Since its release in January, Apple’s MacBook Pro has been a hot item. Now that an updated version with a new processor is shipping, Mac users are hoping that the laptop is a little less hot in one area in particular—their laps.
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The new MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo models generally run cooler than their predecessors—though not enough for users to notice. Testing by Macworld Lab found that the switch from the Core Duo processor to Intel’s next-generation Core 2 Duo offering slightly reduced the 2.16GHz MacBook Pro’s persistent fever. However, the 2.33GHz model got just as hot as its Core Duo counterparts. Still, considering the Core 2 Duo’s superior speed and power, these results show improvement in the MacBook Pro’s system-cooling technology.
What we found
Using the surface probe of an infrared thermometer, we measured external temperatures in the same “hot spots” for each notebook—the bar above the F-keys and the area surrounding the battery. The 15-inch 2.33GHz MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo reached 117.9 degrees (Fahrenheit) above the keyboard and 116.6 degrees in the area near the battery. That compares to high temperatures of 116.9 and 116.1 degrees, respectively, for the 15-inch 2.16GHz MacBook Pro Core Duo. But comparing systems with the same clock speed, the 2.16GHz MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo peaked at 110.3 and 109.8 degrees—a slight decrease from the old Core Duo systems. (By way of comparison, a 2GHz MacBook with a Core Duo processor showed peak temperatures of 105.1 and 101.8 degrees, while a 15-inch 1.67GHz PowerBook G4 heated up to 112.5 and 112.3 degrees.)
Core 2 Duo Temperature Tests
|Model||Room Temperature||External Temperature Near Battery||External Temperature Above Keyboard||Internal Temperature|
|15-inch MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo/2.16GHz||73.5°||109.8°||110.3°||174°|
|15-inch MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo/2.33GHz||73.5°||116.6°||117.9°||178°|
|15-inch MacBook Pro Core Duo/2.16GHz||74.5°||115.3°||117.4°||176°|
|MacBook Core Duo/2GHz||74.3°||101.8°||105.1°||167°|
|15-inch PowerBook G4/1.67GHz||74.1°||112.3°||112.5°||N/A|
Measure Temperature Laptop Monitor
Reference system in italics .
All results are in Fahrenheit. To measure external temperatures, we used an infrared thermometer to get readings on the bar above the F-keys and the area surrounding the battery on each laptop. Temperatures were measured while converting MP3 files in iTunes. Internal temperatures were recorded using the CoreDuoTemp application; because the program does not run on PowerPC-based Macs, we could not use CoreDuo Temp to record the internal temperature of the PowerBook G4.—MACWORLD LAB TESTING BY BRIAN CHEN
Of course, it’s not just what’s outside that counts. We ran CoreDuoTemp, an application that measures internal temperatures of Intel-based Macs. The free program recorded high internal temperatures of 178 and 174 degrees for the 2.33GHz and 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo models, respectively. The 2.16GHz MacBook Pro Core Duo reached 176 degrees, while the 2GHz black MacBook peaked at 167. (We excluded the PowerBook G4 from this test since it’s incompatible with CoreDuoTemp.) All testing took place in a cubicle with a room temperature of roughly 74 degrees; each machine held 1GB of RAM and ran MP3 conversions on iTunes for 40 minutes.
That the 2.16GHz MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo produced cooler results than a Core Duo laptop with the same clock speed indicates that Intel is making strides with producing more powerful chips that use less energy. In fact, since this most recent round of MacBook Pro updates featured no major changes to the inside of the machine (save for the chip swap), it would be fair to say that Intel is taking the lead role in keeping the MacBook Pro’s temperatures steady. (An Apple representative told us that both the previous and latest lines of MacBook Pros are “noticeably cooler” because of firmware updates released in May and June that adjusted fan speeds. It’s reasonable to assume that future firmware updates could produce similar results for the latest MacBook Pro models.)
There still isn’t a tried-and-true method of temperature testing, so we welcome input from MacBook Pro users on these results. What are you doing with your MacBook Pros when they start to heat up? After some experimentation (with Quake 4, Adobe Photoshop CS2 Automator actions and DVD playback), iTunes’ MP3 conversion heated up the MacBook Pros for us the most.
App To Measure Laptop Temperature
Since these tests were all run on machines with screens no larger than 15 inches, we’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of the 17-inch 2.33GHz MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo. Stay tuned for speed and temperature results for that laptop as well.
[ Brian Chen is an assistant editor for Macworld . ]
Editor’s note: This article was updated at 4:56 p.m. PT to correct the internal temperature test results for the MacBook Pro models.
No matter whether you have a laptop or a PC, keeping the temperature of your components in check is essential.
Usually, you get to know the health of your system by gauging the temperature because most of the problems start from overheating.
In this article, we shall help you check the temperature of your computer components.
Use Intel/AMD Utilities
Depending on the processor you have on board, you can choose to use the utility programs developed by the manufacturer.
For Intel processors, you can use Intel Extreme Tuning Utility. And, for AMD processors, you will find an AMD System Monitor.
These utilities might give you other features – but it may not be intuitive enough or if you want to get more details on the voltage/temperature of all the components individually, you can try the next solution below.
HWMonitor is the simplest (and the most useful) software you will find to view the voltages, temperatures, and fan speed. Simply download the setup file available for free through their official download page. You can also opt for the pro version for some extended features.
Use Your Motherboard’s Utility Software
Depending on your motherboard, you can download the software utility by your manufacturer to check the temperature of your computer components.
For instance, there’s an App Center software for Gigabyte motherboards where you can use the System Information Viewer to check the temperatures and other relevant details. Similarly, you will find utility tools for MSI, ASUS, and so on.
You can also set a warning limit for temperatures – as you can see in the image above.
You might be able to use the tools no matter what motherboard you have – but we would recommend you download the utilities by your motherboard manufacturer.
What’s The Ideal Temperature For Your Computer Components?
Normally, without intensive tasks, if the temperatures you observe are well-below 55 °C, you have nothing to worry about.
And, in case you are playing a game, processing a video or performing any resource-intensive task, note that the temperature does not exceed 80 °C.
It is also worth noting that you need a good case for your PC for the best airflow/cooling. If it’s a laptop, you can refer to one of our older articles highlighting the reasons why your laptop overheats.
If you are not sure how to choose a good case/cabinet/chassis for your PC, take a look at this video below:
Monitor Laptop Temperature
Now that you know how to monitor and check your system’s temperature, you should keep a close eye on it whenever you perform a resource-intensive task just to be sure.
If you notice abnormal temperatures for a specific component, go ahead and contact the manufacturer to get advice on aftersales support to help fix the issue.
Measure Temperature Laptop Screen
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