4 Replies Latest reply: Oct 9, 2010 10:55 AM by Kappy
progressia Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
Hello people. I have a quick inquiry. I searched google and there were no definite answers regarding this issue, it's all a matter of opinion to many people. What is the safe range for operating temperatures for a 15" Macbook Pro (mid-2009)? Before having installed SMCFanControl, my temperatures ranged in the mid-high-60's (degrees Celsius) when doing intensive work (itunes, google chrome, playing CS: Source on Steam for Mac, Transmission).

After installing SMCFanControl and cranking up the fans to a 3700rpm my temp is now 43-46 degrees C. Is that at all normal/safe?

Sorry I'm just used to my old custom-built PC were my temps are in the mid-30's C. My MacPro 6-core is also about the same, mid-30's C.

MacBookPro 15" (Mid 2009), MacPro (Mid 2010), iPad 64GB, iPhone3GS 32GB Black, Mac OS X (10.6.4), Xeon (6-core) 3.33GHz, 12GB DDR3-1333MHz RAM, ATI 5870 1GB, 1TB (x2) HDD
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (255,570 points)
    We have answered these questions countless hundreds of times if you would only search the forums.

    There is no "opinion" about operating temperatures since these are observed measurements. The chips in the computer have maximum operating temperatures programmed. If the chip exceeds that temperature the computer shuts down.

    Common sense should tell you that a laptop's heat dissipation capabilities are not anything like a desktop which has more open space, larger heat sinks, and more and larger fans. Laptops get hot which is why they are referred to as notebook computers rather than laptops, and why Apple puts a safety warning about the heat in the user manual (did you read it?)

    The only thing fan control software does is crank up the fan speeds and shorten their useful lives. The computer has built-in fan control that is designed to increase fan speed automatically. Using third-party software just makes you feel better, shortens fan life, and may be a reason for damage caused by the use of the software not to be covered under your warranty.

    Message was edited by: Kappy
  • Michael Black Level 6 Level 6 (18,720 points)
    I do not remember the exact specs, but if you go to Intel's web site you can look up the design specs for the mobile core-2-duo cpu's. They have a critical operating temp of 100 degrees centigrade (or very close to thereabouts, somewhere between 100 and 105 as I recall).

    So, running at 60 degrees is well within the designed operating specs for the chips. My MBP routinely will get up to 80-85 degrees under intense load (number crunching in R for example) and it seems no worse for wear after nearly a year and half of such use.

    Your MacPro has much larger cpu heat sinks (since it can) as well as a much larger volume of airflow past them. Even so, start pushing all your cores to 100% with some massively RAM intensive applications, and even it's temps will rise quite a bit (I used to see my work 8-core Xeon MacPro get up into the 70-80 degree range under really heavy load).

    And, as mentioned, your machine has thermal shutdown features built into it and monitors several key components internally. Intel designs their mobile chips for higher thermal stress, and they also publish specs and guidelines for manufacturers to follow when installing them in their system designs (eg. air flow, heat sink specs and so forth).
  • progressia Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    @Kappy:

    The reason why i asked was because I wasn't completely aware of the safe temperatures, given that i thought that the MacPro is different in terms of operating temperature. Nonetheless, thank u for the help and sorry if i wasted your time.

    @Michael Black:

    Clear. Thanks for the info.
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (255,570 points)
    My post was to remind you that first you need to search the forums before posting a question. It's not so much a waste of time (if it were I wouldn't have bothered posting) as it loads up the database with unneeded Q&A for a topic that's been covered. Had you searched you would have discovered that. You will find such recommendations if you read the Terms of Use linked on the right side of this page.

    A little Google searching would also have provided links to Intel's site where you can find the technical specs for the CPU that provide information on operating temperatures.