Erroneous temp readings from MFC - 2011 MacBook Pro 15"

Hi Folks,

First post here. I caught the bug for working on older Apple products about a year ago and have since messed around with older iMACS, Mac Mini's and now I am working on my first MacBook. I picked a doozy being that it is the notorious 2011 model with all of the GPU failures I have read about. Mine came to me for the princely sum of 50.00 USD, so I felt good about the purchase, even if it turned out to be a dud. Happy to say that it is only partially a dud at this juncture, and I have managed (with some luck) to get it from a non-bootable state all the way up to full operation with Legacy Patcher providing me with the Monterey operating system.

I had big issues for a while as kernel was basically making the machine unusable. Apple diagnostics routine identified a bad battery, even though it only had 56 cycles on it. I suspect aftermarket Chinese causing the issues. Recently I purchased a cheap, used but original MacBook battery and the kernel issue has stopped - thankfully. Now I have another issue which may have been there before or not? Hard to tell when you can barely move the pointer around the screen. Ran diagnostics again and I am showing no other hardware problems which is odd as there is definitely something amiss. I will ask a couple of simple questions on this first so-as not to create a novel here.

  • Updates to the machine are Crucial SSD @ 256G / Crucial 16GB of RAM / Machine completely cleaned out and new paste applied to CPU and GPU. Running Monterey via OCLP and I have installed Mac Fan Control (MFC). I do basically the same routine on any of these machines, so I know there is some consistency in the work I perform and have great success on the iMacs and Mac Minis I have worked on previously.
  • I will use Celsius in the description of the issues I have found, and it is either a temperature sensor issue or an outright failure on the MotherBoard that is causing the grief although diagnostics does not bring up anything. These thoughts come after quite a bit of messing around so I am asking the community if there is something that someone has already encountered that jives with what I am describing.
  • The problem is that the machine appears to be throttling back the processing due to high temps ------- I do not have high temps. If I boot the machine at ambient (today it is 25C), and then open MFC to monitor, the readings on the i7 quad core and the GPU temps are already showing 50+ C and that's after about 30 seconds of operation. If I do nothing, the fans will throttle up and down routinely as I have them set to operate via sensor temp on MFC. If I move the pointer around the screen, it is smooth, and the machine feels good. BUT - do anything on the machine like opening an app, and the machine immediately gets sluggish, and the temp readings shoot up immediately - having 20 or more-degree Celsius swings. It gets over 90C at times on the CPU cores and that may be alarming considering I am not running anything other than like a Word document or something. I would be worried as well except that sitting on my lap, the air coming out of the back of the machine is completely mild. Not even the hint of being "hot". By comparison, my little Sony Vaio laptop can start to feel like a furnace after using it for 30-60 minutes and it does not struggle at all.
  • Along with these physical attributes and what MFC is telling me, I have used Activity Monitor to watch what is happening and the CPU is not even being close to being taxed. Typical system and user percentages are always below 10% now however, when I check the charging state of the battery with an app open, it tells me that whatever app I have running is consuming large amounts of energy. Not bad for a Word document huh? lol.

If I could start there, I would be interested what feedback I get so far on the issue. I currently have no visible GPU issues. No lines, no grey screens, no kernel panics, etc. I also notice that WindowServer routine is the most consistent routine sitting at the top of activity monitor. Not sure if that means anything as none of the routines in the background appear out of step with the amount of CPU they are asking to use.

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