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We attended Intel's cooling presentation this morning.

Intel's engineer complains that Apple is more concerned about making its products pretty than fixing their overheating problems.
What can Intel do to stop companies like Apple from selling overheating designs? "Nothing", presenter says.

In the quick IDF 2011 notes category, we wanted to share a humorous exchange we had with an Intel Corp. (INTC) engineer.  Joshua Linden-Levy is a "Mechanical Pathfinding Engineer" at Intel and delivered a terrific presentation on cooling in Oak Trail, the Intel Atom platform that replaces Pine Trail.

In the presentation Mr. Linden-Levy discussed how the target temperature for laptops was 58 Celsius, according to industry standards.  Given the high temperatures long suffered by various editions of Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) MacBook Pros, we wanted to ask him how Intel plans to keep its partners (like Apple) from violating the proposed thermal guidelines on Oak Trail and its other product lines (Apple is unlikely to use Oak Trail, but typically uses other Intel's mainstream notebook and desktop processor lines in its models).

During the Q&A session Mr. Linden-Levy acknowledged hearing about Apple's laptop thermal issues.  What can Intel do prevent partners from committing such thermal botch jobs?  "Nothing," says Mr. Linden-Levy, "[the manufacturer will] just get a bad reputation among consumers."

As we discussed the issue further he added, "Well as you know, with Apple their chief priority is always form and looks -- everything else, including cooling design is an afterthought."

We found the presenter's informed, earnest unscripted dialogue about one of his company's largest partners refreshing.

Currently the thermal problem-plagued MacBook Pro models sell for almost twice the price of comparable hardware models from ASUSTEK Computer Inc. (TPE:2357).  Of course ASUSTEK's laptops lack the special aluminum unibody -- but when that unibody can get as hot as 100 degrees Celsius, it's hardly a selling point.

To be fair, less pricey models from 
Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) and Dell, Inc. (DELLhave suffered from similar issues [1][2].  Unlike these companies, though, Apple often refuses to recall or fully patch its faulty products.


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Idiots have to be idiots.
By messele on 9/15/2011 2:37:14 AM , Rating: -1
So, the video linked to boasts a core temp of 90 deg C (not 100 but ok, close enough) and this is the focus. But what is this, the case temperature is less than 30 deg C? So that is not exactly going to cause injury is it?

Couple of other observations

- Had to run Flash on YouTube to get the thing to produce those kinds of temperatures. This tells you everything that you need to know about the efficiency of Flash.

- Chose to run Win7 to really prove his point. Enough said about the efficiency of Windows then.

So, along with many on here the guy on the YouTube video is clearly an expert in thermal engineering and the people at Apple know zip no the subject. Best start submitting your job applications guys, they will pay very well for such expertise!

My qualification? Well as I've owned a 2010 i7 17" MBP for around 16 months now, which I regularly use on my lap (bare legs) whilst running intensive software such as Handbrake and working with other software, I think I can vouch for the fact that there is no design flaw with the product. Yes the fans do spin up but since aluminium is such a good conductor of heat a lot of that energy is drifting away naturally.

The hottest part of the case? Well it's where the power circuitry is in the top left hand corner, so nothing to do with CPU or GPU or any of that stuff these 'experts' are talking about since these are dealt with directly by the heatsink, heat pipes and fans.

Isn't it strange that despite all these millions of overheating computers that Apple are replacing, and they replacing the replacements as the problem is a design flaw, the company still struggles on...

quote:
but when that unibody can get as hot as 100 degrees Celsius, it's hardly a selling point.


Mick, you're an idiot and only a similarly ignorant idiot is going to listen to your constant trolling.




RE: Idiots have to be idiots.
By damianrobertjones on 9/15/2011 3:44:14 AM , Rating: 2
Did you see the mac tear down where they noticed the amount of thermal paste was WAY above the normal amount... literally splattered on? There are also a whole load of overheating cases out there on support forums for YOU to find.

If your machine is fine then that's fantastic for you but others do not and will not have the same trouble free life.


