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MacBook Air Overheating

121807 Views 190 Replies Latest reply: Dec 1, 2009 12:49 PM by Euka RSS
  • cbell120 Calculating status...
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    Jul 10, 2009 11:15 PM (in response to Rockmed)
    I have a macbook air. something happen that got me concerned. i put my computer on stanby. Then went to the airport. when I got the computer out my bag at the airport the bottom was so hot I could not touch it. It booted allright. what caused this heat? should the FAA be advised of this? Could it cause a hazard on the plane?
    I would appreciate any feed back on this particular issue.

    macbook air, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • RT11 guru Level 2 Level 2 (175 points)
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    Jul 11, 2009 12:05 PM (in response to cbell120)
    This is unlikely a hazard. You probably had some process running. Check your logs in the Console application and next time check the Activity Monitor. Things like a document trying to print to an inaccessible printer are common culprits.
    Intel iMac (early 2008), iMac iSight, 12" PB G4, iPhone 3G, MBA SSD rev.B, Mac OS X (10.5.7), Windows XP, Linux, AIX, Newton MP, Palm TX
  • nikoli92 Calculating status...
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    Jul 13, 2009 2:41 AM (in response to Rockmed)
    Hi there, im just a noob to this forum... but to me 6200rpm sound like an awful lot. mine gets to that when im watching video and the cpu is at 85degrees. Do u guys think i should get it looked at?
    Macbook White 4GB Ram 2.1Ghz, Mac OS X (10.5.4)
  • AlexYoung21 Calculating status...
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    Jul 14, 2009 3:18 PM (in response to nikoli92)
    mine heats up to about 83 degrees and the computer runs horribly slow after running video chat or flash for a few minutes. is this normal? i have the first gen macbook air (1.6 ghz, 80gb HDD)
    MacBook Air, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • scottsanfilippo Calculating status...
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    Jul 15, 2009 3:07 PM (in response to AlexYoung21)
    Ok folks, I'm pretty new to the world of Mac and started out with an Air. I love it to death, but this overheating is a real issue. I installed the istat widget to monitor temperatures, and right now.... just surfing the net (no youtube, no video processing, nothing) the fan is running at 6179 rpms and the cpu temp is at 153 and nothing is below 100. this can't be normal.
    MBA, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • Rob1977 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 14, 2009 8:03 PM (in response to Rockmed)
    The MacBook Air that I got a month ago was having this problem. I now had it replaced for an unrelated issue -- a dead pixel -- and this computer has not had this problem so far, in spite of some heavy CPU usage.
    Incidentally, I did mention this problem to the apple support staff in the store, several of them -- and they didn't give a ****. They all said that the macbook air overheats, it is a known issue, and I shouldn't run CPU intensive tasks on it. One 'genius' told me not to run more than two applications on it at a time. I wonder why they didn't put that in the MacBook Air ads.

  • acoyne Calculating status...
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    Aug 16, 2009 8:08 PM (in response to Rockmed)
    Are the new MBA's any better than the old in this regard? Mine's a 1.6GHz, which I think counts as old..
    Macbook Air 1.6GHz, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • Glorfindeal Level 6 Level 6 (9,330 points)
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    Aug 17, 2009 6:09 AM (in response to acoyne)
    I just got the new on (2.13 GHZ with 128GB SSD). Thus far, i haven't had a core shutdown nor temperatures over 70C. During normal Safari browsing and web use, the temperature hangs around 59C. I'm going to rip some dvd's tomorrow and well see if the temperature escalates.

    Macbook Air 2.13 GHZ, 30" Samsung 305T, Mac OS X (10.5.8), iPhone 3GS 32GB White
  • AliceJaffe Calculating status...
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    Sep 10, 2009 10:40 PM (in response to Glorfindeal)
    how can you see what temperature your cpu is running?
    Macbook Air 2.13 GHZ, Mac OS X (10.6)
  • qstorm-air Calculating status...
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    Oct 20, 2009 11:36 PM (in response to Rockmed)
    ok.... my findings with MBA are the following and to be honest they are simple enough

    "Don't place MBA on a bed, couch or your laps."

