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Using MacBook Pro closed and connected to external display...a few questions


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Using MacBook Pro closed and connected to external display...a few questions
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psmith2.0
Mr. Vieira
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
 
2010-03-21, 22:57

My Dad will be getting his MacBook Pro here in the next couple of weeks. When working at his desk, it'll be connected to a nice 22" HP LCD. His desk is small and somewhat cluttered, so, chances are, he'll just use the thing closed and slid under the display (or perhaps even propped vertically) to save space...spanning/extended desktop isn't critical, necessary or being sought at this time.

1. Any drawbacks to this, in terms of heat or anything like that? I would assume "no" since that's part of how they're meant to be used, but I've never done it myself so I wasn't sure what to convey to him about it all.

2. When closed (and connected to an external display and keyboard), does the MacBook Pro act just like any desktop Mac, in that it wakes from sleep with a mouse-click or key press? Or do you have to do something different on this front? In my mind, he'll just have a really slim Mac mini when using it this way, and all the usual rules apply. But I don't know if that's the case...

3. As touched on above, are there any drawbacks or downsides to using it closed in a vertical orientation, along these lines? Are there heating/venting concerns? Where are the vents on a MacBook Pro, and would something like the item present a problem?

Sorry for the stupid questions. In the five years I had my PowerBook G4, I never used it connected to an external display, so I just don't know the facts (and real-life answers) about the above.

Naturally I'm looking to hear from those of you who actually do this quite a bit. Enough to know the real-life answers to the above (and any issues or drawbacks I/he should be aware of). I can read a manual or online article that says it can be done. That's not the info I'm seeking; I already know this...

I don't want him to blow his new MacBook Pro up, two months in, because it was positioned weird, used with the lid closed too long, overheated, etc.
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Maciej
M AH - ch ain saw
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2010-03-21, 23:09

1. Although as far as I know it is part of standard operation, mine always feels like it gets better cooling when it is open. I've never put it through serious work closed, but I don't think it's a problem - hasn't been for me.

2. Yes. Do you mean anything more specific than waking it from sleep? My USB mouse wakes the MBP from sleep when it is closed. I don't have my external keyboard paired up so I can't test that you, sorry. I put it to sleep from the Apple menu when it is in clamshell mode. The desktop just moves onto my external, and then back if I put it to sleep and wake it again. It won't jump over if I just open the laptop while operating in clamshell mode.

3. The vents are in the hinge, at the back. That is part of the reason I feel it cools better with lid open. The base of the screen splits the air flow from the fans in half. Half goes below the hinge, out into the open, the other half goes up above the hinge - into the screen/keyboard area. That is why the screen heats up a little bit in clamshell mode, no where for that heat to go. In my estimation at least.

I would recommend to work with the vent upwards if you must use it vertically. I wouldn't feel comfortable with it that way though.

If space really is a big issue, I would purchase a little shelf for the monitor. Then slide the laptop, closed of course, underneath that when it is in clamshell mode. I'll post pics of mine if my explanation doesn't make sense.

Oh sorry, I just saw the bottom part asking for someone who does this often. I don't know if that was an edit, or if I missed it at first. Anyway, I don't operate the notebook in closed mode often - sorry for wasting your time. I don't do it often partially because I don't feel comfortable with it, and mostly because I like having two screens.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Vieira
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
 
2010-03-21, 23:21

No, you do it, period. That's helpful.

I just didn't want a bunch of people chiming in, telling me something they read in Macworld, saw online or that their roommate in college, seven years ago, used to do it...that's all.

"Real-life" input/insight of the here-and-now variety is greatly appreciated. Thanks! Your post is squarely in the "helpful info" column, no worries.
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Maciej
M AH - ch ain saw
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2010-03-21, 23:34

Ahhh, okay. I was hoping that's what you meant, but I wanted to give you a disclaimer about my usage habits just for future reference so you know how much weight to put into my opinion. In case some heavy clamshell users come in here, in the morning.

Next time I play a movie from the laptop I'll try it in clamshell mode, that ought to give me a better idea if how hot it can get. I don't remember correctly, but I didn't get the impression (from your other post about dad getting a MBP) that he'll be doing very intensive stuff. Maybe making presentations, word processing, a little iPhoto, right? Or are are we expecting more video processing or other CPU intensive workflow?
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psmith2.0
Mr. Vieira
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
 
2010-03-21, 23:44

No, you have it right...Keynote, word processing, iPhoto, Safari and Mail make up 95% of his usage. Maybe even 98%.

No video, music, Photoshop, etc.
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Send a message via Skype™ to PB PM 
2010-03-21, 23:45

I use have used my last two MacBook Pros in clam-shell mode with an external keyboard and mouse on a regular basis, heavy workload, light, makes no difference. In clam shell mode the MacBook Pro works just like a desktop. When I am doing any work that really heats the machine up I just use a fan controller to bump up fan speed. Never had any heat related problems in the last 4 years with notebooks.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Vieira
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
 
2010-03-22, 03:44

Great. Thanks.
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