Why is my Macbook Pro 2012 retina all of a sudden overheating and clocking down?

Discussion in 'Mac Notebooks' started by almix12, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. almix12

    almix12 New Member

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    Hi there,

    My macbook pro 2012 retina is running at a steady 105 degrees pretty much whenever I do anything. It's a 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7 with 8GB ram. I'm regularly using a second monitor via HDMI and an audio interface using thunderbolt to firewire 400. A few months ago I opened the computer up, replaced one fan, and cleaned all the dust out with compressed air. I also put new heat sink paste on the CPU but I fear I may have put far too much. Could this be enough to cause these problems?



    Whenever I open a new program, click on a new youtube video, open a new tab even, it hikes the temp up to 105 degrees Celcius, and clocks the CPU down to 0.83 GHz and makes the computer next to unusable until it cools back down. This is with very moderate ram usage in activity monitor but my CPU load sky rockets. Kernel (in activity monitor) starts to use upwards of 200% CPU power. I can also hear my fans kicking in like crazy.

    I'm getting this temp info from the Intel Power Gadget. which says the Power usage, as well as Frequency and Temperature.
    In the attached file you can see the moment I click on a youtube video and it dips down to 0.83GHz. The temp didn't quite hit 105 because I literally have a gel ice pack underneath my laptop.

    Any ideas of things I could try?

    Many thanks,

    Alex
     

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    almix12, Nov 7, 2018
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  2. almix12

    Allen Davis New Member

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    I can't imagine why excessive heatsink paste could be the problem unless it spread over the edges of the CPU.

    Considering you have a 2012 Retina MBP, I'm curious why you haven't installed more RAM? I have the non-Retina 2012 MBP, and it had 8GB RAM when I bought it. I thought it ran a little warm compared to my previous laptop, but after I upgraded to 16GB a few days later, it seemed to run much cooler.

    Not sure what programs you're running, but it doesn't sound like you're placing an undue load on your CPU unless you're simply doing too many things at once. However, I never seemed to bump into that ceiling even with only 8GB of memory. And I would have Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere all running at once.
     
    Allen Davis, Nov 7, 2018
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  3. almix12

    almix12 New Member

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    Thanks for your reply.
    I've attached a screenshot of the RAM usage from activity monitor. I don't think ram is the problem. I have been thinking of upgrading though. But I other than updating a few very basic programs (browsers, spotify, etc.) I haven't actually installed anything new and RAM or CPU intensive.
    There is actually a chance the heatsink paste may have come off the edge of the CPU after I put it back together. I just ordered the appropriate macbook screwdrivers to open it up and have a look. Can you explain why that would be an issue? I've also read that simply too much heatsink paste can have the opposite effect.

    Oh, I should mention I'm only running Mavericks because of a few audio programs that can't run on newer OSs.
     

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    almix12, Nov 7, 2018
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  4. almix12

    Allen Davis New Member

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    The heatsink paste acts much like the heat shields on the old Mercury/Gemini/Apollo and shuttle spacecrafts. It's an ablative substance that absorbs and quickly dissipates heat. It any excessive paste is able to contact the surface of the motherboard, it can dissipate that excess heat detrimentally.

    By the way, OWC offers an excellent toolkit which is perfect for tinkering with MacBooks for about $15. Well worth the cost. In a pinch, take your MBP with you to a good hardware store and someone there should be able to provide you with sufficiently small screwdrivers for your purpose.
     
    Allen Davis, Nov 7, 2018
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  5. almix12

    almix12 New Member

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    Thanks for the info. I've already bought set of screwdrivers for about that price which should arrive next week. I wonder if the quality of paste has anything to do with it? I bought a small syringe full at a local computer shop called Arctic Silver 5. It was all they had.
     
    almix12, Nov 7, 2018
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  6. almix12

    Allen Davis New Member

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    I really couldn't address the issue of the quality of the paste you used. But I would have to assume that it's got to be decent stuff since it certainly wouldn't be in anyone's best interest to sell you an inferior product, particularly if they value their customers and hope to stay in business!

    Depending on the paste, you may need a solvent in order to remove the old gunk. Don't use fingernail polish remover, even though I've seen people recommend it before. Straight acetone is ideal, but you have to buy a quart of it at most hardware stores. Then again, acetone is a very, very handy solvent for tons of other purposes. Use Q-tips when applying it. And since acetone evaporates so rapidly, don't over-soak your swabs. Use multiple swabs in multiple applications in order to do the job. Be patient. Go slow. Take your time.

    One other small bit of unsolicited advice: when putting the bottom back on your MBP, resist the temptation of tightening those minuscule little screws too much. You risk gouging out the sharp edges of the screws, making them difficult (if not impossible) to remove should you ever need access to the innards of your machine again. Just get them snug. But I'd suggest you check them again in a day or so if you tote your laptop about with you much in case they've loosened. I did lose a single screw once, but it wasn't the end of the world. I managed to get a free replacement sent to me by my favorite "Mac stuff gettin' place," OWC (and, no, I don't get paid for tooting their horn! I just love doing business with them).
     
    Allen Davis, Nov 8, 2018
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  7. almix12

    almix12 New Member

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    Thanks a lot for the advice there! Yes I've opened up my macbook many times. I just don't have the screwdriver myself anymore. Last time I replaced the heatsink paste I used 90% ethanol and a bit of toilet paper and it worked just fine, but I like the idea of Q-tips.
     
    almix12, Nov 8, 2018
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  8. almix12

    Allen Davis New Member

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    Ethanol is good. Just make certain it IS ethanol. I'd still recommend acetone, however.

