Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Thermal Corner for the 16-inch MacBook Pro

Peter Steinberger:

I found out that my MacBook Pro 2019 runs way faster if I close the lid when using an external screen - 2.7GHz (base 2.4+turbo) vs ~1.5 GHz due to thermal throttling. Gonna accept that these things can only drive one screen fast.

I never had this problem with my 2012 MacBook Pro. I’m glad I bought the 16-inch, because Big Sur doesn’t support the original Retina model, but the new one is a regression in this and other basics like trackpad, Touch Bar, and keyboard.

Ian (via Peter Steinberger):

There’s a 222 (so far) pages thread on Apple Forums with more information about this (or related)

Up to 226 now.


12 Comments RSS · Twitter

I’ve had this issue with 2014 Retina Macbook Pro (with two GPUs) as well, throughout various versions of Mac OS. Couldn’t figure out why I’ve never had issues driving two external monitors in the office (1920 x 1200 each), but each time I work from home my laptop is very sluggish. Turned out that it couldn’t handle driving a single 3440x1200 monitor and was overheating and throttling if I didn’t close the lid.

The new 16 inch MBP doesn’t have this issue.

> I never had this problem with my 2012 MacBook Pro.

That's because the inadequate thermal design in the 2012 manifested itself by burning out the GPU. I literally went through three GPUs on that model.

@Charles Sorry to hear that. I used the 2012 as my main Mac for many years, with a large external monitor, and never had any GPU or thermal problems. Not even much fan noise compared with the newer models.

> but the new one is a regression in this and other basics like *trackpad*, Touch Bar, and keyboard.

What do you mean about the trackpad being a regression? Been pretty happy with it since I got the 16" (though I haven't had the pleasure of owning a 2012 15").

@Franco It’s so large that I get tons of accidental input, described here.

@Michael, have you tried disabling "Tap to Click" for the trackpad?

I found that with this enabled I was getting all sorts of spurious input. No problems at all since I disabled it

@JohnB Thanks, but I have always had that off.

My experience with my 2012 MacBook Pro (A1398) has been very good, except for the dGPU and related thermals. I had it serviced for corrupted graphics at the end of its warranty. In the last few years I have used it more with external displays (force enables the dGPU) and it is much hotter and louder there. Recently had it driving two 30" Apple Cinema displays in clamshell mode and it runs too hot for me to use it this way. I also experienced a corrupt graphics issue running this way, alas. After some digging I learned that Apple had a service program for this model that involved gluing a piece of rubber on top of a chip near the dGPU.

I think I will avoid Apple laptops with dGPUs in the future.

@JohnB Some people use "Tap to Click" for accesibility reasons. I personally know some people with physical disabilities that really hate the bigger trackpads. They make their life worse.

I don't understand what the benefit of the huge trackpads is supposed to be. If they also acted as graphics tablets, and Apple shipped a real pressure-sensitive pen with their MacBooks, sure, I'd see the advantage, that would be pretty cool. But that's not what Apple is doing.

Realistically, how much of that space are you going to use when moving your finger? I can comfortably move my index finger maybe two inches without moving my palm; so four square inches is about the effective area of any touchpad I'm going to be intentionally touching.

The rest of the area just sits there and waits for unintentional touches.

Why are these things so huge?

There's a long [thread on MacRumors](https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/16-is-hot-noisy-with-an-external-monitor.2211747/)
Some people seem to think it's a driver issue with the discrete GPU, that when both the internal display and an external display are active, the GPU uses a lot of power even when running light loads. The 5600 GPU option that's new for 2020 seems to not have this issue.

I likewise think Apple's trackpads have become comically large. Bordering on uselessness. However, I do like a decent size trackpad, I think some of the Dell laptops of the last half dozen years have featured properly sized units.

As far as disabling tap to click, that would drive me bonkers, I used the feature all the time. Apple needs to just figure out their industrial design issues.

Leave a Comment