MBP fans kick up when clamshell is closed

SDAVE

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 16, 2007
3,381
443
Nowhere
I've been using it in clamshell mode lately (early 2011, 2.3Ghz 15", 16GB RAM) and the fans keep kicking up. I am not doing anything complex. Just light photoshop and web.

It doesn't kick up the fans if the laptop is open and the display is on.

Any ideas?
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
768
I've been using it in clamshell mode lately (early 2011, 2.3Ghz 15", 16GB RAM) and the fans keep kicking up. I am not doing anything complex. Just light photoshop and web.

It doesn't kick up the fans if the laptop is open and the display is on.

Any ideas?
Use iStat Pro to get accurate readings of your temperatures and fan speed. It won't harm your Mac to run in clamshell mode, and there shouldn't be a significant difference in temps with the lid open or closed.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,390
33,008
Boston
From the sounds of it, the temps are getting high with the lid closed. You'll need an app like istat pro to report the actual temperatures to determine what's going on.
 

SDAVE

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 16, 2007
3,381
443
Nowhere
Ok it seems like Chrome is sucking up a lot of CPU time, thus kicking the fans up.

However, how come when it's idling, the cpu temps are so high? Also when I have more than 5 tabs open in Chrome, the fans kick in.

PS. I did reset the SMC. Didn't make a dent.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
768
Ok it seems like Chrome is sucking up a lot of CPU time, thus kicking the fans up.
I've seen temps in the 80s and 90s without the fans spinning that fast.

Flash on websites is a huge resource hog, and will raise temps and fan speeds. For Flash issues:
However, how come when it's idling, the cpu temps are so high?
It's not idling. Launch Activity Monitor and change "My Processes" at the top to "All Processes", then click on the CPU column heading once or twice, so the arrow points downward (highest values on top). Then look to see what may be consuming system resources.
 

SDAVE

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 16, 2007
3,381
443
Nowhere
This is so odd. I think it might be the Corsair 16GB RAM that I have in there increasing the fan speeds.

Currently this is how the activity monitor looks like and the fans are spinning at 6,000rpm

I live in S. California and it's kind of humid/warm here where I have the laptop. Might that also be the issue?
 

Attachments

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
768
Currently this is how the activity monitor looks like and the fans are spinning at 6,000rpm
If a drive is constantly active or your CPU utilization is high (possibly with increased temps and fan speed) when you're not running any apps, check to see if Spotlight is indexing by looking at the Menu Bar icon:
(not indexing)
(indexing)

While the fans are at 6,000 rpm, what are the temps for CPU/GPU?
 

SDAVE

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 16, 2007
3,381
443
Nowhere
No image.
Sorry, just updated.

----------

If a drive is constantly active or your CPU utilization is high (possibly with increased temps and fan speed) when you're not running any apps, check to see if Spotlight is indexing by looking at the Menu Bar icon: Image (not indexing) Image (indexing)

While the fans are at 6,000 rpm, what are the temps for CPU/GPU?
I never see it indexing. I also don't use Spotlight (using Alfred)...yes, Spotlight is still on.
 

SDAVE

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 16, 2007
3,381
443
Nowhere
Temps are normal and fans are at their minimum speed. I was asking what the CPU/GPU temps were when the fans are at 6,000 rpm.
If you look at the prior screenshot, it says 49, but it jumps to 55-65 when the fans are at 6000rpm.

Maybe the MBP is not meant to be closed that much as the speaker holes are also used as ventilation?
 

GuitarG20

macrumors 65816
Jun 3, 2011
1,020
1
OP, you don't have any third party fan management applications installed do you?

(seems like a dumb question, but i've gotten told yes before...)
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
768
If you look at the prior screenshot, it says 49, but it jumps to 55-65 when the fans are at 6000rpm.

Maybe the MBP is not meant to be closed that much as the speaker holes are also used as ventilation?
There is no ventilation through the speaker grille or keyboard on any Mac notebook, and there never was. All venting, both intake and exhaust, is at the rear, near the hinge. If your fans are at 6000 with temps around 55-65, try resetting the SMC.
 

