Round-up: user 'solutions' for thermal throttling of the i9 2018 MacBook Pro

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited July 2018
It has been about a week since it was discovered that the i9 processor in the MacBook Pro can slow down below rated speed to cut back on thermal load. AppleInsider has been examining several proposed solutions by users since we first started talking about the issue, and has some thoughts on the matter.


Thermal Throttling, in a nutshell

Processors are created to run at a variety of different TDP (thermal design profile) levels, depending on their intended market. Processors meant for desktop computers can afford to have a higher TDP, while notebooks, mobile devices, and tablets tend to use processors with lower TDP values, due to the difficulty of cooling the chip down.

According to Intel Ark, the processor manufacturer's specifications website for all of its chips, the 2.9GHz Core i9-8950HK has a TDP of 45 Watts, the same TDP as the Core i7-8850H and Core i7-8750H. The TDP itself is low, so it in theory shouldn't require an excessive amount of cooling.

Notably, the 45-Watt TDP of the three processors used in the 2018 15-inch MacBook Pro line is the same as for the 3.1GHz Core i7-7920HQ, the processor used in the 2017 MacBook Pro.

But, published TDP is based on base frequency, not the heat load that it generated when at turbo speed. While a processor is cool, it will exceed its normal operating clock speed up to its boost speed. This generates more heat, of course.

As that heat builds, the processor will slow down to help dissipate the heat in conjunction with the cooling system. It can even go lower than the normal operating clock speed if need be to prevent damage.

And, that slowdown to lower than the normal operating clock speed is what is happening in the i9 when the user slams the machine with a big load.





There are work-arounds that users can apply. Maybe.

A word of warning first. If you do decide to apply any of these user fixes, especially software settings, do so at your own risk.

Volta

We've been looking at Volta since our article on the issue last week. In short, Volta allows you to set the maximum power that the CPU can consume, keeping the clock speed, and as a result, heat, down to manageable levels.




Volta is not a new app, and the developer is responsive to user requests. In fact earlier this week, a new version of Volta appeared, allowing users to allow the processors to consume more power, ideal for the i9 in the MacBook Pro.

However, the utility requires a custom System Integrity Protection state to install and run. This may or may not be a deal-breaker for any given user.

Volta is available from the developer. It is free to try, but sells for $5.99.

Verdict: Minimally invasive, but still potentially a problem for system stability and usage if you choose to change processor voltage. Don't do it if you don't know what you're doing, because you can cause problems and file corruption if you alter some parameters too far away from defaults.

AppleInsider briefly discussed Volta, and this entire saga, with The New Screen Savers over the weekend. Our recommendation from then still stands -- do not do this if you do not know what you are doing.

Apple will not repair an otherwise warrantied machine damaged by this utility, or any other.

Voltage regulator module parameter adjustments

Over the weekend, a Reddit user claimed that the issue wasn't directly the CPU thermal condition, but the voltage regulator on the motherboard.

By setting a few parameters in the Terminal, the user appears to have smoothed out the issue. But, as with everything else, thermodynamics can't be completely defied.

If you're considering this, hit the Reddit post. It's basically the clearing house for the information on the voltage regulator module.

Verdict: It's not even clear that this is the problem, yet. The Terminal command isn't permanent, but that's a good thing -- if you completely hose something, you probably won't break anything permanently.

If you do this, be absolutely sure to follow the directions to the letter.

Controlling fan speeds with Macs Fan Control

Macs Fan Control, and another called SMC Fan Control have been around for a while, allowing users to tweak the fan settings on a Mac.




Honestly, we've never been big proponents of either. Until now, if you had a problem with frequent overheating, it was a fairly reliable indicator of a maintenance issue, like clogged vents or a fan that wasn't working.

The i9 situation hasn't really changed our minds on the utilities as a whole, but they are one way to address the heat problem, if not the root cause.

Macs Fan Control is also only available from the developer. It is presently free, but the company is asking for a $14.95 payment to support the development of the app.

