I noticed that under heavy CPU load, the temperature differences between the CPU and CPU heatsink are very high:

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picture from iStatPro; 2.0 GHz quad-core i7 (2635QM) Sandy Bridge; Macbook Pro 8.2

That's a difference of 41°C! Is this safe? Is this normal?

When using the discrete GPU, an entry "GPU heatsink" will show up. The temperature difference between the GPU and GPU heatsink are never more than 10°C. This is why I think that the something's wrong with the CPU cooling.

I have never removed the CPU/GPU heatsink in this Macbook Pro.

1 Answer 1


This model of MacBook Pro has a totally passive heat sink, so the two temperatures you mention are on the main die / logic board and not some measure of how hot your heat sink itself is running. The only way to correct this difference would be to have a new logic board installed (or get a new CPU mounted on your logic board).

As a technician, I'm more worried when the heat sink isn't closer to ambient than to the core when stressing the CPU with constant computing load. Then, it might be worth it to crack the case and re-apply the thermal paste between the metal cover (the CPU heatsink) on the logic board and the finned device (a.k.a. the Mac heat sink part) that gets the heat from the CPU heatsink to the air flowing out the back hinge area of your Mac.

If you had a faulty CPU you should be able to expose that in a geek bench test where it would throttle itself down under premature overheating. If you still had warranty left, I would open a support ticket (visit a genius bar or call AppleCare) to document this. They can then enter your concerns and offer a logic board swap if you are out of spec. I've had good luck getting concerns on the record and having Apple cover a repair if they had the chance to cover it under warranty, chose not to, and then the device failed within a few months after warranty.

  • The detailed Apple Hardware test was fine. So the CPU should be ok.
    – gentmatt
    Jun 21, 2012 at 19:24

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