Life, Technology, and Meteorology

MacBook Pro Temperature Sensors

Just as an update of my MacBook Pro situation…I picked up a 2Ghz MacBook Pro at the Apple Store in Grand Rapids yesterday. So far, this model is an order of magnitude better than my last machine. Only a single noise problem still exists, and it is so much lower in volume that I don’t think it will be an issue at all. Furthermore, physically the machine feels like it’s built better. The trackpad button feels a lot nicer, and it takes more effort to move the screen on it’s hinge, which results in a much nicer feel. I’m a happy customer. 🙂

I came across a somewhat unfortunate hint when looking at the recently posted Developer Note of the MacBook Pro machines on Apple’s site. It looks like Apple no longer controls thermal profiles from the OS, so it’s unlikely that apps like XRG or Dash Monitors will ever be able to capture temperatures or fan speeds on these models. Here’s a quote from the Developer Note:

System Management Controller The MacBook Pro uses an advanced system management controller (SMC) to manage thermal and power conditions, while keeping the acoustic noise to a minimum. The SMC is fully independent of the operating system.

Making the SMC completely independent of the OS is a very good thing. Without OS independence, thermal drivers for Windows XP, Linux, or any other OS you want to run on Intel machines would have to be written. This code can be fairly difficult to write, so really the SMC will make things much easier in that respect.

However, it would be nice if Apple provided a way to monitor what the SMC is doing…let the SMC do it’s job, but give me a way to find out how my machine is feeling.

Update: James Conolly and Cryptonome (from the source, InCrew) both mentioned SpeedIt in the comments, which made the news a few days after I wrote this post. I have yet to look into the full details of the implementation, but it looks like there might be MacBook Pro temperature monitor support in XRG afterall. While it probably wouldn’t make sense to include SpeedIt directly with XRG, if a user has SpeedIt installed, it should be fairly easy for XRG to pick up the temperatures and display them. Yet another feature to add to the next release. Thanks go out to the InCrew folks for making this possible.


  1. James Conolly

    The solution I use to monitor temperature on my MacBook (I run some heavy hour-long processes) is the following:

    Which allows one to use a command line tool to get CPU temp.

    Where you can have the output from the relevant command displayed in a small transparent window anywhere on one’s deskop and have it update every 10 secs.

    Works a dream.

    Cheers, James

  2. Cryptonome

    Check this little tool provide this information

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