Will White
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g00glyelm0 reviewed on 17 Mar 2012
Been using Fan Control since May 2008. To date, I have used it on an Early 08 MacBook and a Late 11 MacBook Pro 15. I wish it had more options and flexibility, but it has been useful and trouble free for me, and by reducing the temperature at which the fans kick in and the temperature at which they reach maximum, it has been a real help and overall both portables run over 10F cooler than without FC. FYI the way that FC monitors and adjusts the fans is different from Apple's default behavior. FC responds directly and immediately to temperature as read from the CPU/cores. Apple's SMC reads those temperatures, but also monitors system load. This is supposed to keep things cool by anticipating heat-up. So when you load Photoshop or any other app or game that puts a heavy load on your CPU, the fans should ramp up before the temperature actually increases, and then the speed is adjusted either up or down according to how much heat actually is generated.

The problem with Apple's default approach to thermal management is twofold. First, it relies on the BSD load monitoring (if you have iStat or Hardware Monitor it is shown as "load" and expressed as a decimal, e.g. .07, .44, 1.79, etc. This is a percentage of the total system resources and capability). The problem with that is this measuring and reporting of load was designed for single core systems, and on anything from Core Duo forward won't report accurately. IN particular, it will make the fans spin too fast in many cases. The other problem is the SMC won't lower the fan speed again until the load reported falls below a certain value (who knows what). Even if you quit the heavy duty app, or it is just idling, and the actual temp has already fallen way below a triggering level. Fan Control sets the fans directly according to the actual temp, without regard to load, or to percentage of CPU in use (which is a seperate stat). The Apple SMC also tends to be slow to start cooling (as well as slow to stop extra cooling as described above), I don't know why. I think it is also the BSD load reporting, since many times I know I am using massive amounts of CPU and RAM (confirmed by a look at the Activity Monitor, and the load reported in "top" is over 0.50) and yet the fans are still loafing around 2K rpm.

So, I unreservedly recommend Fan Control. I find it much easier to use than smcFanControl, which is also a good utility but not transparent like FC, and much safer than something like CoolBook, which mucks about at a very low level with your CPU internals. Just beware the issues about installation and removal (just manually trash the prefPane, and the FC Daemon folder, and perform an SMC reset, and that's that).
[Version 1.2]



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