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Does the new i7 MacBook Air run hot ?

31849 Views 57 Replies Latest reply: Sep 20, 2013 7:09 AM by xser RSS
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William Rivas Level 5 Level 5 (4,225 points)
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Jul 22, 2011 5:23 PM

I am pondering getting the i7 McBook Air. Does someone with it tell if it runs hot ?



iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.7), iPhone 4 32GBiPhone 4 16 GBiPod Classic 160GB
  • captfred Level 7 Level 7 (26,225 points)
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    Jul 22, 2011 5:34 PM (in response to William Rivas)

    No, my new i7 MBair runs much cooler than my older MBair.  It's this big engine just loping along.

    It's fast!!!




  • captfred Level 7 Level 7 (26,225 points)
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    Jul 22, 2011 5:46 PM (in response to William Rivas)

    Glad to help. 

  • primolabo Calculating status...
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    Jul 22, 2011 11:25 PM (in response to captfred)



    to which "old" MBA are you comparing?


    the heat due to i7 in the new MBA is also my concern... how long are you testing your new MBA? did you play some movies on it? or some gaming?

  • Matt Hardy Level 1 Level 1 (135 points)
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    Aug 4, 2011 1:05 AM (in response to primolabo)

    My i7 Air is about 67-70C under 90% idle CPU.


    This is too hot to have on lap, and warms the hands to slight persperation.


    I am not so hapy with it, would prefer a slower CPU and lower heat, but don't regret getting it because I am clearly brainwashed.

  • NineTigers Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 4, 2011 10:31 AM (in response to Matt Hardy)

    I like the brain washed comment, aren't we all. I have the new 11 and won't go back because of the backlit screen. It really helps.


    Yes, its really hot, and I am not doing anything to strain it.

  • crh24 Level 3 Level 3 (920 points)
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    Aug 4, 2011 11:34 AM (in response to Matt Hardy)

    Another data point...


    My 256GB 1.8GHz i7 4GB is currently idling and has been for several minutes.  The CPU temp is 33 deg C according to iStat.


    Playing an iTunes song from a 1TB USB powered hard drive using the battery in the MBA results in a slight temperature rise to 39 deg C.


    Watching a TV Show full screen results in an idle state of 90-94% and an associated temperature rise to 46-48 deg C.


    Running apps that result in 70-75% idle raises the CPU temperature to 68-70 deg C.


    In all of the above the fan speed remains at about 2000 RPM.


    Executing a Handbrake render utilizes virtually all of the CPU horsepower and results in an increase in fan speed that rises slowly from 2000 to the vicinity of 6500 while the temperature ranges from 90 to 93 deg C.  I am now 10 minutes into the render and the system seems to have stabilized at 90 dec C and 6496 RPM and my unit is only warm to the touch.  It can in no way be called hot.


    Within two minutes of completing the render the fan is back to 2000 and the temperature of the CPU has dropped to below 50 deg C.  Over the next 5-10 minutes or so it continues to drop until it again hits the 33 deg C point and the case is again cool to the touch.


    All of the above is under battery power only, the charger was not connected.


    This all seems very reasonable to me.  Am I lucky or do most units perform this way?


    Message was edited by: crh24

    MacBook Air, Mac OS X (10.7), 13" i7 256GB
  • mavey Calculating status...
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    Aug 4, 2011 5:16 PM (in response to William Rivas)

    I have the core2 duo previous model 11" MBA as well as the new 11" i7 256gb MBA. My previous MBA i do not even know there is a fan there. Never had heat problem.


    The new MBA, almost immediately i noticed the noiser fan. It is not really loud, but is noticeable when using it in a quiet bedroom. With iStat, i can tell the temp also can go up to 90 degrees celcius. Fan speed goes above 6000 rpm. And i dont need to be doing anything particular, neither does the CPU usage have to go above 50% for that to happen. i use mostly email and safari to serve website. am not rendering any video yet.


