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Heat and fan noise from the Retina MacBook Pro

Since the Retina 15” MacBook Pro still uses high-wattage mobile CPUs and a high-powered discrete GPU, I had some concerns about heat and fan noise. I had hoped that it would use lower-wattage CPUs or drop the high-powered GPU to reduce heat and noise, but Apple didn’t do either, opting for maximum-performance components instead.

The asymmetrical fan blades are an interesting trick to attempt to address this problem in a different way: rather than reducing the cooling load, they made the fan noise more pleasant.

Jason Snell graciously indulged my extreme nerdiness and let me test the fan noise on Macworld’s review unit last night. I couldn’t monitor temperatures or RPMs, but I could hear the noise and feel the heat. The results were promising but unsurprising:

Effectively, heat and fan volume are the same as the previous model, but the fan noise has a less irritating tone. If the previous 15” MacBook Pro design was too hot or loud for your preferences, the Retina model probably will be, too.

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