Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by DylanWalker, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. DylanWalker macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2009
    This is a problem Ive recently noticed, particularly on the Windows 7 partition of my 2008 Macbook Pro unibody. I'm running Snow Leopard on the Mac partition. So, to get to the point: my computer is overheating to the point that it shuts down, and is almost untouchable.

    As you can probably guess, it happens while playing a game (Starcraft 2). It's only happened when playing on a soft surface (in bed, on a pillow, etc.). The simple answer would be to simply not use it on these surfaces, but it seems illogical that you WOULDN'T be able to use a laptop. . . . on your lap.

    Has anyone had this problem? What solution did you find?
  2. TopHatPlus macrumors 6502

    Aug 1, 2010
    Southern Ontario
    do you only have the 2 os's running? i run sc 2 on my snow leopard cause i hate windows, and i am running HOT i am like 172 f, and i am on a desk. Note that i am also running a 2010 with gt 330 m 512 MB gpu. It sounds like the pillow/blanket is covering the exhaust on the back and not allowing the hot air out and there fore over heating?
  3. DylanWalker thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2009
    I only have a Windows 7 and a Snow Leopard partition for the hard drive.

    I tried running SC2 on the Mac partition, and was dissapointed with the graphics quality (this was before the graphics update - which I haven't even messed with). This led me to installing it on the Windows 7 partition.

    I don't know how hot it's running, temperature-wise, but it's hot enough to shut down the computer. I have a Geek Squad warranty until November of 2011. If I could get a new graphics card or something out of this it'd be great, but most importantly I just don't want to burn up my hard drive and lose my data.
  4. MBHockey macrumors 68040


    Oct 4, 2003
    New York
    It's a notebook, not a laptop. Don't use it on your mattress. It's not rocket science.
  5. Pax macrumors 6502a

    Dec 12, 2003
    It shouldn't ever reach the point where it shuts down. There are lots of fail-safes in place to prevent this. For example the CPU should start throttling its clock speed when it reaches a critical temperature, that should prevent it reaching the shutdown point.

    The surface you use it on shouldn't matter very much as far as internal temps are concerned - almost all the heat is blown out through the hinge underneath the MBP logo. It's not like a conventional laptop, there are no vents on the bottom to block.

    I think Apple's weasel words that it's a notebook, not a laptop, are more about the bottom getting quite hot, which is true. But that's more about discomfort on your legs than internal temperatures of the computer.

    Anyway if your Mac is reaching thermal shutdown, you may have a problem. It could be a clogged fan, hot RAM, or a couple of other things.

    If you are interested in diagnosis, download iStat Pro and post your temperatures when your Mac is completely idle. (You will need to boot into OS X to run it).
  6. DylanWalker thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2009
    Thanks for the helpful response, rather than the one given by the a--hole above you (I'm looking at you MBHockey).

    I'll give the iStat Pro a try. Seeing as it only happens on the Windows partition, will the program help diagnose the problem? It seems like the programming to control when the fans kick on for the Windows 7 partition may not work properly. Whether this is a driver issue or something greater is beyond my knowledge.

    I've attached a screenshot of my iStat Pro results. They seem reasonable?

    Attached Files:

  7. Pax macrumors 6502a

    Dec 12, 2003
    Thanks for the iStat posting. A couple of questions & comments
    - what surface was the Mac on at the time (pillow, desk etc)?
    - was the ambient temperature room temp normal (say 20 C / 68-70 F)?

    If your Mac was idle on a desk at 20 C ambient I would say your temps are normal to high. My 2009 Core2Duo idles at mid 40s C in similar circumstances - quite a lot cooler, but there is a little variation from machine to machine.

    You may have some dust buildup in your fan. Particularly if you use it on bed IMHO it's quite likely. you can try blowing it out with compressed air, or taking the back off and vacuuming it out. Only if you are confident in what you are doing!

    Another test you might try is to fully load the CPU in OS X. Easy to do:- just open Terminal, type the following minus the quote characters:- "yes > /dev/null". Hit enter, then hit Ctrl-T to open another Terminal tab, and enter the same text. This will start 2x endless loops, one on each CPU core. You should see the following:- CPU temperature rises over a couple of minutes to a bit over 100 C. Fans stay at 2000 rpm. Then when CPU is around 100 C fans start to rise over a few minutes. CPU might touch 105 C before increasing fan speed slowly brings CPU down to about 95 C. Ultimately fans at about 4000-5000 rpm (depends on model).

    If your Mac doesn't show this behaviour, in particular if it shuts down, or if the fan speed is much greater than 5000 rpm, you have a cooling system problem. Dust probably.

    A comment on my earlier post about using on a pillow: not much heat escapes through the base, so pillow use should be OK. But your Mac sucks air in through the side ports and Superdrive slot as well as the keyboard. If these are blocked by your pillow cooling might struggle a bit. Worth experimenting with different arrangements?
  8. DylanWalker thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2009
    I had the computer on a fairly firm pillow, on my lap. The room temperature was 78-79 degrees with an overhead fan blowing.
  9. iApache macrumors 6502


    Jun 20, 2010
    I mainly use my laptop at my desk, but as I am typing this now, I am on my bed and I have a laptop tray which I bought from Ikea for around $10 - $15 and it works perfect for me. Just a thought you might consider.

    Edited: This is the one I have,

  10. Giuly macrumors 68040


    If you cover the air intake and exhaust with pillows, it's crystal clear that the MBP will overheat.
    Get yourself a Laptop laid-back or something similar. (There was an Ad on MacRumors for a wall mounted laptop stand that you mount behind your bed, maybe anyone has the link)
  11. Hoo macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2010
    I think those temperatures are too high - I've read about this in other forums. The fans just wake up too late, and if the computer is doing something really heavy and CPU is at 105 C, the temperature produced by GPU might increase it so much that the computer shuts down.

    OP: You can always try to use smcFanControl to get the fans running at higher rpm immediately, but the machine_should_be able to keep itself cool enough. I'd recommend cleaning dust and maybe even reapplying thermal paste - but that might void your warranty.

    I think you should try running those tho yes processes and keep the computer on table. Watch temperatures through smcFanControl and see if it shuts down - if it does, you do have a problem with heating.

    I can't get my 2010 13" MBP over 90 C with the yes-processes.
  12. Pax macrumors 6502a

    Dec 12, 2003
    In that case your cooling system is probably working just fine.

    It would be worth running the yes > /dev/null x 2 test anyway, that will just make sure you don't have a problem. It will only take you 15 mins, you can use the Mac for other things at the same time. Suggest doing the test on a hard surface though.

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