    One thing, the iStat temp of the casing is typically lower in the range of 30 to 50 degrees. It is only the CPU itself that really gets hot.

  • slyguy_28 Level 2 Level 2 (165 points)
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    Aug 4, 2011 9:30 PM (in response to Matt Hardy)

    Screen shot 2011-08-04 at 9.27.23 PM.png


    That's what my temps usually run. Yes, it's in Fahrenheit...


  • alexander262 Calculating status...
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    Aug 14, 2011 2:50 PM (in response to William Rivas)

    Yes, it his hotter/noisier than every other Apple computer I had in the past (two macbook pros and an iMac).


    My model is 2011 Macbook Air 13" Core i7 256GB. Fans went to 6000 rpm when transferring time machine backup data. Same when playing Civ IV or running Parallels. Sometimes it goes up to 6000 RPM even when browsing web pages with some Flash in them. CPU utilization stays 50% or less. Ridiculous.

  • Matt Hardy Level 1 Level 1 (135 points)
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    Aug 15, 2011 12:36 AM (in response to alexander262)

    I have found many lion quirks...


    This is my list so far...


    Kernel panics:

    Safari caused one

    Virtual Box caused one

    The cpu went crazy - very hot, 1hr battery life reported on 90% charge.



    Disable flash plugin with



    Decode/encode makes every computer I've used run hot.

    Encoding video on i7 - I expect hot and max fans and I also expect it to be faster than before


    Lion animations:

    If it was possible, I'd turn off all animations, the onboard graphics will add to general ambiant tempurature increase I think...



    Photoshop CS3 - each operation does a bit of CPU, and it's bloat code most likely, and I assume this because i7 runs hot and fans come on after some CS3 work...


    Lion: The OS is a first release, and we all pray that the kind engineers at apple are studiously optimising everything to make our Macs faster, cooler and quieter. We all love a good software engineer, and especially when they make our Macs better over time - so, roll on 10.7.1


    Health warning:

    Beware of bare legs and i7...

  • Tachyio Calculating status...
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    Aug 17, 2011 7:20 AM (in response to mavey)

    Hi Mavey,


    I am having the same issue, got a Mid-2011 Macbook Air 11", Core-i7 with 256GB SSD.


    The unit runs hot! Even whilst idle. I managed to reduce the temperature slightly by installing "Click to Plugin" for Safari, its an extension.


    However, in general it still runs hotter than my Mid 2010 Macbook Pro, Core 2 Duo 2.4 Ghz.


    MBA 2011 ~ 35 to 40C under light load

    MBP 2010 ~ 28 to 35C under light load


    Have you managed to resolve the issue? I'm thinking of returning my MBA 11" to Apple and get the i5 Model instead.

  • Matt Hardy Level 1 Level 1 (135 points)
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    Aug 17, 2011 7:27 AM (in response to Tachyio)

    It seems weird that these chips are hotter as they use less wattage than duo core I think...


    I think we are all being done over by Lion or something software wise, perhaps the new builtin graphics ??


    Although I am liking some features, I am going to see how I get on with i7 13" and SL.

    I prefer to have a cooler, longer battery and smaller system.


    It's just all about what you need, and SL has support for Rosetta too so a really nice crossroad for many.


    But oh man, what a mission to go back and no more scrolly desktops or excellent gestures, but well, it's all about what you need...


    Returning the device may not help i5/i7 are pretty much the same, only a little cache differnce - but if you can, perhaps you'll be happier...

  • Tachyio Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 17, 2011 7:34 AM (in response to Matt Hardy)

    It may not be lion, my old MBP is running 10.7, and its still nice and cold even when I'm doing tonnes of stuff on it (except playing flash videos).


    I think there might be a difference with the processors, C2D and i7 in terms of their heat output...or the MBA has a poorer cooling system.


    Anandtech states that there is a difference in maximum power draw between the i5 and i7 models too, which could improve battery life on the i5. That's why I might return mine :-)


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