Will fan control damage my Mac?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by bobbuilder33, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. bobbuilder33 macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2012

    I seem to have the opposite problem from many other people who use fan control. My fans always run, no matter what I'm doing and are incredibly noisy.

    For instance right now my CPU is 68 celcius, and the highest temp on the enclosure is 32 celcius and the fans are running full pelt at 6200 RPMs. All I have open is this site. When I boot up my macbook pro, the fans usually start spinning after about 10 mins of mild internet use (no flash) and then stay spinning.

    I also do CPU intensive work like music, when I plug in my firewire soundcard the fans start up with 2 mins, regardless of use. When I do music production (which I use my macbook for 90% of the time) the fans are always spinning at max which is incredibly annoying.

    Is it safe to use a fan control program like Macs Fan control to run off a sensor based value? If so, what sort of settings do you recommend? When I do that, the fans return to normal but I'm worried about the long term implications. I know that my fan behaviour is abnormal - Many other friends I know make music with the same programs and their fans never ever start spinning (although a friend also with the same era macbook pro as me has the exact same problem - early 2011)
  2. raptor402 macrumors 6502

    Jun 30, 2011
    Hi, Bob

    The worst that can happen is that your MacBook will overheat (the CPU goes over a certain operating temperature value) and will automatically shut down. However, the fan activity you are experiencing is unusual. Have you checked for dust inside the chassis? Also, run some tests with Fan Control. Set it at the lowest settings and perform mundane tasks on the laptop (1. leave it idle for a while; 2. play a flash video; 3. run a website on auto refresh (such as a live score website); 4. run a video file from the HDD; etc.) for a fixed time to see how your laptop handles it. If the temperature goes above 55 degrees, it might be an issue.

  3. Atomic Walrus macrumors 6502a

    Sep 24, 2012
    Two things:
    -That's way too hot for just a website. I have Chrome open on this site right now on a 2010 MBP with the highest BTO CPU option. My CPU temp is going between 44-48C and my fans are at idle (2000rpm).

    If you're out of warranty or just feel comfortable with it I'd say you may want to open it up and check for dust like raptor402 says. Opening the bottom is super easy if you have the right screwdriver and will make a huge difference if your heat sinks and fans are clogged with dirt. If you are under warranty and don't want to open the thing yourself I'm sure Apple would take a look at it.

    -6200 rpm seems too high for 68C, but it can also depend on what the dGPU is up to and how the other temperatures on the board are. If the fans are unable to move air then other parts of the system may be getting too hot since there will be no internal air movement inside the case at all.
  4. thermodynamic Suspended


    May 3, 2009
    Or put in a paper towel to prop up the front of the MBP's case - the airhole created is very small, as are the vents on the rMBP (but it's better designed for good cooling to begin with), but it helps lower the temp 1 or 2 degrees C and without voiding warranty.

    Most laptops of this form factor tend to get very hot, though it's still not-the-best design to have a single heatpipe for both CPU and neighboring GPU...

    Not all MBPs get as hot as the OP's. It makes me wonder if the thermal paste is wearing out, if the ambient room temperature is too warm, both, or other issues - like dust caught in the fan blades...
  5. ayeying macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    Did you set the fan control properly? It's original stock settings are pretty aggressive.

    I personally don't use any because I see no need. System runs as is, will ramp up the fan speed when needed.
  6. bobbuilder33 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2012
    Thanks for the suggestions. I think the first thing I need to do is open it up and clean out the fans. I don't think I've ever seen my CPU temp below about 60 celcius. Right now, I powered up the computer 10 mins ago and it's 65. Fans are normal so far but they will start humming very soon. This has been an ongoing problem for over a year now and I've got used to it to some extent. I don't have warranty anymore so i'll clean them out myself and see if it helps in any way.
  7. bobbuilder33 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2012
    Wow.. I looked at the vent where the air comes out underneath the base of the lid and it was clogged with dust. I used my vacuum cleaner to suck what I could see out of there. and it's made a huge difference. Of course immediately after that I googled and saw that it's not wise to do what I did but thankfully nothing went wrong. Now the CPU is still hot at roughly 65-70 but the fans are only at 2000, and the CPU heatsink is quite cool at 57.
  8. raptor402 macrumors 6502

    Jun 30, 2011
    That's a bit better, but still sounds a bit too much. A vacuum cleaner sucking won't do the trick. You should use the blower with a high pressure fitting (or tape the front to decrease the diameter of the exit valve). You should do this with the case open so dust doesn't collect up on the inside. Also, remove the fans, open them up and then clean up all the dust collected in the inside (there should be quite a bit). While you're at it, you might as well clean the whole laptop up from the inside.

    If all goes well, your CPU temperature on basic tasks should be down to around 50 degree celsius with the fans at 2000 RPM.

  9. mattward macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2013
    my macbook is running at 3000 rpm at 37 cel. with a few apps open. Its not strange that your fans are roaring when your CPU is pushing 70 because thats pretty warm. dont be afraid to take the bottom casing off your machine and clean away the crap clogging the air flow.
  10. ManuCH macrumors 6502a

    May 7, 2009
    Well thanks for digging out a thread from 2013 :)

    Are you the author of Fan Control? You seem to be cross-posting that to every fan-related thread you find... no offense.

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