Verdict: This is by far the least problematic work-around from a "causing more problems than it fixes" standpoint. By starting at a cooler temperature, it takes longer for the machine to get hot enough to throttle the processor.

That said, with enough CPU load it doesn't solve the problem, it just puts it off for a minute or two at the expense of increased noise. How much the noise matters is left as an exercise for the reader.

Use Final Cut Pro and Apple's apps

This isn't really a solution, but it is an option. Apple's own apps, like Final Cut Pro and Logic, don't slam the processors quite as greedily as apps like Adobe Premiere or Handbrake.

It isn't a be-all-end-all fix, and if you don't own them already, it isn't a cheap solution. But, it is a possibility.

Verdict: Not practical for everybody. Plus, under sufficient load, you'll still get the down-clock after a time, even with Apple's applications.

Use an eGPU

This is also not a solution, and just improves the thermal condition. When the MacBook Pro isn't using the internal GPU, and the video processing for the unit is off-loaded to an eGPU, the throttling isn't as severe and profound slowdowns don't happen until later.

Given our trials, the best way to do this is to put the MacBook Pro into clamshell mode. This basically disables the onboard GPU, assuming that the external monitor is connected to the eGPU, and there aren't any monitors connected with USB-C directly to the machine.




If you're going this route, while you're at it, get a vertical stand of some sort. Heat is dissipated somewhat more by the bottom case in this orientation. The lid shut doesn't appear to worsen the head dissipation in either orientation.

Verdict: This is expensive, and can be loud. Count on spending at least $600 for a build-your-own eGPU with an enclosure from Sonnet, Mantiz, or Razer, or $699 for the much quieter Blackmagic eGPU. And, that's assuming you have an external monitor.

We love eGPU technology, and have been talking about it for well over two years. This technology has the benefit of bringing a better GPU to the MacBook Pro when you're at a desk, and possibly USB-A and Ethernet -- but it isn't for everybody. Did we mention it can get expensive?

It also isn't a real solution to the thermal situation, just a work around to cut back on the heat generated inside the MacBook Pro.

Put it in the freezer!

We're going to skip the convention we started at the beginning of this article, and directly tell you up front to not do this. Cold metal, which you will get in some location on the MacBook Pro, will condense moisture in the air when you remove it from the freezer.

This condensation will form mostly on the outside of the case, but a fair amount will also form on the inside. This is a profoundly bad thing.

Verdict: Don't do this. Ever. Seriously.

Complicated solution

First of all, we don't really recommend any of these solutions as a cure to the thermal situation with the 15-inch MacBook Pro. Some are dangerous, some are stupid, and some don't really help.

Well, we recommend an eGPU, but for many reasons, which we've already delved into. The fact that it has a non-zero positive effect here is just icing on the cake.

If you can improve your own local thermal conditions, like ventilation or ambient temperature, do so. If there are voltage or power limitations to apply, let Apple do them in a future advertised or silent software update.

AppleInsider has been asked a thousand questions about this daily. Questions have ranged from software optimizations and solutions like we've pointed out here, to asking about stands to help the thermal condition, and an uncomfortable number of them coming in with over-the-top variations of "how could Apple could betray us this way" hyperbolic pontifications.

There is no such thing as a perfect product for every aspect of use, ever, in any field. There are compromises in every product, in every step of design, and priorities that get applied during development.

Apple's priorities are made based on most of the market it services. While AppleInsider readers sometimes think that they are Apple's biggest audience, and would generally be willing to accept a thicker machine, Apple's actual larger market -- meaning not AppleInsider readers -- is demonstrably not.

The thermal situation is an issue for "us." It isn't one for everybody, with every work flow. It won't be an issue for every "Pro."

How much of an issue it is for any given user depends very much on the user's work flow, and what they need, in much the same way Thunderbolt 3 using USB-C as a connector is fantastic for some, and the worst possible blight for others.

Thermals or not, the machine is a "Pro" machine, whatever that really means. It is not a bad or fatally flawed one. It is also the fastest laptop Apple has ever made, and can stand toe-to-toe with the iMac Pro in many workflows.

