In this case, it's not the humidity.
July 5, 2006 6:49 PM   Subscribe

What is the safe operating temperature range for a macbook pro

I use a CPU temperature monitor and Speedit to check the temperature of my MBP, and it tends to be quite warm -- ~60 degrees C. The laptop itself is quite warm everywhere on top except the keyboard, and actively hot above the left speaker and along the slim piece of top plate between the keyboard and the hinge.

The bottom is, again, warm all over, and too hot to touch for long in the 3.5 cm strip between the battery and the hinge.

Is this something for which I should get service?
posted by ChrisR to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
I read somewhere that >80c is when damage might occur. Mine gets to about 50c but did go to 70 one time when I was transcoding a long video.
posted by birdherder at 7:35 PM on July 5, 2006

You should check out the various mac forums that are around, and do a search for "heat". 60C seems pretty par for the course for both macbooks and macbook pros. You may also want to look at something from this search result.
posted by advil at 8:06 PM on July 5, 2006

Also, rumor has it that they've toned down the thermal paste on more recent builds.
posted by advil at 8:06 PM on July 5, 2006

Best answer: With the MBP in fact much of the case, top and bottom, is a heatsink. This is why it is not advised to rest the computer on anything other than a flat surface as you need the cooling airflow under the machine that the space provided by the little rubber feet on the bottom of the case creates. Generally the hottest spots are, as you observed, the upper left both top and bottom and overall the left side of the unit (screen excepted). The CPU itself is on the upper left (closer to the screen) and the hard drive is on the lower left (under your left hand). The fan for the CPO vents out along the bottom of the screen and that is why the strip above the keyboard gets so toasty.

So the heat you are feeling is normal, if a bit disconcerting when you first get the machine. I use a temp monitor on my MBP and with average use it hovers around 62ยบ depending on the air temperature.

There have been some overheating issues, more particularly with the first MacBooks, due to what seems to be an overzealous application of the thermal paste that is supposed to help diffuse the heat away from the CPU. One of the Mac techs I worked with removed the globs of paste from his MB and re-applied a suitably thinner layer and we noticed a marked decrease in heat. This is something you might consider looking into if your machine seems to be consistently overheating or is just plain uncomfortably hot.

And for what it is worth, when my colleague called Apple to complain about the discomfort he felt when he had the MB on his lap the Apple rep. told him (I paraphrase), "Well, the MacBook is not technically a 'lap top' computer--that is not within the recommended use guidelines--it is a portable notebook computer."

So there you have it: according to Apple their new laptops aren't laptops at all. :-)
posted by persona non grata at 8:16 PM on July 5, 2006

Recommended ambient operating temperature is up to 35C, but I don't believe Apple publishes any specs about processor temperature limits. I imagine an overheated machine would do something sane like go to sleep, since the temperature is actively monitored for the sake of fan regulation.

The "not a laptop" has been standard Apple response to "it's too hot" for a long time, since the original PB G3 at least. Putting it on your lap or your bed/couch will definitely reduce cooling.
posted by maniabug at 8:22 PM on July 5, 2006

I use the same software you mentioned with my MBP. After one hour of normal use (browsing, chat, creating/editing documents) my average temperature is between 75-85C. I bought mine in mid-April.

That said, I recommend that you read the Serious Hardware/Software Crap sub-forum at Something Awful dot com regularly for very lively and near-constant discussion of Macs, including the temperature issue.
posted by vkxmai at 9:12 PM on July 5, 2006

Mine hovered around 60 C during "normal" use and around 75 C during cpu-intensive tasks when I first got it a couple weeks ago. For some reason it's gone down to 50 C and below in the last few days. Anyway, modern CPUs and other components have fail-safes if they do truly overheat.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:57 PM on July 5, 2006

People might have noticed reduced MBP case temperatures because the new fireware that was issued a few weeks ago reputedly ups the fan spin rate which makes the computer cooler (but at the expense of slightly increased fan noise).
posted by pollystark at 3:25 AM on July 6, 2006

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