1

I'm sure everyone with a Macbook Pro has experienced the heavy heating and the fans sounding like they are about to take off. It's totally understandable when I run a GPU-heavy process such as video editing or gaming. My problem is that this is happening even with simple tasks such as web browsing or watching a video...

My understanding is that it is due to the Intel CPU doing all the work to save energy. Am I wrong? Then why even have a dedicated GPU! It's a shame that the algorithm to switch from CPU to GPU is not smart enough to avoid the overheating issues.

So I have two questions:


  1. I've read that the Automatic Graphics Switching box in Parameters>Energy Savers lets you control if you want CPU/GPU or only GPU for all graphical computations. In the CPU/GPU mode, some algorithm (whitelist?) decides whether an application should run on the Intel or Dedicated GPU. Apparently it can't tell that Chrome should run on GPU rather than burning my laps... Is there a way to edit that list?

  2. What is your software of choice to monitor/control this behavior? Do you manually check/uncheck the box throughout your day? I'm trying out iStats Menus which seems great for monitoring usage. I've heard about gfxCardStatus, is it usefull? And finally i've read about various fan control apps but is it really a good idea to prevent the CPU from cooling down?


This seems to be a case of Apple trying to hard to simplify something that really wasn't complicated: nowadays if you're buying a laptop with a dedicated GPU you probably understand well enough the difference between the Intel on-chip GPU and a dedicated GPU performances to make this kind of decisions.

Thanks for your help!

  • 2
    Can you please provide the actual model and specs of your MacBook Pro? – Monomeeth Oct 3 '16 at 6:04
  • Just because the GPU has switched on, doesn't mean that it'll get hot. Have you tried an SMC reset? Check in Activity Monitor to see if there is a process that is using more CPU usage than expected. – ThoughToo Oct 3 '16 at 6:12
  • Please limit your posts to one question per post. That said, your second question is actually more like 4 questions, and software recommendations are off-topic. – tubedogg Oct 3 '16 at 19:01
2

I'm sure everyone with a Macbook Pro has experienced the heavy heating and the fans sounding like they are about to take off.

Sure, but depending on what the Macbook is doing it could be normal behaviour. Also some Macbooks heats more than others. What's yours?

Anyway, there are two possible situations:

1) you always experienced heating and loud fans:

I would say it's normal behavior (but you can always try what suggested at (2) if you feel it's really too much heat/fans)

2) heating and lound fans started at some point during the life of your macbook:

Try to fix the problem

  • make sure the macbook can cool down normally (fans exhaust grid are not obstructed)

  • reset the SMC (see other answer)

  • use Activity Monitor to check if there is a connection between overheating and specific application/processes

  • bring the macbook to apple service center


My problem is that this is happening even with simple tasks such as web browsing or watching a video...

Web browsing pages that use Flash or intensive JavaScript and/or watching videos can be CPU/GPU intensive tasks.


My understanding is that it is due to the Intel CPU doing all the work to save energy. Am I wrong?

Yes, you're wrong.

Macbooks Pro have an integrated GPU (integrated into the CPU) and a discrete GPU.

The difference between the two is that the integrated GPU heats less, drain less power but has limited features and computational power than the discrete.

When possible the OS uses the integrated GPU to save energy. When not possible (ex. you're using photoshop, you attach an external display,... ) the discrete is used and the MBP heats more.

You can see what GPU is used with gfxCardStatus

The Energy Saving GPU option tells the OS that you want to use the integrated GPU whenever possible.

1

Have you tried resetting the SMC?

Reset the SMC

It's easy to reset your computer's System Management Controller (SMC). The instructions for resetting the SMC on a MacBook depends on two things:

  • Does your device run from a removable battery?
  • Does your device run from a built-in battery?

Now, because you haven't specified your model of MacBook Pro, I will provide the process for both.

For MacBook Pros, MacBooks etc that you can remove the battery from, here’s what you do:

  1. Shut down your computer
  2. Disconnect the MagSafe plug (power cable) from the computer
  3. Remove the battery
  4. Press the power button for 5 seconds and release
  5. Put the battery back in
  6. Reconnect the MagSafe cord (or power cable)
  7. Turn your computer back on with the power button

For MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, and MacBooks where you can’t remove the battery on your own (i.e. it's a built-in battery), here’s what you do:

  1. Shut down your computer
  2. Keep the MagSafe adapter (power cable) plugged in.
  3. Press at the same time shiftoptioncontrol (on the left side of the keyboard) and the power button
  4. Let go
  5. Turn your computer back on with the power button.

Hope this helps. Please report back and let us know.

Reset your PRAM/NVRAM

Older Macs had what's called Parameter RAM (PRAM), newer Macs use Non-Volatile Random-Access Memory (NVRAM). It may be worth you also resetting this. Here’s how to:

  1. Shut down your machine. Yes, a full shut down, not just logging out.
  2. Press the power button and then press the commandoptionpr keys. You have to make sure you press these keys before the gray screen appears or it won’t work.
  3. Hold those keys down until your Mac reboots again and you here the startup chime.
  4. Let go of the keys and let your Mac reboot normally.

Note: When you log back in you may need to readjust some of your system preferences (e.g. mouse speed, time and date/timezone, etc).

-1

I first quit the dropbox app, because according to the activity monitor, that app used a lot of CPU. It helped, the noisy fans were a bit less erratic, but still they went on making noise and my mbp got hot. After I deleted all obscure apps (that sometimes come with visiting a website), it is all back to normal.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .