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Modello inizio 2011, A1278 / processore i5 2,3 GHz o i7 2,7 GHz

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A way to enhance airflow?


I've purchased this lovely portable Mac second hand for dirt cheap in good technical condition with some minor dents and scuffs all over the place. I needed a machine that worked great, was very repairable and I didn't care for the visual condition. First thing first, I dismantled the whole thing very thoroughly and washed/dusted every morsel attached to it. I then replaced the spinning drive with a Samsung SSD for speed and cool operation. Also added 16GB of OWC RAM. Finally I removed the DVD drive, since I never use it and I didn't want to lug around the extra weight.

What I found puzzling was the complete absence of any intake air vents.

I've seen that all of the newer MacBook Pros, big or small, have these milled air intake seams at the right and left hand edges of the bottom case. They make perfect sense.

Where does the Early 2011 13" MacBook Pro intake it's air?

Should I decide to do it - would it help the machine run cooler if I milled or drilled some holes on both sides of the bottom case?

I also noticed that it is possible to completely isolate the keyboard assembly from other internals of the computer, which would be useful in case of a spilling accident. I would probably do it with some durable and moisture resistant tape. Would that negatively affect the thermals of the machine at all or should I go for it? If it did, but I also milled or drilled the holes on the bottom case - would those changes make for a better thermal environment in the machine?

Thank you.

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The older series used the gap around the keyboard keys as the air intake


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Should I decide to do it - would it help the machine run cooler if I milled or drilled some holes on both sides of the bottom case?

Yes, of course, you just need to do it in the right places. Be aware that most images on the WEB showing drilled Macbooks have the holes in the wrong place because people didn’t understand that the Macbook fan in Centrifugal and didn’t study the Macbook Airflow.

Macbook Pro 13 (2011) - Airflow

  • Best place to drill air intake holes is on the Blue Arrows. Or Blue+Yellow

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@ilcaccillo @danj - Is it the same for 2012 and 2010 MacBook Pros?


@beanman56 - Sadly this is not going to improve the cooling. Airflow is tricky!

When I was in school we had a table to play with sand and stones so we could learn about water flows. Air flows are no different!

Altering one flow can have a negative effect on the other. Here the friction of the pathway between the bottom cover and the logic board needs to balance out the friction of the air flow going across the heatsink fins. So when you incase the air flow on the bottom you starve the flow across the heat sink!

Often when I see these systems they either have a dust buildup within the fan and/or the fins so the airflow is reduced, I often need to refresh the TIM has broken down. But you do need to b careful not to over do the TIM as you mustn't get the green carrier wet with the TIM! What can fool you is the black insulator can hide it.

So no! don't do this!


@danj - What one way of improving the cooling than the thermal paste?


@beanman56 - Airflow is not the issue! its keeping things clean, replacing old thermal paste and/or replace a bad heatsink. And lastly the real key is monitoring the temps altering the fans RPM and not expect a VW bug to beat a mustang muscle car as it just can't!


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Did you check the fan function and change out the thermal paste and change the hard drive/IR cable to a 2012 model? If not do so. Use a keyboard skin for protection. Do not use it in bed or where it can't breath or dissipate heat.

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Fan is in good condition. I have not yet changed the thermal paste. It is in my plans. The cable is replaced. I don't like the look and feel of keyboard skins. Is there a reason I shouldn't isolate the keyboard from the bottom?


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Don't know about the keyboard, but what about installing a small exhaust fan in the same place you had the DVD-ROM using the DVD slot instead of drilling anything?

Something like this for instance:

Be aware though that no matter how much air you blow into it or suck out of it, it's temperature will never be bellow room temperature so if you live in a very hot place there's not much you can do about it - been there, done that, trust me…

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Wouldn't adding another fan increase the noise? That is the opposite of what I am trying to accomplish. Where would I connect the second fan? Pins of the DVD drive connector?

I live in quite a chilly place, hence the idea of just giving it more fresh air via extra holes would make the MacBooks breathing easier.


The noise would be directly proportional to how fast it is running. You can use smsFanControler to control that - mine runs at the lowest when browsing or such light use then at it's highest for audio/video conversion for instance.

As for connections, split the wires from the original coolers. If it's just this one, won't make an impact, just make sure it's pointing the right way (I would suggest exhaust through DVD port, not intake) and use some good double-sided tape to stick it in place and avoid vibration noises.

Anyway I would frown upon drilling anything. First it's too much work, second you probably won't achieve what you're looking for as the laptop was already designed for the best airflow possible.

Barely remember doing something like this in the past and ended up with a laptop running hotter as the air was no longer going through where it was supposed to due to newer holes where shouldn't be any…

My two cents :)


Okay, I will take your idea as a plan. Although I would still love to see some evidence that "... the laptop was already designed for the best airflow possible." Apple is known to make computers with fascinatingly bad and very wrong cooling. Remember the 2006 White iMacs?


They have engineers for this stuff, I'm not a engineer.

Ok, Steve Jobs and Jony Ive are known to meddle a lot with it but Jobs is not there anymore and now Ive have other concerns (presumably).

And I did have first-hand experience although it was a long time ago and I can't even remember what laptop it was.

Either way my suggestion can be reversed yours can't. Try what I suggested first and if it doesn't get the result you are looking for by all means, drill away! :D

And give us some pictures once is done, don't be greedy and share! ^^

Oh and I remembered something about the keyboard: in older laptops it was a part of air intake - even little amounts of air coming through are important in such closed space.

I wouldn't change anything there at least not at first. Do that fan thing, if it gets the temps lower then consider messing about with the keyboard :)


I would recommend you install a good temperature monitoring app like TG Pro it will allow you to monitor both your temps and fans.

FYI - I service a large quantity of MacBook Pro's. Unless you are over stressing the system running heavy graphical games you shouldn't be encountering heat issues if the system is in good working order.

Laptops are not desktops! Sometimes I find people are expecting more that the system was designed to do. With that said ,we still get in a system thats running hot and cleaning the system of dust and if its one of the older models redoing the thermal paste. In many a case the HD cable also needs to be replaced. Sometimes malware and adware or other odd app can also cause problems. backing up and re-installing a fresh copy of OS & original source apps cleans that up.

I have not needed to alter the design of the system to improve its cooling other than the standard TLC a laptop often needs (Windows or Mac).


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Maxim sarà eternamente grato.
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