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Is running a MacBook Pro through a lot of program processing stressing the lifetime of the computer?

I am creating lots of videos and then converting them to MPEG-4 format. I know that video processing puts too much strain on the computer but is this bad for my MacBook Pro?

Is it possible that the processor will literally burn out because of all this processing?

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I've literally melted a hard drive when I left it constantly reading & writing for 11 consecutive days when I was living in a tropical city. The room had no air-conditioning. Wasn't pretty. – boehj Apr 24 '11 at 7:25
Just be aware that some of the recent Mabooks have been wilting under high load: – Linker3000 Apr 24 '11 at 8:43
Disclaimer: I'm an Apple-hater. That aside, I would expect an Apple laptop to fair better than most Windows laptop brands, since Apple are very popular for audio/video work and hobbies (i.e. why create a product that your higher-spending customers couldn't use reliably?), and also plenty of the cheaper Windows laptop manufacturers cut costs in the worst of places (HP/Compaq/ACER I'm looking at you angrily!). – Mark K Cowan Oct 23 '14 at 13:12
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Whilst it is technically possible in some situations, it is highly unlikely.

It won't damage anything as processing is what computers are designed for doing, however, it is possible that if you are in a hot location and the cooling is not adequate, it can produce excess heat which can cause damage - however, it should turn off before anything critical happens.

So, personally, I don't see the problem in doing it and I would do it.

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Thanks! Currently, I am processing the videos one video at a time but I was thinking that I would just create all the videos and then convert them in a large batch. One video at a time is too time consuming! – john doe Apr 24 '11 at 1:55
Well, Can't say for sure how it works on a Macbook, but if this was a Windows computer, I would advise getting a converter that is either multithreaded or supports queueing so that you can either convert fast or run one conversion per thread.... if it doesn't follow this, running 4 at the same time may just make each one go 4x slower as they would on its own. – William Hilsum Apr 24 '11 at 2:06
handbrake is multithreaded , and IIRC supports queueing – Journeyman Geek Apr 24 '11 at 6:45

Modern processors are often tested to the speed they need to run at, and graded based on that - so your processor probably has spent a fair bit of time at your maximum suggested clockspeed.

In addition, one of the legacies of the notoriously hot pentium IV family is that most modern processors come with a thermal cutoff - so its very likely that with the modern core2 or corei5/7 based systems its more likely that your system will shut down if it overheats, than literally burn out. Toms hardware had a video where they removed a heatsink from a PIV and an old K7, and well, that's a unlikely situation - and the PIV merely stuttered, and modern AMDs have far better thermal protection than the K7

So, no. It's unlikely to burn anything out with a heatsink and no overclocking.

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These answers are good, but strange things can happen.

I was not so lucky. I am typing this on a friend's computer because two days I shut the lid to my MacBook Pro 2.5GHz Core 2 Duo (2008) running Mac OS X 10.9.2. But I did not notice that it was still doing things when I went out. When I came back 3 hours latter it would not wake up. It was very hot and sadly the fans had not turned on. So it had burned itself out.

This should not happen.

  1. The chips (CPU/GPU) did not shut down when they got too hot. I don't know why this did not happen.
  2. The fans did not switch to high speed. I don't know why this happened, as they were running.
  3. The laptop kept on doing things with the lid closed. It was not connected to anything external.
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