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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > "Newbie" Question regarding Macbook heat problem

"Newbie" Question regarding Macbook heat problem
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May 26, 2006, 10:35 PM
I've been really testing out the Macbook the past few days with regards to the heat problem, and I've come to the following observation. My Macbook, using the CoreDuo app to test, runs cooler when its unplugged. Now, this probably sounds like a stupid question, but shouldn't it be running hotter unplugged? I would figure without the mag cable providing a stable source of power, the MacBook should have to work double time, therefore increasing the heat readings. If I'm wrong, which I would imagine I am, could someone care to explain why hah?
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May 26, 2006, 10:54 PM
Think about it in terms of rechargeable batteries. Every notice how they get warm as they are being charged? Same thing goes for if your on ac power. Not only are you running of ac, put your also charging those batteries.

I forget the technical parts involved, but also your laptop has circuitry involved that keeps the battery from being overcharged, and one way it does this is through the use of parts *diodes?" that give of heat.

Working off of battery does not make your system work harder, in fact it's simpler, because it's only drawing the juice it needs to run, and not worrying about charging the battery.
15" Macbook Pro 1.83 2 GB RAM
Blackbook 13.3 Powerhouse 2 GB RAM
MacMini Dual Core 2 GB RAM (Sadly running Windows Most of the time)
Numerouse Workstations running windows and Linux. Sorry don't have the specs, I don't pay much attention to them anymore. :)
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May 26, 2006, 11:14 PM
I would have to disagree, B.K. On my MacBook 1.83 it does get pretty damn hot on the top left part of the keyboard when operating the Macbook on the magsafe power cord. You can definately feel the heat rising up through the keyboard. The battery is stored at the front, right under the palm rest and that area does a good job of staying cool compared to the rest of the laptop.

I spent a good 5 hours on battery today and I barely noticed any heat rising from the keyboard, but it was still hot as hell underneath. It seems that it is a design decision that the MacBook is mostly passively cooled when idle, and only using the fan after it reaches a specified temp. That temperature range is still a bit to high for my tastes, but for 5 hours of runtime, I can deal with the tradeoff.
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May 27, 2006, 12:46 AM
I also have a question about the heating problem. I am planning on ordering a MacBook ASAP and was wondering if when I get it, if I have a noticeable heating problem, if Apple is fixing that for free because it seems to be a regular problem, or if I'm just going to have to deal with it/pay for it to get fixed.
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May 27, 2006, 01:27 AM
Core processors are hot, that's all there is to it. There isn't any particular "problem" with heat in the MacBooks except maybe some isolated incidents. The bottom back left of the computer gets very hot, especially when the computer is connected to power and charging. This is not really a "problem." Apple recommends in the user's guide that you "not leave the bottom of your MacBook in contact with your lap or any other surface of your body for extended periods."

I use a platform between the MacBook and my lap which makes using it there tolerable. The platform can get pretty warm too after extended periods. Someday maybe Apple will offer a cooler notebook for those like me who really don't need all the speed of a Core Duo processor. Until then we'll just have to cope, or buy a used iBook G3.
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May 27, 2006, 10:32 AM
When on battery power, a notebook is more likely to use power-saving features that, overall, will probably lower the heat readings.

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