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  • Core i7 in MacBook Pro Hot Enough to Boil Water


    The new Core i7-equipped MacBook Pro model may have a heat buildup issue, if a recent set of tests hold up. The Australian PC Authority magazine ran a series of benchmarks on the new notebook and found that when pushed to the limit, the processor reached an alarming 101C - above the boiling point of water - and the bottom of the laptop was uncomfortably hot to the touch. A side-by-side test with a Fujitsu laptop running the same test showed it running as much as 20 degrees cooler, raising questions about the way the high-performance Core i7 processor was incorporated into the existing chassis of the MacBook Pro.

    PC Authority was putting the new top-of-the-line Apple notebook through its paces, and in the process of running its normal benchmark suite, they noticed that the MacBook Pro was seriously underperforming at some Photoshop tasks. Guessing it might be a heat-related issue, they turned the computer on its side and found it performed much better. The design of the MacBook Pro's aluminum unibody uses the case itself to aid in heat dissipation, and ordinarily it works very well, with the aluminum of the enclosure radiating the heat out to the cooler ambient air. In this case, however, the PC Authority testers theorized that the heat wasn't being reduced effectively enough.

    They decided to see how the MacBook Pro handled heat at full load, and booted the computer into Windows in order to do some rendering in Dwarf Fortress. After a few minutes, the CPU had shot up from an idle temperature 50C (or 122 in the quaint Fahrenheit temperature scale we use in the United States) to 84C, or 183F. They drove the processor through some even more intensive runs with the Cinebench multi-threaded 3D rendering benchmark tool, and succeeded in pushing processor temperature to 95C or 203F. Repeating the same test in OS X raised the temperature to 90C, and though the sensors on the bottom of the case only registered a slightly warm 39C (102F), the testers reported that the underside was "almost too hot to touch." After letting the MacBook Pro cool overnight and doing the tests again, temperature reached 101C (213F) on the second Cinebench run.

    They did the same battery of tests with a Fujitsu Lifebook SH 760, which uses the same Core i7-620M CPU as the MacBook Pro. The plastic-bodied Fujitsu, however, has a copper processor heatsink that vents out the side, rather than the bottom. The Fujitsu's CPU went from an idle temperature of 40C to a maximum of 81C after three Cinebench runs. The team also reported that the Fujitsu was cool to the touch.

    Intel's specs indicate that thermal max for this chip is 105C. While the high temperatures were the result an intentional stress test to run the chip as hot as they possibly could, it's not common to get that close to threshold temperatures in any controlled testing. The processor's overload circuits may even have kicked in (at least one hopes so). And the PC Authority guys point out that they did a lot of real-world tests that caused temperatures to spike.

    Even more worrisome is the reported high temperatures on the bottom of the case. Probably not a good idea to do a lot of rendering with a Core i7 MacBook on your lap...
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Core i7 in MacBook Pro Hot Enough to Boil Water started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 41 Comments
    1. RKirk7741's Avatar
      RKirk7741 -
      Looks like apple dropped the ball on heat distro. So much for core-i7 MacBook pro's.

      Posted from my iPad
    1. moon#pie's Avatar
      moon#pie -
      yeah, my i5 mbp get's pretty hot. Using smcfan control to change the default fan speed up a little helps keep it cooler because the fan doesn't suddenly have to go into overdrive to cool the comp down ( a fault of apple in my opinion).
    1. indyracer05's Avatar
      indyracer05 -
      that sux
    1. avnyc11's Avatar
      avnyc11 -
      damn
    1. NessLookAlike's Avatar
      NessLookAlike -
      Well there's your problem: what people need to remember here is that laptops aren't meant to be pushed very hard at all, and they normally don't contain the proper (read: any?) cooling hardware to handle a desktop-grade component like the Core i7. Having said that, Apple most likely underclocked and undervolted the CPU in that MacBook Pro, it still overheated by that much? Your fault, Apple, all your fault.

