Friday, May the 19th, 2006

People keep asking me about temperatures I experience with the MacBook Pro, and I’ve gotten tired of repeating myself. I’ve decided to document it once in for all and get it over with. All the following measurements are carried out in a pleasantly cool room (whose temperature I do not know) where the computer is placed on a flat surface; my crummy table.

First, we have it 20 minutes after booting up, just sitting idle under battery.

MacBook Pro Temperature under no load (battery)

I then plugged it into AC, and ran it under full load[1] for the next 45 minutes.

MacBook Pro Temperature under full load (AC)

And finally, we have the most realistic situation. After killing the load mentioned previously, I proceeded to use it under normal light load (e-mail, web browser, Emacs, …) for 20 more minutes while continuing to have it plugged into AC. It landed up somewhere in the middle.

MacBook Pro Temperature under moderate load (AC)

Note that these are temperatures from the internal sensors. The outer body temperatures ought to be less, since it’s away from the source of heat. But not by much, because they use so much god-damn aluminium. You might also be interested to know that the fans barely kicked in during these tests, and the system was near silent.

[1] To effect this full load, I ran two copies of the following script,

import math
while 1:
    for x in range(10000):
        y = math.cos(x)

with python typed out into two terminal windows.

This is a printer-friendly version of the journal entry “Sweaty Palms” from actuality.log. Visit to read the original entry and follow any responses to it.

6 Responses to “Sweaty Palms”

  1. Archer6 says:

    How does this compare to your T60p temps?

  2. pundit says:

    It didn’t occur to me to check. The fans on the T60p kicked in much, much earlier and it never felt warm.

    But I must say that I have attempted a lot more serious computing on this machine than the T60p; and I am certain this has a lot to do with their respective loads and the corresponding temperatures. At the end of the day, Apple’s optimised it to stay quieter, whereas Lenovo has optimised it to stay cooler. Architecturally, the machines are very similar.

  3. Archer6 says:

    If you were to set aside the “issues” such as the dark corners of the T60p display, and the hot bottom of the MBP under intensive computing. Which computer do you prefer and why?
    I’m still (painfully) sitting on the fence about the MBP. Really want to get one but a little gun shy about the issues.
    Thanks, pundit
    Your input is appreciated.
    Archer 6

  4. pundit says:

    I prefer the MBP for purely emotional reasons. The T60p might be built like a tank, but I didn’t connect with it. Paraphrasing some wise man on the forum, I can always have the totally-serious, entirely-business-like laptop when I’m older. At this point in my life, though both have their share of niggling annoyances, I am willing to put up with the kinds of things the MBP puts me through; because I’m smitten by its appearance, the ability to suspend and resume flawlessly, the out-of-the box 20s bootup time (should I ever need to reboot), the gimmicks like the remote and lit-keyboard, some of the (dare I say it) software on it, and a lot more of the sexiness that comes along with it.

    I will definitely pick it again given the chance, but it’s not about solid technical reasons (there are none) or “issues.” All computers are bound to have issues. It’s how much you’re willing to let slide; which is a function of how much you’re lusting after one.

  5. Archer6 says:

    And finally… your feelings, viewpoint of the heat “issue” ?

    Thanks, Archer6

  6. pundit says:

    I now live in (god-damned?) Michigan. It’s perpetually cold. And I mean 9 months of the year uncomfortably cold, and the remaining 3, cool.

    Put the MBP in an already cool room and there is absolutely no issue. Like I’ve indicated here, upon prolonged use at 100%, the insides can get warm, but I’ve watched a DVD and done a lot more with it on my lap, and for the most part, an additional source of warmth around me is actually more pleasant than annoying. Either way, I don’t know what the people who’re crying “it scorched my wife’s thighs!!11!” are talking about; I have not experienced anything nearly like that.

    (You can obviously continue to do it if you’d like, but there is no need to postfix each comment here with a “Thanks, Archer6.”)

8,942,145 people conned into wasting their bandwidth.