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.

watercooled mbp feature
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.

Top Rated Comments

AngerDanger Avatar
1 week ago

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.
The fan noise never really bothered me; it was the mid-work flights that were irritating.

Eventually, the battery dies, and the thing comes back down.

Attachment Image
Score: 58 Votes (Like | Disagree)
madmin Avatar
1 week ago
Nice idea, but not enough to wet my appetite for Intel chips
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zackkitzmiller Avatar
1 week ago
There's a whole lot of people in here saying, "This is so much work,' "Just buy an M1", "blah blah if Apple", "This is what we have to resort to."

Ya know-- A lot of us do this stuff for fun because it's fun. I definitely don't _need_ the 10 node Raspberry Pi Kubernetes cluster that sits on my desk. I didn't need to spend a thousand bucks and various pi and pi parts. I definitely could have gotten a $5/month DO droplet to host my website. But this was fun. Hobbyists are a thing.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MHenr Avatar
1 week ago

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.
Some Powermac G5's were liquid/water-cooled. So we have seen it in the past.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
diogenis Avatar
1 week ago

The results of Apple's obsession with thinner. None of this would have been necessary if they made it a few mm thicker and had proper cooling. Form over function. Meh. I'm waiting on a thicker MacBook with ports.
Apple solved this problem by designing energy efficient CPUs. A few mm won't save you if the cpu is running at 300watts.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Euroamerican Avatar
1 week ago
I like it. Shows initiative and getting the job done!
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

samsung experience 1

Samsung's 'iTest' Lets You Try a Galaxy Device on Your iPhone

Thursday April 8, 2021 12:42 pm PDT by
Samsung has launched "iTest," an interactive website experience that's designed to allow iPhone users to test out Android on a Galaxy device, or "sample the other side," as Samsung puts it. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iTest website is being advertised in New Zealand, according to a MacRumors reader who came across the feature. Visiting the iTest website on...
sonny 2021 ipad mini pro dummies

Leaked Dummy Units Show iPad Mini 6 With Thick Bezels and Home Button, New iPad Pro Models

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:11 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple will release refreshed versions of the iPad mini and iPad Pro models in the first half of this year, potentially as soon as this month, and a new leak today has provided us with a possible preview of what to expect in terms of the devices' overall design and camera prospects. Tech leaker and Apple blogger Sonny Dickson this morning shared images on Twitter showing dummy ...
apple music for artists new icon

Apple's Revamped Apple Music for Artists Icon Leads to Speculation About iOS 15 Design Plans

Tuesday April 6, 2021 1:03 pm PDT by
Apple yesterday updated its Apple Music for Artists app with some minor bug fixes and improvements, but also one other notable change -- a new icon. New icon on the right The Apple Music for Artists app now features a simpler, streamlined icon with a pinkish red music logo rather than the multicolored logo that was used before. The icon also has an embossed look that makes it stand out from...
apple find my network

Apple Announces Find My Network With Support for Third-Party Devices

Wednesday April 7, 2021 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today announced the launch of its Find My network accessory program, which is designed to allow third-party Bluetooth devices to be tracked in the Find My app right alongside your Apple devices. According to Apple, the first accessory companies to take advantage of the new Find My integration include Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof, with devices set to be available beginning next week. ...
new m1 chip

M1 Mac RAM and SSD Upgrades Found to Be Possible After Purchase

Tuesday April 6, 2021 5:34 am PDT by
Technicians in China have reportedly succeeded in upgrading the memory and storage of the M1 chip, suggesting that Apple's integrated custom silicon for the Mac may be more flexible than previously thought. Reports of maintenance technicians being able to expand the memory and storage of M1 Macs began circulating on Chinese social media over the weekend, but now international reports have...
Intel MBP Is Thin and Lighjt

Intel Ad for 'World's Best Processor' Features a MacBook Pro

Wednesday April 7, 2021 9:51 am PDT by
Intel has been on a relentless marketing drive against Mac computers in recent weeks, positioning them as inferior to Windows laptops powered by Intel processors. In a slight slip-up, however, Intel has accidentally used a MacBook instead of a Windows laptop in one of its newest ads to promote one of its new 11th-generation chips as "the world's best processor." The ad appeared on Reddit and ...
tmobile 5g modem

T-Mobile Launches Unlimited 5G Home Internet for $60/Month

Wednesday April 7, 2021 2:18 pm PDT by
T-Mobile today hosted an Un-carrier event where the company announced the launch of a a new 5G home internet plan, which is priced at $60 per month and offers unlimited data. The service is available to more than 30 million Americans across much of the United States, including 10 million households in rural areas not typically able to access reliable broadband. Connectivity will be either 4G ...
iMessage Android featured

Apple's Rationale for Not Bringing iMessage to Android Revealed in Legal Documents

Friday April 9, 2021 2:22 am PDT by
It's no secret that Apple sees iMessage as a big enough selling point to keep the service exclusive to Apple devices, however new court filings submitted by Epic Games in its ongoing lawsuit with the company reveal just how Apple executives have rationalized their decision not to develop a version of iMessage for Android. Apple clearly recognizes the power that iMessage has to keep users...

Apple Seeds Seventh Betas of iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday April 7, 2021 10:04 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the seventh betas of upcoming iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new beta updates coming one week after Apple released the sixth iOS and iPadOS 14.5 betas. iOS and iPadOS 14.5 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. iOS 14.5 is the...
ipad pro and macbook pro

iPad and MacBook Production Reportedly Delayed Due to Global Chip Shortage

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:31 am PDT by
Apple is facing a global shortage of certain components for some of its MacBook and iPad models, causing the Cupertino tech giant and its suppliers to postpone production of the products, according to a new report from Nikkei Asia. According to the report, MacBook production is being hindered due to the shortage of chips mounted onto the circuit board before final assembly, which is a key...