of heat removal from a rMBP is by lowering the temperature of the inflowing air! [Note that I am assuming also that we are not actually condensing moisture out of the air by cooling it. This is the case as long as the air is not at 100% humidity. If the incoming air is at 100% humidity, then cooling it will also condense water from it which lowers the air's heat capacity which lowers the efficiency of cooling since the air with less water vapor can hold less heat. So cooling incoming air will still be the best way of cooling the rMBP, but it will be less efficient if the incoming air is at 100% humidity.] And what you hope to accomplish by lowering the incoming air temperature is for the fans to spin slower than they normally would at medium work loads as well as to delay the time before CPU frequency throttling at maximum work loads: very little actual lowering of temperatures is possible because of the feedback algorithm for fan speeds at medium work loads and the CPU throttling at high work loads. So I'm back to my original query, "Are you cooling the incoming air with your water cooler?"

    ...just my two cents of crudely empirically-backed analysis of the heat removal from rMBPs...the value of which, of course, is exactly what you paid for it...

    Regards,
    Switon

    P.S. I really am quite interested in more accurately controlled thermodynamic experiments, so if anyone has the equipment to carry out said experiments I would be grateful. (And if you want help in designing those experiments, I'd be more than happy to help.) Experiments that are capable of accurately measuring the all of the temperatures, humidity, and airflow rates would actually be able to prove or disprove my above contentions. Careful control of the CPU and GPU usages is also required for these experiments.

    Edit: Of course, cooling the air also has other advantages. For instance, turning on the air conditioner in the room not only better cools the rMBP primarily lowering the stress on the fans (slower spin speeds = less fan wear-and-tear), but also makes your life more pleasant in some environments. Cooling the air also eliminates the need for intrusive manipulation of the rMBP internals. Not to say that if you don't mind modifying your rMBP, then by physically cooling the heat pipe through conduction using either a water cooler or peltier cooler attached directly to the heat pipe would provide the best possible cooling --- but in this case one would have to ask why one is using a rMBP for computations that perhaps would be better served on a full sized workstation or server?
     
  20. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #20
    @ switon
    Your observations certainly tally with mine; an external cooler is unlikely in isolation to reduce internal temperatures of a portable Mac, it may result in a reduction in fan RPM`s and potentially lessen noise output. Short of cooling the airstream to a Mac there is little that can be done externally. Temperatures can be significantly reduced by overriding Apple`s cooling algorithm with UltraFan which intelligently controls fan RPM`s to meet a preset target temperature or SMC Fan Control which is more simplistic application. The tradeoff is increased fan activity, however with a little trial and error it`s possible to achieve a good balance of temperature and noise intrusion. Personally i recommend UltraFan to anyone wanting to take the edge of their Mac`s high temps and or stop/reduce throttling, a target setting of 65C works well for my own Retina (15") and Late 2011 15" 2.4 i7. The software solution can be used in tandem with a powered cooler further helping to reduce noise intrusion/temp (Cooling pad for rMPB)

    Apple`s cooling algorithm does work, however silence is the overriding factor, so fans will only spool up once an already elevated temperature is reached, 90C in the case of a 15" Retina. What concerns me more is the rapidity of temperature increase/decrease, high cyclic thermal loads induce thermal shock effectively reducing the lifecycle of the machine, a system with a stabilised temperature will in general benefit from far greater longevity, than one the internals are subjected to rapid temperature change continuously due to load and a overly passive cooling algorithm.

    btw i also have an Early 2008 MBP 4.1 with over 35K running hours, since new it has run with SMC Fan Control, now upgraded to UltraFan...
     
  21. switon macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    RE: very glad to hear this data point...

    Hi Queen6,

    I am very glad to hear that you have been running a fan control program for so long without any problems.

    Thanks,
    Switon

    P.S. I'm also glad to hear that you essentially agree with my analysis/contentions. Frankly, I question the reports I've seen of a 20C drop in temperatures using an external cooling device --- I don't think this is likely considering Apple's fan control algorithm, as any drop in temperature will be compensated for by slowing the fans thereby lowering the airflow rates thereby increasing the temperatures. Of course, using a third-party fan control app allows you to adjust the fans for your own usage profile - a clear advantage if you wish to maximize heat removal at the expense of greater wear-and-tear on the fans.

