In benchmark tests, the Core i7 CPU in Apple's latest 17-inch Macbook Pro showed that it's capable of hitting a whopping 100°C/212°F.
Tech site PC Authority discovered this alarming rise in temperature when benchmarking the new notebook:
We repeated the Cinebench test in OS X, and, as with the Windows version, the CPU temperature climbed precipitously high - topping out at 90 degrees Celsius. The underside heat sensors were only registering 39 degrees when this happened, even though the underside near the CPU was almost too hot to touch.
To be sure of our results we left the Macbook Pro overnight to cool off. Upon coming back into the office we repeated our tests, first in Windows and then in OS X. By the time the second run of the Cinebench test finished in Windows, the CPU Diode was reporting a temperature of 101 degrees Celsius.
Yikes! On a desktop, that would have me worried. On a notebook, it's super scary.
This is worrying for two reasons:
First 100°C/212°F is the top-end temperature for Core i7 parts, above this thermal throttling kicks in. Ideally, a well-designed system that's not been overclocked or tinkered with shouldn't come close to this max temperature, even when benchmarked.
Another worry is that the underside thermal sensors aren't picking up on the hot spot being generated on the unibody chassis.
It seems that there may be a few design flaws in Apple's plan to cram a Core i7 into a fancy aluminum box. This could very well be a fine example of style trumping practicality.