MBA vs. rMBP: heat issues

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by thelookingglass, Dec 22, 2014.

  1. thelookingglass macrumors 68000

    Apr 27, 2005
    I know the MBA runs very cool to the touch under almost normal usage (which assumes browsing, emailing, office docs, etc.) and is extremely quiet. Is that the case for the rMBP as well or does it feel warmer during normal operation? Especially curious to hear the opinions of those who have both the MBA and rMBP.
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    If you're not already doing so, use iStat Pro (free) or iStat Menus ($16) to get accurate readings of your temps, fan speeds, etc., rather than relying on your sense of touch or sound. A forum member has posted a copy of iStat Pro that has been "tweaked" to enhance compatibility with recent OS X versions. You can download it here.
    The Intel processors used in Macs are designed to automatically shut down to prevent damage if they truly overheat. CPU Tjmax = 105C (221F), GPU Tjmax = 100C (212F) on i3, i5, i7 processors. (Source: Intel)
    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.
    It is also quite normal for your Mac to become extremely hot to the touch during intensive operations. The aluminum body transfers heat more effectively than other materials used in computer casings, so you will feel the heat more. This doesn't indicate that it's overheating and will not harm the computer to be hot to the touch.
    The fans in Macs are always on when the Mac is on, spinning at a minimum speed which varies by Mac model. They will spin faster as needed to keep temps at a safe level. If your fans are spinning up without increased heat, try resetting the SMC. (PRAM/NVRAM has nothing to do with these issues, so resetting it will not help.)
    The intake and exhaust vents are in the back of the computer near the hinge on all Mac notebooks (except the new MBP with retina display, which has intake vents along the sides at the bottom). The iMac vent is on the back of the computer. Make sure the vents remain unblocked to allow your computer to perform at its best. For Flash-related issues:
  3. Yakibomb macrumors 6502


    May 13, 2014
    Cape Town
    In my experience both computers run pretty cool under normal usage, but the rMBP does seem to run a *tiny* bit hotter. In terms of fan noise, under normal usage the rMBP is pretty much dead silent.

    (I've used both an 11" MBA and a 15" rMBP)
  4. thelookingglass thread starter macrumors 68000

    Apr 27, 2005
    Does that mean the rMBP feels warm to the touch? By most accounts, the MBA is cool as a cucumber under all but the most intense applications. Just curious if the rMBP is like that too.
  5. SarcasticJoe macrumors 6502a


    Nov 5, 2013
    I've got a 15" non-retrina MBP and it runs pretty cool as long as you're not using websites that rely on Flash or Silverlight (like Youtube or Netflix).
  6. Yakibomb macrumors 6502


    May 13, 2014
    Cape Town
    Yes its ever so slightly warm, but nothing thats ever bothered me even with it on my lap whilst wearing shorts.

    When you real push it, it's a completely different story... But that can be said for any laptop
  7. mtneer macrumors 68030


    Sep 15, 2012
    And that would be perfectly in line with expectations. The MBA runs Intel's Ultrabook line of processors whereas the rMBP's run the full fledged mobile laptop line of processors. They rMBP processors will be capable of drawing more power for intensive operations and consequently will create higher temperatures.
  8. Allograft macrumors regular

    Oct 19, 2014
    15" rMBP mid-2014 integrated and quiet
  9. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    13 inch rMBP

    Mine is cool and quiet under all but the most strenuous of activities.
  10. lionkin macrumors regular


    Nov 8, 2014
    West Hollywood
    Same here.
  11. Queen6 macrumors 604


    Dec 11, 2008
    Land of the Unexpected
    For the usage your describing no, the 15" runs warmer due to Quad Core & dGPU, the 13" runs very cool and quiet, equally if you use either system for intensive tasks the fans will spool up and some heat will be transferred to the case above the keyboard area.

    I have both 13" & 15" Retina`s and 11 & 13" MBA, yes the Retina`s do run warmer but not dramatically, unless you push them. Typical office usage is not going to kick up the fans. Personally I am very impressed with the operating temperatures of the new 13" Retina and the lack of noise.


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