The Old Macbook Pro

Let me start off by saying that I am enamored with the MacBook Pro. It’s a really nice computer. I have no regrets buying it. That said, the experience I’ve recently had has left me feeling a bit miffed.

On Friday we recieved a new MacBook Pro for use in one of our departments. As part of my job I was assigned to image the computer with the standard image we use on campus. I updated the firmware and installed any needed updates. Toward the end of the day I decided to run a little test.

The new MBP’s specs are as follows:
1GB RAM (512mbx2)
80GB 5400rpm HD

The spec’s of my two month old machine:
100GB 7200rpm

I placed both machines on my desk and plugged them in. Then I let them sit idle for a few minutes to let them “warm up”. Next, I opened two Terminal windows and ran yes > /dev/null. This maxed out the processor at 100%. I then opened the neat utility CoreDuoTemp to monitor the temperature of the processor. After about 20 minutes this is what both comptuers reported back:

The new Macbook. Week 20.

My Macbook. Week 12

Yes, you read that right. The new MacBook Pro runs 25 degrees cooler than my MacBook Pro. Or, more importantly, my MBP runs 25 degrees HOTTER than the newest revision.

Here’s a full view of the desktop, for each machine, at the time of this test:


Concerned that perhaps something was wrong with my MBP, I decided to head down to the Apple store this morning. I registered via Concerige before I left and had an appointment scheduled for 10:30. I arrived a few minutes early, mainly to play with the Macbook’s they had on display. At 10:45 my name was called and I explained to the Genius my concerns. I first mentioned the strange ‘whine’ my MBP has and he took it to the back of the store to listen to. When he returned, he stated that he mainly works on ipods and the other Genius will help me. Ok, so I took a seat and waited. At 11:20 the Genius finished with a prior customer and asked me what was wrong. I explained to him the whine and then spoke to him about the heat. He told me that the whine was normal, all of the MBP’s make that sound. Even the ones on the showroom floor. Ok, fine. I can live with the whine. It’s noticible only in the quietest of situations.

As for the heat, he explained that the ‘old’ MBP’s do run hot.* He made mention that Apple has made revisions which have corrected such high temperatures. I asked him if my temperature was too hot or out of the norm. He merely stated that Apple has gradually revised the computer over time. I wasn’t fishing for a new MBP, just that mine would be fixed. I think that a 20+ degree temperature difference warrants an investigation. He kept reiteraiting that all Mac portables have run hot. I mentioned the reports of thermal paste being applied incorrectly on some MBP’s. He seemed puzzled at my knowledge of such technical matters. I then showed him the above screenshots and explained how I work for a local University in which it is my job to repair and maintain comptuers.

Needless to say, he remained firm in his belief that the comptuer was running normally. I asked him what would happen if I took the machine apart and fixed the thermal paste myself. He stated that if I did it and didn’t break anything and left no trace that I opened tha machine that I would be in the clear. Obviously, if I were to break something or leave incriminating evidence of tampering, my warranty would be kaput.
I asked him to document this visit and I finally went on my way, at 11:45.

So, now I sit here in the knowledge that I now have an ‘old’ MBP. It’s slower (ha, by .17Ghx!) and is hotter by 25 degrees. I guess that’s what I get for being an early adopter.

*Yes, he refered to my two month old computer as being old. I understand he did this to clarify the differences, but it did bug me.

4 thoughts on “The Old Macbook Pro”

  1. I’ve been monitoring blogs concerning this heat and whine issue almost hourly for days in the hopes of buying a MacBook Pro production batch that has these problems cleared up. This is one of the only posts that has given good evidence that the latest of the line have been tweaked for the better.

    Could be a fluke, the new model you were testing. Did it whine like your “old” MacBook?

  2. Wow!
    That’s a HUGE difference… I found your site while investigating the new MacBook (non-Pro) which is running as hot as your “old” MBP. I guess I’m going to wait it out 2 months till Apple releases a new MacBook revision with lower temps.

  3. Thx for sharing.
    I ordered the cheapest Macbook and try to ignoring all of the heat issues, because I can’t wait any longer, I waited so long for the new Macbook.
    I’m not living in the US, I live in Indonesia, well appereantly there are no real Apple support here. So, what’s happened next if my new Macbook fried up is still unknown, maybe I just eat up all the heat, and hopefully I’m not getting deffective Macbook.

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