MBP Frequent Overheating

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Joined: Jun 2 2009
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I've got a MacBook Pro 1,1 that is having an issue. It shut itself down for the first time last week and has continued to do so with increasing frequency, presumably due to overheating. This occurs when I've been gaming for long periods or when watching movies. Before it shuts down I can hear the fans running on high and the strip above the keyboard is hot to the touch. It has always run a little hot, which I've heard is normal with the early MBPs, so I bought a cooling pad and use that when I have the machine doing CPU/GPU intensive tasks. In the past that was sufficient and it was able to handle these tasks without a problem. Not so anymore. It gets very hot and the shutdowns even occur with the cooling pad on.

It seems to have started running hotter when I installed 10.5 right after it was released, but this could be a coincidence. I have tried resetting the PMU a couple of times over the past couple of months and has it made no difference.

I have installed a temp monitoring app and I will try updating the firmware tonight.

If that doesn't work, what are my options? Do I need to reapply thermal paste?

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Dr. Webster's picture
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Joined: Dec 19 2003
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I would pull the keyboard/top

I would pull the keyboard/top cover and use some compressed air to blow out the heatsinks/fans, and if that doesn't help, remove the existing thermal paste (isopropyl alcohol works best) and reapply some Arctic Silver. Just cleaning out the fans/heatsinks may be enough to do it though.

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themike's picture
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There is also an app/widget c

There is also an app/widget called SMCFanController and maybe if you always run those fans on full blast instead of waiting for them to come on, you can avoid the overheat. This has always worked pretty well for me, I also have an early rev of the MBP.

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MaxTek's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
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Has Apple ever made a first e

Has Apple ever made a first edition of a product that just plain works? Doesn't seem like it.

Have you tried Coolbook? Here is the link:

http://www.coolbook.se/CoolBook.html

and an interesting story on CoolBook and MacBook Pros:

http://onscreen-scientist.com/?p=51

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Joined: Jun 2 2009
Posts: 28
Many thanks

Thanks guys. These all sound like good ideas to try. Since it's kind of a PITA to remove the top cover of this thing and I haven't seen canned compressed air for sale around here, solution #1 might have to wait a while. If that doesn't work i'll try 2 and 3.

Regarding 2, I'd hate to put more stress on my already aging and overworked fans, but it's probably better than the alternative: stressing more expensive components.

themike's picture
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In the long run, it will be c

In the long run, it will be cheaper to replace a fan or two than cooked RAM or a logic board.

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Re: coolbook

Just a quick question for you Max: Does CoolBook allow me to undervolt the GPU? Really the CPUs are not getting that hot. Both CPUs have been staying around 70c, which is acceptable. The documentation I've read all focuses on managing CPUs.

If it does only effect the CPUs, I guess a high tide raises all ships (or rather a low tide lowers them) but I'm not sure an indirect effect (if any) on the GPU would be worth the money and trouble. I'd rather not buy the software to find out.

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Joined: Jun 2 2009
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Correction...!

I was overlooking one value. While the sensors called "CPU Core 1", "CPU Core 2" have been staying around 70, the one called "CPU A Temperature Diode" topped out at 94c a bit ago, which is pretty hot and dangerously close to the 100c upper operating limit. I discovered that the app keeps a recorded history and that in the past few days the diode has jumped up to 100c around times I think I remember it shutting down. Yikes. I'm using Marcel Bresink's free "Temperature Monitor" app.

cwsmith's picture
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Wasn't there an REP?

If I recall correctly, there was a repair extension program (REP) on the heatsink on the original (Core Duo) MacBook Pro. The embedded sensors were not reporting temperatures properly, so the cooling system was compromised. An affected machine would exhibit similar behavior to yours.

I'm sure the REP is in its final weeks by now. If you can get it to an Apple service center (Apple-owned or an independent service provider) you *might* be able to get this repair done, Applecare or not. Good luck.

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Progress...

Re: REP- That REP does not show up on Apple's list for my model at the moment. Must be over. Sad Closest Apple service center that I'm aware of is in Seoul. Long, sort of expensive trip. I think the problem was related to SMC firmware anyway, and I discovered that I have the latest version for my machine (1.2f10). I believe I've had it for a long time, so I'm not sure that was the problem. I always check the updates that come with Software Update and I haven't updated it manually, so chances are it was updated quite a while ago.

Ok, I got CoolBook and after a few hours and a few kernel panics I've finished setting it up. Here are the best stable frequency/voltage pairs I was able to find for my MacBook Pro 1,1 (T2400) with the defaults in parentheses:

1169 MHz/.9500v (1.0750)
1336 MHz/.9500v (1.0750)
1503 MHz/.9500v (1.1375)
1670 MHz/.9625v (1.2000)
1837 MHz/1.0250v* (1.2625)

I've already noticed a difference in operating temperature. I'll graph the sensor output for a variety of tasks and post again if I don't see significant change in the long run or if there is any problem. I also downloaded the fan controller app suggested above, but I won't start using that (if it's still necessary) until I get some baseline results for the CoolBook settings.

I hope this works out, but chances are I'll crack this puppy open to blow out the dust and reapply the thermal paste pretty soon anyway just to be safe.

(*edit: just got a kernel panic at 1.0125 that didn't show up during initial testing)