RE: Idiots have to be idiots.
By messele on 9/15/11, Rating: -1
RE: Idiots have to be idiots.
By Fritzr on 9/15/2011 5:47:59 AM , Rating: 3
Design is not just the artistic appearance of the machine when viewed as an artwork.

Engineering design, includes wiring layout, circuit board design, chipset used in the product ... and all the things that go into venting the heat produced. Fail to execute these hidden design items properly results in a substandard product...such as the MacBook Pro that overheats if the CPU load approaches 100% for any length of time. (Actually lower values for extended periods will cause the CPU to die prematurely due to overheating damage)

The part of the design that the Intel engineer was speaking about was the design of the cooling system. Apple designs it equipment as art first with engineering design being an afterthought is what he is saying.

As Tony Swash said a few weeks ago, Flash is evil it causes my MBP to shut down due to overheating.

My reaction at the time was that a properly designed cooling system will allow the computer to continue operating at max CPU load. His computer was shutting down due to an engineering design flaw, not Flash.


RE: Idiots have to be idiots.
By Solandri on 9/15/2011 4:18:18 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
So, the video linked to boasts a core temp of 90 deg C (not 100 but ok, close enough) and this is the focus. But what is this, the case temperature is less than 30 deg C? So that is not exactly going to cause injury is it?

I suspect OS X's reported case temp is not accurately reflecting the temp of the Macbook's case. Notebookcheck's review of the 2010 MBP (with only an i5) measured a maximum case temp of 45 C, which while not unbearable, is starting to approach uncomfortable.

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Apple-MacBook-...

quote:
- Had to run Flash on YouTube to get the thing to produce those kinds of temperatures. This tells you everything that you need to know about the efficiency of Flash.

I have one of the thermally crappy Sony Z designs. With the nVidia chip active, it idles at 68 C, and peaks at 88 C while gaming.

Playing a 1080p YouTube Flash video on my i5 uses about 50% CPU with temps settling at 74 C. Playing it in HTML 5 mode uses about 39% CPU with temps settling at about 72 C. Idle it's at about 20% CPU, so Flash is using about 1.5x the CPU of HTML 5. Either the Macbook is thermally poorly designed, or Flash on OS X sucks.

quote:
- Chose to run Win7 to really prove his point. Enough said about the efficiency of Windows then.

Because as explained in the video, Apple disables TurboBoost on the i5 and i7 under OS X. TB is the main distinguishing feature of the i5 and i7 over the i3. It's the primary reason you're paying extra for the i5 or i7 processor. The only way to enable it on a Macbook is to run Windows on it. Of course the temperatures will be higher once it's enabled (under Windows) - the processor is freed from OS X's artificial limitation and running at a higher clock speed.

quote:
The hottest part of the case? Well it's where the power circuitry is in the top left hand corner, so nothing to do with CPU or GPU or any of that stuff these 'experts' are talking about since these are dealt with directly by the heatsink, heat pipes and fans.

The power circuitry (it converts the 12-19V DC from the AC adapter into 5V, 3.3V, and lower voltages used by the laptop's components) should be generating very little heat. Any decent DC power converter should be 85%-95% efficient. That is, 85%-95% of the heat should be given off by the CPU, GPU, chipset, and display; only 5%-15% given off by the power circuitry. If the biggest source of heat on the Macbook Pro is due to the power circuitry, it's an indication of a horribly inefficient design wasting an enormous amount of energy.

The Macbooks vent heat upwards against the display. If you look at the teardown, the top left corner (looking at the keyboard) is where there are no fans, and so the heat builds up due to lack of air circulation.

http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook-Pro-17-Inch...

I actually agree with you that 90 C CPU temps are within Intel's operating specs, so not something to be overly concerned about (if you're going to replace the laptop within 2-3 years). But if you read Anandtech's review of the Macbook Pros, you'll see that Apple did have overheating problems with the design and deliberately crippled the CPU's performance to keep the temps within acceptable limits (may have been fixed with the 2011 models, I only skimmed that review). If you have a MBP with an i5 or i7, you're getting less performance than a Windows laptop running the same i5 or i7.


