The System Management Controller is an internal subsystem in Intel Macs that is responsible for power management of the computer. It controls backlighting, hard disk spin down, sleep and wake, some charging aspects, trackpad control, and some input/output as it relates to the computer sleeping. If your computer is acting up, you may want to reset the SMC. But you may also want to modify the behavior of your Mac when it comes to fan speed. Enter smcFanControl.
When you run smcFanControl, it will place a small indicator in your menu bar showing you the current processor temperature and fan speed. This is is a great way to understand the correlation between temperature and fan speed. There is a fan RPM that you can't set below a certain minimum, but you can use smcFanControl to raise the minimum RPM. You may want to do this if you'd like to keep your Mac's CPU cooler, or if you get into situations where the fans are on full blast. By running the fans at a higher RPM, you can help prevent this situation.
You can set individual minimum RPM values for all of the fans in your system. On a MacBook Pro, you should see two fans, with their minimum RPM set at 2000 RPM. You can change the menubar display so it displays both temperature and fan speed, just temperature, just fan speed, or a simple icon. If you display the temperature, you can choose to display in degrees C or F. You can also choose to check for updates on startup, and autostart smcFanControl on login. Finally, you can load different profiles depending on if your power source is battery, AC power, or if you're charging.
So, make sure your Mac stays cool, and check out smcFanControl today! Have any other gadgets that take the heat off your Mac? Send an email to John and he'll give it a try.