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MacBook Air Overheating

121763 Views 190 Replies Latest reply: Dec 1, 2009 12:49 PM by Euka RSS
  • r2thek Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Mar 8, 2008 8:25 AM (in response to Rockmed)
    My MBAir runs hot with an external monitor, whether its running videos or just a few routine programs. When it gets close to 70* (fan running at about 6200) one core shuts down and the machine operates sluggishly. Is this "normal"? Would it be appropriate to replace it? Is that a software problem with the settings of the CPU?
    MBAir 1.6, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • JLC077 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Mar 8, 2008 10:42 PM (in response to r2thek)
    I am also a MBA owner and have had some issues with overheating and one of the cores shutting down. Here's my 2 cents.

    I have found that this has more to do with whether the machine is ventilating properly than with CPU temperature per se. In my case, I first noticed the machine would overheat when the CPU temp reached approx. 63-65 deg. C according to the iStat widget. I could see from the Activity Monitor that one of the cores would shut down and it would then lead to all the freezing, etc. discussed in the other posts.

    However, I realized that if I put the machine on my lap or raised it on the table so that the vents in the back moved air more efficiently, the machine would not overheat even if the CPU temp still read 63-65 deg. C. I could tell by touching the machine that it was much, much cooler than if I lay it flatly on the table where the vents are close to the table surface. In other words, the overheating has much more to do with adequate ventilation than with the actual CPU temp. It seems that the sensors that shut down the cores are sensitive to the overall heat in the machine (which has more to do with ventilation) than with actual CPU temp.

    My recommendation would be that if you are going to do hardore stuff on the machine make sure that ventilation is optimized by raising the machine if its on a table or putting it on your lap where the vents at the bottom can breathe easily.

    Hey just my 2 cents.
    MBA 1.6 GHz, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • Deny Dias (BR) Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Mar 11, 2008 9:35 AM (in response to Rockmed)
    We have been heard:

    Apple Insider: "MacBook Air software update targets ongoing freezing issues"
    http://tinyurl.com/2dnnqx
    MacBook Air, Mac OS X (10.5.2), Model# A1237
  • Brian Caslis Level 3 Level 3 (795 points)
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    Mar 11, 2008 12:11 PM (in response to Deny Dias (BR))
    Did the update help yours?
    MBP 15" 2.6GHz 4GB, 200GB HD, Mac OS X (10.5.2), MBA 1.8 64GB SSD; iPhone
  • JLC077 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Mar 11, 2008 12:39 PM (in response to Brian Caslis)
    What are they going to do run the fans all the time at 6200 RPM? I had read at another forum that the MBA is so thin that it might not allow enough space for adequate heat dissipation. If the answer to this is running the fan, then all we will have is very thin but very noisy MacBook Airs. This is starting to feel like a design flaw where the vents at the bottom are simply to close to the table surface to allow adequate ventilation.

    JLC
  • Brian Caslis Level 3 Level 3 (795 points)
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    Mar 11, 2008 1:02 PM (in response to JLC077)
    I don't believe this is the case, it would be a design flaw that Apple would have unlikely have let pass on the design.

    One of the issues I think people are seeing is that playing flash movies for a few minutes or quicktime movies longer results in heat and the fan coming on. The issue is the GPU is not as powerful as on the MacBook Pros and the CPU has to do the video codec decoding. Combined with the low profile it means the fan is going to be on for videos of any length. This is a bit disappointing but not totally unexpected. My experience is that playing a DVD doesn't cause the fan to come on as much, but that's not surprising since the DVD is not as compressed as much so it requires less CPU to decode.

    So, the MBA isn't the best choice for videos. This is made worse by the fact that Adobe flash on Mac OS X is very very CPU hungry (much more than on Windows) which makes the issue occur sooner.
    MBP 15" 2.6GHz 4GB, 200GB HD, Mac OS X (10.5.2), MBA 1.8 64GB SSD; iPhone
  • dudup Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Mar 12, 2008 7:39 PM (in response to Brian Caslis)
    Definitely it's not happening because of the GPU. I came from a 2.16ghz Macbook which had an Intel GMA 950 onboard graphics, and it would handle videos nicely, even full hd traillers from iTunes without a glitch, and doing so using an 1680x1050 external display.

    The MBA has an X3100 onboard graphics which is, supposedly, quite more powerful than the GMA950.

    I found that the MBA can't play full hd videos at all, and crawls for any kind of Flash video. I also perceive it as slower on GUI animations.

