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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

Using a Macbook Pro as a Desktop


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Theshizirl

 
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When I decided to buy my Macbook Pro, I did so with the intention of also getting a monitor and keyboard to set it up as a desktop (in essence) when I am not moving it around. This seemed better than buying an iMac, since as a college student in need of a portable alternative, I could carry it from class to class and such when needed.

However, my dad said that such is bad for a laptop because it isn't meant to be running all the external hardware. Is there any truth to this?
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chas_m

 
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Simply put, your dad is wrong.

My BlackBook is three years old this month and spends easily 90% of its time on my desk (w/keyboard and ext monitor), powered by the mains. I only use it as a portable very occasionally. Not a hiccup, and the battery is still as good as the day I bought it.
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Doug b

 
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Well, don't be smug about it when you tell your dad that he's wrong, but do tell him so. If it wasn't "meant to" run all the external hardware he's speaking of, then why would it be capable of doing such only part time ? There's no logic in that whatsoever.

I've been running my late 08' 15" MBP in clam shell mode with an bluetooth mouse and keyboard with an external monitor up till now with ZERO problems aside from what would ordinarily be a problem otherwise.

I run it with an external HD specifically for my music in Songbird, and for all of my RAW NEF files that I use with both Lightroom 3 and PS5. I only ever use it as an 'notebook', when I want to chill on my terrace and do some work or casual stuff.

I DO suggest getting some type of laptop cooling stand or base, preferably one with a fan or two in it. I have an Antec with two fans, and also have put two rubber feet on the front side (supposed to be 4 but only 2 fit in my scenario) of it for more air space. Also, after the monitor has picked up that the MBP is in clam shell mode, you are able to open the lid again which is better for cooling.



I do love when dad's are wrong though! (but don't rub it in his face too hard)

Doug
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MYmacROX

 
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Originally Posted by Doug b View Post
...Also, after the monitor has picked up that the MBP is in clam shell mode, you are able to open the lid again which is better for cooling...
How is opening the lid better for cooling? The vents are in the back so when the lid is closed the vents are unobstructed. I've just never heard of anyone opening the lid before, so I'm curious. I use mine in clamshell (lid fully closed) when I watch network TV shows (nbc.com, etc.) with my MBP connected to one of my televisions and never noticed any excessive heat.

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Slydude

 
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Nice pic Doug. I wish my setup looked that well organized. Mine has cables running everywhere partly due to the type of stand I have. With it in place the laptop has to be on top of the desk. What are you using and how is it for cooling that way.

@MymacROX (great name BTW) I think the effect of having the lid open depends upon which laptop you have. Some of the older models seemed to vent a significant amount of heat upward through the keyboard.

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Doug b

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MYmacROX View Post
How is opening the lid better for cooling? The vents are in the back so when the lid is closed the vents are unobstructed. I've just never heard of anyone opening the lid before, so I'm curious. I use mine in clamshell (lid fully closed) when I watch network TV shows (nbc.com, etc.) with my MBP connected to one of my televisions and never noticed any excessive heat.
Go ahead and feel the left side of your MacBook by the speaker/charging port. Feel how hot it is right there ? Not only does air and heat go through the back panel, but it will exit through the keyboard and near the speaker well, too. Opening the shell simply allows more air to surround that space and exit out the back. Think of it as an entry point for cooler air. I'm also pretty sure that there is enough crack space in the keys to let air in there as well. Leaving the case closed, means that ONLY the hot air generated by the CPU is built up inside and vented.

But hey.. I'll do it my way, and you can do it your way.

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Originally Posted by Slydude View Post
Nice pic Doug. I wish my setup looked that well organized. Mine has cables running everywhere partly due to the type of stand I have. With it in place the laptop has to be on top of the desk. What are you using and how is it for cooling that way.
Ah the wonders of PS5 and content aware cloning ! I HATE wires. While it's true that my setup isn't a total cluster F in terms of cables and wires, it's also not as neat as you see it in the pic. I cloned out some wires because they were distracting.

What I'm using is an Antec cooler. First one on this page: Antec laptop cooling

It works well enough and has a dual fan speeds. Low and High. The cable which powers the unit also doubles as an USB port so you're not losing the one you plugged it into. But looking further down the page, I'm seeing one that I think looks much nicer and is more functional. It's the "cables Unlimited" one for 24$ Has 2 USB 2.0 ports and a card reader.

I've never had an issue with my MBP this way, in terms of overheating or anything, and I've put my machine through the paces set up like this. I've done extensive PS and Lightroom editing and play Urban Terror on a semi-regular basis. Not a glitch. And I love that the laptop is out of sight.

Quote:
@MymacROX (great name BTW) I think the effect of having the lid open depends upon which laptop you have. Some of the older models seemed to vent a significant amount of heat upward through the keyboard.
This is true too. Mine is the late 08' MBP Aluminum, and it does vent a lot of the heat through the keyboard and generally upward. But I would do this as well with my late 09 13" MBP.

Doug
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Another one here to back up the fact that you can use your MBP in clamshell mode. I have mine hooked up to my 27 inch HDTV with a wireless mouse and keyboard. Looks really nifty sitting there on my desk, closed yet running with the Apple logo showing on top.

I also use a cooling stand, it helps a lot.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MYmacROX View Post
How is opening the lid better for cooling? The vents are in the back so when the lid is closed the vents are unobstructed. I've just never heard of anyone opening the lid before, so I'm curious. I use mine in clamshell (lid fully closed) when I watch network TV shows (nbc.com, etc.) with my MBP connected to one of my televisions and never noticed any excessive heat.
Umm if you look closely there are vents where the hinges are, plus you can feel air coming up through the keys. This is on a MB, and I would image it would be the same for the Pro version.

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Thanks for that link Doug. That Cables Unlimited thing does look interesting. I am currently using the mStand Laptop Stand By Rain Design. Although it is a passive system it seems to do a pretty good job keeping temps down most of the time.

I usually run with the lid of MB Pro up so the screen essentially acts as a third screen. Most apps are on the main monitor, Mail and any Screen Sharing window on the second, with iChat, etc on the third. Prolly overkill but the more I use it this way the more I like it.

The one thing I find wrong with this, other than the space it takes up, is that I find that I end up using a mouse a lot and almost never make use of the multi-gesture trackpad features.

Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

"Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling
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