Yet Another (effective) Ventilation Mod

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by nlynch77, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. nlynch77, Mar 18, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2013

    nlynch77 macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2013
    Apple disinherited me after installing an Optibay anyways, shortly before kicking me out of the house when my warranty ran up. I have nothing to loose except my machine.

    Browsing the great wide 'net one day, I stumbled upon CjPhan's Physical Ventilation Mod, which reminded me of the reduced fan speed/body temp I noticed while gaming without the back cover on.

    This set the gears of creativity in motion, ultimately leading me to perform surgery on my Macbook Pro via power tools.

    I used a 5cm circular cutting tool attached to a drill and bored two holes directly above each fan, intended to provide significantly better airflow to each fan. For protection, I cannibalized a crappy Sony headset for its metal grilles. I trimmed these grilles to size and taped the circumference to prevent short-circuits/physical damage from sharp edges. I positioned a section of the metal grilles over each heatsink, in an added effort conduct heat to each grille to further reduce temps.

    I tested temperatures using yes > /dev/null on tabbed Terminal windows to activate individual cores, then letting my Mac sit for 6-10 minutes to measure an average temperature with Temperature Monitor.

    Temperatures Before (Celsius, ±5 degrees):
    Idle: 65
    1 core: 70
    4 cores: 80-90
    8 cores: 90-100

    Temperatures After (same conditions):
    Idle: 40
    1 core: 50-60
    4 cores 80-90
    8 cores: 90-95

    Thermal Paste Replacement
    8 cores: 85 degrees, fans idle less that 3500

    Fans idle less than 3500. Nothing else to say. My poor abused Macbook Pro is almost inaudible no matter how hard I run it. Time to do some Handbrake encoding for hours and see if I can get the fans to go decently high.

    Attached Files:

  2. Corax macrumors 6502


    Apr 27, 2009
    Willemstad - Curaçao
  3. nlynch77 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2013
    PS. I would love some feedback from the others who have done this modification as well. Maybe an Apple engineer or someone.
  4. mykem macrumors regular

    May 20, 2008
    It looks more like a metal (aluminium, titanium or magnesium) dome tweeter with its protective mesh on:


    Personally, I think it's a bit overkill but if you use your laptop for gaming, then it might prove useful. Me, I simply turn the heat down in winter or the air conditioning up in summer.
  5. johnnnw macrumors 65816


    Feb 7, 2013
    Am I reading this wrong or is there almost no difference in temperatures before/after besides when idle? The idle temperature was never a problem anyway so my question..why?
  6. thebritishguy macrumors member

    Dec 30, 2011
  7. Interstella5555 macrumors 603


    Jun 30, 2008
    This seems...crazy to me for a 10/15 degree temp drop, wouldn't reapplying the thermal paste have a more significant effect?
  8. nlynch77, Mar 19, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013

    nlynch77 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2013
    Well I realized how useful it was when the fans stopped screaming while playing Hawken online, allowing me to hear the game decently. And it removed the embarassment of having my fans scream in the middle of class, which happens once in a while. All of those reduced temperatures correlate with quite lower (thus quieter) fan speeds.
    PS. mykem that might be the same type of mesh, I did cannibalize some speakers.

    Met a few tech-savvy girls with this too, quite a conversation starter.
  9. XandeR803 macrumors member

    Jul 25, 2008
    I suspect load temperatures wouldn't change much due to turbo boost using all available TDP. I'd be interested in looking at rendering benchmarks to see if it's measurably faster after the mod.
  10. nlynch77 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2013
    Do you have a preferred benchmarking program? I've never bothered using them.
  11. Toby Ziegler macrumors regular

    Toby Ziegler

    Mar 28, 2011
    Seem like a fantastic way to suck in a crapload of dust as well. Keep a compressed air can handy because you'll likely need it often.

    Whatever floats your boat I suppose, but I wouldn't dare try that myself.:eek:
  12. nlynch77 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2013
    Thermal paste replacement makes a huge difference. Almost scary when it's running 800% CPU usage and the fans are barely running.
  13. nlynch77 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2013
    Just thought I would let everyone know, almost 8 months down the road and my Macbook Pro is still working beautifully. Eat your heart out, non-believers!
  14. ElderBrE macrumors regular


    Apr 14, 2004
  15. nlynch77 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2013
  16. Atomic Walrus macrumors 6502a

    Sep 24, 2012
    I love it, and I'm glad you bumped this post since I never would have seen it otherwise.

    Have you tried a full fan test just for fun? With SMC Fan Control you could set the fans at 100% and run the load tests again.

    Apple's fan controller only ramps them up high enough to avoid approaching 100C, so after your mod it's not surprising you didn't see temp improvements; instead of getting better temps the fans were staying since that's how the fan controller operates.

    Running the test again with fans maxed would provide the data to prove that it actually changes thermal performance. I guess for control you'd have to run the test with the openings covered (hard to do) and fans at 100%, but honestly I have to think that when you ran the load test pre-mod they were probably at 100% anyway.
  17. jont-fu macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2008
    What about other temps, like airport card, northbridge, battery?

    I reckon they could be different as the air circulation inside the chassis is altered. But presumably they are not too hot as your machine is still running fine :cool:

    PS. is this 13" or 15"?
  18. nlynch77, Oct 31, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013

    nlynch77 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2013
    jont-fu, this is the 15-inch, evidenced by the two fans. I've noticed that the case doesn't seem to cool off as easy, the corner by the Magsafe charger gets pretty damn warm after a long time working hard. But normal Macbook Pro's seem to do that too.

    Atomic Walrus, the fans behave differently now. Previously, doing something to make the computer hot would result in the fans spinning up for the duration of the activity, ie. for the entire time you're playing Assassin's Creed or encoding something with Handbrake. When it's done, the fans turn off.
    With this mod, the fans take a long time to spin up to their max speed (I think because they have so much more cooling ability, it takes longer to overwhelm it) and when they do, they only come on in bursts. They'll flare for about 30 seconds and slow down again, and do that until it reaches an equilibrium.

    btw, to assess the computer with the vents closed, all I need to do is place it on something flat like my table that restricts fan airflow. That's how I did much of my testing, running it on something flat for a while, then propping it up and watching the temperature fall.
  19. nateo200 macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2009
    Northern District NY
    Optibay got you disowned? I got damn near an applause at the Genius bar :D Of course I figured itd void it but after the 3rd or 4th time I got tired of switching the optibay with the optical everytime just to get a fan fixed. Anyways this mod is pretty boss....
  20. nlynch77 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2013
    I meant that installing an Optibay disowned me from my Apple warranty.
    And anyways, I leave my Optibay in when I go to a Genius Bar, my SSD starts up a lot of conversations. It's not like it matters, they know it's modded the second they turn it over :p

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