Question regarding the use of ice

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by knhirt, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. knhirt macrumors newbie

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    Jun 2, 2011
    #1
    I have a unibody Mac Mini that gets quite hot when I play games (using W7 in Boot Camp). I once placed a plastic box full of ice on top of the aluminum enclosure to help it cool off while I played, and it really helped. The whole thing was icy cold for a long time.

    I haven't done it again, because I thought that maybe condensation inside the machine might become an issue. Am I right to be concerned, or do I have nothing to be worried about? For the record, I couldn't detect any moisture on the outside of the plastic box nor the aluminum enclosure.

    I'd love to be able to keep my machine icy while I'm running heavy-duty stuff on it. It does get quite slow when it really heats up.

    Please give me your thoughts.
    Thanks.
     
  2. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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  3. knhirt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
  4. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040

    AlphaDogg

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    #4
    The ice will likely cause water to condense inside of the machine. Also, rapidly cooling and heating a computer will weaken the solder joints, which will cause any and/or all components to fail prematurely.
     
  5. knhirt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    As to the condensation: I feared this might be the case. I'd like to know for sure though, so I'm keeping this question open.
    As to rapid cooling/heating: I'm guessing that should be no problem if I cool the computer from room temperature before turning it on to do some gaming.

    Thanks for your reply!
     
  6. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

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    #6
    Suggest you look for something similar to smcfancontrol for windows to manually crank up the fans. My guess would think the aluminum will crack sooner or later due to heat and cold on the aluminum.
     
  7. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040

    AlphaDogg

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    #7
    It all depends on where you live. If you live in a humid environment, it is likely to have water condense inside of it. If you live in a dry environment, it is unlikely (but still possible) that water will condense inside of it. I live in Denver, and even though it is quite dry here, water always condenses on the oustside of waterbottles that are frozen (ice).
     
  8. burnout8488, Jun 2, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2011

    burnout8488 macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Is external cooling really even necessary? The computer isn't locking up or hanging, right?

    Everything is probably operating within normal operating temperature, I wouldn't worry about the lifespan of your components being shortened by this one game. Computers of this size are meant to run hot. Are you SURE the heat is what's slowing everything down, or just the "heavy-duty" nature of what you're throwing at it?
     
  9. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

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  10. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #10
    The ice will cause condensation and will kill your machine off. Not to be snarky but why do you insist on towing an suv with a volkswagon. Mac mini's are not for gaming.
     
  11. burnout8488 macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    I wouldn't go THAT far, they can certainly handle whatever's thrown at them as long as they meet the specs...... it just seems the OP is trying to add unnecessary cooling.
     
  12. knhirt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
    Thanks for your answers everyone. I appreciate it when people reply on-topic, but some people tend to have difficulty.

    Further information: My Mini has run so hot that upon rebooting into OS X, it has struggled to run even a single tab of Safari and nothing else. It's not as bad as hanging or crashing, but that's pretty damn bad in my book.

    For the person who thinks the Mini is not for gaming: Hi, please direct your browser toward http://www.apple.com/macmini/features.html
    If you scroll down a little bit, you will be faced with a few numbers indicating performance in games such as CoD and Doom, along with a nice big screen shot of EVE Online.

    I've been convinced! I won't experiment with ice cooling for now (at least, until my disposable income level reaches the point where I can purchase a mac mini for the sole purpose of seeing if ice is actually harmful or not) - erring on the side of caution since this is my only machine.

    My thanks again to those here that indulged me in my casual speculation.
     
  13. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040

    AlphaDogg

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    #13
    That's what this forum is for, isn't it? ;)
     
  14. philipma1957, Jun 3, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2011

    philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #14
    I thought about your ice idea over night>


    While the next suggestion may not work for you it may have merit for some users. A small size dorm refrigerator may do what you want.


    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Black+&...lack/2678348.p?id=1218343870214&skuId=2678348

    they can get to be set to run from 33f to 52f.
    this is the same price as a really good laptop cooler and can keep a snack handy. they have humidity control so condensation should not be an issue. I also believe you would not void the warranty. now the tech specs for a mini are 50f or 10c min temp. so a warmer setting could work.

    while it is not free it would have a great wow factor. you would only need to remove a little bit of the door seal to make wires run in and out. Also if you want to run no games you could stack it on the refrigerator's top. you could use a higher end model like this one to come closer to the minis color.


    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Frigida...lver/9723545.p?id=1218159865331&skuId=9723545



    in fact this idea does intrigue me. I have a few 2009 mini's in my home and a small refrigerator.

    I may test it out to look for condensation issues.
     
  15. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #15
    Are you sure the heat is the cause? Even if the computer ran hot, it shouldn't affect its ability to run things, unless the temps are extremely high.
     
  16. burnout8488 macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    I agree. There is something definitely wrong with your Mini, software or hardware related. No Mac should *need* supplementary cooling to run a certain piece of software... that's what they're designed to do out of the factory. You aren't overclocking, so the factory cooling should be sufficient with whatever you throw at it.

    Dust?
     
  17. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #17
    well if he has his room temp in the high 80's or low 90's and he is running windows 7 for gaming overheating is easier to do. if his room temp is 70 or 65 I would agree that his machine may be flawed. note temps are f not c.

    as for my refrigerator idea the small frigde in my basement is at 46f with humidity of 40. If I change the temp setting I should get it to be 52 f. I think I will run some tests next week. I will run the 2009 mini at 52 f in the fridge then check for humidity. I will then run it in an 80 f room. I am curious as to the temp difference and how the internal temps will run.
     
  18. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #18
    I would have thought that with the Mini fans blowing warm air around inside the enclosure, any possible condensation would have been evaporated and blown out the back of the Mini?
     
  19. philipma1957, Jun 3, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2011

    philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #19
    yeah I think the original poster was thinking along those lines. remember a phone call a 5 or 10 min interruption will cause the fans to spin down.

    it would not take more then 1 or 2 drops of condensation to cause a short. I could see the small fridge idea getting the condensation problem solved and it does have a cool factor. I have never seen anyone do that.
    If he wants to go with ice in a bucket placing it by the intake fan would be better as the machine would suck cold air in. I wonder how hot the room temp is by his mini.
     
  20. burnout8488 macrumors 6502a

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    Endwell, NY
    #20
    Add a small fridge and the energy consumption of his Mac Mini skyrockets. If you're considering doing that, is it really worth even playing the games when you've got a temperature problem that needs to be addressed? (Ambient or dust related) Seems like a bandaid, a ridiculous one at that.

    What is the ambient temp of the room you're trying to use the Mini in?
     
  21. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040

    AlphaDogg

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    #21
    Mini's are certainly not for gaming. If you bought a mini for gaming, you should not expect much out of it. However, if you do game with it and some part fails from the heat, it will be covered under warranty.
     
  22. lvlarkkoenen macrumors regular

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    Apr 21, 2011
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    Utrecht, NL
    #22
    I am quite sure that my Mini has 'crashed' due to heating whilst I was gaming. Then again, I was throwing WoW at a 1,42GHz PPC, and one shouldn't expect too much out of that.
    But whenever it happened the machine wouldn't boot for an hour or so after. Plus the air coming out of it was indeed very hot.
     

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