But, it could be faster, and Apple has already taken steps to fix the problem. And, the patch seems to have fixed most, if not all, of the performance cut.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    thttht Posts: 4,030member
    Processors are created to run at a variety of different TDP (thermal design profile) levels, depending on their intended market. Processors meant for desktop computers can afford to have a higher TDP, while notebooks, mobile devices, and tablets tend to use processors with lower TDP values, due to the difficulty of cooling the chip down.
    Laptops run off batteries, of constrained size for a whole raft of trade offs. An OEM vendor can put in a desktop CPU and desktop GPU into the MBP15 form factor, design a high RPM fan system to remove the 100+ W of heat, but it’ll run through a ~100 WHr battery in high performance laptops in about an hour. Basically a gaming laptop.

    If someone is going about modding a MBP15 to enable longer run turbos, better longer run 6-core performance, or longer run CPU+GPU performance, best option is to replace the fan with one that can run at 2x to 3x the RPM. But it is going to run down the battery faster and be louder. Maybe it is a cool thing to do, but as a product from a vendor, it’s not a good trade for the vendor. And people shouldn’t be doing it unless they accept they can lose the machine entirely.

    A lot of these options you list are reliant on being lucky with the binned parts. So and so may say this or that works, but it’s doubtful it’ll work for everyone. All these chips have variation in performance within their bin, and there will be a lucky few who will get the cool part that can run at the advertised frequencies at lower voltages. Parts including the CPU, GPU and voltage regulator chips. People really shouldn’t be messing with this stuff whatsoever unless they are willing to lose a $4000 machine.

    The best thing you can do is characterize the performance of the various CPU options in the laptop. Identify which CPU option will perform the best for specific tasks, including the nature of the tasks. If a user mostly does work involving short run times, 5 minutes (?), the i9 might be the best option. If people are doing 2 hour runs, maybe the i7 might be the best option, or a desktop. This goes down to the apps as well as you’ll have to identify which apps can actually utilize 6 cores or even 4 cores.
    edited July 2018
  • Reply 2 of 20
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    I see we’ve already reached the point wher folk are happy to break the machine rather than have it slow down if it gets hot. 

    Simple solution: if the thought of throttling irks you that much then take the machine back. I don’t think anyone is outside the returns window yet. 



  • Reply 3 of 20
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,116member
    Solution with quotes is the right choice of phrase, some other used 'fixed' and I can't agree with that one - it can be avoided by reducing the time and max power of the CPU's top states. The design is still flawed, but there's improvements to be made in post. The VRMs are under specced for the job as well as inadequately cooled, and I have to wonder what the "professional workflow team" is for if they didn't catch VRM throttling dipping the CPU to 800MHz.

    I'm also wondering about the BGAs of the VRMs if they shunt so rapidly between over a hundred degrees and idle temps. 

    Silence is the worst look for Apple on this topic, hopefully they detail what improvements can and will be made. 
    stevenoz
  • Reply 4 of 20
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,116member
    Rayz2016 said:
    I see we’ve already reached the point wher folk are happy to break the machine rather than have it slow down if it gets hot. 

    Simple solution: if the thought of throttling irks you that much then take the machine back. I don’t think anyone is outside the returns window yet. 





    The VRM fix is reducing the max power state, and time spent in that state, I wouldn't advice Joe Consumer go and do this but reducing the max power the VRMs have to deal with is pretty safe as changes go. Might actually increase board life. 
  • Reply 5 of 20
    shevshev Posts: 84member
    Just return it. Might give Apple the kick up the arse they need in their computer department. It’s embarrassing
  • Reply 6 of 20
    wonkothesanewonkothesane Posts: 1,549member
    Rayz2016 said:
    I see we’ve already reached the point wher folk are happy to break the machine rather than have it slow down if it gets hot. 




    Hey. I remember ye good ole times when fiddling around with dip switches and moving SMDs with soldering equipment more suitable for glueing on the 603s and 604s. Hm, 68030 too? Not sure about that. But lots of Adrenalin and fun :)

     But I see where you’re going: no clue about potential side effects but let’s just go for it. Over st the VRM thread on MR one guy actually write about applying the same values used for the i9 to his 12” MB - you know it’s a Mac too, so should work the same....

    The relentless perceived need to pimp your pc, car, body etc in order to beat the system and get more ban for the buck seems ubiquitous. 
    edited July 2018
  • Reply 7 of 20

    Years ago, I had a G4 MBP, that got so hot that I had to purchase an aluminum stand for it with integrated fans that would blow cool air along the bottom of the laptop in order to keep it cool.  I’m not sure how the G4 laptop’s heat and the i9 compare, but I remember that was what we had to do in order to cool it.

    I also remember a photo that was shared on this site of a rendering of a G5 laptop that was three inches thick, most of which were heat dissipation fins on the bottom with the words “Because You Couldn’t Wait” written above it.  The solution back then was to abandon the PPC chipsets and migrate to Intel.

    The question I have is a technical one, and one I don’t have any knowledge about, but I’m sure many members of this forum do.  We know that Grand Central Dispatch is a part of MacOS and that tasks can be divided up among multiple cores to speed up workloads.  The question I have is, is it possible to use this feature to have an older chip in the MBP with more cores that can complete the tasks faster than the newer chips because the older chip produces less heat?  Not sure if that’s the case, but it would seem that MacOS’s UNIX base would allow such a thing to happen.  Sure, it’s the Sherman Tank answer to the problem but from a layperson’s perspective, it seems to me that more cores running slower ought to be able to complete tasks faster because there wouldn’t be thermal throttling.  

    Another thing I’ve wondered about is whether Apple could integrate the A10 Fusion (or whatever’s next) into the laptop in order to complete tasks in a cooler manner than the Intel chip?  We already know that the A10 Fusion is able to handle 4k video editing, because we can do it on the iPhone and iPad.  Wouldn’t it be possible to use the chips in tandem to complete work faster, creating less heat?  Using the Intel chip for functions that the A-Series chips can’t complete while having more cores to separate tasks out just seems like a possible next step.  

    It seems we’re at a point where we’re having to see Apple Engineers come up with alternative solutions just like they did back in the G4 MBP days.  Maybe it’s time for Apple to offer one version of the MBP that isn’t thinner, is deliberately bigger and packed with more cores and better heat dissipation hardware for those who do need a mobile video editing machine rather than something that’s just being used for Office applications.  Then again, as is often the case, maybe Apple just doesn’t care about the video editing folks who need solutions in the field because the numbers don’t suggest they’d make enough money?

    I have to be honest in saying that I wish Jony Ive would be replaced by an Engineer that actually shoots video all the time, edits video all the time, and actually cares about that functionality rather than it looking “pretty” with chamfered edges.  The pendulum has swung so far toward “looks” that the “functionality” side seems to be ignored because it gets in the way of “pretty”.  Apparently, nothing was learned from the Mac Pro fiasco.

    king editor the grateigohmmm
  • Reply 8 of 20
    thttht Posts: 4,030member

    The question I have is a technical one, and one I don’t have any knowledge about, but I’m sure many members of this forum do.  We know that Grand Central Dispatch is a part of MacOS and that tasks can be divided up among multiple cores to speed up workloads.  The question I have is, is it possible to use this feature to have an older chip in the MBP with more cores that can complete the tasks faster than the newer chips because the older chip produces less heat?  


    No, it’s not possible, for a multitude of reasons. In general, more performance means having more transistors, higher clocked circuits, and having tasks that can actually be made parallel. More cores means more transistors means more power is needed to drive them, and you’ll end up in the same spot.

    A CPU vendor can notionally design a system that is more power efficient than today’s Intel x64 systems, like perhaps with Apple and ARM, but that introduces a whole new set of transition and compatibility issues that market may not like. And designing a system that has more performance than Intel’s is not a trivial exercise, especially on a year by year, decade by decade business.

