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Early 2006 MacBook Pro Over Heat Findings

4988 Views 29 Replies Latest reply: Apr 27, 2013 6:43 PM by MrKoch1900 RSS
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pgoodwin Level 1 Level 1 (120 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 2, 2012 2:28 PM

Just thought I'd publish a few findings on this topic. There are a lot of threads about MBPs running hot.

 

Background - 1.83 GHz Core Duo 15" MBP. Machine has always run pretty hot, but never shut down due to an overheat. After upgrading this machine with a Hitachi Travelstar 2.5" 500GB 7200 rpm drive and another 1/2 GB of RAM, I tried doing a ime Machine backup to an external drive (500 GB 2.5" USB 5400 rpm drive plugged into a hub). It got about 5-10 minutes into the backup when the computer just shut off. The machine didn't shut off doing normal tasks, but my wife had a couple of shutdowns when she was doing some movie editing (very large files), even prior to swapping out the original 80 GB hard drive. Initially I thought the RAM was defective or the power supply, but I put the original RAM and 80 GB drive back into the computer and was able to reproduce the shut down by copying many GB of files, or running Rember (RAM test SW), and even loading OS X in from a DVD.

 

I found two very helpful pieces of software: The widget 'iStatPro" and the System pref "Fan Control"

 

I watched the temperatures during the full Time Machine backup (376 total GB).The CPU temperature would get up to 250 F on transfers of very large files (like movies) or running Rember RAM tests. Anything where sustained CPU % utilization stayed up  above 80% or more for minutes at a time. It would just completely shut down.

 

I used the Widget "Fan Control" to set the Base fan speed level to 2800 rpm, set the lower temp threshold to 110F at that speed, and set the upper threshold temp to 160F where the fan would reach 6000 rpm.

 

I sat and watched a complete 376 GB Time Machine backup run, and a few times during the process the CPU utilization went to 90+% for several minutes - the same point it shut down before. This time it topped out at a CPU temp of about 230F and squeaked through. Most of the time during the backup the temp is only about 130-135 deg F when CPU utilization is down in the 20% or less range continuously.

 

Bottom line is that this model has a very low thermal margin. Over the years as files have gotten bigger (i.e.higher resolution movies), that margin was finally exposed. The control of the temperature trip points and lower threashold speeds helped it get through.

 

What I didn't get to the bottom of though was whether or not the heat sinking of the CPU is as good as it was when it was new. I didn't dig into that, and don't know how that heat sink is designed. There was nothing visibly weird looking just looking at the board with the top keboard cover assy off. There wasn't excessive dust in the machine.

3.06 GHz iMac i3, 4 GB Ram, 500GB HD, Mac OS X (10.6.8), iPad2, 60GB iPod Photo, Hp j6480
  • Shootist007 Level 6 Level 6 (16,640 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 2, 2012 2:45 PM (in response to pgoodwin)

    You need to clean that system out. Clean out the dust from the fans. That is why it is overheating.

  • OGELTHORPE Level 7 Level 7 (22,365 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 2, 2012 3:27 PM (in response to pgoodwin)

    In addition to the cleaning suggested by Shootist007, you may consider a cooling pad by your MBP, especially when you use the CPU intensive tasks.

     

    Ciao.

     

    PS:  Opening your MBP is a bit tricky but within the realm of a person of average mechanical ability.  Look at the HDD installation videos on the OWC website for non-Unibody MBPs like yours.  They will show you exactly what to do and in the proper sequence.  The most important thing to remeber is that there is a ribbon cable atteched to the keyboard and the mother board and to detach it properly before separating it from the bottom case.

  • OGELTHORPE Level 7 Level 7 (22,365 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 3, 2012 3:51 PM (in response to pgoodwin)

    Based on your prior vocation you obviously were not intimidated by opening up your MBP.  For the average user the pre-unibody MBP would probably create some anxiety while disassembling it.  (By comparison, the current Unibodies are a snap t0o open.

     

    What I have done in the past is to place the MBP on a couple of 3/8" x 4" aluminum plates.  After a while they do become very warm to say the least.  I have not measured the temperatures inside of the MBP or of the plates.  In light of your past expertise, I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

     

    Ciao.

  • Shootist007 Level 6 Level 6 (16,640 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 3, 2012 4:13 PM (in response to pgoodwin)

    Why not just change out the fan. It may be that the fan is not spinning up to its full speed when the system starts to get hot.

     

    And while you're at it take the heatsink off and put some Arctic Silver on it.

  • OGELTHORPE Level 7 Level 7 (22,365 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 4, 2012 4:23 AM (in response to pgoodwin)

    It seems we both suffer from chronic fingerfumbleitis.  My solution when I perform internal surgery or transplants on the MBP is to place it on a towel.  This protects the cover and when I invariably drop a fastener, it lands on the towel and does not bounce on the floor.  This reduces search time enormously.

     

    Ciao.

  • Shootist007 Level 6 Level 6 (16,640 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 4, 2012 5:40 AM (in response to pgoodwin)

    pgoodwin wrote:

     

     

    Taking the logic board out and back in one of these monsters is no small task - many opportunities to screw something up, multiple screw lengths, lots of connections and other little assemblies to take out and put back in.

    Yes if you think of it that way it can be overwhelming.

     

    But if you look at it as "It is just a bunch of screws and wires to disconnect and reconnect" it lowers the dificulty factor.

     

    It's not like you are removing parts from the PCB.

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