Ask PowerPage: PowerBook G4 Operating Temperature (Updated 3x)

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Date: Tuesday, April 19th, 2005, 00:03
Category: Hardware, PowerBook 15-Inch

PowerPage reader Phil asks:

What is the normal operating temperature of a PowerBook G4 15″ AL 1.25. Right now the CPU temperature is 138. The power Supply is 145. I never hear the fan. Is this normal? Here at work I drive a 20″ DVI LCD.

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PowerPage reader Phil asks:

What is the normal operating temperature of a PowerBook G4 15″ AL 1.25. Right now the CPU temperature is 138. The power Supply is 145. I never hear the fan. Is this normal? Here at work I drive a 20″ DVI LCD.

My PowerBook G4 15-inch (1.5GHz) will run between 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 Celsius) and 145F (63C) on most days and even hotter than that sometime. After much more than 120 degrees, a laptop cooling stand of some form is required equipment. PowerBooks simply get too hot after more than an hour of use to use on your lap. It has already been well documented that heat from laptop computers can cause infertility in men.
If you’re curious about the temperature of your PowerBook, download the freeware application ThermoInDock which shows the CPU’s junction temperature in the Dock.
Apple’s knowledge base article PowerBook G4 (12-inch) feels warm to the touch acknowledges the heat issue:

After extended periods of use, the surfaces of the PowerBook G4 (12-inch) computers can become warm. As with all Apple products, the PowerBook G4 (12-inch) computer was designed to comply with safety agency specifications. The internal fan in the PowerBook G4 (12-inch) computers was designed to turn on within a temperature range that is selected to ensure both proper operation of the computer, and that no surface temperature should present a safety issue.

Some of your responses on PowerBook temperatures:

PB 12″, 867 MHz, 640 MB RAM, 80 GB (BTO), OS 10.3.9 here, the original toaster. Used to get quite hot when purchased (summer) but was kind on black-roast nerves as fan came on only above 140 F, and raising its behind with a thick pencil helped. That changed shortly after with some OS upgrade – for good. Ever since the fan kicks in at 125 F or so and it’s loud. Relief is obtained setting the processor to minimum which handles text and URLs with little graphic content and few windows open. Come summer I will reduce screen brightness, will someone please write a hack for reducing HD rotation speed soon? (Reader 1)
My Gen 1 PB 12″ is currently running 122F on CPU topside and 127F CPU bottomside. Of note, when I installed Virex 7.5.1 and selected active scanning, my temps were about 130/140….and the fan was on ALL the time… (Reader 2)
I just got a version D 12 inch PB, it seems to run a lot cooler then my version A. I run an app called Temperature Monitor right now its saying 112.5 after 20 minutes of use. (Reader 3)
My PowerBook 12″ CPU temperature averages around 115f. Video card averages 130f normally & spikes to about 160f on heavy use. It used to get really hot when I was using a laptop stand that kept it at an angle. It turns out that if you keep the display opened all the way the screen hinge blocks the air vent in the back & it gets extremely hot. I have also noticed that some random processes will hang at a high CPU rate. Especially fsck_DOS (or whatever the name is) that comes up sometimes with digital camera cards. Killing that process always brings the fan back down.
My 1 ghz, 768 ram, combo drive 12 inch ran as hot as 138 degrees. Never reached 140 though. I had Firefox, Word, Adium, Entourage, and NetNews Wire, XBattery, Activity Monitor all running indoors in a cool room. (Reader 4)
My PowerBook 12inch 1.33Ghz with 768 Megs is currently running the following temperatures:
Processor ? 116 degrees
Graphics ? 140 degrees
HDD – 114 degrees
Battery ? 86 degrees
This is about normal however the processor has spiked up to about the high 120s when in high use. I should also mention that my PowerBook is hooked up to a 21 inch display. (Reader 5)
I have a 1.5GHz 15″ (Last year’s model) with the 128MB VRAM and 5400RPM hd options. I keep the machine on an iBreeze stand when I’m at my desk, which helps lower the idle temperature of the machine by about 10 degrees. On AC power, with performance set on max, the temperature hovers between 120 and 135 degrees. Under heavy load (photoshop, final cut, etc), the temperature peaks to 145 degrees before the left blower kicks on and starts to quickly lower temperature. The blower then goes off once it gets below 139 degrees. The highest i’ve seen it go is 146.7, but the blower has never had to work very hard to cool down the machine (and the right side blower has never turned on unless i’m running service diagnostics.) (Reader 6)
ThermographX contains user-submitted temperature readings from a wide variety of laptops and desktops. Just check out “Compare Submitted Measurements” under ThermographX’s “Info” menu. Users are invited to submit their own temperature measurements.(Reader 7)

How hot does your PowerBook run? Contact us with your results. We’re especially interested in hearing from users of the PowerBook 12-inch.

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