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You may have already heard about the review done by the folks at PC Authority in Australia, where they had an i7 MacBook Pro that got up to 100 degrees Celsius during benchmarking. Here is the URL in case you have not read it.

In any case, I was considering purchasing a 15" Macbook Pro with the i7 processor and the NVIDIA GeForce GT330M with 512 video memory. Having read how hot the computer got I started to become hesitant about purchasing. My main concern is long term damage to the computer due to excessive heat.

I plan to use the MacBook Pro as a development machine where I will be running Windows 7 within VMWare Fusion or Virtual Box. Within the VM I will be running IIS, SQL Server, Visual Studio and SharePoint Server. Hence why I would like to have the power of the i7 processor.

That is why I wanted to check with actually owners of the MacBooks with the i7 processor and see what their experiences have been. Have you noticed excessive heat? How does your Macbook handle process intensive apps over long periods of time? Thank you!

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I don't have 1 of the new i7 MBPs but have the 13" 2.53Ghz model from before, and even on this the temperature gets very hot, but it's only when doing video editing. I easily run VMware and parallels running XP, Windows 7, ubuntu and a SQL server all at the same time (as well as other programs like iTunes, Mail etc) without it getting as hot as when trying to convert a video file on its own. Oh and if you want to use it, Parallels is very good, the VMs run much faster than VirtualBox and a fair bit faster than VMware Fusion

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That is good to hear that that running the VM does not max out the processor like video conversion. I did not know Parallels was faster. In fact I had settled on VMWare Fusion because others had posted that they felt it was faster than Parallels. I guess the only way to check is to try. It is nice that they both have trial versions. Any thoughts on which product runs x64 Windows 7 better? I will need to run 64 bit Windows 7 for Sharepoint Development. – webworm May 3 '10 at 1:35
I've only tried it on VMware Fusion, but a friend of mine will only run it on parallels as he has to use Visual Studio, and it was apparently a lot faster starting up and in general use for that. – lavamunky May 3 '10 at 1:41
Forgot to add, 1 problem I've seen with parallels is it sometimes creates a process (that might not be killed when you kill the program) which will run in the background and take up (in my experience) about 20-30% CPU, though I've heard it making it go upto 90%, but it made my CPU temperature to go up from 45-50 degrees to about 65-75 – lavamunky May 3 '10 at 1:46
I found VMWare to be much more stable then Parallels. – Josh K May 3 '10 at 2:34

Remember that benchmarking deliberately stresses the system to see in essence how fast it can perform a variety of calculations.

In normal use I would not expect that amount of heat no matter what you throw at it. The i7 is a beast and can handle just about anything you throw at it with enough RAM.

There is a reason failure rates for laptops are higher then desktops or servers. Lots of heat, little space.

From the article you referenced:

Cinebench is of course one of the most CPU-heavy tasks we can throw at a system. CPU temperatures of 100 degrees aren't something to expect at every turn, however even our real world benchmarks were pushing CPU temps over 90 degrees.

A spokesperson from Apple said that the Macbook is "well within the safety requirements set by the US Safety Authority" and that the CPU temperature was "within the settings from Intel" (Specifications for the Core i7-620M provide operating temperatures of 0-105C(min-max)).

If the chip manufactor (Intel) states it can run up to 105C then it is fine to run it to 105C. I understand that that's the boiling point of water, but the chips a beast and the heat output (as demonstrated) is large.

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No doubt that notebook computers run hotter than desktops and servers but 100 degrees Celsius is the boiling point of water. That much is unreasonable. What I am wondering is if PC Authority had a defective unit? Various posts from around the net show some MacBook Pro i7 owners have the same heat related issues while others say theirs actually runs cooler than previous MacBook Pros. – webworm May 2 '10 at 17:53
@webworm: See my update, if Intel says it can operate at 105C then why not let it run to 100C? – Josh K May 2 '10 at 23:26
Because it is within 5 degrees of it's failure point. I see what you are saying about the processor but that high a temperature is too high for a notebook computer. If it is a fluke or a defective unit then that is one thing, but if this is how hot the i7 MacBook Pros run when running processor intensive apps then this is a problem in my opinion. Like you said ... the chip is a beast. Maybe too much of a beast for the current form factor of the MacBook Pro. – webworm May 3 '10 at 1:32
Wait, what's the failure point? Where are you getting that information? I can also attest most readily to the failsafes built into the Apple laptop lineup. If it hits too high a temperature it switches everything off. Plenty of protection on the chip. – Josh K May 3 '10 at 2:32

I have the MBP 13" i7 and it is really hot. Normal temps are most often between 60 & 70 c. And even in harder daily use it gets up to about 90-100 c. And I haven't even started to push it with video editing yet. A bit disappointed but I'll send it back to Apple and I'll see what they say.

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I can't speak to the heat issue, but I've been looking into a i7 MacBook Pro for a SharePoint 2010 test machine. The i7 chip that the MacBook Pro has (620M) is only a dual core. SharePoint 2010 requirements are four cores. Think the MacBook i7 chip is good enough?

From what research I've done, upgrading to 8GB of memory and a SSD might be needed for a MacBook Pro to do SP2010.

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I can't say from personal experience but there are many people who have posted about using the MacBook Pro for as a SharePoint 2010 development machine. Keep in mind this is just for development and not production. – webworm May 7 '10 at 13:30

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