10 Replies Latest reply: Aug 23, 2010 4:58 PM by dchao99
cjed Level 1 (0 points)
New mac mini 2010 is very quiet, even when used for audio intensive plugins (constant fan speed).
However after playing a demanding game (Bioshock demo) for about 45 minutes I was surprised the case (half back part) was over-heating (probably much more than any laptop and iMac). I also didn't remember having heard the fan being louder while playing.

Then is there a problem with the mac mini fan not being regulated ? I would have better the fan making a little more noise for some time (as with laptops) when required, preventing over-heating (that could cause a failure/reduce its life time). The 320M chipset performed very good in the game, however it seems its cooling isn't working properly.

Mac Mini 2010, Mac OS X (10.6.4), 2,4 Ghz Core2 Duo ,4 Gb ram
  • Dah•veed Level 7 (33,410 points)
    I am sure that your Mac mini's fan is working properly it is just quite quiet. Perhaps you should take some proactive steps to see that the mini runs cooler on GPU intensive apps, such as games.

    Make sure that the mini is in a position to have good air flow around it. Another user recently posted that he put little rubber pads around the bottom of the Mac mini's removable plate which did two things for him. It made the mini a bit more sure footed on his wooden desktop and lifted the mini a bit more from the desk's surface allowing better airflow into the mini and cooler performance.

    You can also install smcFanControl. I have created different settings that coincide with how hot my mini has gotten during various activities and when I begin those activities, such as viewing video, I increase the setting to a faster fan speed which keeps my mini running cool. You can run the fan as high as 5500 rpms.


  • cjed Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks, I saw the other threads where people are also experiencing over-heating, and advices about lifting it a little.
    As it seems normal for such use, I just will take care of how long I'm playing (and making sure air flow is ok). I will also monitor the temp.
    I would prefer Apple fixing any problem (if this is one) instead of having to rely on a third party tool. Does smcFanControl support the new mini ?
  • Dah•veed Level 7 (33,410 points)
    I do not think that Apple views it as a problem. So you may wait a long time. We have used 3rd party apps to supplement Apple's sometimes meager offerings from the advent of the first Mac. It is your Mac, you are in control. If there is a 3rd party app to assist in what I saw as a problem, then I would not hesitate in using it to help.

    Yes smcFanControl should support the new Mac minis.
  • Noble Brown Level 1 (115 points)
    As others have said, SMCFancontrol is sometimes necessary. I'd also advise installing the iStat widget, which will allow you to check both fan rpms and every temp sensor in the system. The CPU should be fine up into the 90C range (which is high, but not out of spec) and the GPU/northbridge should be fine up to at least 75C, if not higher. If nothing is getting really hot, it may not be an overheating issue, but a defective part that fails before it hits the thermal limit.
  • cjed Level 1 (0 points)
    I fount these useful links, that state that the mac mini only starts to really speed the fan around 75°C :

    I checked (using iStat nano) after playing a few minutes to a game, and the fan ran up to 2000 rpm from base 1800. I also remember that after playing a long time I finally heard the fan (not audible before).

    I checked (using temperature monitor) the temp, it was up to 52°C for processor (from base 40), and up to 50°C (from base 38) for northbridge (graphic chipset) after that short playing, and after quitting the game the fan was down quickly to 1800 rpm. The temp took about 8 mn to be down to 45°C for processor and 43°C for northbridge (power supply remainded at 60°C), so it should be ok after 15 mn.

    I installed smcFanControl instead of Fan Control, as the later installs a daemon (and I don't want). However after agreeing (it stated that smcFanControl hasn't been tested on this machine, however that it should run fine), it did nothing... A process was here (with daemon as a parent !) however no window was displayed (no interface). I shut down the mac mini, waited a little, and restarted it, hopefully no smcFanControl process anymore.
    I wonder if smcFanControl has modified some system files and could have hurt the system ? How to check all is back as before ?

    Launching a game later I had a feeling it was slightly less smooth, however I may be wrong (that game was very sluggish a day ago after a heavy use - that could have lead to memory fragmentation -, and was ok after a restart). So it should be just the fear that smcFanControl had broken something.
  • Dah•veed Level 7 (33,410 points)
    smcFanControl says that every time that it is installed on a new model that was not available the last time smcFanControl was updated. It has never caused an issue for me in the 4 years that I have used it. It is just encountering a model number during startup of the app that is not on its internal list. It is less an issue for the mini because there is only one fan and the number of heat sensors has not changed in a number of models.

    You can use it without fear. When I am online catching up on all my favorite US TV shows, I ramp the fans to 2500 and my mini runs cooler for hours. Below 50°C. Without it, the mini runs close to 70°C.
  • cjed Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks David for your quick and reassuring answer !

    In fact the launched dameon is non-persistant (not installed as launch item).
    I also opened Console to see logs, and there is a crash report for smcFanControl (2.2.2, on 10.6.4) :

    Exception Type: EXCBADACCESS (SIGBUS)
    Exception Codes: KERNPROTECTIONFAILURE at 0x0000000000000023
    Crashed Thread: 0 Dispatch queue: com.apple.main-thread

    Application Specific Information:
    objc_msgSend() selector name: objectForKey:

    Thread 0 Crashed: Dispatch queue: com.apple.main-thread
    0 libobjc.A.dylib 0x987fbed7 objc_msgSend + 23
    1 com.apple.Foundation 0x96c9e9f5 __NSFireTimer + 282
    2 com.apple.CoreFoundation 0x9157f70b __CFRunLoopRun + 8059
    3 com.apple.CoreFoundation 0x9157d094 CFRunLoopRunSpecific + 452
    4 com.apple.CoreFoundation 0x9157cec1 CFRunLoopRunInMode + 97
    5 com.apple.HIToolbox 0x99385f9c RunCurrentEventLoopInMode + 392
    6 com.apple.HIToolbox 0x99385d51 ReceiveNextEventCommon + 354
    7 com.apple.HIToolbox 0x99385bd6 BlockUntilNextEventMatchingListInMode + 81
    8 com.apple.AppKit 0x939efa89 _DPSNextEvent + 847
    9 com.apple.AppKit 0x939ef2ca -[NSApplication nextEventMatchingMask:untilDate:inMode:dequeue:] + 156
    10 com.apple.AppKit 0x939b155b -[NSApplication run] + 821
    11 com.apple.AppKit 0x939a95ed NSApplicationMain + 574
    12 com.eidac.smcFanControl2 0x00002c76 _start + 216
    13 com.eidac.smcFanControl2 0x00002b9d start + 41

    Perhaps it is nothing and it was launched ok, as I saw some people speaking about menu bar items for smcFanControl. Should have it opened a Window after entering the password ?
  • Dah•veed Level 7 (33,410 points)
    Password? I do not enter a password. Is that a configuration that you have whenever a new app opens?

    It appears somewhere on the right side in the menubar. The preferences are there in it pull down menu.
  • cjed Level 1 (0 points)
    In fact I meant the admin password asked the first time the daemon launches.

    I then saw nothing (I expected a window preference to open), however I didn't looked at the menu bar, so perhaps there was something there.

    What I also noticed is that once the demanding application (game, etc.) is closed, the fan returns back to base 1800 rpm very quickly, that is the reason why the temp takes very long (15 mn) to go down to base values. So the utility could help speeding that step.
  • dchao99 Level 4 (2,040 points)
    If smcFanControl has installed correctly, you will see the temp and fan speed being displayed on the right-side of the menu bar (together with airport, BT, TM .....)

    To remove smcFanControl, you simply trash the app.