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Addresses an overheating issue in a MacBook

Apple this week posted an updated firmware for MacBook owners that appear to address an issue regarding random shutdowns. The firmware said Apple, updates a critical SMC monitoring component to improve system stability as well as solve the intermittent shutdown issues. Apple is usually thin on details when it releases new firmware upgrades for its line of notebook computers but this time did indicate that users with OS X version 10.4.6 or earlier will have to perform a system update to 10.4.8 in order to install the new firmware.

DailyTech previously reported that many MacBook owners were complaining about random shutdowns. One well known report suggested that the problem was related to a short wire that linked a system temperature sensor to the MacBook's main logic board. Because the update was just released this week, it's unknown how well it has resolved the above issue.

The MacBook as well as its bigger brother the MacBook Pro has been covered here at DailyTech since their respective launches. Just this week I had my personal MacBook Pro (2.16GHz Core Duo) repaired under warranty. My MacBook Pro was already running quite hot (just like every other unit out there), and the situation did not better itself when the right fan in my MacBook Pro failed.

Using a tiny application called smcFanControl, I was able to increase the minimum RPM of my left fan as well as prove to the Apple reps at the Genius Bar that my right fan had died. smcFanControl allows users to adjust the minimum RPM speeds of both fans inside their MacBook or MacBook Pro units. The two fans can be adjusted in sync or independently. Under heavy load, the fans will still increase in speed automatically from the minimum custom setting -- unless you set your fans to a maximum 6000 RPM.

After Apple replaced the "inverter", the main logic board as well as the right fan assembly in my MacBook Pro, everything checked out well. However, MacBook Pro users should keep in mind that using smcFanControl is what will help reduce the heat in their notebooks. Previously, having my MacBook Pro plugged in on AC power it was nearly impossible to use the notebook on my lap. Apple sets the minimum fan speeds at 1000 RPM, and they do not increase in speed much until the system is under heavy load. Using smcFanControl to set the fans at a minimum of 3500 RPM, I am now able to use my MacBook Pro on my lap without a single issue -- it's that cool.

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RE: Mmm ...
By plinden on 10/27/2006 1:56:47 PM , Rating: 4
Comparing a Core Solo Macbook to a Pentium 4 Dell (seems likely) is comparing apples and oranges (no pun intended), it has absolutley nothing to do with Dell or Apple.

So, you take one sentence from my post to make a point, that's totally wrong anyway?

The Dell Latitudes are aimed at professionals, so I'm comparing a consumer Core Duo MacBook at 1.83GHz to a professional Pentium-M D810 at 2.16GHz. Yes, apples and oranges (or should that be lemons) because the consumer laptop runs cooler, and is quieter, thinner and lighter than the professional laptop and was half the price. I haven't mentioned performance, since the transition to dual cores makes that hard to do fairly, but for applications that use a single core (for instance compiling the same Java project using ant on the command line) the MacBook is significantly faster than the Dell (that difference would disappear with a more up to date dual core PC, so there's no need to respond with anything related to that)

Of course, the lack of GPU means my wife can't play <insert current 3D game here> but since she doesn't play games (and neither do I - the GPU in the Dell was a total waste) that's hardly a handicap.

RE: Mmm ...
By Pandamonium on 10/28/2006 2:57:27 PM , Rating: 2
The point is that Macbooks and Dells share most of the same hardware. You're comparing two different kinds of CPUs. The Core chips weren't around when your dell workstation was bought; compare the macbook to any PC running the same type of CPU, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a difference. That's an apples to apples comparison.

While my next purchase will likely be a macbook, I can't stand it when people try to make baseless arguments about why macs are superior. Check your logic before you next post.

RE: Mmm ...
By Quiksel on 10/29/2006 3:34:55 PM , Rating: 2
I can't stand it when people try to make baseless arguments about why macs are superior.

umm, were you reading? His post makes more than just "baseless" arguments:
the consumer laptop runs cooler, and is quieter, thinner and lighter than the professional laptop and was half the price.

While you are correct that his performance comparisons between the machines shouldn't really be considered 1:1, the other features of the Apple product DOES give it a base to qualify a superior product. This is marketing, folks. Make your product unique. Just the remote for Front Row IMO is an innovation, and deserves some mention when comparing these products.

So, please check your logic, too, please.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
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