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 Post subject: 13" Macbook Pro 2.53Gz Too Loud
PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:35 am 
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Joined: Mon May 03, 2004 11:51 pm
Posts: 39
Hi,

I bought a Macbook Pro on Black Friday thinking it'd be a good system for a basic home machine. The most demanding task would be to play 1080p movies.

I've installed Windows 7 on it and set the power settings on power saver. I then tweaked the power settings, so that it will ramp down the cpu as much as possible (passive mode). I think it throttles the core speed/voltage to 1.6Ghz and less than 1W for the power based on CPU-Z.

I find that when playing 480p/720p movies the system is powerful enough to play them so it doesn't ramp higher than 1.6Ghz and the GPU/CPU temps are about 60C/50C (per core) as indicated by speedfan. The system is still silent, except for the hard drive (since I was planning to replace with SSD)

However when playing a H.264 1080p file, it runs at the full 2.53Ghz, and the GPU/CPU temps jump to about 80-85C, and at this point the system fans ramp up. I have the laptop propped up with the screen open for better airflow.

Does anyone know if this is normal behaviour for a Macbook Pro? Is there any 13" laptop that can play 1080p silently? If not, I'll probably just return the system and build a comparable desktop with big heatsinks.

Thanks,
- Edirol


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:46 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2007 3:29 pm
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Location: Lost and Found Bin, Cypress, CA, USA
Sorry it took me so long to chime in, but I had to gather some information via some additional testing of my own machine. I've got the 2.26 GHz MacBook Pro 13", and do mainly use it in OS X, though I do use Boot Camp for Windows 7 RTM. Here are a number of things to consider...

First of all, Boot Camp includes a BIOS compatibility layer for running Windows, since Macs run EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface). With the x64 versions of Vista and 7, this is unnecessary, since both are fully EFI compatible. The BIOS compatibility layer blunts performance in Windows, as well as taking a fair bit of extra power, thus making it run hotter. If you don't want to use OS X anymore, I would highly recommend installing an x64 Windows directly onto the hard drive without Boot Camp. I've tried this myself, and the difference is pronounced: ~5 hours battery life versus ~3½ with Boot Camp (just sitting at an idle Windows desktop). I'm a bit pressed for time, so I'll provide more info later if you would like it.

Newer GPU drivers direct from NVidia may improve the video offloading, thus cutting CPU load.

You could also change the processor policy in the power saver scheme to reduce the max % CPU speed. If 1080p still plays fine, then you can drop power consumption this way. Leaving the Balanced policy alone will allow you to switch back to full performance easily when needed.

The fan is controlled in EFI. The only software written to control it are OS X programs. There exist no Windows programs to do it, including the native Windows 7 fan control.

So the only way to slow the fan down is to reduce the power consumption. In OS X, I use CoolBook to undervolt the processor, resulting in a 40% drop in processor TDP at full bore. Unfortunately, the only Windows undervolting programs are ineffective for full control, but CrystalCPUID should be able to do it if you just need it for desktop use. The only thing it can't do is control the SuperLFM mode, which allows it to idle at 800MHz on battery. CPU-Z doesn't read this halved bus speed, so if CPU-Z says the VID is 0.875 V, then it's actually idling at 800MHz, not 1.6 GHz. Again, I can provide more information if you're interested.

Hope this helps!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:38 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 03, 2004 11:51 pm
Posts: 39
Hi RedAE102,

Thanks for the detailed reply. After I had posted that message, I found out that I can install OS X without bootcamp and that did bump up my performance numbers a bit. I was able to playback 1080p without the fans running high using MPC.

Though even without the bootcamp layer, my SSD performance still isn't quite where I expect it to be based on various benchmark results I've seen on the web on other non-Apple hardware.

In the meantime, I'll be returning the Macbook and wait until the driver set matures a bit more.

- Edirol


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:43 am 
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Joined: Sat May 21, 2005 9:48 am
Posts: 434
what software are you using to play the video?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 6:42 am 
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Joined: Mon May 03, 2004 11:51 pm
Posts: 39
Media Player Classic Homecinema. I reinstalled it after installing directX runtimes and it started to use the gfx card acceleration and was quiet on playback. I had other issues with the macbook in bootcamp so I opt'd to return it.

cloneman wrote:
what software are you using to play the video?


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