rMBP + VMware Fusion runs hot

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by HDE, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. HDE macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2012
    I recently received my rMBP (2.6/16/512). While I am satisfied with the laptop for the most part, I have an issue with the laptop becoming very hot to the touch when I run a 2 proc, 1GB memory Windows 7 VM using VMware Fusion (version 4.1.3 (730298)).

    The areas with the most heat start from about the center of the keyboard all the way the vents beneath the screen on the top as well as on the bottom of the laptop.

    I installed iStat Pro and it is showing the following temperatures (F) while the issue is occurring:

    HD Macintosh -112
    CPU Heatsink - 133
    Airport Card - 128
    Enclosure Base - 104
    Enclosure Base 2 - 104
    Enclosure Base 3 - 99
    GPY - 148
    GPU Diode - 155

    Is/has anyone else experienced this and have a fix or configs I should look into? I really want to keep this laptop but I am concerned that it could be defective.

  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Your temps are perfectly normal.
  3. HDE thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2012
    First off thanks for the reply GGJ!

    And wow, if that is normal, what are considered high temperatures? At the temps I listed I would find it be very uncomfortable to use the "laptop" in my lap for any extended period of time.
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Apple Portables: Operating temperature
    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 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 they're 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

    For Flash-related issues:
  5. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    Maybe use SMCFanControl when running that to bump up the fans?
  6. Dwhite78 macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2010
    Isint that always the case though?

    My pros have always been too hot to use bare in my lap without a cooling pad.
  7. HDE, Jul 9, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012

    HDE thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2012

    Thanks again for the additional info! I'll keep using The rMBP over the return period and see if I can live with the side effects of running VMs on the rMBP. I wonder if the Airs have the same heat side effect given that they only use integrated graphics?...


    Arron I will take a look at this, thanks for the suggestion!
  8. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    All Mac notebooks tend to run hot naturally. The aluminum makes the heat more noticeable, but the temps are quite normal.
  9. HDE thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2012
    This is my first MacBook. I had a netbook once a few years ago but that only heated up when watching flash based videos, not so much when doing things I would regularly do on my laptop like checking email or creating visio docs or power point slides.

    Tbf I also wasn't doing these task with a VM running either.
  10. Dwhite78 macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2010
    Ahh gotcha, grats on your first Mac! Mine always run hot because I usually am gaming on it. :) not bad doing PSor Lightroom though.
  11. jcpb macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2012
    The surface of the laptop near your keyboard will get hot to the touch as well, because the dGPU's RAM chips aren't cooled by the same large heatpipe that cools both the CPU and dGPU. It's normal.
  12. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    Consider getting a RoadTools Pivot 360: http://www.amazon.com/Road-Tools-Traveler-CoolPad-Black/dp/B00009OPEI. It raises a laptop at a slight forward angle with space underneath to improve air circulation. An added bonus: it rotates 360 degrees like an old fashion Lazy Susan. It comes in very handy when sharing the display with another person. The Pivot 360 is thin enough to fit inside some sleeves and any bag out there.
  13. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007

    Ummn, I don't really know what your were expecting?

    Your running two systems on a single machine for a kick off, of course it is going to get hot :confused:

    If you start loading the machine up, it is going to get hot. Like every other MBP ever made :p

    My 2010 when really loaded up sees 90C+. If it bothers you put a magazine between you and the MBP.
  14. HDE thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2012
    Granted that I am running 2 machines at once, I would not expect this behavior as even when the VM is running, there is very little impact on CPU utilization. It seems that running VMware Fusion automatically kicks in the discrete graphics card, causing the temp to rise.

    Seeing as users that have Airs are using VMware Fusion as well, I figured I would be able to run Fusion off the integrated graphics chip but it flakes out a bit when I manually switch to integrated graphics while using Fusion.

    From the other post in this thread, I now understand that the heat levels are normal, which was my main concern as I wouldn't want to run the laptop like this and cause long term damage.

    I will play with this more to see if I can use the integrated chip instead of the discrete when VMware Fusion is running.


    Thanks for the suggestion! That also looks reasonablely priced too.
  15. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007
    It's technically using 2-3x more CPU time than it would be otherwise :p

    You can run it off the iGPU, however, given you have a rMBP that is probably doubly the cause given the insane amount of pixels it has to push.
  16. HDE thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2012
    That is not completely true. With virutalization, CPU utilization is not solely determined by the # of vCPUs that the virtual machine is running(ie, thinks it has), but the actual load that the VM is putting the vCPUs(and thus the physical CPU or cores). I wasn't typically using processor intensive apps in the Windows VM. Also, in activity monitor, CPU utilization was only fluctuating between 0-8% utilized with the VM running along with other applications on the OSX desktop.

    It really comes down to the graphics card being used from what i can tell at this time. Seems that VMware Fusion requires the discrete card. Am still trying to get it to run off of the integrated card, but it seems like this may be an issue with Fusion 4 (I have read that a user was was able to switch to integrated card in Fusion 3 and reported issues when doing the same in version 4)
  17. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007
    I think you've misunderstood me.

    When both systems are idle I get a CPU usage of 5%+ (2 cores + HT), when OS X is idle on it's own it is around the 1-2% mark.

    Hence why even at idle my MBP is hotter, even though both systems are actually doing 'nothing' .
  18. Queen6 macrumors 604


    Dec 11, 2008
    Land of the Unexpected
    gfxCardStatus will give you manual control of the switching of the GPU`s, forcing integrated graphics may help with reducing the temperature.
  19. Macloven macrumors regular


    Aug 25, 2008
    This may be irrelevant with the SSD, but running 1 gig for a Fusion drive on my old mbp runs incredibly hot. At 2 gig it is much happier and temps stay normal. Guessing it's a memory swapping issue, but again, may not apply with an SSD v. normal HD. My rmbp is on order and I'll doing the same setup, so hoping allocating enough memory will keep the VM partition happy.
  20. HDE thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2012
    I understand your reasoning. On my end, since this is my first Macbook, I was just surprised at how warm/hot it was getting (to the touch) with the system at roughly 90% idle.


    Thanks for the suggestion. I was actually playing with it today with mixed results.

    First, it seems that I have to remove the 3D video driver from with in the VM and replace it with the standard SVGA driver. Otherwise, I was unable to see the VMs screen at all when I switched to the integrated card with gfxCardStatus.

    Once running with the integrated card, the temps were about 5-10 degrees cooler and the fans ran about 1000 rpms slower.

    Down side is that the VM runs a bit flaky, and I had a few blue screens when restarting the VM. I will still test a few more settings to see if I can get this to work better though. If I can get this to a decent state it will definitely help when I am on battery power.
  21. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007
    The aluminium body is part of the cooling, so yes, if your doing things, it will get hot :)

    It is one of the prices to pay for thinness.

    Secondly, I'd run the dGPU when virtualising. The additional performance is noticeable on my 1440x900 screen, let alone on a rMBP!

    If your system is idle with VMWare running are the fans ramping up already? They shouldn't be if the system is basically idle.

    I need to push 50%+ CPU time for a decent period before my fans start ramping up.

    (For example, booting VMWare + Win 7 x64 makes the fans reach 4.5k RPM once the CPU usage drops back to <10%.)
  22. HDE thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2012
    The fans are always running but are normally in the 2.6-2.9k rpm range. The highest I have seen them run is 3.4k rmp(Right Fan) and 3.6k rmp(Left Fan).
  23. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007
    Having not used a rMBP in person, I wouldn't say there is anything wrong about that?

    Ignore it, enjoy it. Only worry if it starts shutting down, because only then it is overheating :p
  24. b0fh666 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2012
    just stumbled into this... I noticed (using the intel power gadget) that when my usual VM (XP, 32 bits) is running the processor clock always stays over 3GHZ (13" macbook 2012, core i7 2.9), but when it is not running it can go as low as 1.5

    so, that explain why it is always hotter if VMs are running. will check with the 64 bits and linux ones later


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