Will constant high temperatures reduce lifespan?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Teuthos, Oct 12, 2014.

  1. Teuthos macrumors member

    Mar 21, 2014
    I have been gaming on the 15-inch Macbook Pro (late 2013, high end) and in games like Civilization V, which is very processor intensive, the CPU usually stays at around 88 - 92 degrees Celsius, sometimes with spikes of 94-96 degrees.

    Yes, I know that the rMBP will run hot, since it has so much processing power in such a small case. I know that the machine "knows how to keep itself cool" and so on.

    My question is whether or not constant high temperatures around the 90 degree mark for about an hour or so of gaming per day will reduce the life expectancy of the computer. Have there been any incidents of any of the 15-inch retina models failing due to heat?

    Given that the computers are created especially for graphics professionals or video editors who require them for intensive work, I'd hope that having frequent high temperatures is not a problem.
  2. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    Will constant high temperatures reduce lifespan?

    Cycles can hurt if not designed properly. Cool-hot, cool-hot

    But prolonged high should not.

    This is why many laptop gpus die, and the desktop counterparts don't. Desktops plugged in, rarely powered off, always going at some level of warm. Warm-hot cycles.

    Laptops in and out of standby mode multiple times a day. Cool-hot cycles.
  3. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    High temperatures reduce the lifespan of electronics. This is a fact and there is no way around it. Higher temperatures accelerate electromigration, which in turn will lead to failure of an electronic circuit. So the answer to the question 'will constant high temperatures reduce expected lifespan?' is a clear 'YES!'.

    However, that is not the question you are asking. Your question is rather 'will my laptop live longer if I avoid demanding workloads?' That is much more tricky, as it involves innumerable factors, plus, there is no empirical evidence to give an educated answer in the first place.

    The temperatures will mostly affect the lifespan of complex integrated circuits like the CPU and the GPU, which have really long life expectancy in the first place. It is much more likely that something else (power subsystem, storage, any potential random weak components) will go first. And as Menel writes above, the cold-hot cycles are much more stressful for your hardware than high temperatures alone. At any rate, your laptop is very likely to become technically obsolete long before it would fail because of high operating temperatures. Of course, if there is an inherent manufacturing defect with your system, high temperatures might make it fail much quicker — but that is what the warranty is for. I would actually recommend you to push your machine to its limit in its early age, because that might allow you to uncover those flaws and fix them under warranty.

    So personally, I would say 'perhaps it will, but I wouldn't worry about it'. After all, a computer is a tool. As long as its operating within its specifications (which is under 105 C for Intel CPUs), its doing what it was made for.
  4. Teuthos thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 21, 2014
    Thank you for the information.

    I actually cannot really avoid a rapid cooling to rapid heating cycle since when I game, which usually produces the most heat, I only do so for about 30-60 minutes, after which the computer returns to normal temperatures quickly. Actual work (Photoshop) usually only pushes the CPU to around 75 degrees.

    One final question - what about the fans? Will frequent high-RPM and cycling from low to high RPM cause stress to the fans? In general, do the fans fail before or after the CPU or GPU?
  5. poiihy macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2014
    Fans would fail before the processors, but the processors will last a very long time, long after it is obsolete and after you throw it out. Fans will last plenty long too. It may start rattling but you can fix it by oiling it. That's what happened to my 2009 MBP; I don't know if it could happen on the rMBPs; they have different fans. But you should not worry about stressing your computer. Of course it would not last as long but it still would last longer than until it is obsolete. There is nothing to worry about. It is only bad if you have a GPU soldering defect; the heating and cooling would make it break sooner, but it would break anyway and it would be replaced under warranty. If your model is not a 2011 or 2012 then you have no known defects and yours will last.
    The keyboard or trackpad would probably go before anything else (they are always the first to fail).

    What you should worry about is dust. When you play a lot and fans run at full speed, dust accumulates more. THe dust will make your computer run hotter, and cause GPU throttling (i think that is what it is called), aka lag spikes. It would also burn your lap :p So every year I recommend you open your MBP and clean out all dust. Open the fans and clean the blades with a toothbrush. cleaning the dust from the blades will make a big difference.

    If you really worry about heat you can always use a cooling pad, and/or cut a slit in the bottom case for airflow.

    TL;DR Do not worry, your computer will last plenty long.
  6. Teuthos thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 21, 2014
    Opening and cleaning the retina MacBook Pro's is apparently a lot harder and requires special screws. I'm not exactly sure if it voids warranty also.

    I've heard that you can go to an Apple store and pay a fee to get your computer de-dusted. Is this true, is it reliable (do they do it properly and consistently whichever store you go to) and is it recommended over buying screws to open the cover and doing it yourself? Technical skill is not a problem (I get the idea and know people who are experts at this kind of stuff).
  7. ayeying macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    Rapid cooling and heating isn't an issue for the newer MacBook Pros so far. We know there was issues with the 8600GT and the AMD video cards but so far the 750M has been solid.

    If you don't have the nVidia graphics card, I haven't heard of a failing processor (which contains the Iris GPU) ever fail on the MBPs yet. And people has done a lot worse.
  8. blooperz macrumors 6502

    Dec 10, 2013
    yes...any form of high temp is going to reduce the lifespan of ANY electronic, that goes without saying...will it reduce it to the point that you will notice before you have to upgrade for other reasons? probably not...
  9. ELPresidente720 macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2014
  10. Mac2k4 macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2014
    You mean plain AppleCare. No such thing as AC PLUS for MacBooks.
  11. ELPresidente720 macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2014

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