    Flash Player's been causing a lot of trouble for OS X users since its update to version 9. I had all kinds of trouble with it on a lot of machines, specially crashes with Safari.

    I'm completely convinced that a graphics update will come out soon. I know onboard graphics *** sometimes, but nothing has sucked this much in years.
    Macbook Air 1.6 HDD, Mac OS X (10.5.2), 8 GB iPhone
  • permamac Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Mar 13, 2008 1:02 AM (in response to dudup)
    I'm on my third Air, and this one works wonderfully. I was so incredibly frustrated with the core shut-downs and overheating. i've been pushing this new air to the limit with simultaneous streaming video, and multiple adobe apps running, and it never overheats, and the core never shuts down. It has to be an issue with thermal grease application, or other defect, because it is a night-and-day difference. third air was the charm.

    I couldn't even connect an external monitor without my last air shutting down a core after a few minutes. Now I can run all day long without a wimper.

    If your Air is doing this, take it back to Apple. I almost gave up on the Air, but I'm super-glad that I didn't. I love it now.
    Macbook Air 1.6, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • iMacoo7 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Mar 13, 2008 3:23 AM (in response to permamac)
    I am having to send my Apple back because of the heat sink failure problem. This would cause the fans to run high and eventually turn the machine totally off. If this doesn't cut it then i think i will just cut the ties with the laptop and move on to something else. Just really frustrated at the moment
    iMac C2D big bodii, Mac OS X (10.4.10), IT Tech
  • golde2 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Mar 13, 2008 7:27 AM (in response to iMacoo7)
    I am on my second MBA and it is the same story. My MBA is attached to a 23in monitor and goes to FANS as soon as the machine has any load at all - 5% processor utilization. Results are basically the same for both MBA I have received. Also, just opening a browser to yahoo.com will cause the fans to go to 6200rpm.

    Given that my one year old Macbook was completely quite with the same apps tells me something is defective and I am really sorry I ventured into the MBA at this point. Hopefully a fix is coming soon.
    Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.1)
  • dudup Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Mar 13, 2008 6:23 PM (in response to permamac)
    permamac,

    Are you able to play full hd videos on this MBA? That would clearly indicate something.

    Today is cold in here, so I just watched a 7 minute flash video on gamespot.com (which is higher resolution than youtube videos) and it behaved just fine. Although the fans started to spin higher as the cpu usage grown, they never reached more than 5400 rpm, and 2 minutes after the video playback stopped, they went back to 2400 rpm.

    Also, during the playback, both cores remained active and never reached 100% (although they neared for a brief moment). Temps got up to 80º C, but they kept an average of 71º most of the time. After playback, they dropped to 57º.

    And yes, I was using the external 1680x1050 display. Also, I never had issues after connecting.

    My doubt is abou playing full hd videos. I never had a problem on my previous macbook.
    Macbook Air 1.6 HDD, Mac OS X (10.5.2), 8 GB iPhone
  • lefterisgr Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Mar 17, 2008 3:43 AM (in response to Rockmed)
    This is what I've just tried on my MBA:
    3 Safari windows each displaying a youtube video. About 10 minutes into the videos, the CPU reached 81C and the heatsink 60C. Then the fan started blowing at 6200rpm and in a couple of minutes cooled them down to 68C and 58C respectively (with the videos still running). For the next 20 minutes of youtubing (until I got bored with this experiment), the temperatures were fluctuating between 68C and 80C for the CPU and 58C and 63C for the heatsink.
    The computer was warm below the Esc-F4 keys, but I wouldn't call that "overheating". Both cores were working just fine, no freezing, slowing down, or other problem to report.
    The computer was not plugged in and it's made in week 6 of 2008.
    Macbook Air, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • Marcus S. Zarra Level 1 Level 1 (65 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 17, 2008 8:23 AM (in response to lefterisgr)
    I have noticed that this problem, at least on my 3rd MBA, does not occur when the machine is not connected to the mains. I would suggest retrying your experiment while connected to see if it occurs.
    MacBook Air 1.6Ghz, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • permamac Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 17, 2008 1:34 PM (in response to dudup)
    To test performance, I run full-screen "Terminator" HD streams from Fox dot com. Look for their Fox On Demand link at the top of their home page.

    I click the + button to boost the screen size up to the full 1600x1200 of my 20" Dell LCD. Temps peak at 75C and fall back to 70-72. Fan runs full-speed at 6192-6208. Cores never drop out.
    Macbook Air 1.6, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
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