6 Replies Latest reply: Aug 30, 2012 10:12 PM by Feinstruktur
GeoMoon5 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



Is 91 degrees Celsius a safe continuous temperature for the 2.5 GHz Core i7-2860QM CPU in my late 2011 Macbook Pro 17"? Will that continuous temperature reduce the life span of the CPU or logic board components?


I would like to run SETI@Home / BOINC on my laptop for many hours at a time, and for many days in a row when the laptop isn't being used. BOINC by default uses 100% of the CPU in order to crunch science data. I can adjust the settings to cause BOINC to use less of the CPU, but I'm trying to not be over-reactive to temperature readings that may be perfectly safe, even for extended periods of time, and on a regular basis. Please note, the 91 degree temperature is with an external notebook cooling fan assisting in the cooling. The unassisted temperature would be much higher.


I've also included the temperature readings from iStat Pro temperature monitoring application to diversify the data. Please note, the data listed in the categories "CPU A Temperature Diode" from "Hardware Monitor" and "CPU" from "iStat Pro" seems to be identical. The application "Temperature Monitor" gave me the same readings as "Hardware Monitor," and so is not listed.




Temperatures with CPU at 100% Usage:


Hardware Monitor:

CPU A Temperature Diode     : 91 degrees Celsius

CPU A Proximity                   : 81 degrees Celsius


iStat Pro:

CPU                                     : 91 degrees Celsius

CPU Heatsink                       : 54 degrees Celsius



Temperatures with CPU at 20% Usage:


Hardware Monitor:

CPU A Temperature Diode     : 71 degrees Celsius

CPU A Proximity                   : 67 degrees Celsius


iStat Pro:

CPU                                     : 71 degrees Celsius

CPU Heatsink                       : 52 degrees Celsius





(Note: The BOINC application is likely also utilizing the computers Graphics Processing Unit, and adding to the CPU temperature readout as a result since both processing units are supposedly using the same heat pipes to stay cool).

Any comments, suggestions, or questions to help produce an answer are welcome and much appreciated!

Macbook Pro 17inch Late 2011 2.5GHz, Mac OS X (10.7.4), Powered by Wild Nacatls
  • andeqoo Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    I like your style .

    I, also, just installed boinc last night to help save the world with my computer while I sleep. I'm about to go do that right now-- yes it is 9 am here-- but I figured I'd make sure my computers don't melt before I do so.


    Right now my MacBookPro5,2 duder is running at 68° C according to smcFanControl-- it should be noted that I find the sound of the fans soothing- especially in this case because it reminds me that I'm helping compute data that will be used to understand global warming, explore the causes of protein malfunctions to prevent  diseases and generate models of cognitive processes. That should be someone's sales pitch. I have fans set to 6000rpm (the maximum safe fan speed from what I understand)


    I'm tired.

    my BOINC settings are:

    -Computing allowed while computer is in use

    -Use gpu while computer is in use only after the computer has been idle for 3 minutes and only while processor usage is less than 30 percent.

    -Switch between Applications every 20 minutes

    -use at most 50% of CPU time**


    --Use at most 10 gigs of disk space

    --use at most 75% of page file (swap space)

    --Use at most 20% of memory when computer is in use

    --Use at most 75% of memory when computer is idle.

    --leave applications in memory while suspended.


    ---My energy saver prefs are set for better performance,

    ---the computer is set to go to sleep never

    ---display goes to sleep after 3 minutes


    ----In terminal I set my computer to go to sleep after 4 hours of processing:


    $ sudo shutdown -s +240


    I'll report back when I wake up and let you know if my computer burned my building down.


    I'm not too worried about it.


    Anyone else running boinc or something similar if you could please post your settings/stats/temperature results, it'd be much appreciated.

    and if you want to join us Captain Planet style, check out:







    Those are just the projects i'm contributing to so far.


  • ds store Level 7 Level 7 (30,325 points)

    91º C is 195º F and at the thermal threshold where the CPU will be throttled to keep the heat down.


    There isn't a problem with the CPU or most anything with the Mac operating at full strength in the proper cool dirt free environment.


    However there is a problem with the MacBook Pro fans inhaling dust that collects on a grill near the exhaust ports and contributes to the reduction of airflow and thus shortens the lifespan of the machine.


    It's no problem if your willing to open the MacBook Pro and clean this grill, however if your under AppleCare or warranty it will violate it if you remove the fans to do so.


    Some fans you can stick the tube from a can of compressed air through them to blast out the dust collected on the grill and out the back of the machine without removing them, provided your allowed to open the Mac without violating your warranty/AppleCare. (can't open the MacBook Pro-Retina)


    This will need to be done every 2-3 months or so, depending upon how dusty the environment is.


    Typically a MacPro is better at running 24/7, as it's insides are easy accessible and one can see if a cleaning is needed.


    I recall having to clean my fan blades of dirt every couple of months and blast out the machine with air when I ran folding at hone 24/7 on my previous PowerMac G5.