    Another thing I’ve wondered about is whether Apple could integrate the A10 Fusion (or whatever’s next) into the laptop in order to complete tasks in a cooler manner than the Intel chip?  We already know that the A10 Fusion is able to handle 4k video editing, because we can do it on the iPhone and iPad.  Wouldn’t it be possible to use the chips in tandem to complete work faster, creating less heat?

    The notion of co-processors, targeted chips/ASICs is already present in Intel systems. The newer Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake hardware have special execution units in them that do video encode and decode such that the MBP with 4 CPU cores can be faster than the Skylake base iMac Pro with 8 cores. The Skylake CPUs in the iMac Pro have special execution units in them that are either fused off or not present in Coffee Lake CPUs that’ll make them faster at certain tasks. So, the technique of using specialize chips to do certain tasks more efficiently is done all over the place in computers today.

    Lastly, more performance typically means more power is needed to drive them. There isn’t a free lunch. Apple may have a special chip that does this or that specific task faster or more efficiently, but there are not any low hanging fruit left.

    I have to be honest in saying that I wish Jony Ive would be replaced by an Engineer that actually shoots video all the time, edits video all the time, and actually cares about that functionality rather than it looking “pretty” with chamfered edges.  The pendulum has swung so far toward “looks” that the “functionality” side seems to be ignored because it gets in the way of “pretty”.  Apparently, nothing was learned from the Mac Pro fiasco.

    Jony Ive wasn’t the problem. The Mac Pro issue was in Apple’s marketing team not understanding where PC computing is going. For laptops and iMacs, the meat of their PC lineup, they are doing fine. All the machines are either class leading or class competitive. Apple is definitely generating “opinionated” designs, not safe designs as it were. With that, comes lots of complaining.



    igohmmm
  • Reply 9 of 20
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    This is a non-issue. It has already been fixed with a simple software update. And very importantly, the software update was free.
  • Reply 10 of 20
    tht said:

    The question I have is a technical one, and one I don’t have any knowledge about, but I’m sure many members of this forum do.  We know that Grand Central Dispatch is a part of MacOS and that tasks can be divided up among multiple cores to speed up workloads.  The question I have is, is it possible to use this feature to have an older chip in the MBP with more cores that can complete the tasks faster than the newer chips because the older chip produces less heat?  


    No, it’s not possible, for a multitude of reasons. In general, more performance means having more transistors, higher clocked circuits, and having tasks that can actually be made parallel. More cores means more transistors means more power is needed to drive them, and you’ll end up in the same spot.

    A CPU vendor can notionally design a system that is more power efficient than today’s Intel x64 systems, like perhaps with Apple and ARM, but that introduces a whole new set of transition and compatibility issues that market may not like. And designing a system that has more performance than Intel’s is not a trivial exercise, especially on a year by year, decade by decade business.

    Another thing I’ve wondered about is whether Apple could integrate the A10 Fusion (or whatever’s next) into the laptop in order to complete tasks in a cooler manner than the Intel chip?  We already know that the A10 Fusion is able to handle 4k video editing, because we can do it on the iPhone and iPad.  Wouldn’t it be possible to use the chips in tandem to complete work faster, creating less heat?

    The notion of co-processors, targeted chips/ASICs is already present in Intel systems. The newer Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake hardware have special execution units in them that do video encode and decode such that the MBP with 4 CPU cores can be faster than the Skylake base iMac Pro with 8 cores. The Skylake CPUs in the iMac Pro have special execution units in them that are either fused off or not present in Coffee Lake CPUs that’ll make them faster at certain tasks. So, the technique of using specialize chips to do certain tasks more efficiently is done all over the place in computers today.

    Lastly, more performance typically means more power is needed to drive them. There isn’t a free lunch. Apple may have a special chip that does this or that specific task faster or more efficiently, but there are not any low hanging fruit left.

    I have to be honest in saying that I wish Jony Ive would be replaced by an Engineer that actually shoots video all the time, edits video all the time, and actually cares about that functionality rather than it looking “pretty” with chamfered edges.  The pendulum has swung so far toward “looks” that the “functionality” side seems to be ignored because it gets in the way of “pretty”.  Apparently, nothing was learned from the Mac Pro fiasco.

