Need to prevent Macbook Pro fan spin-up

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Jugney, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. Jugney macrumors member

    May 6, 2008
    I am preparing a live streaming video setup, and ran the first full-length beta test today. It was during a talk with about 20 people which started with a meditation - and right as they started, the fans on my Macbook Pro 2011 spun up to full speed. It was embarassing! They stayed at full speed or near full speed the whole session.

    I started looking at cooling pads. Naturally I would prefer something that doesn't have moving fans, or need to be plugged in to anything. Would a cooling pad be effective enough to prevent the fans spinning up? The sessions I will be live streaming are typically 90 minutes long.

  2. bobcan macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2007
    Sunny but Cold.. Canada
    Pretty Tough.. and Counter Intuitive for a MBP

    I do not believe you will 'safely' stop the Fans from wanting to spin up to speed as they are trying to save your computer from Killing itself with the Heat generated by Processor Usage..

    So, I believe have a few other options:

    - a different computer (not a laptop) with larger heat transfer surfaces

    - making sure NO unneeded programs are running as well at the same time, Screen Dimmed, etc

    - moving the MBP away from the microphones/ people in the event to make the noise appear lessened.. ** Simple Math: Twice the Distance = Half as Loud..

    - possibly 'muffling' the sound with sound absorptive foam as recording studios use to stop sound waves from bouncing around unwanted ~ a 90º V shape with a couple of 4ft pieces of foam around laptop would make a huge difference

    - streaming WILL make the Processor Work hard very quickly, but accordingly keeping it as cool as you can previous to that will help, as will making sure 'the air' it inhales is as cool as possible

    Hope something good comes of it somehow, but I have experienced what you speak of in Web Casting.. Processor Power Usage = HEAT = Fans!!

    Good Luck :apple:
  3. CirrusPilot macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2012
    Google software that will let you control the fan speed. There are a number of different programs out there. I had been using one on snow leopard that allowed me to set the speed higher than normal because the laptop was getting too hot. It would also have let me set them lower. I can't remember the name but you can find it.

    Seriously though. you really should never turn them off or below the factory settings. That is a very fast way to cook your HDD and processor. Even the software I used had tons of warnings about lowering the speed.
  4. bobcan macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2007
    Sunny but Cold.. Canada
    LOTS of ways to 'speed up' (if your preference is Cooler) but as I said, Slowing Down is counter intuitive to the MBP's Brain!! :rolleyes:
  5. Jugney thread starter macrumors member

    May 6, 2008
    Missing the mark

    Hi guys - I think you missed the spirit of my post.

    I have no interest in destroying my computer. That would be counter-productive.

    I want to eliminate the loud fan noise during the events. My idea was that a cooling pad might provide sufficiently effective external cooling, to negate the need for the internal fans to spin up.

    So I was really looking for feedback to see if that was a realistic expectation based on other peoples' experience with cooling pads.

    As I said, the fans were at full speed before, so I imagine the CPU was about as hot as it gets, which would make sense for all the video it's processing real-time. So maybe it doesn't mean the fans don't spin up at all, but hopefully they would stay between 2000 - 3000 RPM or so. Otherwise a cooling pad isn't the right way to go.
  6. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Possible but highly unlikely. The external cooling solution would probably have to generate more noise to provide enough effective cooling to prevent the internal fans from spinning up. Realistic options are pretty much summed up in post 2.

    It would probably help you if you could determine typical temperatures for the work you're doing so you have a rough idea of how much cooling you need.
  7. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    The only solution you can find to your problem is in Software.
    If they run at full speed a cooling pad will not change that. They do very little.
    External cooling is largely ineffective. They will only add more noise to little avail. They only cool the case but most heat neads to leave the notebook via the cooling block and for that one only the fans can do anything. A cooler case helps but is unlikely to really help. You'd need some really effective cooling like cooling packs that you exchange every 10 min. Or some thermoelectric cooling. Those puny fans blowing some more air at the base do little.
    A simple fix is to put some below the notebook so the back is raised one cm. Won't get be a big difference though.

    What you need to do is find a way to do the streaming task with less ressource usage.

