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I’m : a programmer, writer, podcaster, geek, and coffee enthusiast.

Heat and fan-noise issues with 2011 15” MacBook Pro

There’s trouble in my laptop paradise. I ended that with this caveat:

It’s much more comfortable to type on the 2011 model, with one big exception: the 2011 model runs much hotter.

I need more time to form a concrete opinion, but it seems so far that this CPU’s awesome performance definitely comes at a cost of increased heat and reduced battery life. For my intended usage as a desktop most of the time, that’s an acceptable tradeoff.

This turned out to be worse than I thought it would be, and today, the last day of my return period, I decided to return it and exchange it for a slower model.

The problem

Not only does the 2011 15” MacBook Pro run much hotter than previous generations, but as a result, the fans very frequently kick up to full speed (6200 RPM), greatly annoying anyone in the area who’s not wearing headphones.

I’ve done a lot of Google research and impromptu Twitter surveys, and this seems like a very common problem, exacerbated by a number of factors:

Put simply, it sounds like the 2011 15” MacBook Pro has a lot of manufacturing inconsistencies and defects that result in improper cooling. But it also sounds like Apple wedged far too much power draw and heat into an enclosure that’s not designed to properly cool or power these demands.

It’s not like Apple to release products like this.

But if I can get one working within my tolerances, it’s still the perfect computer for me right now. So I’m trying.

The attempted solution

Tonight, after requesting the return on my 2.3, I ordered a new, slower model that’s likely to run cooler with less fan noise. It’s the base-model 15”, but with an antiglare (matte) display added:

So I’ll see what happens. I’m not sure what I’ll do if it doesn’t work out. This generation of 15” MacBook Pros has a lot of problems, and Apple really needs next year’s cooler-running Ivy Bridge processors as soon as possible.

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