    Jony Ive wasn’t the problem. The Mac Pro issue was in Apple’s marketing team not understanding where PC computing is going. For laptops and iMacs, the meat of their PC lineup, they are doing fine. All the machines are either class leading or class competitive. Apple is definitely generating “opinionated” designs, not safe designs as it were. With that, comes lots of complaining.



    Thanks for clearing that up.  
  • Reply 11 of 20
    We think it's a non-issue.  I have yet to purchase my replacement MBP, but I'm still going to wait for people to test this software update in the wild and see what is found.  
    nunzy said:
    This is a non-issue. It has already been fixed with a simple software update. And very importantly, the software update was free.
    nunzy
  • Reply 12 of 20
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,259administrator
    We think it's a non-issue.  I have yet to purchase my replacement MBP, but I'm still going to wait for people to test this software update in the wild and see what is found.  
    nunzy said:
    This is a non-issue. It has already been fixed with a simple software update. And very importantly, the software update was free.
    You're in luck:

    nunzy
  • Reply 13 of 20
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,259administrator

    nunzy said:
    This is a non-issue. It has already been fixed with a simple software update. And very importantly, the software update was free.
    You'll note that this was published before the patch was released. Certainly less relevant now, but pretty relevant at the time.
    cgWerksnunzy
  • Reply 14 of 20
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,720member




    If you're going this route, while you're at it, get a vertical stand of some sort. Heat is dissipated somewhat more by the bottom case in this orientation. The lid shut doesn't appear to worsen the head dissipation in either orientation.
    Thanks for addressing this! That's probably the setup I'd shoot for if I go this route over some kind of desktop solution.

    I suppose one could build a nice rectangle box with 3 of these in it to sit under that stand, to help even more. :)
    https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=2886

    I've used these in stereo cabinets and cooling laptops in the past. They are super-quiet... and, they pull apart for easy cleaning (the fan blade pulls out of the hub with some effort (it's just magnetic force holding it in there).
  • Reply 15 of 20
    Just use Turbo Boost Switcher to disable turbo boost. It's free, you don't event need to disable SIP since it's allowed by Apple and you won't be messing around with voltages.
  • Reply 16 of 20
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,259administrator
    Just use Turbo Boost Switcher to disable turbo boost. It's free, you don't event need to disable SIP since it's allowed by Apple and you won't be messing around with voltages.
    Don't even need to anymore.
  • Reply 17 of 20
    thttht Posts: 4,030member
    cgWerks said:




    If you're going this route, while you're at it, get a vertical stand of some sort. Heat is dissipated somewhat more by the bottom case in this orientation. The lid shut doesn't appear to worsen the head dissipation in either orientation.
    Thanks for addressing this! That's probably the setup I'd shoot for if I go this route over some kind of desktop solution.

    I suppose one could build a nice rectangle box with 3 of these in it to sit under that stand, to help even more. :)
    https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=2886

    I've used these in stereo cabinets and cooling laptops in the past. They are super-quiet... and, they pull apart for easy cleaning (the fan blade pulls out of the hub with some effort (it's just magnetic force holding it in there).
    The MBP transports heat by drawing room temperature air and blowing it across heatsinks (connected through heat pipes to the CPU and GPU), and hotter air flown out of the slots at the bottom of the display. This convective process is 99% of the heat removal process. I don’t think orienting it vertically does much of anything.

    If you want to keep the internal components cooler, you either increase the flow rate from the fans, decrease the temperature of the air going into the machine, preferably dry cooler air, or both. Buy a small refrigerator, then build a pipe, a duct, from it to the slots on the MBP where air is drawn in? Refrigerator will have to be vented too.

    At this point, you’re better off with a desktop and finding a synching solution between the laptop and desktop. 😊
    cgWerks
  • Reply 18 of 20
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,720member
    tht said:
    The MBP transports heat by drawing room temperature air and blowing it across heatsinks (connected through heat pipes to the CPU and GPU), and hotter air flown out of the slots at the bottom of the display. This convective process is 99% of the heat removal process. I don’t think orienting it vertically does much of anything.

