Macbook Pro heating up and fan is on too much

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by zachleon11, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. zachleon11 macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2011
    My brand new MacBook Pro, which I got 2 weeks ago, is heating up all the time and the fan goes on whenever I watch a video - like even if it's only for 20 seconds. What is up with that?
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Your Mac is not overheating. The Intel processors used in Macs are designed to automatically shut down to prevent damage if they truly overheat (around 100C/212F - 105C/221F, depending on your processor). iStat Pro will give you accurate readings of your temps and fan speeds, among other things.

    Unless there is a rare defect in a Mac, most temps are well within the normal operating range, considering the workload being put on it. Websites with Flash content, games and other multimedia apps will put higher demand on the CPU/GPU, generating more heat. This is normal. If you're constantly putting high demands on your system, such as gaming or other multimedia tasks, expect temps to rise and fans to spin up accordingly. It's just your Mac doing its job to maintain temps within the normal range.

    Your fans are always on when your Mac is on, spinning at a minimum of 2000 rpm (for MBPs) or 1800 rpm (for MBAs, MBs and minis). They will spin faster as needed to keep temps at a safe level. If they're spinning up without increased heat, try resetting the SMC. PRAM/NVRAM has nothing to do with these issues, so resetting it will not help. Also, make sure you don't block the vents, which are located at the rear, near the hinge.

    Learn about the fans in your Mac
    Apple Portables: Operating temperature
  3. zachleon11 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2011
    Not doing anything out of the ordinary...

    I'm not doing anything out of the ordinary. I watch videos on Netflix, read articles, twitter, facebook, etc. Literally no games or anything demanding. The amount of heat and fan usage is absurd to me. It's worse than my 4 and a half year old OLD Macbook Pro.
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Flash content on websites, such as movies, is notorious for placing high demands on system resources. Install ClickToFlash to control which Flash content plays on websites.
  5. negativzero macrumors 6502a

    Jul 19, 2011
    And use html5 YouTube too :)
  6. Queen6 macrumors 604


    Dec 11, 2008
    Land of the Unexpected
    Yep this will help, and ensure you are using the latest version of Flash, it`s vastly improved and is not so prone to pushing temperatures into the red zone.
  7. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    The new MBP has a very powerful CPU that likes to show off. Unfortunately it thinks that playing flash videos is the perfect opportunity to do so... therefore the heat + fan noise.

    The bottom line is that this is just not a very good machine to watch flash videos on.

    The usual reply here on the forums (also my usual reply) is that it's the users fault for running oh so demanding software - flash. However not I more and more think that this is not a good answer. Why should a user/consumer have to change his behavior to reduce noise/heat on the _newer_ machine. You are not the first one to notice that older MBPs would stay colder and silent doing the same tasks.

    I do know that my 2008 MBP (2.5 GHz C2D) gets warm and somewhat loud when playing flash videos, even low resolution videos in a small window. In my opinion the new 2011 MBP does better.
  8. mape2k macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2011
    As already suggested, ClickToFlash does help to reduce temperature while browsing. A lot of Ads are Flash-based and will employ increased load on the CPU while browsing.

    I would also suggest to the OP that he checks the Activity Monitor (be sure to switch to 'All processes' and see if any application is causing unnecessary load in the background.
  9. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    Netflix is quite demanding. That's because it runs on Silverlight, and Silverlight doesn't support hardware acceleration, so it's just stressing the CPU needlessly... especially on HD clips. Unfortunately, ClickToFlash and other suggested solutions would not work.

    But if you find that the heat and fan noise bother you, I think you should return the Macbook and ask for a replacement instead. Some 2011 MacBooks are louder than the others.
  10. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    The iPad can do netflix and other stuff and is quiet. But no flash, right?

    I wonder how much better flash works on windows... or does it have the same problems with resources?
  11. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    Netflix runs on Silverlight on anything that's not an iPad/iPhone/Android, and it's Microsoft's proprietary plugin. It's like Flash, but... different, so ClickToFlash doesn't work. Silverlight is used because it has better DRM and content data protection.

    On iPad/iPhone/Android, Netflix serves direct h.264 contents to the device, and the content is encrypted in their own apps, so they don't have to use Silverlight, and thus it doesn't demand a lot of resources.

    Since Netflix can still use Silverlight just fine on desktop, they haven't been urged to develop an app for Windows or Mac yet, and that's where the whole issue is. Silverlight is much less efficient than Flash (imagine that), and while playing back videos, it demands even more resources than Flash.

    Regardless if you're on Windows or OSX, Silverlight will still make your laptop scream for life. The difference is that on high-end laptops, it stresses the CPU to their max, and... with them being high-end CPUs, the fans have to work extra. But that is to say... it still depends on the build quality of the device. I have found that many MBP in 2011 suffer from heat problems in the same situations that other machines of the same configuration don't.
  12. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    Thanks for the detailed overview.

