adam_mc wrote:How would you suggest I should go about giving my conclusions more "depth"?
I have checked the activity monitor to find other things that could be demanding resources (especially cpu) but find nothing.
Well, first of all you need some stats on your CPU temperature, like shareware iStat Menus
or their dashboard version
or Temperature Monitor
. Set your phone or something to countdown and eyeball the temp and CPU use every 10 or so while you work on your machine. iStat may plot the trends, I'm not sure. If so that is most useful.
Also, if your machine does seem to run hot, find a reliable mac speed test application and do a cold base test of your CPU and overall performance. Then do it again when you consider the machine hot. If the difference is noticeable you do have a problem that needs solving.
I used SMCFancontrol a few years back when I had heat issues under OS X Lion, But after I downgraded to Snow Leopard and started to always use my Macbook Pro elevated with lots of air under it
all strange issues (not basic performance though) I've had disappeared and fans runs as they should. I do think I cleaned the fans a little with a vacuum too. I'm on OS X 10.9.4 now.
These days I'd rather recommend Macs Fan control
instead, also free and updated recently.