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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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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
"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007














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