rMBP throttling to 0.8ghz: Apple says “working as intended”?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Haviland, Oct 1, 2016.

  1. Haviland macrumors newbie

    Aug 7, 2010
    Today I was informed by Apple support that they won’t be fixing a throttling issue with my 2015 15” rMBP (m370x, 2.5ghz, 512gb). Whenever I put any real TDP load on the system, it will throttle badly:

    Trine (FPS goes from 60 to >30, reported CPU speed drops to 0.8ghz)

    World of Warcraft (~20fps in Stormwind @ lowest graphics preset, reported CPU speed at 0.8ghz)

    Handbrake (export slows considerably, reported CPU speed at ~1.7ghz)

    Uniengine Heaven Benchmark (I scored 18.9FPS over the duration of the bench, MacWorld scored 35 FPS at similar settings. Reported CPU speed at 0.8ghz)

    I’m employed full-time doing Motion/FCPX work and this computer is very difficult to use with those programs. Here’s what it looks like when I try to open my FCPX projects on this computer:

    Not exactly usable.

    (And here are some videos of people running demanding programs on the same SKU I have, without apparent throttling.)

    I’ve been in communication with Apple for two months about this issue. At the behest of Apple support, I’ve deleted many of the third-party programs on my computer, and removed all third-party kexts. I’ve also tried installing fresh copies of several different OSX releases.

    All the while my computer continues to throttle in the exact same way. And today, I was told in-person that Apple won’t be trying anything else to fix my computer.

    I’m a technically literate and patient person, but I’m very frustrated. Apple has refused to acknowledge any kind of problem when it seems likely there’s a hardware issue.

    Here’s a partial log of my communications with Apple.

    What the hell am I supposed to do?
  2. idark77 macrumors 6502


    Dec 2, 2014
    In my opinion you can try another rMBP 15 with same spec to compare and see if the results are the same.
    Or you can buy a more powerfull machine...
  3. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    Lets see activity monitor to see what is running, lets see some temps under load. Or we can just guess.
  4. Toutou macrumors 6502a


    Jan 6, 2015
    Prague, Czech Republic
    We definitely need some loads and temps. The heavy throttling should only be employed as a safety measure. Could it be a faulty fan, or a faulty temp sensor?

    And if everything fails, I'd try and escalate your issue, as you've paid some serious cash for a crippled machine.
  5. Haviland thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 7, 2010
    CPU and GPU temperatures are at 65-70C while the throttling is occurring through theses tests. The CPU temperatures are visible in all of the testing (it's Intel Power Gadget's bottommost graph). The GPU temperatures are visible in the Uniengine Heaven benchmark.

    In every test, I only had the tested application running as well as Intel Power Gadget (with the exception of the Handbrake test, where I had a few Pixelmator windows open in the background).

    I've asked for the issue to be escalated several times, but I've never had any luck.
    I've spoken to five people at Apple over the past two months (three Applecare advisors and two Apple geniuses), and none of them seemed to have a real understanding of how computers are meant to work. The Apple genius I was told off by yesterday had zero sympathy whatsoever - brushed me off and treated me like I had some kind of computer hypochondria.
  6. Closingracer macrumors 68020

    Jul 13, 2010
    Edit: nn
  7. Freyqq macrumors 68040

    Dec 13, 2004
    buy a $20 cooling pad, which may help keep temps below the throttling point. Also give the laptop a lot of space to blow air.
  8. drewsof07 macrumors 68000


    Oct 30, 2006
    If you're trying to use this machine for full-time work, you will be disappointed. Modern notebooks just aren't built with cooling for non-stop video work. I sold the same idea to my boss last year and had to eat my shoe, it just couldn't keep up - likely throttling. Ended up back at the drawing board & buying a 5K iMac for the heavy lifting. With similar specs on paper, it runs circles around the MBP. I realize that's not really a solution, but know that you aren't alone.
  9. Toutou macrumors 6502a


    Jan 6, 2015
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Guys, did you even read what OP had written? His machine is defective and doesn't perform like a 2015 15” rMBP should.
    You don't fix a broken laptop with a cooling pad.
  10. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    Screenshots of the CPU tab in activity monitor please or no-one can really help except blindly agree or disagree with you. There is <never> just the application running.

    Does it throttle from the get go or does it run fine then throttle after some time doing video work?
  11. RevToTheRedline macrumors 6502a


    Sep 27, 2007
    I'd say something Is definitely not right, I can hammer down on Final Cut Pro, Gopro Studio, or game for hours on Counter Strike, DOTA 2, War Thunder, and the likes, GPU will sometimes drop down to around the 600mhz mark of 750-800 where it usually idles at, and CPU will rest around 2.8-3.2ghz steady, so it is throttling as you can imagine a sub 3/4 inch thick laptop would, but not 800mhz. Just got done playing a CS:GO game of arms race averaging 230 fps at 1440x900 low settings for about 45 minutes.

    Ambient temperaure is around 74-76 degrees, machine was purchased when they were released back in 2015 so its over a year old, haven't removed the bottom and dusted it out.

    On a side note, Handbrake is a horribly inefficient program to begin with, zero GPU acceleration, it just pounds the CPU cores with little optimization.
  12. mac_4eva macrumors newbie


    Jun 15, 2016
    Amherst, Massachusetts, USA / Mumbai, India
    I use the rMBP Mid-14 NVIDIA 750M edition and also am a frequent Motion/FCP X and Handbrake user and you can bet that it flies through all the aforementioned programs. So I can guarantee you that there is something up with your laptop.

    The causes of throttling that I have come across are:
    • Dirt: The vents and fans of the laptop are clogged with dirt - a clean-up ever year helps significantly.
    • Faulty Temps: Incorrect temperature readings also cause throttling issues.
    • Software: not possible in your case since you have reinstalled the OS (and multiple versions) many times.
    I recently cleaned my mac. With Handbrake at full throttle (ironically), my CPU running all 8 logical processors clocked at around a consistent 2.8-3GHz (using Intel Power Gadget and dGPU was not active). On Unigine Heaven 4.0, it accomplished 22-23 FPS at medium settings (dGPU active). These stats are as reported on El Capitan. No performance decrease on macOS Sierra.

    FCP rarely lags, and does so only when my project reaches a stage that is extremely complex. Motion is usually ok - creating transitions and effects at 60 FPS is challenging for the machine but it still works fairly effectively.

    Given my older laptop with an inferior GPU, SSD, and the same CPU as yours but my higher performance statistics, it is easy to conclude that something is faulty and that you should immediately escalate this issue with Apple. On another note, I have also extensively seen benchmarks of the Mid-15 rMBP and it consistently does better than its predecessor.

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