    In other words don't place on any material that will even slightly bend under MBA's weight and either block it's ventilation grid or directly contact it's bottom. MBA has 4 very thin taps on it's bottom side, which are designed to lift it just a couple mms off any surface. This distance is crucial. As a rule of thumb MBA will shut down it's cpu cores or/and slow down GPU when ever it reaches a temp of 80+ celcius (use istat nano to monitor this). Playing an 720p video on your MBA with VLC player configured (a) "skip loop frames" set to "non ref" and (b) post processing set to "0" is perfectly possible (at least for 2.13 model that i own and have tested) even in full screen mode, also in windowed mode with safari running alongside but if MBA is contacting directly the surface below it, after a few minutes it will start to overheat.

    Conclusively, if u plan to do heavy work such as watching HD video and also plan on using MBA on your bed or couch, either (a) place a slim flat & hard surface between MBa and bed ( this might be a large enough for MBA book with a hard cover) or (b) make up another way to lift it safely above bed or (c) buy a ventilated stand, which i think is the worst option as u will once again get overwhelmed by noisy and bulky gadgets.... Personally i find the (a) solution most convenient.

    For my experiments i used an MBA 2.13 with SSD and a verbatim 500g ext. usb2.0 drive to store the HD video. I kept it plugged in for max performance. For playback i used VLC, with the aforementioned settings, which i found to be absolutely necessary for video to play in first place. As long as you manage to play back an HD video for 5 minutes, it is obvious you reached optimal performance tunning and any problems therafter are thermal problems caused by improper placing of your MBA or accumulated dirt which you can clean even off the fan by unscrewing the bottom side (how tos available in many sites) and using a computer air spray.

    Message was edited by: qstorm-air
    macbook air 2.13, ssd, Mac OS X (10.6.1)
  • makrhod Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 11, 2009 3:30 AM (in response to Rockmed)
    My Macbook Air 1.6 GHz is persistently running at 80C, and is uncomfortably hot to type on, let alone the slowdown it causes.

    Here are all the "fixes" I've tried, without success:
    1. Checked Activity Monitor for unexpected activity (like the kernel one) - none.
    2. Placed the laptop on a firm surface and even elevated it to increase airflow.
    3. Installed SMC Fan Control (tried all combinations of preferences) - no reduction in temperature.
    4. Installed CoolBook Controller (again, tried all sorts of settings combinations as recommended in the various threads on its use) - no effect.
    5. Downgraded to Flash version 9.
    6. Repaired permissions after the latest system Update.
    7. Using only one application at a time (currently Safari, with only this tab/window open).

    I have just copied the following temperatures from iStat Nano:
    HD: Macintosh HD 40C
    CPU A 80C
    Heatsink A 63C
    Enclosure Bottom 43C
    Airport Card 44C
    Power Supply 1 65C (power cord attached)

    Please help - what else can I do???
    Macbook Air 1.6 GHz, Mac OS X (10.6.1)
  • makrhod Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 11, 2009 4:10 AM (in response to makrhod)
    I should have mentioned that my MBA is about 6 months old, and this problem has been developing only over the last couple of weeks, getting much worse in the last 3-4 days.
    I read that the overheating is a known problem with Snow Leopard, but I was running that for many weeks without any problems. The latest Update may have made the problem worse, but it was there before the Update.

    It's making my cherished Air almost unusable as we enter summer. :-((
    Macbook Air 1.6 GHz, Mac OS X (10.6.1)
  • Slapguts Calculating status...
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    Nov 11, 2009 8:35 AM (in response to whateverwerks)
    Is everyone else having this problem seeing the kernel_task problem?
    Macbook Air Rev. A, 1.6ghz, 80gb HD, Mac OS X (10.6.1), 10.6.2
  • ExcaliburZ Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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    Nov 12, 2009 12:08 AM (in response to Rockmed)
    Is it charging when it is getting very hot. I have found my 1st Gen gets much hotter when I am using it while it is charging.
    I have also started using the Moshi Zeyfr, while it does not have the best design for use with the Air it does seem to do the best job of cooling it then all the other chillpads I have used.
    MBA 1st Gen, Mac OS X (10.6.2), iPod Touch 2nd Gen
  • makrhod Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 12, 2009 7:34 AM (in response to Rockmed)
    Thank you for your ideas, which are sensible suggestions, although not applicable here, unfortunately.
    a) It's not the "kernel_task" problem, because I read that on another forum and checked Activity Monitor as one of my first attempts to find the cause.
    b) It happens whether or not the power cable is connected, so I'm afraid it can't be due to charging.
    Also, it has only started happening in the last few weeks, after several months of normal operational heat.

    Any other suggestions for what I can try? Please?
    Macbook Air 1.6 GHz, Mac OS X (10.6.2)


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