Overheating if used closed with external monitor?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Carpy2, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. Carpy2 macrumors newbie

    Oct 7, 2012
    Hey guys.

    I am using my rMBP closed if I am at my desk. I have it hooked up to an external monitor. I know there are vertical stands out there that help with cooling the MBP, but my question is will my MBP overheat if it is sitting flat on the table under my monitor? (I'm looking at a monitor stand that allows me to slide my MBP under it, saving more space than if I were to get a vertical stand). Maybe I should get a cooling tray to put under the monitor stand?


    1. Will my MBP overheat if sitting flat on the table closed, hooked up to an external monitor?
    2. Is a vertical stand the only option for stopping overheating? Perhaps a cooling tray that will sit under my monitor stand?
    3. Is overheating on the table even a threat?

    Thanks. This is my first post so be nice if this has already been answered. I tried the search feature and couldn't find what I wanted.

    Michael "Carpy2"
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    No, it won't overheat. Mac notebooks are designed to run safely in clamshell mode.

    Apple Portables: How to use your computer in closed clamshell (display closed) mode with an external display

    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)

    If you're not already using it, iStat Pro (free) or iStat Menus ($16) will give you accurate readings of your temps and fan speeds, among other things.

    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.

    Learn about the fans in your Mac
    Apple Portables: Operating temperature

    For Flash-related issues:
  3. Carpy2 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 7, 2012
    Holy crap that post is perfect... Seems like my question is asked frequently and you had that saved, ready to copy and paste! Regardless, thanks for the fast reply, it answers my question perfectly. Have an upvote sir!
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    No, I just type reeeeallly fast! :D
  5. iAppl3Fan macrumors 6502a


    Sep 8, 2011
    As always, awesome response.

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