MacBook Pro Fan Mod (Photo Results)

nlynch77

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 18, 2013
46
2
WARNING: I do NOT recommend anyone try this unless they know EXACTLY what they are doing and the potential consequences.

This is a follow-up to my previous post, now with updated results and analysis in hindsight.

I chose to do this because i know that if any trouble arises, I can just buy a new back panel.

As you can see, the ultimate test is temperature: in the end, the computer only runs 2-3c cooler than normal under maximum load, a small difference. However, I do not believe absolute maximum-load, fans-screaming is an accurate assessment.

The biggest difference is the vastly reduced fan speed while doing simpler tasks: Playing light (Minecraft) to mildly intense (Roller Coaster Tycoon, Galaxy on Fire) to very intense (Metro: Last Light, Battlefield 3) video games used to result in fans that were almost as loud (if not more so) than the game itself. Now, aside from occasional bursts, the fans only produce a comfortable low hum.

The biggest technical concern is the fact that I severely disrupted Apple's excellent thermal design - those fans are designed to draw air through the chassis to cool the rest of the internals. Now, the fans (unless the computer is on a flat surface) directly cool the CPU/GPU, causing an increase in case temperature.
 

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nlynch77

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 18, 2013
46
2
500+ views and no replies? is this stupid, incredible, or useless?
 

HIMAN1998

macrumors 6502
Jan 24, 2013
338
0
Richmond, VA
I think it's a good idea, some people might just not be willing to cut the bottom case of their expensive laptop, or might just not run any programs that cause much of a heat problem.
 

Orlandoech

macrumors 68040
Jun 2, 2011
3,339
871
Salt Lake City, UT
I think it's a good idea, some people might just not be willing to cut the bottom case of their expensive laptop, or might just not run any programs that cause much of a heat problem.
^^^^ this.

I dont see the need or point in doing this, but seeing people do mods is cool none-the-less.
 

HIMAN1998

macrumors 6502
Jan 24, 2013
338
0
Richmond, VA
Also, I would maybe file down the edge of the cut if it isn't already, so that it's smooth. That would help for aesthetics and it would be safer, as an aluminum edge might be able to cut you.
 

simonsi

macrumors 601
Jan 3, 2014
4,850
734
Auckland
By your own admission you don't understand the thermal impact on the rest of the components in the case (nobody outside Apple would I suspect).

Be assured that noisy fans are drawing more battery current so Apple's design team would very much want to reduce the fan load and thereby increase the expected running time per charge. They haven't cut large holes in the case to do this so you can safely bet there is a trade-off in several ways (aesthetics, dust entry, cooling efficiency), as I suspect you realize.
 

Swampus

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2013
396
1
Winterfell
500+ views and no replies? is this stupid, incredible, or useless?
I've enjoyed reading your threads and I hope that you continue to post updates.

My personal opinion is that there is no design or engineering flaw in these machines and that a modification of this nature is therefore unnecessary. All of the cooling problems that I've seen have been traced back to manufacturing defects (heatsink not fitting properly, poor quality heatsink surface, heatsink not tightened down properly, and, of course, the creative use of thermal compound). That folks have been able to solve their cooling problems relatively easily with attention to these types of details, to my mind, shows only the typical manufacturing defects and variations normally associated with high volume production.

Anyway, hats off to you! Not a choice that I would make, but it's a creative solution and it seems to be working for you!

One suggestion, though: Maybe edit your original post to include a link to this updated one? Or include a word of caution in the other post about the disrupted airflow through the rest of the case. I imagine that some folks unfamiliar with this site will stumble upon the original post via Google. If I'm not mistaken, I've seen it linked from other discussion forums too.
 

elyrly

macrumors newbie
Jul 21, 2011
15
0
Its a bit extreme but i love the fact that you were able to see a difference in temp and beautiful presentation.
 

bobbytomorow

macrumors 6502
Nov 10, 2007
425
22
Left Coast
Great work OP and thank you for not only sharing pictures but also findings. I am trying to devise a cooling mod fo my MacBook as well. Coming from a background of water cooling and case fabrication I love to re-engineer hardware for not only the sake of cooling performance but also as a hobby.

I find the same games, if said game has a native Mac port, runs considerably better being rendered in DX (ie; Windows) yet also causes the MacBook to run considerably warmer ... I find its a trade off between in game performance vs cooling performance...for example UT engine games (be them UE 2 or 3) tend to run 50% faster in Windows yet also cause the MacBook to run several (up to 20 degrees) warmer while being played in Windows. I chalk this up to thermal management in Windows vs in OS X.

I've carved up numerous consoles for the purpose of cooling (xbox, playstation, Wii etc..) also chromecast, tablets, and several other rendering devices on top of literally dozens of PC's. I would be quick to jump on the MacBook cooling mod bandwagon too however the idea of cooling the processing units is obviously desirable its also at the expense of poorer cooling for other components...Apple has made it quite difficult to find a good middle ground when it comes to user cooling mods.

I will buy a few bottom covers via ebay and post my findings here soon.
 

Queen6

macrumors G3
On the cMBP it`s a sensible mod, and will likely help to preserve the fragile dGPU. The cMPB runs way too hot under full load, and the rMBP is not too far behind it, equally Apply may just have the thermals calculated to ensure minimum longevity hence the extended dGPU warranty.

Q-6
 
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bobbytomorow

macrumors 6502
Nov 10, 2007
425
22
Left Coast
On the cMBP it`s a sensible mod, and will likely help to preserve the fragile dGPU. The cMPB runs way too hot under full load, and the rMBP is not too far behind it, equally Apply may just have the thermals calculated to ensure minimum longevity hence the extended dGPU warranty.

Q-6
Actually the 650m doesn't suffer from overheating problems, nor do the Ivy Bridge i7's. It may run warm under Windows running at full load, but nothing compared to the Northern Island Radeons or even worse GeForce 8 series.

I don't want to give out the notion this particular model has an overheating "problem" or a "fragile" gpu, while some other models do, the mid 2012-2013 certainly don't.

My mods are and will be merely for the sake of enthusiasm.
 

0x100

macrumors regular
Nov 11, 2014
222
72
Japan
Actually the 650m doesn't suffer from overheating problems, nor do the Ivy Bridge i7's. It may run warm under Windows running at full load, but nothing compared to the Northern Island Radeons or even worse GeForce 8 series.

I don't want to give out the notion this particular model has an overheating "problem" or a "fragile" gpu, while some other models do, the mid 2012-2013 certainly don't.

My mods are and will be merely for the sake of enthusiasm.
The 650m does have those issues of heating up and bricking.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/8994/apple-initiates-video-repair-program-for-20112013-macbook-pros
 
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