Tony Edwards
Looking for an excuse

Looking for an excuse

- 2 mins

In search of an excuse to invest in a new Laptop, I thought I’d try to repair my current one.

A MacBook Pro of a certain age tends to spin up its fans at the faintest whiff of computation. Especially when you use Macs Fan Control to compensate for suspected thermal paste degradation through preventative cooling. That is doubly true if you live within a workflow infused with Electron apps.

It’s time to replace the thermal paste on the Mid 2014 MacBook Pro. Whenever the device does any heavy processing, such as media file conversion, it gets hot and stays hot. Even with the fans at full blast and throttling in action, the CPU temps constantly push the high 90% for great spans of time. This is a sensible upgrade because heat is the enemy of long-lived computing components.

The computer is perfectly serviceable and capable for my current needs, and extending its life is smart on a financial, ecological and moral level. Arguably, an M2 device would be a good upgrade for work reasons. . . but Bob is even tighter than me!

The device was taken apart with its innards laid bare using this helpful video as a guide.

Inside a Mid 2014 Macbook Pro

Despite half an hour of next-level puckering, the laptop went back together just fine. Knowing that one error could cost well in excess of £1000 to rectify, tight is an understatement. It’s had an internal clean once or twice over the years to help with cooling, but never a repair such as this.

It worked. The machine is now taking longer to reach the point when the fans come on, and they switch off quicker. It feels like the processor isn’t being throttled as much during heavy encoding tasks, as they are completing quicker and more quietly.

In many ways, this is the last of the ‘good’ Apple laptops. The Marcus Aurelius of MacBook Pros, if you will. Look closer at the components pictured; you might notice that many can be swapped out. Given that there is a big drive to push companies to make more maintainable and repairable hardware, this is the modern machine which archives a time when it was the norm. Even for a closed-source, ecosystem-driven company like Apple.

Some benefits that come with a more tightly integrated hardware package are:

The first two benefit you. The last one doesn’t. . . but does keep you on blisteringly fast hardware.

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