    If you want to keep the internal components cooler, you either increase the flow rate from the fans, decrease the temperature of the air going into the machine, preferably dry cooler air, or both. Buy a small refrigerator, then build a pipe, a duct, from it to the slots on the MBP where air is drawn in? Refrigerator will have to be vented too.

    At this point, you’re better off with a desktop and finding a synching solution between the laptop and desktop. 😊
    Thanks!
    Yeah.... that's the thing. I wish Apple had a more prosumer oriented desktop. :)

    At this point, it would probably have to be a 2013 Mac Pro... but I'm a bit scared of getting something so old (even if it would be adequately powerful), and then if I want to add eGPUs, it seems Apple will force me to 'hack' it to run them (even though it is quite capable of doing so). Or, I'd have to find a few extra $thousand to get a iMac Pro (which I suppose is better off in terms of cooling?).

    I'm also gun-shy a bit here, as I damaged and shortened the life of two MBPs in the past doing rendering jobs on them (in the mid-2000s). I don't run them quite as heavy these days... but ultimately, is there a whole lot of difference between running them hard for, say, 5 hours at a time vs running them hard for 36 hours, etc? Even people doing these benchmarks are running them hard for 30+ minutes at a time, and most pros are going to run them hard for several hours each day. If they aren't made to take that, they shouldn't be called 'pro', IMO.

    And, wow... do you think it is really 99% of the cooling via the fans? On previous MBPs, just keeping some air moving across the case helped quite a bit. This leads me to believe a significant amount of cooling is radiative from the casing. That's why I was thinking of some fans under that stand (in the photo) to move air upward and kind of 'help' the natural process. At least (if I'm looking at it correctly) in that stand, the vent is near the top.

    As for sync'ing.... I'd just use Dropbox, iCloud, etc. and probably an iPad while mobile these days. That's kind of the other consideration, as if I had a MBP, then I wouldn't need an iPad. But, since most of my mobile work is going to be writing, researching, etc. now (i.e.: I don't need lots of power while mobile), an iPad might be a pretty good fit (though then I have 2 workflows).
  • Reply 19 of 20
    thttht Posts: 4,030member
    cgWerks said:
    At this point, it would probably have to be a 2013 Mac Pro... but I'm a bit scared of getting something so old (even if it would be adequately powerful), and then if I want to add eGPUs, it seems Apple will force me to 'hack' it to run them (even though it is quite capable of doing so). Or, I'd have to find a few extra $thousand to get a iMac Pro (which I suppose is better off in terms of cooling?).
    I would just hold out for the 2019 Mac Pro unless you really need something now. 

    I'm also gun-shy a bit here, as I damaged and shortened the life of two MBPs in the past doing rendering jobs on them (in the mid-2000s). I don't run them quite as heavy these days... but ultimately, is there a whole lot of difference between running them hard for, say, 5 hours at a time vs running them hard for 36 hours, etc? Even people doing these benchmarks are running them hard for 30+ minutes at a time, and most pros are going to run them hard for several hours each day. If they aren't made to take that, they shouldn't be called 'pro', IMO.
    Laptops from the aughts were a lot less durable imo. A modern MBP is a lot more reliable for running continuously, with less moving parts, less connectors, and better cooling systems. And it wasn’t necessarily running them that was the problem. The act of being mobile, handled, and used in who knows what places put a lot more strain on the moving parts and connectors, with dust and crap creating a nice insulating layer over everything.

    My workplace has higher CPU needs than the video and audio market that Apple mostly targets, and the MBP have been fine so far. Our laptops from the aughts? Garbage. Our PC workstation laptops were monstrosities. The Core 2 Duo MBP were a lot better, but not as robust as modern laptops.
    And, wow... do you think it is really 99% of the cooling via the fans? On previous MBPs, just keeping some air moving across the case helped quite a bit. This leads me to believe a significant amount of cooling is radiative from the casing. That's why I was thinking of some fans under that stand (in the photo) to move air upward and kind of 'help' the natural process. At least (if I'm looking at it correctly) in that stand, the vent is near the top.
    Perhaps. Maybe doing some math will prove it, but, the computing bits and the batteries are are not attached to the bottom panel. The bottom panel is air gapped so that air can flow from the slots on the side to the blowers, which then blows air across heatsinks that are connected to the GPU and CPU by way of heatpipes, and after going across the heat sinks, the hotter air is blown out in the slots on the rear of the case.

