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OS X - Apps and Games Discussion of applications and games available for Mac OS X.

Temperature Gauge and SMC Fan Control - Highly Recommended


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popmanw

 
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There are two apps that I highly recommend for iMac and MacBookPro users. I have only been a MAC user since June 2012, having replaced my Windows Desktop with a mid-2011 27" iMac.

The first app is called 'Temperature Gauge' by Tunabelly Software. It is available from the App Store for a small fee of 2.99GBP / $4.68USD. I started looking for such an app when my iMac was extremely hot to touch. Having been a Windows PC user, I was not used to this and was later told that imacs do get hot as they disperse heat via its aluminum casing. Still, it is a recommended app. It shows temperatures for CPU cores, GPU, optical drives, LCD monitor and Hard Drives. The app will also show a nice visual display of the temps with a marker showing the maximum it achieved. Fan revs are also visible with health indicator bars (green, yellow, red). You can have warnings posted when it reaches a certain temp and it will auto start in the background (no dock icon, just a menu bar icon) upon logon.

See post attachements for a picture of Temperature Gauge.

The second app is called 'SMC Fan Control' which is a popular fan speed modifier for apple systems. There is some debate in the Apple world about the need to alter fan speeds, but I personally have found this little gem to be a savour to keep the iMac under control in terms of temps, and prolong the life of its components. So why SMC? It only allows you to set minimum fan speeds. This means the system can still regulate the speed if it got too hot as that would be a max speed. Also, it will not let you set a min fan speed below the Apple defaults. It is by far the safest and most reliable fan modifier out there. You can change the readings between F and C degrees and even created speed profiles. This is handy as you could make a profile for browsing, video editing and gaming. Profiles (or favorites as they call them) can also be auto applied under various conditions. Again, it auto starts after login and remains in the background with a little status menu icon.

See post attachments for a picture of SMC Fan Control.

I highly recommend these two apps. Give them a whirl and post any comments or questions here.

Attached Images
File Type: png Temperature Gauge.png (184.4 KB, 67 views)
File Type: png SMC Fan Control.png (67.5 KB, 68 views)
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mrplow

 
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I'm pleased you're enjoying your Mac experience but in all honesty, you don't need either of those apps.

Modern hardware and operating systems are more than capable of looking after themselves. No need to monitor or mess with the fans and temps.

These type of things are only really of use on custom PC systems that are overclocked and tweaked beyond their normal operating parameters.

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popmanw

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrplow View Post
I'm pleased you're enjoying your Mac experience but in all honesty, you don't need either of those apps.

Modern hardware and operating systems are more than capable of looking after themselves. No need to monitor or mess with the fans and temps.

These type of things are only really of use on custom PC systems that are overclocked and tweaked beyond their normal operating parameters.
Yeah, I've started to realise that now. I think I was a little over cautious when I first got it you see. So much money. However, I was concerned when using Windows 7 in Bootcamp. It seemed to get very hot, even when idle. Would the iMac system still regulate the fans or would Windows OS take over? If Windows does, then god help the iMac. I abandoned bootcamp in favour of parallels.
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mrplow

 
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I run some pretty demanding games under Windows 7 bootcamped.

Battlefield 3, F.E.A.R 3, BLUR, Dead Island and more. The aluminium back does get hot, especially around the outlet vent along the top but it's never missed a beat.

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bobtomay

 
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Agree with mrplow.

As a home system builder, I've been building my own rigs and began overclocking in '95. As such, I was one extremely interested in temps/fan speeds on my own highly overclocked systems. There is no "need" for either of the above 2 apps.

I have an '06 MBP still going strong with I can't tell you how many hours of playing WoW (only god knows how many 8-10hr gaming sessions that thing has seen) and watching video (it is now used as a movie/streaming machine staying permanently attached to one of my TVs).

Yes, I installed both of those apps shortly after purchasing that MBP - and a whole bunch of other stuff brought over from my Windows experiences - it was my first Mac and cost me about $3k - I could have built a "real" nice overclocked desktop Win unit for way less.