SDAVE

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 16, 2007
3,381
443
Nowhere
OP, you don't have any third party fan management applications installed do you?

(seems like a dumb question, but i've gotten told yes before...)
I don't. I just have Lion (Latest) and even reinstalled 10.7.3 Combo Updater and fixed permissions just in case.

There is no ventilation through the speaker grille or keyboard on any Mac notebook, and there never was. All venting, both intake and exhaust, is at the rear, near the hinge. If your fans are at 6000 with temps around 55-65, try resetting the SMC.
Ahh. Yes, I did reset the SMC as mentioned before in this thread, was of no help.

I guess my other option is to put back the original 2x4GB sticks and do a test again. Seems silly that the CPU is not being loaded with processes and it heats up. It might also be the GPU, since the AMD GPU kicks in when I use the external monitor. I tried using gfxCardStatus to keep it on the Intel GPU, but it didn't help.
 

negativzero

macrumors 6502a
Jul 19, 2011
564
54
I'm assuming you're using a 15 or 17 inch here. In this case, when you plug the MacBook into an external display, this turns on the discrete graphics card automatically which increases the internal temps causing the fans to spin. That said, there is no way to prevent this other than unplug the external display because there is no way to get the integrated graphics card to run the monitor.
 

SDAVE

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 16, 2007
3,381
443
Nowhere
I'm assuming you're using a 15 or 17 inch here. In this case, when you plug the MacBook into an external display, this turns on the discrete graphics card automatically which increases the internal temps causing the fans to spin. That said, there is no way to prevent this other than unplug the external display because there is no way to get the integrated graphics card to run the monitor.
Yes it's the 15" Early 2011 MBP.

So do you think the fans kick up to 6,000rpm because of the AMD card? Even though I am pretty much close to idling?
 

negativzero

macrumors 6502a
Jul 19, 2011
564
54
Yes. Don't forget, the GPU also has a processor so it is another source of heat generation when it is turned on. You can try it out for yourself and see that it does produce a significant amount of heat by turning it on and off.
 

SDAVE

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 16, 2007
3,381
443
Nowhere
Yes. Don't forget, the GPU also has a processor so it is another source of heat generation when it is turned on. You can try it out for yourself and see that it does produce a significant amount of heat by turning it on and off.
I know.

However, it seems that the fans kick up when you close the laptop and use an external display and it starts using the AMD GPU.

But the thing is, if I use GfxCardStatus application and have the laptop open (even when using an external display on top of it) and enable the AMD GPU, the fans don't kick up as much as they do when it's closed.

My 2008 MBP never did this.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,102
6,545
Doesn't the MacBook Pro's ventilation (air in and air out) flow through the "screen hinge" when it's in the open position? As a part of the design?

If that is true, would not closing the lid close off the vents as well, and thus limit the internal ventilation and cooling?
 

GuitarG20

macrumors 65816
Jun 3, 2011
1,020
1
Doesn't the MacBook Pro's ventilation (air in and air out) flow through the "screen hinge" when it's in the open position? As a part of the design?

If that is true, would not closing the lid close off the vents as well, and thus limit the internal ventilation and cooling?
part of it vents up over the hinge towards the screen/keyboard (but not through the keyboard) and part of it vents down, under the hinge, towards whatever surface the MBP is on. for this reason, it's vaguely logical that running in clamshell mode might cut down on ventilation slightly.
 
Last edited:

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
768
Doesn't the MacBook Pro's ventilation (air in and air out) flow through the "screen hinge" when it's in the open position? As a part of the design?

If that is true, would not closing the lid close off the vents as well, and thus limit the internal ventilation and cooling?
No, it doesn't close off the vents when the lid is closed. As GuitarG20 said, the airflow simply goes under, rather than over the hinge. This is why it's important not to operate with your MBP resting on something soft like a pillow, as it could block the airflow around the hinge. It's better on a hard surface. With the lid closed, there is still plenty of airflow to keep temperatures within the safe operating range.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.