One of the things that I really like being able to do on my MacBook Pro is monitor the temperature of various parts of my laptop, and also control the speed of the fans. Using the iStat Pro widget (review) I’m able to read the temperature of my hard drive, CPU, GPU, heatsinks, wireless card, and more. If you want you can take it a step further and even control the speed of your fans.
When I’m running a lot of different applications on my computer I’ve noticed that the fans don’t always increase their speed despite the temperatures rising to nearly 70 degrees Celsius. After a little searching around I found a free program called smcFanControl that lets me create different profiles to control the minimum fan speed.
By default Apple has set the fans to run at 2000 RPM, but smcFanControl will let you override the minimum speed setting. It will not, however, let you set the minimum speed below what the default is.
After running smcFanControl I configured a few different profiles. The default one, which I still use almost all of the time, is set to run at a minimum of 2000 RPM. Then I also created two other profiles that run at 3000 and 4000 RPM respectively. With a quick glance at my Menubar I can see what my CPU temperature is, and choose one of the alternate profiles accordingly:
The fans don’t have any problem going this fast, and can actually be pushed up to 6000 RPM. You do need to keep in mind that running your fans at a higher speed for a long period of time could make them more prone to failure due to the extra wear and tear. In my case I only bump it up when I see my processor temperature inching closer to the 70 degrees Celsius mark, but I normally use the Apple-recommended 2000 RPM speed.