Normal temperatures for non-unibody MacBook

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Cubytus, Jun 26, 2014.

  1. Cubytus macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    Hi there,

    I'm resurrecting what is probably a common topic by asking what are the normal operating temperature ranges, with fan speed, for a white MacBook (mid-2009 era).

    Even with rather low CPU usage of 15%, temperature rarely goes over 67 degrees, but the fan spins at maximum speed, making it annoyingly noisy and defeating one purpose of having installed an SSD.

    But it seems there's no hard rule with this one: with Macs Fan Control set to "auto" (assuming it follows the factory settings), sometimes it goes over 70 degrees while running the fan half-speed.

    When I based the fan speed on the enclosure temperature, CPU temp rose much closer to my experience with i7, with 70 degrees a low-usage temperature.

    So what are the normal temperature ranges for the bottom enclosure and CPU diode for a MacBook5,2?
  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.
    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). iMacs have 3 fans with minimum speeds in the 800-1200 range. 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 a slot on the back near the top of the computer. Make sure the vents remain unblocked to allow your computer to perform at its best. For Flash-related issues:
  3. Cubytus thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    As I just wrote I use Macs Fan Control. The system rarely goes over 15% CPU. This is not a i-series CPU. This is not an aluminum machine.

    Come on, you haven't read the post, have you?
  4. BrettApple, Jun 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014

    BrettApple macrumors 65816


    Apr 3, 2010
    Heart of the midwest
    I've got an Early 2008 Black MacBook, I'm running on Snow Leopard with 6GB RAM and use VM's (Virtual Box), Chrome, Adobe CS5, Office and the like quite often as it's my secondary machine and travel MacBook (left it at a shop last night, oops :eek:).

    Typically when it's idle I'd say it's around 110-130ºF (43-54ºC). When I'm stressing it it'll move to the 140-160ºf (60-70ºC) range. Then there's flash, that'll bring it up to 170-180º (76-83ºC) with the fan on high. But that's about it. Even running VM's it's around 150ºF (65-70ºC).

    That being said, I did replace the fan when I got it, and reapplied the thermal paste with some Arctic Silver 5. And Snow Leopard tends to run cooler for me than Lion did. Also much faster for what I use it for. There are some differences in our machines with yours having the Nvidia 9400m vs my X3100, and I can't run anything newer than Lion where you may be on Mavericks.

    But generally, that's where mine's at.

    It has gotten around the 200ºF (93ºC) range when it's on the bed using flash, or encoding a DVD with Handbrake, but that is perfectly normal when the CPU is under full load for an extended amount of time.

    Now, the fan is almost always silent running around 2000rpm, but it'll kick up when needed, but it'll go back down pretty fast once it's cool again. So not sure why yours keeps running on high so often. Apple may have changed the default speeds in the SMC for the '09 models, hard to say.
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Yes, I read the post. It doesn't matter if it's an i-series CPU or an aluminum body. Resetting the SMC works the same on your model, as it is an Intel Mac. The max temps quoted are similar for your model, and you're not anywhere near approaching the limits. All the principles discussed in my post apply to your MacBook.
  6. Cubytus thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    Currently the CPU sits at 5%, temp is 140 Fahrenheit, but the fan is at 5500 rpm. I then stressed it a bit, and reaching 140 Fahrenheit, fan is at maximum, 6200 rpm speed (reported both by iStat nano and Macs Fan Control). Even letting it sit idling for 15 minutes didn't show the fan going below 3500 rpm. Except when it just has been started, I never idle down to 110 Fahrenheit, that is, at normal room temp of 25 Celsius (summer here).

    It's running Mountain Lion as I favored better iCloud integration since onboard storage is small at 120GB, but with only 4GB RAM, it probably wouldn't be able to run anything more recent comfortably.

    Assuming C2D temperatures are on par with i-serie's, why would the fan spin much faster? My daily driver, SL, i7 only increases fan speed when reaching more than 70 Celsius.
  7. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Have you tried resetting the SMC, as recommended?
  8. Cubytus thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    Three years later, this same MacBook now runs 10.11.6 and has 8GB RAM.

    Yes I did reset the SMC, but the problem persists: fan at maximum or close to maximum speed, almost all the time, regardless of actual CPU usage. I re-did thermal paste with what is supposed to be the best available, Gelid G751.

    Does the early-2008 MacBook runs much cooler than the mid-2009 version? I never read such a low temperature idling. When I only get 45C when I left the computer off for a night in a 18C room, just 2 minutes after boot. Idles around 60C, throttles above 73-so. Usable temperature range is admittedly very short.

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