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I've got the most beefed up version of MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017) from https://support.apple.com/kb/SP756?locale=en_GB.

I've got two monitors:

  • 24" via HDMI using USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter . Rotation: 90 degrees. Scale: 1920x1080 (standard).
  • 28" via USB-C to DisplayPort 1.2. Rotation: Standard/None. Scale 2560x1440 (scaled down).

I am not sure if the rotation or something else is the issue here but my macbook fan seems to be very loud constantly. The rotation is being done on the GPU right? I sometimes use the screen on the macbook as well, this only makes matters worse and the fan gets loud. Strangely, my less powerful macbook (not pro) 13" 2015/2016 edition handles this setup just fine.

Anyone else have any clues as to what is going on here?

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I would suggest you download 'Temperature Gauge 4.1' to see if fans are running at high rpm or if they are just noisy. Noisy fans could be a sign of trouble. This app will also show you the temperature of various parts of your Mac. This app is not cheap at $18. And is available here

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What makes you think the issue is with the screens? Does the issue persist when they are not connected or not rotated?

Either way, here are some things to check:

  1. In Activity Monitor, sort processes by CPU. Are there any processes there hogging the CPU? This can often cause the system to heat up even if not running at 100%. Sometimes it can be the last thing you expect. A corrupt bookmarks file in Safari gave me similar problems with heat from Safari stuck trying to read it.

  2. Make sure some 3rd party program isnt causing problems. Try booting into safe mode and see if the problem persists. Instructions for that are here.

  3. Check your hardware set up. I have always found the free version of Macs Fan Control to be more than enough to diagnose a hot component. It also gives you an option to view the fan speed. Perhaps a fan is blocked and being noisy.

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