    In a previous life I worked in printing and publishing, and had to come up with a way for our pressmen to concoct a dampening "fountain" solution for use in offset printing. Due to our particular circumstances with fluctuating humidity, we needed a way to reduce the surface tension of that solution, which was 95% water, 3% glycols and 2% inert ingredients.

    An unscrupulous supplier sold us methanol (wood alcohol) instead. While somewhat similar chemically, the difference was crucial. It didn't produce the desired results. Moreover, I don't recommend that anyone work anywhere in the vicinity of methanol fumes without robust ventilation. That's the form of alcohol which blinded and killed so many people back during Prohibition because of either improper distilling or the fact the bootleggers simply didn't care.

    At any rate, also avoid Isopropyl alcohol (the rubbing kind). Most of it is a 70% solution. You can get a 90% concentration for pennies more, but I'd avoid it because it still contains an oily type of "inert" ingredient which is often detrimental for use in electronics applications.
     
    Allen Davis, Nov 8, 2018
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  9. almix12

    almix12 New Member

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    Oh very interesting. I think what I used actually WAS or at least may have been somewhere between 90-99% rubbing alcohol. I hope isn't the problem. It evaporated quickly though and I waited until it did before applying the new paste. I'll see if I can find the bottle but I've moved a few times since then so it's unlikely.

    And yes I know what you mean about methanol, I had a cousin who temporarily went completely blind until his liver processed it by inhaling too much of it by accident.
     
    almix12, Nov 8, 2018
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  10. almix12

    Allen Davis New Member

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    Isopropyl alcohol does evaporate quickly. However, it does leave a residue behind which isn't visible to the naked eye. 70% is a much, much worse offender in this regard, but the 90% variety does as well.
     
    Allen Davis, Nov 10, 2018 at 3:35 AM
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  11. almix12

    Nemanja New Member

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    In which region you live in?
     
    Nemanja, Nov 13, 2018 at 1:55 PM
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  12. almix12

    almix12 New Member

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    I personally live on the west coast of Canada.
     
    almix12, Nov 13, 2018 at 9:03 PM
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  13. almix12

    honestone New Member

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    almix12,

    It looks like we are neighbors! I live about 25 miles south of Seattle. How far from Vancouver are you?

    Allen Davis is an excellent source of information! And his knowledge on all this "alcohol" stuff is priceless! I hope you get your issue resolved.
     
    honestone, Nov 14, 2018 at 4:48 AM
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  14. almix12

    almix12 New Member

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    Quite near Vancouver, one boat away on Vancouver Island.

    I was wondering, what sort of store would have proper ethanol (not rubbing alcohol) suitable to remove the paste? A drug store? Or a computer store?
     
    almix12, Nov 14, 2018 at 8:57 PM
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  15. almix12

    honestone New Member

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    honestone, Nov 14, 2018 at 9:05 PM
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  16. almix12

    almix12 New Member

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    Strange but I hope good update:

    So I managed to find 100% acetone and my screwdrivers arrived today which is great. 25 pack for about $10.
    I took off the old heatsink and it looked horrible, some paste had definitely 'leaked' for lack of a better word off the heatsink into the crevasses around both the CPU and Nvidia GPU as you can see in the pictures. It was quite thick so very hard to get off and the acetone worked great on the actual heatsink, and I managed to get all of the gunk off of actual GPU and GPU but couldn't get it from around the cracks. As you can see from the attachments. When I tried, some of the black covering actually chipped off which was disconcerting but hopefully not detrimental.

    Now the interesting part now my computer is still running on the warm side, between 80-104 but the CPU isn't clocking down and the fans aren't going too mental until it gets to 100. So overall sliiiightly cooler, but the CPU is around 2.7-3.1 GHz which I don't understand at all. Way higher than usual, and way higher than the 2.3 GHz it's built for.
    Also when I started the computer up for the first time the power the CPU was using was very high at first. up to 35 watts or so.

    My question now is... Is this safe?? Anyone have any insight on this? If it's safe and why the CPU is suddenly overclocked?!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     

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    almix12, Nov 14, 2018 at 11:39 PM
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  17. almix12

    honestone New Member

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    Unless those photos are not the "greatest" quality, sure looks ugly!
     
    honestone, Nov 15, 2018 at 12:34 AM
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  18. almix12

    almix12 New Member

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    I guess I didn't take any pictures after I cleaned it all but basically there was still a bit of gunk just in the cracks around the CPU and GPU which I couldn't clean, but the CPU and GPU tops were completely shiny as was the two heat sinks. FYI.
    I'm still skeptical if it's safe but a few hours in, I'm still at around 100 degrees but it hasn't clocked down to .83 like last time once, and the CPU has stabilized to hovering on average slightly above 2.3. GHz
     
    almix12, Nov 15, 2018 at 3:18 AM
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  19. almix12

    honestone New Member

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    Can understand the (possible) increases in temperature, but the higher CPU speed is perplexing! And it is not a small amount that it is "over clocked": anywhere from 20% to 30%! Not sure if that is good or bad. Interestingly, the Download speed I have from Xfinity, 250 Mbps, is (at times) somewhat significantly above that, as I have seen it as high as 300 Mbps (via the site www,speedtest.net)! In fact, I just did it, and it is at 284.28 Mbps. I realize it is not the same situation as yours, but not sure why the increase in speed (but obviously I am pleased, as I have always had "I feel the need, the need for speed").
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018 at 3:41 AM
    honestone, Nov 15, 2018 at 3:36 AM
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