iMacs overheating when playing games in Windows?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Hugbees, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. Hugbees macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2007
    I wasn't too sure where to post this, but I figured I'd post here since it may be specific to the model of computer)

    I made a post several months ago about my computer having problems where it would stutter while playing games, then reboots itself. I never figured out the problem, but never considered overheating. In fact I denied that possibility for a while but coming to the realization that it could be it.

    Now heres my history with gaming using my iMac that I purchased in 2007:

    in Mac OSX:
    World of Warcraft - only game I've played and NO problems at all.

    Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning - This is when the problems first started. I would play and after a period of 30 minutes to 6 hours (it was random, which steered me away from the overheating theory, since why would it overheat sometimes but not at others?)

    Everquest 2 - Same exact issue.

    Team Fortress 2 (Any games in the Orange Box included) - Never had issues

    Perfect World International - Once like every month I'll crash to reboot, and it may overheat but not sure. It works real well when it works though.

    There are others I played but these are the ones I've been doing extensive testing with and got these results.

    My system specs are good enough to run all of the games mentioned, and in most cases way above recommended.

    So right now I pin point the problem to overheating to which I ask:

    1. Is overheating playing games (in Windows) a known issue for iMacs? I say (in Windows) because I assume that since the game is made for MacOSX it will have better stability which is why WoW never crashes.

    2. If so, is there a solution to this issue (other than buying a PC, seriously)

    3. If this isn't a known issue, is there a still a solution?

    I figured this wouldn't be a problem for me, but most PC games I want to play do not offer trials so the only way to see if a game works or not is to buy it and if it crashes constantly to an unplayable point, I wasted my money.
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    WoW is quite light game so it doesn't make your computer to make all what's possible. Graphic cards normal heat is like 80 degrees celsius so it heats up your whole computer. iMac doesn't have the best cooling system either.

    Hard to say, give me your specific specs so I try to figure it out.
  3. Hugbees thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2007
    Well what is it you need to know?

    I have:

    2gig ram
    256mb graphics card ATI Radeon
    2.16ghZ dual core processor
  4. DavyC412 macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2008
    the traditional way of testing to see if your system is overheating is to pop the case off to improve airflow... but you have an imac, so that wont work.

    additionally, you could install a new fan in your system to improve airflow, takes a few minutes... but you have an imac so that wont work either.

    i guess youre stuck with sending it back to apple then. :p

    seriously though, it doenst sound like overheating. even the lightest graphics intensive should cause overheating if that were the case, and the problems would have such a large range as from 30min to 6hrs. also, after an overheating crash, there is usually a window of about a couple of minutes or so where your computer will simply not turn on because its too hot.
  5. Hugbees thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2007
    Well I just don't know what else it could be, I've looked into it but could never get a clear answer, but narrowed it down to an overheat.

    If it is anything else it'd be a surprise to me.
  6. iStress macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2007
    Sydney, Australia
    I have similar problems with my iMac, but luckily it doesn't crash. Whenever I use Windows, or do things in Windows, the machine would heat up significantly.

    My resolution to this is to use smcfancontrol, but you have to boot into OSX first to set the fan speeds, after that restart and boot into Windows - the settings for the fan speeds will be maintained.

    The humming gets a bit louder, but it keeps my Mac warm, not extremely hot to touch.

    Another solution is to put your iMac in a well ventilated location, don't put it in direct sunlight.

    But yeah...whenever I want to play games such as Bioshock or Fallout 3 on my iMac, I always turn the fan speeds up in OSX, then boot into Windows - sometimes I even turn on the air conditioner if the weather gets too hot.
  7. Hugbees thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2007
    What fan speeds do you use? I assume its safe if it works for you.
  8. Hugbees thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2007
    currently playing Warcraft 3 mac side, and no problems here either.
  9. iStress macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2007
    Sydney, Australia
    Here it is:

    ODD: 3485
    HDD: 4705
    CPU: 3010

    It will make your iMac sound like an airplane, but I guess that's better than turning it into a volcano.

    With smcfancontrol I have two presets, one for the iMac and one for Windows. Whenever I switch to windows I just turn on the Windows preset, and then boot into Windows - this saves time.
  10. AlexisV macrumors 68000


    Mar 12, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    Your Mac should never freeze. It should be able to run demanding games for hours on end with high temperatures (as long as there is room for airflow at the back). It should be fine even if the back is extremely hot to the touch.

    Rather than mess about with fan speeds, you should take it back to Apple. It sounds faulty.
  11. MacAgent84 macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2009
    Those kind of overheating issues do not sound typical of mac products at all. I would take it up with Apple immediately.

    OS X Mac Tips & Tricks
  12. goatwarrior macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2009
    It happens to me too

    I've noticed that games start freezing in windows on my iMac as well. In windows, the machine seems to run a little hot when I'm playing games. It's freezes and crashes seems to be occurring more frequently in windows nowadays.

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