Is prolonged high CPU temps really bad? (90C?)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by redsaint182, Apr 30, 2011.

  1. redsaint182 macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2011
    I just bought starcraft 2, and whenever I play the game, the CPU temp is at around 87-93 C.

    I know it can withstand this temp - I've seen other people say it is built to withstand temperatures up to 100C. But is this pushing it? Will prolonged use at roughly 90C hurt my macbook in any way? Btw, the game only uses a small percentage of my cpu power, is there any way to make it not run so hot? Maybe down to around 75 or so at least?


    (BTW, i am using a 2011 13" MBP)
  2. Al Coholic macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2011
    Under the I-470 Freeway
    Heat is an issue in the new 13MBP's. I don't care what all the pom-pom wavers here tell you. Sure, your mac is protected and will shut down before bursting into flames but to me that's not a solution.

    Only time will tell how severe it is though.

    You can install smcFancontrol to kick in your fans earlier. Better to promote fan failure than the alternative.
  3. thermodynamic Suspended


    May 3, 2009
    Mid-high-80s are definitely warm, with 90C being a sufficient cause for concern.

    If you're only gaming for a couple hours, it won't cause much of a problem down the road. If you do gaming 24/7, then there will be a big problem.

    I do 3D and fractal rendering. And some VM use with Parallels. I can get my 17" MBP (2011) to 88C via running Prime95 on all 4 physical cores, but it typically hovers at 86C (86~88C being the overall CPU temp reported by sensors, with individual cores maxing at 94C). Typically, with what I use it for, it'll remain in the 40~60 range, which is VERY acceptable. Indeed, my Sony laptop always idled around 54C, but never got past 80C... different design and probably bigger heatsinks. The world's best thermal grease can only do so much -- so use the computer happily and buy AppleCare. :D I've read enough good things about Apple support that I feel more comfy buying from them despite the extra cost.

    More info for reference:
    (search in the page for 'arctic silver' - Apple store staff in your area might be able to apply it and save a headache or two...)

    My own MBP's CPU gets up to 88C (individual cores do get warmer but don't get above 94C, which is below the 100C cutoff point)). My own going in to have them put on Arctic silver to get the CPU down to 82C under extreme load (and thus have the cores hover at 90C) may not be worth it.

    The only way to reduce performance is to go into a program's settings screen and lower performance settings and see what happens.
  4. iMouse macrumors 6502

    Jul 23, 2002
    Boardman, Ohio
    Yeah...that's damn hot

    90C (194F) is WAAAY too hot for that thing to be running. I'd be throwing SMCFanControl on it or replacing the thermal paste with Arctic Silver. Had an issue with WoW several years ago on my 2007 Aluminum iMac...GPU got way too hot and locked up (190F range), leaving the Mac operational (services were still accessible), but with the graphics froze.

    Replaced crappy thermal paste with AS5 on both the CPU/GPU and that baby cooled right down.

    Although, if the thing is under warranty, that's a call you're gonna have to make.
  5. mediasorcerer macrumors regular

    Oct 30, 2010
    cant speak for a 13" but my 2011 15 when gaming sits on around 90- too, ive gamed for 6-8 hrs like that,its still going fine,my last mbpro core i7 2.66 did the same thing,i gamed for mnths in 8 hrs sessions ,in other words,gave it a hiding,and it was still going strong when i sold it recently,i think its fine actually,so long as the fans are running,its not getting above 105 cutoff,its made to run hot,you will be fine,doesnt really hurt it too much,hey,im no expert,but i do know a bit about em,

    i wouldnt worry too much,they all run that way.
  6. redsaint182 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2011
    Hi, guys thanks for the replies. Smcfancontrol didn't really help much - in the end, it still gets around 90C, with the fans blaring at 6200, which is what they were at before too - it just delayed the temperature climb by about 20 seconds. I don't really want to apply that paste b/c i don't want to void the warranty. I bought apple care, and i might have to use it: I've been using this MBP for a month, nothing really intensive, and the battery health was 100%, as it should be. And now, after 2 afternoons of playtime on this game, my battery health went from 100% to 97%. Can this be related? The health didn't diminish at all in the first month, so I'm guessing it probably is related.

    And the thing is, the CPU hits only 20-30% when I'm playing this game - it's mostly idle. I'm kinda disappointed if I spent over a thousand bucks on a word processor and web browsing box lol... I suppose I should have tried something CPU intensive during the first two weeks when I still could have returned it, huh?

    Do you think this heat issue could be fixed with software updates in the future? Or do you think it's purely a hardware problem - the intel graphics and cpu in one spot?
  7. thermodynamic Suspended


    May 3, 2009
    Battery health? Sometimes the computer won't charge the battery when it reaches 9x~100% -- each charge will slowly affect the battery's life. So if it reads 97%, I wouldn't worry. Mine is plugged in and the light is green, but the battery reads "98%" and shows it's not being charged. After using it on battery, I do see it back to 100%.

    Also, ask the Apple Store about doing the Arctic Silver application (or whatever thermal grease compound you prefer) - set up an appointment and go in. I wasn't able to ask over the phone when calling the #, all inquiries had to be made online. They might be able to clean up and apply proper thermal grease and you would not void your warranty as a result, because they did it in an authorized service center. :)

    The heat issue is not exclusively a software problem. OS X uses less CPU power than Windows to begin with and still uses it more efficiently, so what's causing the heat has to be hardware-based. Efficient CPU cooling helps the most, and for that the only thing that can be done is having the Apple store people replace the thermal compound (if you like keeping your warranty intact, since I don't recommend doing it by one's self).

    But there is no correlation I know of between heat and battery life. I've seen the same battery issue on other Macs, and on Windows PCs as well, like the token Sony laptop I've mentioned in the past... It doesn't always top off the battery at 100%, because each charge will reduce the battery's life.
  8. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    90c is nothing to worry about. These systems are engineered to take that for years. Replacing the thermal grease is a great way to lower your temps but you have to be very careful to avoid any warranty issues. Personally, I'd buy Applecare and not worry about it.

    Wait, I game on my 15" without Applecare and I don't worry about it now.. NM. Just don't worry about it.
  9. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    This is working as designed:
    Apple Portables: Battery may not show a full charge in Mac OS X
    From Apple Notebook Battery FAQ
  10. thermodynamic Suspended


    May 3, 2009
  11. mediasorcerer macrumors regular

    Oct 30, 2010
    what he says^^^.i did my thermal myself,and my machine now about 3 weeks later,idles at 32-35 with safari[according to smc ],itunes playing a song,and mail open right now while i type,
  12. AppleScruff1 macrumors G3


    Feb 10, 2011
    Heat is your enemy.

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