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It doesn't seem to be a function of the programs I'm currently running, since I've run the same programs in both states, and it seems to vary beginning at startup: Most of the time when I start up it runs consistently at 180-210°F to the point of occasionally shutting down from heat, but sometimes when I start up it runs consistently at 140-160° regardless of programs being run.

Are there any startup items or background programs that could be causing this between different startups?

I have the fans constantly running at 6200 RPM using a fan controller to automatically set them at this speed and the fans themselves work just fine. So fans don't seem to be the problem.

  • I used to be able to tell when TimeMachine was backing up based on my fans. It's better now. Could that be the issue for you? – AllInOne Sep 9 '14 at 22:31
  • Doesn't look like it for me! I could try to monitor CPU usage more to see if there is any difference between the cool runs and the hot runs. – Saxophlutist Sep 10 '14 at 0:41
  • What fan controller are you using? – D A Vincent Sep 14 '14 at 9:01
  • smcFanControl is what I'm using. – Saxophlutist Sep 14 '14 at 19:29
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It is not normal to have computer overheating to the point of shutting down.

You can look up in your Activity monitor to see who is consuming CPU.

Possible problems:

You cooling fan is not working at all or sporadic.

Your SMC (that controls the fan) needs to be rested.

Follow the instructions here based on your model to reset SMC.

You can also download the Intel Power app that will tell you what your CPU is doing.

The CPU is the single highest source of heat generation followed by GPU.

However, sometimes (rarely) the battery can do that due to the edit currents (internal) that will heat it up. Check you battery status and condition.

  • I actually have the fans constantly running at 6200 RPM using a fan controller to automatically set them at this speed and the fans themselves work just fine. So fans don't seem to be the problem. And it wouldn't explain why the temperature varies between startups and not program usage. – Saxophlutist Sep 10 '14 at 0:40
  • If you prefer that way (using your fan control) that is fine by me. The fact is your system shut down due to overheating? – Ruskes Sep 10 '14 at 1:02
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It looks like my computer is running cooler after a few shutdown restart cycles. What I did was use Disk Utility's repair services, shut down the computer and wait for it to cool down, and restart.

I can't say for certain whether this is what helped cool it down but it's running 30-40°F cooler and no longer overheats.

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