    Typically laptops are not ideal to be run at full strength for long periods and since Apple is marching headlong into non-user serviceable laptops, it's likely best to run them as little as possible to extend their longevity.


    So perhaps it's better to concentrate on your evangilism on MacPro owners as Apple doesn't like users opening their Mac's and users won't want to reduce their computers longivity overtaxing the machine when it's so costly for them to do so.

  • GeoMoon5 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    @ Andeqoo, Thanks! It's always nice to meet a fellow science enthusiast who's willing to transform ones computer into a mini-Captain Planet! I'll have to check out those other projects you mentioned, although for the most part, I have my computer crunching data for protein structures.


    @ ds store, I see you're point. Perhaps the reduced cooling capability of the computer due to its portability is a factor that's too important to take lightly. I will continue to restrict BOINC to 20% processor usage in order to promote the longevity of the laptop. Although there seems to be multiple safety factors that protect the CPU from excessive heat, I think ultimately a standard laptop is an inappropriate enclosure to consistently take a processor to its thermal limits.


    Thank you both for your input!

  • katk23 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Would the temps be affected by the speed of your HDD? I have recently done some research as I believe I am also having a heating problem with my late 2011 MBP 17". I also noticed some slowing down and freezing (perhaps due to the heat or speed of the drive). I was also told that the temps would drop if the drive was @7200 RPMs... Here is my setup:


    Processor  2.4 GHz Intel Core i7

    Memory     4 GB 1333 MHz DDR3

    Graphics    Intel HD Graphics 3000 384 MB

    Graphics   AMD Radeon HD 6770M

    Software  Mac OS X Lion 10.7.4 - I am downloading the Mountain Lion as we speak.

    Hard Drive Capacity: 750.16 GB

      Model: APPLE HDD HTS547575A9E384              

      Revision: JE4AD70E

      Native Command Queuing: Yes

      Queue Depth: 32

      Removable Media: No

      Detachable Drive: No

      BSD Name: disk0

      Rotational Rate: 5400

      Medium Type: Rotational

      Partition Map Type: GPT (GUID Partition Table)


    Here is what I am getting via iStat at 100% idle:



    Wired: 877MB

    Active: 2.09GB

    Inactive: 935MB

    Free: 130MB


    TEMPS (in F):

    HD: 97

    CPU: 121

    CPU Heatsink: 108

    Enclosure Base: 90

    Enclosure Base 2: 90

    Enclosure Base 3: 88

    GPU: 115

    GPU Diode: 119



    Left - 2007rpm

    Right - 2003rpm


    Normally it gets way higher than that - I had about 189-190 for the CPU yesterday (not at idle of course)...


    I am considering two solutions:


    1) New HDD - Seagate Momentus XT hybrid - SSD + HD @ 7200rpm

    2) 8GB RAM

  • GeoMoon5 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Katk23!


    I remember reading that many of the Macbook Pro laptops of our model were poorly assembled in one respect in that excessive thermal grease was applied to the processor before seating the heatsink/heat-pipe assembly onto the processor. This would facilitate poor metal-to-metal contact on the microscopic scale and be a physical manifestation of the misunderstanding of the purpose of thermal grease, which is to fill in the microscopic spaces that exist between the metal-to-metal interface between the processor and heatsink. From what I read, the grease is meant to replace islands of insulating air pockets with islands of slightly more conductive grease pockets. Excessive thermal grease could be the reason for your frightful GPU and CPU temps.


    I also remember reading that some of our laptop models have a problem where the fans were not properly spinning fast enough at the correct times causing the processors to heat up excessively. This might be rectified by any one of various resets or updates to hardware and software, such as the EFI, the operating system, firmware (might be covered in EFI), etc.


    This may sound a bit obvious, but maybe your laptop air vents are blocked in some way?


    If your computer is getting that hot, you might want to try to make an appointment with a "Mac Genius" at your local Apple Store if there is one near you. This is your best solution if its an option.


    The HDD explination sounds somewhat plausible to me, but I wouldn't bet on that being the cause of the extra heat.


    I hope something in there helps,


  • Feinstruktur Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi, just got the same problems when insatlling ML and upgrade BOINC from .028 to .031. Same CPU temp and fans really noisy!


    Tried to puse BOINC but no effect. I have to stop it, then Tem decreases and fans run normal. There is no dust on the fans because I am cleaning it frequently. There was no change in my settings (90% CPU usage, 19% CPU time) for an i7, 8GB, SSD,april 2011 17" MBP.

    The only change was Lion to ML and Client from 028 to .031


    I contacted apple support and we had a trouble shot of about an hour. The result: No bug of ML or machine. I contacted boinc volunteers. This is stil ongoing.


    In the web, I found a .028 version and installed it. The fans are running quiet and I can crunch data...


    Not to forget: with ver. 031 I disabled GPU usage, but temperature was increasing...


    So far,