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I have a question about my MacBook Air CPU temperature. I've read a lot of similar questions but there's something I can't understand in my experience.

I'm doing some tests because I'm trying to figure out whether my computer would endure a live streaming of 12 hours (it's a school music project). When I run Wirecast the first time CPU core PECI temperature (which I monitor with iStat menus app) gets really high (80°-99°), then I get scared and I tried to stream at a lower video resolution and it seems it works... I mean, fan runs at a very low speed or doesn't run at all and the CPU (if I don't touch anything and leave the computer streaming only) gets a reasonable percentage of about 50%. But there's something strange... the temperature "CPU core PECI" it's still about 80°C-95°C! but if I open up the iStat menus menu the only red-written temperature is "camera proximity" with 64°C.

Does anyone of you know what's going on? Do you think it's dangerous for my computer to make this live streaming?

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Here are some things to keep in mind for your streaming event.

  • If the CPU gets too hot, the MacBook will throttle and reduce clock speed. That could result in dropped frames. Most of the time you will hardly notice the difference.

  • iStat Menu has a utility to override fan speeds. In your case I would consider cranking up the fan to full speed during the streaming event, unless the noise is an issue.

  • During the event put something underneath your MacBook so air can circulate below it. That doesn't do miracles but results in 1-2 degrees less and therefore less risk of throttling / dropped frames.

Macs have pretty sophisticated cooling design and CPU temperature is not the only aspect taken into account for controlling fan speed. I would suggest you do another dry run for 2-3 hours. If you don't have issues during that time 12 hours should work as well.

  • Agree on Mac's sophisticated cooling! I tried before to override the fan using istat and ended up destroying the fan and blowing up the motherboard (says the Apple technician). – f01 Nov 20 '17 at 2:27
  • @f01 As far as I know, with istat it is not possible to reduce fan speed but only to increase. Therefore, I am not sure how that could destroy any hardware. – n1000 Nov 20 '17 at 5:38
  • Yes I maxed the fan speed and it shortened its life for some reason... Maybe because I live in the tropics. – f01 Dec 21 '17 at 23:45
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Your macBook Is not running fans at max speed so that it it as silent as possible. If you want to get the best performance with no thermal throttling, you should get a fan control software ("Macs fan control" works well) and run the fans at max manually. You should keep in mind that charge % will decrease faster this way so you should keep it plugged in

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mine goes up to 200 sometimes. I run a fan outside, a cooling fan below. I have a USB that hooks to 6 External Hard Drives with over 2 TB of space. I have 4 computers - 2 Macbook Pros and 2 Windows based machines. If I turn it all on at the same time it will heat the room up. I use fans to keep the temperature at the best I can. I don't usually have all of them on at the same time. I use each one for a different task. One to run disk drives (on all the time), One for development, etc I agree with the above - you may need a gaming PC that has lots of cooling. I am the same but grew gradually. Like I said - a few Honeywell fans make a lot of different. Less than $20 a piece.'

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It seems as if streaming is using your Mac's CPUs. Not really surprising. High temperatures are not really bad for the computer, as long as they can get consistent cooling. So make sure the vents on the Mac are free and clear, perhaps proving the machine up to make sure it has free flow of air.

Rest assured that if your computer gets too hot, it will simply shut down. Therefore the only way to know if streaming is 'too much' for your computer is to give it a go...you won't harm it.

You may find that the Air is not appropriate for what you want, perhaps you would be better off with a desktop mac or even a PC with huge amounts of cooling available.

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