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I have a 2010 MacBook Pro MC371 (Core i5, GeForce 320M, 4Gb RAM).

When I launch a game either new one (i.e. Starcraft 2) or rather old (Unreal Tournament 2004, bootcamped) my MacBook gets rather warm, even hot in the top left corner, around the place where magsafe charger is plugged in. The temperature is more than 40C. The fact that confuses me is that this warming occures even when I play old games.

Is that OK?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Yes. That's normal. As for "okay" -- it depends. The heat is coming from the extra graphic activity and CPU activity you're asking your machine to perform when playing the games. The MBPro is vented at the back, along the hinge between the screen and the keyboard, you want to make sure that area is free of obstructions and the hot air can leave escape unimpeded. Long-term exposure to high operating temperatures can certainly be detrimental to the components in your machine. But for the most part, if your machine's venting is unobstructed, it should be able to cool itself adequately.

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If you want to increase your fan speed while you are playing games, you can use smcFanControl. I used this while playing WoW in full-screen mode to increase the fan speed and then set it back to default when I was done. –  sorens Mar 8 '11 at 18:55
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@sorens this isn't the first time I've seen this util promoted but I have to ask: why? OS X does its own temperature monitoring and should spin up the fan of its own accord when internal temperatures are too high for ambient heat dissipation to work well. –  Ian C. Mar 8 '11 at 21:34
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you are right, you can leave the OS to handle it. In my case, when I would play WoW in max res with all settings turned up and in full-screen, the OS would let the graphics card get hot enough that the game would crash. If I turned up the fan a little bit before I started playing, I never had an issue with the game freezing due to the graphics card being too hot. YMMV obviously. If you notice freezes and the temp on your GC is high, then it might be time to seek out this util. Otherwise, you are probably fine. –  sorens Mar 8 '11 at 21:37
    
@sorens: thanks for that. I've never encountered a situation where the OS guessed wrong like that. Surprising. I guess the existence of the app means more than a few people need this kind of control. –  Ian C. Mar 8 '11 at 21:42
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Have the same MBP as you and it happens to me as well. As Ian C. says your MBP uses discrete gfx card for games and they tend to heat quite a lot. They use a lot more power to render graphics and using power has a side effect which is heat - normall stuff.

What you say was 40C was more likely to be something around 60-70C. 40C is about normal working temperature for it.

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