Intel MacBook Pro Owner Adds Water Cooling to Silence Noisy Fans and Boost Performance

An inventive MacRumors forums member has successfully retrofitted a water-cooling system to their 15-inch Intel-based MacBook Pro, thereby eliminating fan noise and boosting performance.

MacRumors forums member “theodric” explained that the noise of their MacBook Pro’s fans had become disruptive during conference calls, so amid ordering an M1 MacBook Air, they decided to fit a water cooling system to their machine.

theodric used inexpensive parts such as Bitcoin ASIC miner blocks from AliExpress, an Aquastream XT Ultra water pump, and a Zalman radiator and reservoir from 2005 to create the system.

High-transmissivity thermal pads were added between the case shell and various motherboard components to conduct heat away from the MacBook Pro and into the water cooling system. The thermal shielding from the bottom of the case was also removed, as well as the feet, to ensure full contact with the new cooling plates. The pump, which requires Windows software to operate, was run via a virtual machine, and a Raspberry Pi was used for monitoring.

theodric says that they have “hardly heard the fan since I started using it” and have seen benchmark scores significantly improve under the system. See theodric’s full post for more information about the ambitious project.

Although water-cooling a Mac makes for a challenging project, with the advent of Apple silicon chips, which are able to run much cooler than Intel chips, it is very unlikely that we will ever see an official Mac with water-cooling in the future. Nevertheless, there are still cooling upgrades slated to come to the Mac, with the next model due a thermal upgrade seemingly being the new 14-inch MacBook Pro.

The upcoming 14-inch MacBook Pro is expected to adopt the improved thermals of the current 16-inch MacBook Pro model, with a larger heat pipe, added thermal pads, and a 35 percent larger heat sink to increase the machine’s performance potential and allow it to run at cooler temperatures.
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