    I assume that ion mobility in semiconductor silicon is the primary cause of semiconductor detrimental "aging" and that it has a fairly high activation energy, and assuming that the density of energy states is constant (of course it isn't really, but without actual data this is an approximation) then doubling the activation energy means that the temperature may be doubled while keeping roughly the same ion mobility. Thus with a high activation energy means that a fairly large temperature change is needed to affect large changes in ion mobility and thus faster detrimental "aging". On the other hand, assuming that the lifetime of a fan is roughly limited to a maximum number of revolutions, then increasing the fan speeds inversely proportionally affects the life spans of the fans: doubling the fan speeds roughly halves their life spans. (Of course, this is also not actually the case since at higher spin rates more heat is generated which generally leads to greater friction and faster wear. It is not linear in other words.) In conclusion, say on average we employ a 100% increase in fan speeds using a Fan Control program, this will decrease the fan life spans by roughly a factor of 2, while the resulting 5-10C lowering on average temperature will only decrease the detrimental "aging" of the silicon by a much smaller factor because of the high activation energy. So, in my opinion, increasing the fan speeds proportionately lowers the fan life spans while not significantly increasing the silicon life spans. (In other words, it is not until significantly higher temperatures, and temperatures above which the CPU frequencies are throttled, that significant silicon damage occurs. At temperatures below 105C further lowering of the temperatures by a few degrees provides only very slight increases in silicon life spans: all due to the exponential nature of kinetics and activation energies.) Rather I think that providing an external cooling mechanism, such as cooling the intake air, chiefly provides for slower fan speeds that translate directly and proportionately into longer fan life spans. This is the principal result of external cooling -- you get longer fan life spans. Of course, all of this is predicated on the assumption that temperature damages silicon through some physical mechanism, such as ion mobility, that does not compound upon itself. The rate of such physical damage is thus controlled by simple thermodynamic kinetics. If there are compounding effects, then the kinetics gets much more complicated.
     
  22. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

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    #22
    Technically, I could see a WC "cradle" or base of sorts that sits beneath the laptop powered by USB. The key I suppose is to control the intake air temperature surrounding the macbook. Our fans are always spinning/idling so the intake of that cool air would always be happening.
     
  23. Queen6, Dec 11, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012

    Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #23
    Hi switon
    In principle yes you are not going to observe a 20C drop with solely a cooling pad, in tandem with software yes 20C it`s possible from my own observations. The CPU/GPU are extremely robust taken in isolation, however the Logic Board is populated by a myriad of components and it is more likely that one of these will fail or suffer connection issue due to rapid thermal cycling, than a primary chip which is often the case with many electronic devices. The point of failure always occurs at the weakest link in the chain.

    UltraFan will look to hold the preset temperature, and lessens the ramp up. softening the thermal load if you will. The beauty of UltraFan over SMC Fan Control is it`s temperature aware and only ramps up the fans as necessary. As for the fans, i have swapped out one set on my Early 2008 MBP, at around 45 months of use, equally the MBP has survived the Middle East and now the Tropics for the last 4-1/2 years. I rather suspect had it not spent two years in the State of Qatar the fans would have not needed to be replaced, thanks to the ever present ultra fine dust.
     
  24. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

    Joined:
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    #24
    @switon

    You seem to mostly ignoring the primary cooling goal the op stated.
    - The cooling system will keep your MBP cool enough to keep the fans running at minimal RPM even when it's under heavy load (gaming, video processing) for hours.
    You write a lot about temperatures but the only thing that he wants to achieve is lower the fan speeds.
    There is actually a very simple test to clearly show that this works in theory. I one put a big cooling bag (the one you use for a aching shoulder, about 35 cm by 8) under the front of the MBP in summer. Even under quite a lot of load (2010 35W dual core) it basically goes down to 2000rpm or slightly more and stays there while it usually would be at full speed or at least 4-5000 rpm. Obviously such a cooling bag is done within minutes and with all the moisture not a good idea in general. It only proves that you can cool the underside to significant results.
    I doubt an entier water cooling setup that needs fans a pump and can never go below room temp is going to get anything worthwhile and probably adds more noise than it saves with slower fans.

    I agree with you thought that most of these online reviews are BS. They show some lower temps but never mention what happens to the fans. If the fans suddenly stay at 2000rpm and the temps are the same it would be a great product. Not read a single worthwhile such review though.
     
  25. switon macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    RE: UltraFan and Water Cooling...

    Hi Queen6 and dusk007,

    Queen6: Yes, you are probably right that failures are primarily the result of thermal stress on the motherboad's other components and not the CPU and GPU. Let me ask about UltraFan? It sounds like this works well and you have been using it (and its predecessor SMB Fan Control) for more than 4 years now. Do you recommend it? I think maybe I'll give it a try, especially since it does not continuously run the fans at a high speed but only ramps them up in an effort to maintain a specified temperature -- is this correct?

    Middle East, Qatar, Tropics ... my I'm impressed!

    dusk007: Sorry, I didn't mean to be ignoring the primary goal of the OP, and, in fact, I not only agree with this goal but I thought my posts indicated that this was all that was possible, given Apple's fan control algorithm. What I was attempting to indicate is that given an external cooling system, all you can hope to achieve is not temperature lowerings but rather fan speed declines, and since the majority of heat is removed by the airflow, really what you should be cooling with a water cooling system is the intake air and not the bottom case. Cooling the intake air will achieve much more heat removal from the rMBP than cooling the bottom of the case for the same amount of external cooling, that is all I'm suggesting. In other words, it is more efficient to cool the intake air and let the rMBP use that cooler air (via Newton's Law of Cooling) to more efficient remove heat from the rMBP than it would be to attempt to cool the bottom case.

    Lastly, I'd worry about externally cooling the case too much, as once you cool it below the condensation point then water will precipitate on the inside of the computer --- probably not a good thing. Cooling the air, on the other hand, removes any excess water vapor externally to the rMBP so you won't condense water droplets inside the computer.

    Regards,
    Switon

    P.S. dusk007: Yeah, I've seen some real doozies of advertisements and reviews of laptop coolers that stomp all over thermodynamics...I alway chuckle when I see these.
     

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