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Monday's Mac Gadget
by John F. Braun

Make Sure Your Mac Doesn't Really Burn, Use Thermograph
March 12th, 2001

Thermograph 1.3.0 ($7 Shareware)
Jeremy Kezer

Back in the early days of personal computing, when processor speed was measured in single-digit megahertz values, heat wasn't really a concern. But as clock speeds increased, and the number of transistors you could place on a chip grew, the issue of heat started to be a concern. This is evidenced by the huge heat sink and fan that are part of almost every modern computer's processor subsystem. If only there was a way to read the temperature of your processor...

Later G3 and all G4 PowerPC processors contain a register which records the approximate temperature of the chip. Alas, Mac OS doesn't offer a way to read this value. But as you may have guessed, Thermograph can read the value on most of these machines. But Thermograph does more than simply report the processor temperature.

For starters, it will show a live graph of temperature versus time. This allows one to correlate certain events with their impact on processor usage and temperature. It also records the low, high temperature, to let you get a feel for what a normal range is. You can also see when sleep or restart events occurred.

Thermograph Shows Temperature History, Plus High and Low Values

Before extended use of Thermograph, you should calibrate the program, since the accuracy of the temperature that the processor reports can vary somewhat. Basically, you shut down your machine for a few hours, to make sure it is at room temperature, and then start the calibration. Take the value reported, compare it to a nearby thermometer, and you can then be assured of fairly accurate results.

Things can get a bit more exciting if you set the low and high temperature notifications. You can have your system play a sound of your choice, present a dialog, or both. You can also select the units used for reporting, either Fahrenheit, Celsius and even Kelvin. Speaking of reporting, Thermograph can automate the process of submitting your minimum and maximum values via e-mail. You can then view these and other reports at Jeremy's Macintosh Temperatures page.

Make sure that the only time you'll be using the Power to Burn is when you are burning a CD, and check out Thermograph today.

Have any other Mac Gadgets that you think are really hot? Let John know via e-mail, so he can review it.

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

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