    The 2011 MBPs have a TDP of 45 W, while previous models had 35 W CPUs (the 13'' has 35 W now compared to 25 W previously). This will make those machines heat up more under load, which is fine. Makes my code compile faster etc.

    Now you're saying that flash (and other offenders) put maximal load on the CPU, independent of whether it's a 2005 single core machine or a 2011 quad core. That's bad design of the application, so I feel more comfortable again blaming flash etc.
    Games are programmed like that: Lowering the settings increases the frame rate instead of lowering the load on the CPU. This is somewhat acceptable, but even for games I would appreciate a maximal frame rate setting, so I can make my machine run more quiet.
    For a website plugin, such a behavior is less acceptable.

    Does anyone have experience how chrome flash compares to the adobe flash plugin? I use chrome for flash playback and basically I can watch full HD videos in fullscreen without hearing my fans. The CPU comes close to but stays below 80 C, with fans at 2000 rpm.
  13. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    I think both Chrome and Safari should support Flash about the same because they are both based on Webkit... unless Google added "magic" (here, I actually mean "special hidden optimization") in it.

    But 80C at 2000RPM sounds about right. I got that much in my MBP 15" as well.
  14. Hisdem macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2010
    Boca Raton, FL
    Meanwhile, my MBP is crazy and goes to 6500 RPM at 45C.
  15. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    Well, that's weird. You can try using Fan Control to bring it down. It shouldn't go to 6500RPM at 45C.

    Alternatively, do an SMC reset and see what happens?
  16. matt94gt macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2011
    Victoria BC Canada
    I use a Targus cool mat and it tends to keep it at 77* or lower no matter what I push at it, it overall keeps the laptop about 10-15* cooler.
  17. Ant.honey macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2008
    New York City
    Did you guys all design your very own MBPs?

    No? So it's doing what it's supposed to do.

    Was your old MBP cool and the fans never went on? Oh, well go back to that and that performance. Sell your current one and stop complaining about a non-problem.

    You're welcome.
  18. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    Did you at some point install a fan control software? This is not the default behavior of the Mac cooling system.
  19. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Nope. My 2009 MBP would get hot even when just typing away in Xcode. The CPU itself gets hot and the top left corner of the keyboard would get too hot for comfort.
  20. charliejlr macrumors newbie

    Aug 28, 2011
    London, UK
    My 2009 MacBook Pro (out of warranty) frequently overheats and turns off... Usually just while editing large images or vector graphics in Adobe Fireworks and Illustrator.

    It reaches 105C before closing off, and the case becomes far too hot to touch (and the fan whirs away at 6500RPM).

    Its also especially bad if I play games on boot camp in Windows 7. Even my girlfriend's sims game manages to switch it off after 20 minutes or so, but Skyrim manages to switch it off every 5 minutes if I don't use a laptop cooler.

    It's ridiculous how bad these things get, I have burn marks on my legs through my jeans sometimes!!!!:mad:
  21. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    I think you may want to consider opening your Mac up and clean those fans. That generally helped my older Macs run cooler and quieter. Dusts build up in insane quantity (and volume) inside the casing after a long period of time, and not only do they block airflow, they also hinder heat transmission, making the whole system hotter than usual.

    And not just that, heat also causes the processor to scale back and work slower than usual.

    I have had to clean my 2010 MBP three or four times over the whole year span I've owned it. Always ran like a dream afterward. Quiet, cool, and fast.
  22. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    How about taking the notebook of your lap before it starts hurting?

    You should consider either having Apple check the laptop or open it, clean the fans and maybe replace the thermal paste.
  23. thatoneguy82 macrumors 68000


    Jul 23, 2008
    Beach Cities, CA
    I know what you're talking about regarding the heat. I've had my 17" unibody MBP for about 1.5 years and the heat it produces is something I've gotten used to. Like charliejr suggested, iStatPro is a great tool to see the temperatures inside your computer. You can also control the speed of the fan from there. The heat is always magnified if there's no room for it to be dispersed. If it's stuck on a flat surface, it will heat up, the fan will help a little. And don't forget, aluminum is a great conductor of heat. In other words, this is normal.
  24. vr2nr macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2012
    How Many Fans??

    I think I have a 2009 Macbook Pro 13 inch ...

    I keep reading reference to "those fans", etc.

    I run iStat and it shows 1 fan.
    I run Fan Control and it shows 1 fan.
    I look at Youtube and there is reference to one fan (

    So I guess I will just open up the lid.

    Dont know why but as of late the fan(s?) have been running much more often... I'm all over Activity monitor making sure nothing is sucking up the CPU or memory.

    So .. any insights to the number of fans, please post... many thanks.
  25. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    13" Pro only has 1 fan. The 15" and above has 2 fans, 1 for the CPU and 1 for the GPU.

    If your fan roars in the 13", you may want to open it up to clean off dust and debris. If there is no dusts but the fan still roars, chances are you are watching too many video clips on Youtube.

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