I have a company macbook with a 4 core 2,8Ghz i7 (to much power for a "laptop" if you ask me, whatever). Sadly the cooler seems not to be able to handle 100% cpu usage. Sometimes filevault stresses the CPU with the process "discimages helper". Every time this happens I hear the cooler goes crazy ... a few seconds later programs randomly crashes and shortly after the complete macbook freezes.

Any actions I can do to avoid too much heat on the CPU? Maybe limit discimageshelper to one core or software the holds back processes that consume to much CPU time?

  • Are you sure there is nothing else wrong with the setup? A process generating a lot of disk I/O maybe triggering diskimagehelper?
    – nohillside
    Feb 17, 2012 at 10:57
  • I don't know what starts that process. Just read it 'can' be filevault.
    – sod
    Feb 17, 2012 at 11:00
  • I'm aware of that. But are there other activities going on at the same time?
    – nohillside
    Feb 17, 2012 at 12:14
  • High CPU usage doesn't cause crashes or freezes, unless you have something severely wrong with your system. If the temperature gets hot enough to cause problems, the CPU should underclock (run at lower Ghz) until it cools down. And that's an absolute last resort, it shouldn't happen under normal use. You should be taking this up with Apple's warranty department. Chances are the firmware update is the fix for you, but if it's not available for 10.6 then you'll need to do something else... perhaps Apple will swap it for a different model MacBook. Feb 17, 2012 at 21:23

2 Answers 2


You may want to run Software Update. It could be that you're missing a SMC update, which addresses freezing at (continuous) high CPU loads:

MacBook Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.5

Or this EFI update:

Macbook Pro EFI Firmware Update 2.3

  • Thanks for this answer! This could help. Sadly i am forced to use OSX 10.6.8 company internal and these updates seem to require 10.7.x - i'll just see if I can upgrade osx anyway.
    – sod
    Feb 17, 2012 at 15:17
  • Both should work on latest Snow Leopard as well: System Requirements Mac OS X 10.6.8, OS X Lion 10.7 and later
    – iolsmit
    Feb 18, 2012 at 2:06

The best action to take is to ensure you are not giving the CPU work to do. When you throttle a CPU in hardware it slows down everything, and what seems simple in practice "slow down the bad stuff" gets incredibly complicated and not so effective in practice.

Crashing and freezing of the OS are fairly serious unintended behaviors, so that should be your first priority in isolating. Have you looked into the Console app to see if there are system panic logs getting created or if you will instead need to profile the system to see what is happening when the freezes and crashes are in process.

As an analogy - you're looking to tune your running stride to go from a 2:25 marathon to a 2:20 marathon at the same time as you have a sprained ankle and perhaps a broken knee. Fix the big problem before you try to tweak a small one. Small doesn't matter when the house is on fire - and system totally freezing is your software saying your system is on fire and needs attention.

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