The company I work for uses MacBook Pros. Mine is significantly slower and runs significantly hotter than my colleagues'. I want to test the hardware to see whether there is a fault.

All the MBP's we use are Retina 15-inch Mid 2015, 2.5Ghz i7, 16GB RAM. The main software we use is VMWare Fusion running Windows 10 and the Mac version of MS Office. The machines are all running Sierra, but mine has run poorly since way before the upgrade. The only quirk is that I use an external monitor, although my colleagues have used my monitor themselves with no problems.

When VMWare is running, the fans are running full speed almost constantly on mine, and Windows can become almost unresponsive at times. My colleagues' machines run quietly and only occasionally run the fans (but even then the fans are run slower than mine). I am also not able to run VMWare Fusion in Unity whereas my colleagues are. (Aside from my infuriation, the sheer amount of noise mine makes has become a standing joke in the office!). If I leave the Mac for a while, it has crashed when I return and refuses to wake up requiring a reboot. The external monitor occasionally goes black for a second or two.

I have checked the VM settings and they are identical. I have:

  • toggled these up and down,
  • wiped the VM image and created a new one,
  • reinstalled VMWare,
  • copied my colleague's VM, and I have
  • wiped my Mac.

I'm a Mac noob and am pretty much out of ideas, and so I want to check the hardware.

  • Don't put up with people making you into standing joke, unless it is being given and received in good humour. – D A Vincent Feb 24 '17 at 8:56

Okay, the first things I would do are reset your SMC and NVRAM. Instructions follow.

Reset your SMC

Your computer's System Management Controller (SMC) can be reset as follows:

  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.

Take a note of whether the fans and/or anything else improves and report back.

Resetting the PRAM/NVRAM

Older Macs had what's called Parameter RAM (PRAM), newer Macs use Non-Volatile Random-Access Memory (NVRAM). Here’s how to reset the NVRAM on your particular MBP:

  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. speaker volume, screen resolution, startup disk selection, time zone information, etc).

Run Apple Diagnostics

Now to answer your question about testing the hardware. If resetting the SMC and NVRAM don't resolve your issue, you can follow the steps below to run Apple Diagnostics:

  1. Fully shut down your MBP
  2. Restart your MBP
  3. Immediately press the D key and keep it down until you see the Diagnostics screen appear
  4. Wait for Diagnostics to finish (this typically only takes a few minutes)
  5. Once complete, one of two things will appear on the screen:
    • a No issues found message
    • a brief description of any errors found plus further instructions
  6. If the diagnostics test does find errors, take a note of what they are

Note: If pressing and holding the D key at Step 3 doesn't work, start again at Step 1 and, at Step 3 press and hold both the OptionD keys instead. This will try and run diagnostics from the internet instead, so you will need to allow more time for it to complete.

Regardless, take a note of what happens and let me know how you went.

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  • Thanks, I'm trying your suggestions now. Does the system provide any feedback that the SMC reset process is successful? – tallpaul Feb 9 '17 at 11:06
  • The LED on your MagSafe power adapter might change colors or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC. Otherwise, the only usual indicator is a noticeable difference with the fans. However, regardless of any indication you may or may not get, as long as you follow the instructions exactly (taking note of what side of the keyboard you're using at Step 3, and ensuring you use the built-in keyboard) then the reset should work. – Monomeeth Feb 9 '17 at 11:25
  • Wouldn't it be better to test before resetting controllers and the like? – D A Vincent Feb 24 '17 at 8:56
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    @DAVincent Resetting the SMC and/or NVRAM are fairly simple procedures that are often used early during troubleshooting as they can resolve a whole range of issues. In this case, resetting the SMC in particular would be worth trying as a first point of call in terms of the running hot and noise issues, and resetting the NVRAM may help with both the external display and sleep issues. These steps are quick to perform and often resolve the issue, but if not then running diagnostics is certainly warranted. – Monomeeth Feb 24 '17 at 10:14
  • Thanks for your time. I did try all of your suggestions in the end but to no avail. A few weeks later the display on the macbook started breaking up and loosing colours and the whole machine was replaced. This one is much better. I think the last one was a Friday afternoon special. – tallpaul Mar 18 '17 at 14:05

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