The Cooling Fan on a MacBook

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Bobcat16, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. Bobcat16 macrumors member

    Sep 18, 2010
    So I have a blackbook currently, and it seems like any video I watch the fan kicks on. What I want to know is, does this happen because I have an older computer with just 2 GB RAM? I am upgrading soon and would like the laptop to run as cool as possible as I do normal, daily things. Little to no fan running would be ideal. Would I be better off looking at Macbook Pros or Macbook Airs or is there really no difference with heat issues between the new models?
  2. NZed macrumors 65816


    Jan 24, 2011
    Canada, Eh?
    Its because the blackbooks have an old CPU and GPU and i think its difficult for them to handle stuff even from youtube these days.

    CPU intensive task will require the fan to power up because the CPU is getting hotter. Flash is also CPU intensive.

    If you want quietness, buy the Air. Although the MBP is really quite, it does have the i5 and i7 cores which will run a lot hotter.

    Wait for the Air refresh i suggest.
  3. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    have you cleaned out your fans and the like from dust build up?
  4. AdrianK macrumors 68020

    Feb 19, 2011
    What kind of video, YouTube? If so, switch to the HTML5 player, the CPU load (which in turn causes heat, which causes the fan to spin) will be reduced dramatically.
  5. 01jamcon macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2006
    Your fans will kick in on most web videos because the CPU is simply being pushed much more than it was designed for at the time, especially on Flash. Also, the GPU on your blackbook likely doesn't play any part in helping deal with the load as it isn't a 'proper' GPU and is only an integrated Intel GMA.

    You can help it along and definitely lower the idling temperature by opening it up (follow the guide on ifixit) and using some compressed air to clean out the fan, seriously you'd be surprised how much crap can build up inside the laptop casing, and it can help lower your idling temperature by up to 10 degrees. Your fans will still eventually spin up when doing anything processor-intensive, but hopefully take longer to do so.

    p.s. I've included a pic of my macbook when I took it apart to clean out the fan.

    Attached Files:

  6. Bobcat16 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 18, 2010
    Thanks for all the info guys. I guess I really just don't quite understand how the air would run cooler if I was doing the same things on each machine. Is the Air, especially the new one which will be coming out soon, a superior machine now? Are the only drawbacks a smaller hard drive and no disc drive? I know that from time to time a fan should come on, but I kind of hate even watching videos on my laptop anymore because of the fan. So the cooler a laptop can run when I watch youtube and other videos, the better. That's probably the most CPU-heavy thing I do (mostly write a lot, update entries on websites, casual web browsing, video watching, music listening.)
  7. ghsNick macrumors 68030


    May 25, 2010
    You must have felt so much better after cleaning that lol. I cleaned my PC's fan every couple months and it felt so good knowing it was clean lol.

    I haven't really pushed my MBP yet but I barely hear my fan. Is it always running or only when things get kinda crazy?
  8. Bobcat16 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 18, 2010
    If you were talking about my machine, it only runs when I get a lot of tabs open, or if I am on youtube for more than a minute or two. So it's not crazy, just more than I would ideally like.

    Running the risk of asking a dumb question here, but would upgrading from 2 GB to 4 GB RAM make any difference with this problem?
  9. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    Only if you use a lot of swap instead of RAM, which, from your description of your usage, is probably not happening.

    The short answer is no, probably not.

    The mix of flash being poorly written for OS X and dust buildup in your fan and heat pipes are probably the culprit of making your fan work harder.

    As far as the newer machines: yes they do run cooler, the chip design has changed a lot and they produce less heat and draw less power than their older cousins.
  10. 01jamcon macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2006
    Lol yer, it felt great to finally see 'normal' idling temperatures instead of cooking temperatures :)

    Your fans on the MBP are always running too, but because of the better chip design and aluminium unibody the laptop heats up much less quickly and you really need to push it before you hear anything. You can monitor your fan speeds using iStat (a widget) or I use smcFanControl in my menubar but just to keep an eye on temps (it can also force the fans to a particular speed that you want, but never off completely)

    Like the other poster said, for your use upping to 4gb probably won't make a difference, and you might need to check if your Macbook can even use 4gb because the earliest models (Core Duo) topped out at 2gb. It might seem daunting, but my best advice would be to open up the case and blow out the dust. You might also want to consider installing Click2Flash which stop unnecessary flash advertisements running in your browser and wasting power, but you can add sites such as Youtube to a safe list to stop you having to give it permission every time you watch a youtube vid.

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