It took me over a year to figure out there was no need to 2nd guess the engineers that had designed the MBP and get tired of all the Windows tricks I had picked up through the years to keep that OS running good.

Omg, after all those years of Windows, what a relief to finally figure out I didn't have to spend hours a week maintaining and looking over what the OS was doing any longer.

As I never advised, nor installed a temp monitor / fan speed controller on any machine I built at standard specs for friends in the Windows realm, I don't advise the "need" for either of them on a Mac either.

If you want to be using your Pro model Mac notebook on your lap, sitting on carpet, laying on the bed, etc... I'd recommend a laptop stand to keep it off those surfaces and keep the vent clear of obstruction.

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MacTechie

 
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Heat problems do occur on the Mac. I've had systems (especially MBPs) that 'stutter' when they get too hot. If you're playing a demanding game (like World of Warcraft) you can get a situation where it feels like you're watching an old Harry Hausen stop action movie.

Never tried over riding the fans, but I do keep an eye on them. Sometimes one will burn out on you and the computer has trouble managing temperatures after that. It can be worth a quick check to see if your fans are maxing out or if they're at zero with the temperature rising.

iStat Pro is a free system widget that let's you monitor various temperature gauges and the fan speeds. I wouldn't spend a lot of time watching temperatures, but if you get that stop action effect it's the the first thing I'd check.


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argenisg

 
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I have my MBP since a couple of months, coming from being a long time Windows user.
May be I am a little paranoid, but since I am in love with my MBP, I think all precautions are justified.

My MBP runs really hot, may be even hotter than any previous machine I had.
Since I lost a previous Sony Vaio laptop because of heat, no matter Apple engineers are great, I do prefer to try to keep my Mac cooler than it is.

Under normal usage, I mean web browsing, office apps and skype, I am getting temperatures never under 60 C, an avg of 70 C, and peaks of 90 C, even 103 C. I want to work, I don't pretend to evaporate water.

I installed Temperature Gauge, and since it logs to a csv file, I can see the heat and fan speed trends.

I was told Apple's engineers give priority to a silent machine over a burning one. I can tell this seems to be true since the fans are almost to the minimun 2000 r.p.m until you get to 80-90 C.

May be Intel's specs for the CPU are OK with this temperatures, but some time it is not the CPU but other components getting shorter lifes when working at this temperatures.

Today I just installed smcFanControl and at 4000 r.p.m for the first time I am looking my MBP working at 44 C. If I am on batteries I may set smcControl to go again to defaults, getting hot but extending battery life.

So, I endorse the recommendation of use both apps.
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I've been using SMC and Temperature Monitor (and Temperature Monitor lite) for several years now. I manually kick the fan speed on my iMac up to a medium setting when converting video and do find I get a slightly faster conversion time when my CPU is cooler even by a few degrees. Temperature monitor just helps me make sure the CPU and other internal components aren't suffering from too much heat.

As seen from the above posts many here disagree with the use of them, but hey, to each their own. I like them and will likely continue to use them for the foreseeable future.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTechie View Post
If you're playing a demanding game (like World of Warcraft) you can get a situation where it feels like you're watching an old Harry Hausen stop action movie.
I hate to be pedantic about this, so please read it in the nicest, smiliest sort or way, but I think you're thinking of Ray Harryhausen, the visual FX master of such films as Jason & the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans and other wonderful films.
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I downloaded a widget called iStat Pro and according to its readings (in Celsius):

HD. Mackintosh: 58
CPU: 55
Ambient: 36
CPU Diode: 57
CPU Heatsink: 57
Mem Controller: 59
Optical Drive: 49
Power Supply 2: 72

Seems kinda hot to me...

OSX 10.6.8/ 21.5 ' iMac i7/ 2TB HDD/ 12GB 1333 MHz DDR3 RAM
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That's warm..but nothing to worry about it. When you start getting into the 80's or 90's degree C, then you need to start worrying..

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