      Next time, try using some Arctic Silver 5 and a nice copper-based solution.
    1. dunlapface's Avatar
      dunlapface -
      Quote Originally Posted by NessLookAlike View Post
      Well there's your problem: what people need to remember here is that laptops aren't meant to be pushed very hard at all, and they normally don't contain the proper (read: any?) cooling hardware to handle a desktop-grade component like the Core i7. Having said that, Apple most likely underclocked and undervolted the CPU in that MacBook Pro, it still overheated by that much? Your fault, Apple, all your fault.

      Next time, try using some Arctic Silver 5 and a nice copper-based solution.
      Are you kidding me? The reason why people get these laptops is so they can do heavy extensive work. And think about it, at the price of these MacBook Pro's they shouldn't get so hot.
    1. WTFDANG <3's Avatar
      WTFDANG <3 -
      My Sony laptop is very similar to this. Which is very sad. Shame to hear though, because I've heard most of Apples products were very "cool"
    1. moon#pie's Avatar
      moon#pie -
      Quote Originally Posted by NessLookAlike View Post
      Well there's your problem: what people need to remember here is that laptops aren't meant to be pushed very hard at all, and they normally don't contain the proper (read: any?) cooling hardware to handle a desktop-grade component like the Core i7. Having said that, Apple most likely underclocked and undervolted the CPU in that MacBook Pro, it still overheated by that much? Your fault, Apple, all your fault.

      Next time, try using some Arctic Silver 5 and a nice copper-based solution.
      you're joking right? these are pro-grade computers. My macbook pro runs faster than my imac (last year 2.66ghz). The processor is not underclocked, check apple's stats and then check intel's.
    1. mysteryskater125's Avatar
      mysteryskater125 -
      wow, I'm glad I didn't buy one. I think I'll wait for the next one. Hopefully Apple will make some major cooling adjustments by then. My Early 2009 MBP runs pretty hot as it is.
    1. Rizaria's Avatar
      Rizaria -
      As if my existing MacBook Pro doesn't already get my pants smoking. xD Was lucky to get through Summer alive.
    1. adp's Avatar
      adp -
      $1400 for a burned crotch. Way to go Apple - a Fujitsu ran cooler (I didn't even know they made laptops).

      FAIL
    1. Pitbull2o08's Avatar
      Pitbull2o08 -
      so just get a fan, set the laptop on it and be done... would that solve the underside cooling problem? that's what i do to my Toshiba and it's been running like a champ for over 3 years now. i think it's been on for over a year total.
    1. iLaw-One's Avatar
      iLaw-One -
      I think I'll be waiting a while longer for this to be sorted...my MBP is equally hot enough as it is!
    1. rkswat's Avatar
      rkswat -
      LoL.... nothing like paying a premium price for 3rd degree burns! My PC kicks ***, does what it should, cost a hell of a lot less and no heat issues. Yeah, keep your mac.... I'll keep my cash and skin.
    1. easypr's Avatar
      easypr -
      The MacBook Boiler
    1. santaf's Avatar
      santaf -
      Haha what a good thing to read when My core i7 comes in the mail within the next couple days haha =\
    1. adrian1480's Avatar
      adrian1480 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Tiger92 View Post
      you're joking right? these are pro-grade computers. My macbook pro runs faster than my imac (last year 2.66ghz). The processor is not underclocked, check apple's stats and then check intel's.
      lol. a MBP isn't a "pro grade" computer. it's a "consumer-grade" computer.

      if you want better reliability than a consumer-grade computer, you'll need to buy a workstation-grade machine.

      that means Dell Precision. That means Lenovo W series. That means HP Elitebook. Everything else (including Apple laptops) are a clear notch below, regardless of the [inflated] pricetag.

      just because Apple calls it a "Pro" doesn't make it so. it's one of the least powerful laptops in its class, overall. which makes the heat issues even more unreasonable.
    1. Evilsaint's Avatar
      Evilsaint -
      wont be long before i start hearing of no smelling of roasted nuts
    1. algojobathosai's Avatar
      algojobathosai -
      damn...i'm just planning to get 1 MBP...

      after reading this post....on 2nd though...maybe stay with my PC....hoho
    1. Forgoten Dynasty's Avatar
      Forgoten Dynasty -
      Haven t had a problem with my i7...