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smcFanControl
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 plimogs on 10/29/2006 5:10:15 PM , Rating: 2
ok. I'll take a stab at this -- all this calling into to question of other people's logic, and over an apple product -- wouldn't you know it...

"there's nothing like this (that I know about) for a windows machine"
Granted, I've never owned a laptop, apple or otherwise, but since Anandtech got me hooked on overclocking -- goddamn you Anandtech! you and your comprehensive memory overclocking benchmarks! *raises fist in mock anger* -- I have however sought to keep components from burning up and my computer from randomly shutting down because of overheating, and I'm pretty confident that if you think that there aren't any 3rd party fan control apps for Windows, you just haven't been bothered to google for them at all . I mean, on my first search I was able to download SpeedFan (not that I was looking for any one particular app) which, at a glance, looks very nice indeed.

Then there's everything else you wrote up there... how the Dell is sooo much more expensive -- that Dell looks to have been pretty much a top-of-the-line machine... and as Anandtech has taught me over the years: top of the line costs more than what it's worth (usually adding something to the effect that only people who must have the absolute highest end at whatever the price should purchase it, and implying that they might in fact be purchasing a 1000$ component in lieu of a 200$ one which might have performed just as well with a little luck and a lot of overclocking) -- anyway, yeah, top of the line dell vs midrange apple, that's sure to create a disproportionate price differential; apples VS oranges right there. It's pretty much the same thing when you look at both laptops' features; the Dell is better across the board: more ram, faster CPU (on the bigger 90nm node no less, no wonder it's hotter), bigger screen, longer battery life, dedicated VGA... Not to mention that the damn thing was bought, what, all of 6 months prior?

I have a fun idea, lets go out and spend 1200$ on some new apple hardware, and then find some more apple hardware that somebody spend 2500$ on 20 years ago... and then we can all have another apple(s) to apple(s) comparison...


"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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