RE: Idiots have to be idiots.
By FITCamaro on 9/15/2011 7:14:31 AM , Rating: 2
I run Windows 7 on the MacBook Pro I have from my company. I can definitely tell you can get hot. Just from doing nothing graphically intensive even.

Part of the problem is that Apple didn't release drivers for graphics switching. So you're always using the discrete GPU vs the onboard when doing things like surfing the net. This is probably because they don't want Windows coming close in terms on battery life on their hardware.

Just compiling Java code with 30% CPU utilization (sandy bridge i7 quad core with HT) can get the laptop rather hot not only from the CPU doing work but the hard drive spinning. And if you think to yourself "well at least its quiet", wrong. It gets pretty loud when its stressed. Right now just sitting here its relatively cool. But I haven't started doing much yet.

Once I get my IDEs and database running, it'll be warm to the touch. But again, that is in large part due to the discrete GPU always being on.


RE: Idiots have to be idiots.
By jecs on 9/15/2011 11:34:03 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Part of the problem is that Apple didn't release drivers for graphics switching. So you're always using the discrete GPU vs the onboard when doing things like surfing the net. This is probably because they don't want Windows coming close in terms on battery life on their hardware.


Yes, I think Apple does care very little to bring a Windows experience on par to OSX on any Mac. Also Windows has proven to consume any battery faster than OSX. There are some test in Anandtech. But any overheating problem on Macs is Apple's responsibility.


RE: Idiots have to be idiots.
By KPOM1 on 9/15/2011 11:20:46 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Because as explained in the video, Apple disables TurboBoost on the i5 and i7 under OS X. TB is the main distinguishing feature of the i5 and i7 over the i3. It's the primary reason you're paying extra for the i5 or i7 processor. The only way to enable it on a Macbook is to run Windows on it. Of course the temperatures will be higher once it's enabled (under Windows) - the processor is freed from OS X's artificial limitation and running at a higher clock speed.


They most certainly did NOT disable Turbo Boost on the 2011 MacBook Air, as evidenced by the many benchmarks that show the 1.7GHz processor (which boosts to 2.4GHz in dual core mode) being about 20% faster than the 1.6GHz processor (which boosts to 2.0GHz).


RE: Idiots have to be idiots.
By KPOM1 on 9/15/2011 11:58:06 AM , Rating: 2
The 2011 MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs have full Turbo Boost enabled under OS X. AnandTech's testing confirms it.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4528/the-2011-macboo...


RE: Idiots have to be idiots.
By messele on 9/15/11, Rating: 0
RE: Idiots have to be idiots.
By FITCamaro on 9/15/2011 7:15:33 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Isn't it strange that despite all these millions of overheating computers that Apple are replacing, and they replacing the replacements as the problem is a design flaw, the company still struggles on...


Sheep rarely question their masters.


RE: Idiots have to be idiots.
By KPOM1 on 9/15/11, Rating: -1
RE: Idiots have to be idiots.
By FITCamaro on 9/15/2011 9:43:49 PM , Rating: 1
Apple could release a laptop that literally rapes the owners wife, girlfriend, and/or mother. People would still line up to buy one. And the next one.

PC owners know Windows has flaws. But it does its job well and we can put it on any hardware we like for a cheap price. Not just the few pieces that Apple decides on for a drastically higher price.


RE: Idiots have to be idiots.
By KPOM1 on 9/17/2011 8:34:11 PM , Rating: 1
That's why the G4 Cube was such a smashing success, and why the $10,000 20th Anniversary Mac sold like hotcakes. Oh, wait a minute...

Windows does offer a choice of hardware (even Macs, for that matter). However, that's not to say that there aren't advantages of Macs. The MacBook Air is very competitively priced, as evidenced by the struggles of competing manufacturers to significantly undercut Apple's pricing with comparable technology (companies like Acer are relying on Core i3s or HDD/SSD hybrids to undercut the $999 MacBook Air price).


"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer














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