Macbook Pro 2018 - Extreme Heat & Battery Drain

Hi Everyone:

I was hoping to come back and play a little on a MacBook Pro 2018 (i7, 16 GB Ram, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655). The game looks and runs great, even with high settings (i.e., smooth and responsive). However, after about 2-3 minutes the MacBook Pro heats up so much that the fans all max out and within 10 minutes the battery begins to drain when plugged in. Charger is the standard Apple issued charger and I’ve experienced no other issues with this machine. This happens even when just sitting in the station. I’ve spent some time searching for some sort of explanation, but have yet to find one. I get essentially the same results with all of the graphics settings turned to minimum/disabled settings.

I’ve tried using both the 32-bit and 64-bit clients. If anyone has experienced this type of issue I’d love to know if you’ve managed to fix it. Thanks in advance.

That sounds more like an issue with the battery under heavier loads, try a benchmarking program, if you get the same results, most likely your battery is toast (was an issue on the 2018 models), if you don’t, more likely it’s a hardware setting issue that is causing a graphics chip overheat. Maybe look at what else is running, you might simply be capping out what the machine is capable of with background programs, or the rare mac malware that has started creeping up.

IIRC newer Macbooks have better battery health management – if you see it drain to around 90% when plugged in before it starts recharging, that may be normal. It helps reduce wear on the battery from too many short recharge cycles.

More info: https://www.macbookproslow.com/fix-battery-issues/

I have an older late 2015 MacBook Pro (the one with an AMD Radeon R9 M3740X on top of Iris Pro) running macOS 10.15.5, and the heat thing sounds pretty normal.

Apple tunes its fans to run significantly below normal operating speeds whenever possible, to keep their notebooks as quiet as possible. Macbook Pros run crazy hot when under load though. Mine goes to max fan speed in less than a minute.

You can install a tool like smcFanControl to monitor heat and fan speeds — https://www.eidac.de/ — and even override the default thresholds. But again: it’s perfectly normal for your fans to go to full speed while gaming, and throttling them to keep your laptop quieter might also cook it to death… If the fans’ noise bothers you, a cheap gaming headset is probably the way to go.

If you have storage to spare, consider setting up a Windows 10 partition and playing EVE on that — I get much better graphics and better performance on the exact same hardware that way.

Thanks so much for your quick replies. So I’ve done a bunch of testing and tinkering and here’s where I’m at.

  1. Settings turned just about to minimum at still full screen resolution results just a slow drain in the battery. MB’s fans run high and hot after about 3 minutes into gameplay sitting at station. Turning screen resolution down a couple steps improved this a bit. I don’t think I ever achieved a neutral battery drain on the MB while playing, but I got close. It just seems really odd that the game runs perfectly smooth with settings set at the highest levels. In my experience when a game is pushing resources too hard you’d expect to see loss in frame rates, skipping, etc. Here everything runs perfect at high settings except the fact that the battery drains while plugged in.

  2. Bootcamp. Installed Windows 10 via Bootcamp last night and played with both graphics settings higher (medium), screen resolution maximum. Fans came on and off while running some anomalies. Battery charge increased over about 1.5 hours of gameplay. Game runs more smoothly, and looks better overall I’d say. Will keep playing this way moving forward.

What a difference between OSX and Windows 10.

Thanks again for you help and if anyone else has anything to add I’d love to hear about it. I’m awfully disappointed that there’s such a disparity in performance between OSX and Windows 10, but I guess I’m not surprised. :man_shrugging:

I have a less powerful 2016 macbook pro, and can run with high graphics and no battery drain issues while plugged in, though the fans are pretty constant. My spouse, with the same rig as you excet a smaller HD, has the same issues you report. Seems to be a 2018 model issue?