Recommendations on cooling 15" rMBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by SmileyDude, Jul 17, 2015.

  1. SmileyDude macrumors regular


    Jul 24, 2002
    I have a 2014 15" rMBP and I've noticed the temperatures creeping up a bit lately. It may be the summer weather here, but it has me thinking about options for cooling it off at least.

    I use it primarily in two locations -- at work and home. In both places, I use it paired with another monitor and keyboard, using the built in display as a 2nd (or 3rd for work) display. At work, it sits flat on the desk. At home, it's elevated with a few books under it. The books are smaller than the case, so the vents are wide open.

    I'm thinking it might be good to at least get something to open the vents while it's being used at work. I don't push the CPU/GPU as hard while I'm at work as I do when I'm home, where I tend to do some gaming in addition to everything else.

    So what I'm looking for is some good recommendations for a stand that will either passively or actively cool the laptop. I could probably get away with passive cooling at work, but for home, active is probably the better choice. I've looked around online, but so far the stands I've seen seem rather garish in design. Also it's impossible to tell how loud the fans will be when looking online.

    What are people here using for cooling their laptops?
  2. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    Your computer is designed --and able to-- take care of itself with no intervention from your part.

    Since the rMBP have no vents on the bottom, any active cooler you would use would simply push air at a flat surface. Sure it'll make the case feel cooler to the touch, but apart from extra noise from an extra fan and money spent, it would be of no help.

    I use a stand I got at Staples, simply because it raises up my MBP at a comfortable level for use with a keyboard and mouse. I notice no temperature difference between using it on the stand or not.

    TL;DR: I'd spend my money elsewhere.
  3. simon lefisch macrumors 6502a

    simon lefisch

    Sep 29, 2014
    Use a cooling/chill pad. I use one when I have my MBP running in clamshell mode (lid closed while attached to another monitor). They're relatively quiet and keep it cool and not that expensive.
  4. Queen6 macrumors 604


    Dec 11, 2008
    Flying over the rainforest at dawn - Priceless
    Being an owner & user of the 15" MacBook Pro forever; Over the years the 15" has frequently struggled with it`s thermals, especially when an external display is connected as the dGPU switches on as default, internal temperatures soar;
    • Elevate the rear, aluminium passive coolers generally work best (I use RainDesign`s mStand & iLap)
    • Increase base fan RPM to 3K or as much as you are comfortable with (MacsFanControl or SMC Fan Control)
    • Limit the dGPU`s usage with gfxCardStatus
    • Swap out Chrome for Chrome Canary as it`s way more optimised for OS X and will extend battery run time, reduce thermals
    • Swap out VLC for Movist as again it`s a reduced load on CPU/GPU
    • Uninstall or block Flash
    • Install an ad blocker Ublock extension works well
    • Powered coolers are very much a "mixed bag" when it comes to Mac portables, you need one that has a high capacity (100 CFM minimum) and preferably a large single fan, this can help to keep the 15" internal fans below 4K which for many is good enough as often it`s this point and beyond where the fans become intrusive. Don't expect a powered cooler impact internal temperatures, beyond a couple of degrees
    • Older machines can benefit from cleaning the cooling system
    • Replacing the thermal paste has been hit & miss, some with very positive results, some with no improvement over stock. Personally I would only do this on a Mac Portable that was either very old, or one that I can confirm was definitely running hotter than stock.
    • If your MBP has a discrete GPU, it will fire up when an external display is connected as default, temperatures will rise rapidly.
    The key to a quiet life with a 15" MacBook Pro is several incremental changes that do add up to reduce thermals. From my experience over the years if your going to push a 15" hard the fans are going to max out fast, with associated noise. If your using it with a moderate load life can be made quieter :) For the most part your MBP runs hot as that`s how Apple designed it, the trade of for form over, function, thin & light...

    Gaming is always going to push a Mac portable to it`s limits, equally "if" you can reduce the temperature a little, it may just allow for a much better in game experience. As everything adds up, close all App`s prior to launching the game, it`s all about small gains, not big wins.

    The old adage still applies; it`s easier to keep a system cool, than cool-down an already hot machine. This being said it`s not strictly necessary, equally it`s nice to know that there are options for reducing temperature out there.


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3 July 17, 2015