    What are you streaming? Does the notebook need to reencode the data. If it doesn't, streaming itself should create very very little load. If you need to reencode switch to Windows and use some Software that supports Quick Sync. That speeds up encoding by a huge amounts and creates much less load for the same task which lowers temps.
  8. Blondie :) macrumors 6502a

    Blondie :)

    May 12, 2010
    Prescott, AZ
    Unfortunately, cooling pads aren't really that effective with the way that the Macbook Pro's are designed. Most cooling pads only slightly increase the conductive heat transfer from the Macbook Pro's case to the outside world.

    If I were to purchase a really nice cooling system for my Mac, I would probably opt for the Moshi Zefyr 2. However, this still won't really make your mac run that much cooler. But possibly cool enough to not need to ramp fan speeds up that much. Here is a full review of the zefyr 2. Differences in operating temps with/without the product are near the bottom of the page.
  9. Jugney thread starter macrumors member

    May 6, 2008
    I'm not entirely sure the answer to this question, but I'll tell you my setup:

    • Canon Vixia HF M52, with the lapel mic coming in to the camera, then outputting over HDMI in 1080i (no way to change this output from HDMI - I figured the full HD stream might be what is intensive for the Macbook Pro to handle)

    • BlackMagic Shuttle taking in the HDMI signal, outputting to Mac via Thunderbolt

    • Wirecast for YouTube as the streaming program. The software is sending a 360p stream to YouTube - that's as high as YouTube lets us go. So it is converting 1080p down to 360p, and if I remember correctly, also deinterlacing the video.

    The only other program running is Chrome, with a single tab open to our YouTube streaming control page.

    Now that I think of it, I had this all open for about 10 minutes before the video started. It was about 2 minutes after the event started (and after I clicked "Start Streaming" on the YouTube page) that the fans started spinning at higher speeds.
  10. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    For YouTube streaming why not give an AppleTV a try. No fans.
    It also supports AirPlay from your rMBP so you could put it out of earshot.
  11. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    That bold part is most likely the only problem that creates so much load and heat.
    The problem is Apple doesn't implement the QuickSync SDK. Not that it is very new but because nobody knows why. Only Windows and Linux provide support and there is software which laughs at a 1080p to 360p conversion.
    You'd have to either switch the OS and find a new streaming transcoder or make the camera output already right so that the notebook only needs to forward the data.
  12. Jugney thread starter macrumors member

    May 6, 2008
    I know this thread is quite old, but I still wanted to say thanks for the feedback, and add some updated thoughts.

    Access to QuickSync would be heavenly. Though I've read the reason Apple has locked it down is to keep it available for AirPlay Mirroring introduced in Mountain Lion. OS X relies on QuickSync to get this real time encode of your screen, without impacting processor usage, heat, battery use, etc. Pretty brilliant, actually, but it's a shame that all the time I'm not AirPlaying my display, I can't access QuickSync.

    As far as transcoding 1080 to 360, that makes total sense. YouTube has been steadily improving their Live service for channels, and now we can stream all the way up to 1080p. I'm going to try a 720p stream (due to bandwidth limitations) and see if, besides providing a very nice HD picure for viewers, that also lessens the load on my old Macbook Pro.

    Thanks again!
  13. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    Good luck.

    Apple doesn't offer Quicksync for everybody because they are lazy. No other reason. Intel only makes the SDK for Windows and Apple would have to put some work into an API themselves which they obviously aren't interested in. Too much work I suppose. Airplay & facetime is not an excuse because making that feature available for everybody wouldn't really impact those. It is the opposite. They have the binaries. Now all they need is to make an interface and write some documentation.
    It was the same story with Flash graphics acceleration. For a while that only worked on Nvidia GPUs because Apple only gave developers like Adobe enough access to the media api of nvidia gpus. Intel had the same hardware acceleration capabilities but Apple needed forever after selling Intel GPU based notebooks to actually offer access to the media api. Safari, Quicktime all got access but no third party.
    Many times I suspect they do it so their own software products seem to work best for customers and 3rd parties can only come a year late to the party.

    I could rant on. What was the point of Airplay when Miracast and WiDi was already about to finalized as a standard. One, new TVs and smartphones actually implemented so you wouldn't need an AppleTV to support it.
    Apple just likes their own closed world that 3rd parties shouldn't be too comfortable in and especially never appear to offer anything significantly better than what Apple does themselves.
  14. sofianito macrumors 65816


    Jan 14, 2011
    The only way to prevent Macbook Pro fan spin-up is to change the thermal paste (reduce the temperature from -5 to -10 ºC) or remove the fans... :D

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