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smcFanControl - Manually set some Macs' fan speeds Pick of the Week
The macosxhints Rating:

[Score: 10 out of 10]
[This is the Pick of the Week for the week of October 16th]

When the MacBooks were announced, I made my purchase decision relatively quickly -- I wanted something faster than my PowerBook G4, but didn't want to spend $2K+ for a MacBook Pro. The price and performance of the MacBook struck a sweet spot with me, and I purchased one of the first black units to show up in the Portland area (I waited to see them in person so I could judge the reflective screen's performance for myself). Generally, I've been thrilled with the MacBook's performance, despite having to send it back to repair a way-too-warm power adapter (the repairs were successful).

The only two things I'm disappointed in are the size (I love the 12" form factor) and the high case temperature (especially in the bottom left corner). While I can't do anything about the first problem, thanks to smcFanControl, the second issue is now completely within my control. As seen in the picture at left, this simple app gives you a slider to set the minimum speed for your laptop's fan(s). It works with the MacBook, MacBook Pro, and Intel-powered minis, and it works well.

Apple sets the fan's speed at 1,500rpm, and this works well when I have the machine on the desk. But on my lap, it gets just a bit too warm. Using smcFanControl, I upped the speed to 3,000rpm, and saw a notable (two to four degrees Celsius) temperature drop. The case was cooler to the touch, too. Later today, I hope to get some more empirical data through a USB temperature probe. When I set the fan to max speed, I saw an even nicer temperature drop ... but I was having trouble enjoying it, thanks to the 747 that seemed to be landing nearby. Perhaps if you're wearing noise a cancelling headset it would be bearable...

The downsides? More fan noise, obviously -- although 3,000rpm was fine for my ears (though I probably wouldn't use that setting in a library). Perhaps slightly reduced battery life, and a bit more wear and tear on the fan components. But in exchange for a cooler lap, I think it's worth it. It's important to note that smcFanControl is just an app -- it doesn't install any components (unless you want it to run at startup). I've been using it to increase the fan speed when I have the machine on my lap, and reduce it again when it returns to the desk.

smcFanControl won't allow you to set the fan speed lower than Apple's default, so there shouldn't be any risk from using this app. Still, when mucking with hardware, you never know what might go wrong, so no warranty is expressed or implied with this hint!
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smcFanControl - Manually set some Macs' fan speeds | 8 comments | Create New Account
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Lobotomo Fan Control
Authored by: raider on Oct 18, '06 10:28:59AM
Lobotomo's Fan Control is a better choice.

It is a preference panel, and does not require an app to be run all the time. And it's changes persist across reboots.

Also, you can adjust the other fan levels as well.

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Lobotomo Fan Control
Authored by: ScienceGeek on Oct 18, '06 02:33:14PM

This app also lets you know if a fan isn't functioning.



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Lobotomo Fan Control
Authored by: jpbjpbjpbjpb on Oct 18, '06 04:12:37PM

Agreed. Lobotomo's Fan Control runs as a System Preference too, and doesn't need to be left open to keep the fan settings tweaked after waking the Macbook from sleep.



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smcFanControl - Manually set some Macs' fan speeds
Authored by: kenandles on Oct 18, '06 10:44:13AM
smcFanControl - Manually set some Macs' fan speeds
Authored by: jeaginsky on Oct 31, '06 06:59:28AM
also, just in case anyone has one of the narcoleptic macbooks:

http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/macbooksmcfirmwareupdate11.html
The SMC Update improves the MacBook's internal monitoring system and addresses issues with unexpected shutdowns. This update is recommended for all MacBook systems, including those that received warranty repair.

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smcFanControl - Manually set some Macs' fan speeds
Authored by: haloici0us on Oct 18, '06 06:49:28PM

Notebooks are portable computers and are no longer called "laptops" by most manufacturers because of higher processor temps.

The manual that came from my MacBook as well as the one available on the Apple website state this:
"Do not leave the bottom of your MacBook in contact with your lap or any surface of your body for extended periods. Prolonged contact with your body could cause discomfort and potentially a burn."

I even use my MacBook on my lap despite that when I'm out somewhere and no table is available, like the nice waiting room for my car's repair shop. Nobody's perfect!



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New iMac and Extended MacBook/Pro Fan Control Versions
Authored by: BryanD on Jul 13, '08 12:21:17PM
I've generated 2 new versions of Fan Control, one for the Intel-based iMacs and one for the MacBook/MacBook Pro which has some extended control capabilities over the original Lobotomo Fan Control version. For screenshots and (free) downloads (with source code) see:

iMac Fan Control

Extended MacBook/MacBook Pro Fan Control

The iMac version allows separate sensors to drive the control of each of its 3 fans and the extended MacBook/MacBook Pro version allows fan-control via the CPU and/or GPU temperatures (useful if you play games on your laptop). There are also some other minor enhancements (see the ReadMe files).

I've also tried to make it easy to adapt the source code for other systems ... e.g., a version for the Mac Pro that uses different sensors to control different fans (or groups of fans).

Hope these are useful to others.

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smcFanControl - Manually set some Macs' fan speeds
Authored by: Roberto123 on Jul 29, '09 01:36:56PM
that came from my MacBook as well as the one available on the Apple website state this: "Do not leave the bottom of your MacBook in contact with your lap or any surface of your body for extended periods. Prolonged contact with your body could cause discomfort and potentially

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