MacBook Pro gets hot

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Paul James

Aug 22, 2015, 5:54:39 AM8/22/15
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I have been in contact with Apple support about heat and running problems. With the help of Apple Techs I have my MacBook running smooth with Qlab again but Qlab seems to draw lots of power and causes my Mac to get very hot, that hot I have to use a 6" external fan on shows. When I shut down Qlab but leave the Mac running it cools back down to what would seem a normal running temperature.  At first I thought it could be my battery (Mac is a 2010 Mid) but I'm not sure now after doing some tests.
Is it my MacBook Pro or is it Qlab???

Thanks for any help.


Christopher Ashworth

Aug 22, 2015, 6:47:36 AM8/22/15
Hi Paul,

Can't really say for sure based on the information provided, but if you have QLab doing a lot of work yes it can cause the computer to get hot, just as any intensive processing will.

One place to get a sense of how much work an application is doing is using Apple's Activity monitor and looking at CPU load.

Also, sometimes the environment in which the machine is placed can interfere with the normal airflow of a machine, so you may want to check that the existing cooling mechanisms for the computer are not blocked in the location where the computer is installed for the show:


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Paul James

Aug 22, 2015, 4:12:18 PM8/22/15
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Thanks Chris, 

After 2 telephone calls with Apple Techs and 24 hours of testing/running my mac with and without Qlab it would appear that most of the problems were caused by temp files clogging up the CPU. Once the temp files were deleted the mac ran so much better, it would seem however that Qlab does make the CPU work hard and the Mac does get very hot. You are right Chris when you say about the "environment in which the machine is placed" I have started using a 6" desk fan which helps. The Mac is 5 years old now so I'm starting to think in terms of getting a new machine at some point and relegating this Mac to the back-up machine. Which begs the question (for another day) on how will that effect my licensing with Qlab. 


Rich Walsh

Aug 22, 2015, 7:10:18 PM8/22/15
As soon as you open QLab the machine switches from the integrated GPU to the discrete GPU. There was a problem with those affecting 2010 MBPs, and the next generation of MBPs have just undergone a recall to fix heat-related issues with the GPU. My 2011 machine runs a lot hotter when using the discrete GPU – although it is not as hot as it was now it has a new logic board.

So, a fair test of whether it's QLab or not will be to compare it with just having iPhoto open – which also switches the graphics.

An SMC reset is worth a try too – if the battery doesn't stop charging when full the machine will get hotter. Again, my experience was that I had to unplug the PSU as soon as the battery was charged until I had the logic board replaced.

You can't knock a basic stand to increase airflow across the bottom of an MBP either.

As for licensing, we seem to cover that at least once a month here. A quick Google brings you to (although rather depressingly it tries to auto suggest cracked copies of QLab too: scum).

What are these temp files, by the way?


Paul James

Aug 24, 2015, 3:52:12 AM8/24/15
to QLab
Thanks Rich
After testing it would seem that it's running Qlab that make the Mac hot, Activity monitor shows that when running video files on 2 screens I'm running at about 30% CPU,  before clearing temp files the CPU was maxing out. So I'm thinking it was the clog-up of files that effected the smooth running of Qlab not the heat generated when running Qlab. Apple techs have got back to me about using a desk fan, they say to cool the bottom of the Mac and not aim the fan at the back as it's the back of the Mac is the airflow exit. 

I have been using ProRes 422 LT video compression which as been fine till now but I have switched from Final Cut to Adobe Premiere Pro CC which has up to date codec's etc. I am using Quicktime Format, PAL DV, Video Codec DV25 PAL which seems fine to me but is there any better? MP4 files are not so good and run at 50% CPU.

Thank you for the link to info about the Qlab licence that clears the up. 

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