Negative effect on the Operating Temperature when using Cases or Keyboard Covers

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by brosenz, Jun 27, 2015.

  1. brosenz macrumors regular


    Apr 26, 2011
    I would like to understand if by using Hard Cases like the Moshi iGlaze, what would be their impact to the MacBook operating temperature, they provide good protection but at a cost, I understand it will be harder to dissipate the heat from the MacBook Pro body to the exterior

    The other one is related to the Silicone or Rubber Keyboard protectors, I've noticed that when I touch the naked keyboard sometimes it will be warm, so I would assume that some kind of heat dissipation should come out from the keys to the exterior, and by putting a keyboard protector I am avoiding that to happen.

    What is your real life experience with this, are they going to have a big impact to the MacBook Operating temperature or it will be minimal? thanks
  2. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Jun 1, 2011

    It truly depends on the hard case design. It may seem like a rushed answer - but obviously if the case design blocks the vents even minimally it will have a negative impact. In terms of the bottom of the hard case blocking the heat from conducting through the bottom plate of aluminum - negligible, if any differences in temperature.

    The majority of the heat will be released through the vents at the back or conducted through the front of the aluminum casing near the keyboard (corners of the top case) where the major hardware is located. In other words, the bottom of the laptop isn't really responsible for dissipating heat - otherwise it wouldn't be a laptop, it would be a tabletop.

    Keyboard covers won't have a negative effect either. Heat is not dissipated through the keyboard, otherwise it would be uncomfortable for the user. It is mainly dissipated through the top case (corners, not palm rest either, so palm guards can fly too) and quite obviously the heat vents facing away from the user where it won't obstruct usage.

    I hope this helps.
  3. ckWTB macrumors member


    Aug 24, 2014
    Portland, OR
    As Dark Void said, the laptop’s active built-in cooling system is the laptop’s primarily method of cooling. It relies on one or two cooling fans located near the back of the laptop. All aluminum MacBooks have a vent along the back edge located at the hinge. This is the largest and most critical vent for fan intake and exhaust. Blocking that would have a significant, immediate and potentially serious impact on the laptop’s performance and operation. More recent Retina Pros also include vents along the sides. You want to make sure that all of those vents are free of obstruction.

    In addition to the active cooling, the laptop also uses passive cooling through the laptop’s aluminum enclosure that functions as a large heat sink. The enclosure absorbs heat from the internal heat generating components (processors typically contributes the most heat) and then transfers that heat to passing air or other nearby heat sinks. If you cover the enclosure then it can still absorb the heat internally, however, the enclosure will act as insulation, thus reduce the enclosures ability to transfer the waste heat to it surroundings. How long it will take for the enclose to become saturated depends on the laptop size and how hard you are running your processors. How much of an increase in temperatures will also vary.

    If you run your machine hard, the fans are constantly running on high and/or you experience throttling then you might want to consider removing the coverings at those times and/or provide supplemental cooling.

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