    Having a cooler bottom panel will keep the incoming flow into the blowers a little cooler, so there maybe a small effect there. But air is moving in and out of the laptop at a significant rate. The fans or blowers never stop AFAIK, so virtually all the heat removal is going be from the blowers blowing air across the heatsinks. The temperature of the incoming air is going to be a huge driver. If that air happens to be hotter due to the table heating the air little bit or on a lap with your body heating the air a little bit, that slightly heated air is going to be a bigger player or as big a player as the bottom panel being heated by your lap or the table.

    One interesting bit is if radiative cooling is a big player, you should buy space gray colors or just paint it black, and use it only in the shade. But I don’t think that will do much due to the aforementioned convective cooling from the blowers.
    cgWerks
  • Reply 20 of 20
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,720member
    tht said:
    I would just hold out for the 2019 Mac Pro unless you really need something now. 
    I hope I'm wrong, but my hunch is that it will cost as much or more than the iMac Pro. I'm not sure I want to spend quite that much, plus it has been hard waiting as long as I have already. :) We'll see...

    What I need is a 4-core (minimum, more is fine) machine with min 16GB of RAM and 256-512GB of SSD storage. I'd like it to be fairly quiet most of the time (I can put up with a bit of noise, I suppose, when it's really crunching... but the more quiet the better).

    It would be nice if I could run my own monitor (or an iMac might work... but running that hard concerns me too). One really shouldn't have to spend $6k to get something like that. The 13" MBP or even an updated quad-core Mini with eGPU would be fine. An iMac Pro or Mac Pro is a bit overkill, though that's fine if the cost weren't so high.

    tht said:
    Laptops from the aughts were a lot less durable imo. A modern MBP is a lot more reliable for running continuously, with less moving parts, less connectors, and better cooling systems. And it wasn’t necessarily running them that was the problem. The act of being mobile, handled, and used in who knows what places put a lot more strain on the moving parts and connectors, with dust and crap creating a nice insulating layer over everything.

    My workplace has higher CPU needs than the video and audio market that Apple mostly targets, and the MBP have been fine so far. Our laptops from the aughts? Garbage. Our PC workstation laptops were monstrosities. The Core 2 Duo MBP were a lot better, but not as robust as modern laptops.
    That's good to hear. I'm glad spinning HDs are gone and optical, but do you mean overall? Maybe the solder issues that plagued early 2000s are solved. Good to hear though.

    tht said:
    Perhaps. Maybe doing some math will prove it, but, the computing bits and the batteries are are not attached to the bottom panel. The bottom panel is air gapped so that air can flow from the slots on the side to the blowers, which then blows air across heatsinks that are connected to the GPU and CPU by way of heatpipes, and after going across the heat sinks, the hotter air is blown out in the slots on the rear of the case.

    Having a cooler bottom panel will keep the incoming flow into the blowers a little cooler, so there maybe a small effect there. But air is moving in and out of the laptop at a significant rate. The fans or blowers never stop AFAIK, so virtually all the heat removal is going be from the blowers blowing air across the heatsinks. The temperature of the incoming air is going to be a huge driver. If that air happens to be hotter due to the table heating the air little bit or on a lap with your body heating the air a little bit, that slightly heated air is going to be a bigger player or as big a player as the bottom panel being heated by your lap or the table.

    One interesting bit is if radiative cooling is a big player, you should buy space gray colors or just paint it black, and use it only in the shade. But I don’t think that will do much due to the aforementioned convective cooling from the blowers.
    Yeah, Space Gray is the only way to go, and I'll be using it indoors. Thanks for the info!
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