Too Hot to Handle?

Dr. Walid Rada wonders if his 17-inch iMac G5 is getting too hot under the collar:

I’ve heard and read a lot about G5 processors temperature (it getting too hot), so I installed Temperature Monitor. I notice that my iMac remains in a temperature range between 65- and 72 degrees Celsius when I push it hard, but I am really not familiar with the normal temperature range of this processor. Is this range normal for my iMac?

From what I’ve been able to determine, the maximum on-chip temperature for the G5 (PPC 970) is around 85 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit), so you’re well within a safe range.

I might suggest that while having a readout of the temperatures detected by your iMac’s sensors is diverting, it does tend to make some people worry. Imagine strapping a heart monitor on all your patients. The hypochondriacal among them may work themselves into a tizzy wondering if their ticker was beating too slow, too fast, or in an arrhythmical way.

Such worries about processor temperature are largely unnecessary because the Mac is smart enough to cool itself off when things get too hot. Initially it does this by reducing processor and bus speed (in a Mac with a fan — a Power Mac G5, for example — fans will also kick into higher gear to cool things down). If the Mac continues to heat up even after the brakes have been applied to the processor and bus, the computer will take a serious chill pill and go to sleep.

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