Thinner iMac = Hotter iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by FatSweatyBlldog, Aug 17, 2007.

  1. FatSweatyBlldog macrumors regular

    Aug 16, 2007
    Based on comparing a last gen 20'' iMac (2.16 GHz) to the new iMacs at the Apple store, the last gen iMacs run a lot cooler. The new "thinner" casing probably contributes to the AL iMacs running hotter to the touch.

    Did the iMacs really need to be made thinner? As far as I can tell, the form factor doesn't change drastically, as a result. Unless doing a side-by-side comparison, does the thinner depth make a difference in the look of the computer?

    Might it have been a better design choice to leave the case the same size, either allowing for a cooler-running machine, or the possibility of using a more robust graphics card, or CPU, etc.?

    In short, do the iMacs "need" to be "thinner"? Does form begin to impede function, in this case?
  2. shipdestroyer macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007
    New Hampshire
    It's probably the new "metal" case. Aluminum is a much better conductor than plastic.
  3. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Jul 22, 2005
    The design appeals to more people than the type of GPU in it. Most of the people who are going to buy the iMac could just as easily do with an integrated graphics set.

    and really, if you need more than a 2.8GHz CPU, you're probably not in the market for an iMac.
  4. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    The aluminum skin makes it feel hotter to the touch, plastic is a much better insulator than aluminum.

    A metal toaster will almost always feel hotter than a plastic one.
  5. FatSweatyBlldog thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 16, 2007
    The back of the new iMacs are still plastic, right? I guess my point of reference on the machine is the top back part of the casing.

    In any case, regarding the "new look": is being "thinner" part of that look? I guess I don't see the design difference in the "thinner" part.

    I see the appealing new design in the materials (AL+Glass) + and the black border, black apple etc...not a marginally thinner case. Which leads me to my question: is a thinner case on the iMac really "worth" the internal compromises (if any? maybe there were none...except that the new ones feel a lot hotter)
  6. l33r0y macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2007
    Just beacuse it feels hotter on the outside, it doesn't mean its hotter on the inside.

    As shipdestroyer has alreay pointed out, metal is a better conductor of heat than plastic, therefore heat is being drawn out of the casing, rather than being trapped in it.
  7. djc6 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2007
    Cleveland, OH
    The back is aluminum; its just anodized black. Hence the conductive properties.
  8. FatSweatyBlldog thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 16, 2007
    So, you all are pretty confident that the new imacs run hotter than old ones simply because of the use of AL in the case, now?

    Still, as a desktop machine, what is the benefit of a slightly thinner iMac?

    (especially at the expense of airflow...)
  9. l33r0y macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2007
    Style....and the fact Steve said 'make it so'

    Steve loves thin... and if you work for Apple and you love your job - you'll find a way!
  10. atszyman macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2003
    The Dallas 'burbs
    Aesthetics... If you're concerned about airflow and appearance you're best off with a typical PC tower or MacPro. The iMac is about a look, if you go through their entire history they are stylish machines without an over-abundance of power, but if you really need the power you're better off with a MacPro.
  11. rds macrumors regular

    Aug 9, 2007
    Aesthetics and wow factor are two.

    If you were going to overclock, you wouldn't buy an iMac so it's a non-issue.
  12. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    No, it doesn't run hotter. The metal outside feels hotter, because it is better at removing the heat from inside. The more heat _you_ feel when you touch the case, the less heat the _processor_ inside will feel.
  13. FatSweatyBlldog thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 16, 2007
    Thanks for the replies, especially how the aluminum exterior actually dissipates the heat from the CPU.

    That said, the old iMacs are beautiful and thin. They were made thinner, but personally, that's not what makes the new iMac beautiful or distinct in relation to the last model.

    You're all saying just by looking at the new iMac you can tell its thinner (and thus more beautiful)...

    My overall point is this: the old iMacs were pretty damn thin. the new ones essentially maintain the same form factor. The average person probably can't tell the difference in thinness. Why not leave the room "to breathe"?

    Oh yeah, because Steve like thinner... :D
  14. Alloye macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2007
    Rocklin, CA
    "Designed by Apple in California" ;)
  15. Mgkwho macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2005
    These actually do look thinner. The actual edge of the display is .94", down from 1.24" (I believe) for the 20". Its tapered back doesn't start at the very edge, and along with its black color gives more of an illusion of slimness.

    Overall it is thinner, and considering everything that is in an iMac, it is a large design change. It just may not appear that way at first glance.

  16. lord patton macrumors 65816

    lord patton

    Jun 6, 2005
    Ha! :D

    The quest for thin hampers the power and features of Apple's computers. But that's Apple. I'm not complaining.
  17. l33r0y macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2007
    But does it?

    If the chosen components are operating withing tolerances, simply adding more room to breathe will not increase the performance.

    Sure, it will allow the possibility of the components to be overclocked, but how many people do that? A small minority.

    The form factor would have to increase in depth by at least 200% to allow desktop components to be fitted...
  18. TBi macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2005
    Actually thin can be better sometimes as it helps steamline the air flow through the case over the required components. A big emtpy space is only really useful if you don't use a fan to cool the internals or you don't want there to be any airvents at all.
  19. FatSweatyBlldog thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 16, 2007
    Well, won't the form limit the components that are viable options vis a vis the design choices?

    Take for instance the video-card "issue." Might a different video-card (read: one that performs better, but runs hotter) have been available as a "chosen component" to the iMac if Steve jobs didn't project his body-image anxiety onto his already thin computers? (lol @ made in California!)

    And doesn't the iMac already use desktop RAM and a desktop processor?

    While there is a literal difference in thinness, I guess the difference it makes in appeal or form is fairly subjective. However, does the choice to go thin limit the "chosen components" available (and hence potential performance)?
  20. stockcerts macrumors 65816

    Jun 29, 2007
    San Francisco, CA
    Back to the heat thing. I noticed that it feels warm to the touch, but I also was under the impression that aluminum is a better choice for dissepating (spelling) the heat. When the system goes to sleep mode it becomes cool. When I'm walking out the door for work in the morning I tend to put my new IMac to sleep...not sure that it's necessary, but I do.
  21. Mgkwho macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2005
    Well, at least it has fans, so we know it won't melt...;)

  22. aLoC macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2006
    I'd say the opposite... I owned a 24" white for a year and now I have the 24" Alu and it is noticably cooler along the top edge above the screen. The white used to get really hot along the top but not the Alu.
  23. AlanTheBrit macrumors member


    Apr 13, 2007
    Runcorn, Merseyside UK
    Thinner can be better; the chimney (upward rush) effect is potent!
    Despite external cladding heat; rest assured the internal components are just fine!

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