Monday's Mac Gadget
by John F. Braun
Want to Know About Your Mac's Sensors? Check Out ThermographX!
Back in the early days of personal computing, processors would just sit in their sockets, happily computing without having to worry about overheating. In the good old days of the Apple ][, the trusty 6502 processor was operating at a blazing 1 MHz. Compare this to today's processors, which operate in the GHz range, and use processes that attempt to squeeze even more transistors onto a chip. This had led to designs that require clever design requiring thermally conductive paste, metal heat sinks, fans, and in some cases, liquid cooling. If only there was a way to monitor the temperature sensors in your Mac...
ThermographX is an update of an old favorite that will report the temperature of all the sensors in your Mac, providing that your machine offers some support for reading temperature. This could be a sensor in the processor itself, or a sensor near an area that may require cooling, or both. Simple cooling design, such as those for early machines and portables, may include one or two sensors, and a single fan. This is the case with a machine such as the PowerBook G4 12". It reports two temperature sensors, a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) Topside sensor, and a CPU (in this case, the G4) Bottomside sensor.
Long and Short Term Measurements for PowerBook G4
When things get really interesting is when you try to run ThermographX on a machine with a sophisticated cooling system, such as the Power Mac G5. The machine we tested, a dual-processor 2 GHz G5, has a wealth of sensors, and, as one can see if they take a peek inside, a wealth of individual fans to make sure only the proper components are cooled. This, of course, also cuts down on annoying fan noise.
Long and Short Term Measurements for Dual-Processor PowerMac G5
The report from the G5 gives us a glimpse of the types of sensors used in this machine. One of the MLB (Main Logic Board) sensors is a Maxim MAX6690, and the CPU sensors are Analog Devices AD7417 chips, but this is only the beginning of the data that this application can report. It will keep track of the minimum and maximum temperature of each sensor, and also show the readings for the last several hours. Plus, you can also submit your readings to a central site, where you can verify that your Mac isn't running too hot or too cool when compared to others.
So make sure you know as much as you can about your Mac's temperature, and get ThermographX!
Have any other Gadgets you think are hot? Send an e-mail to John, and he'll make sure it's cool.
Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you with those cool things that we all just have to have on our Macs. Shareware, Freeware, Postcardware, Emailware, and even commercial apps, Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you find and use the best of these programs.
John is a software engineer who works in the corporate R&D group of a Fortune 500 company, focusing on all aspects of communications technology. He has several degrees that claim he knows what he's doing when it comes to computers. After watching co-workers reinstall Windows, search for device drivers, and experience other horrors during the day, he's glad that he comes home to a Mac (compatible) computer. Have any comments, suggestions, or favorite Gadgets? Drop John a line at
You can also Post Your Comments below.
Current Monday's Mac Gadget
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Visit Monday's Mac Gadget Archives for more great Mac Gadgets!
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