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Macbook Air core Shutdown on video

40358 Views 143 Replies Latest reply: Sep 29, 2008 8:46 AM by ahostmadsen RSS
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dstracey Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 17, 2008 12:11 AM
Continuing the ONGOING macbook air core shutdown problem. That for some reason the topic was locked below.

Visited 2 apple stores today both with 2 macbook air's on display. Visited youtube on one played a 10min video and played a movie in itunes on the other. Both machines had core shutdown / freezing stuttering within 7mins.

Apple staff in the shop..."No comment"

Apple where is the solution when will you admit it is an issue and when will you address it?
Macbook Air 1.6, Mac OS X (10.5.2), Iphone
  • dburnett1 Level 1 Level 1 (105 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 17, 2008 3:10 AM (in response to dstracey)
    The previous post was locked because of comments like yours. This is not a site to rant and rave on. This site was built with the following in mind: Allow actual Mac users, both current and potential, to post tech questions, learn about the MBA, and the like.

    I have had my MBA from the first day they were available in the stores and have had ZERO, NADA, ZIP issues with core shutdown (and I have used it daily for more than just watching a youtube video) or freezing. You need to remember that everyone and their brother plays on those display MBAs and no telling what kind of system changes or crap gets on those display machines...Playing with the thing is very different than owing and using a MBA for your daily workflow and productivity.
    Intel CD iMAC 20" / 16 GB iPod touch/ MBA 1.8/SSD, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • Volker Runkel Level 6 Level 6 (12,060 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 17, 2008 7:22 AM (in response to dstracey)

    it seems some devices have this problem, while others don't. Unlucky as I am, I have not managed to get fingers on one of those showing the symptoms. I would love to, to help understanding what causes the problems.

    Otherwise, so far no solutions for those few that have the problem. Maybe you are using it in a wrong way (surface, surroundings, ...) since getting the third MBA might be a sign for that. And no, I believe you with having the problem, I just can't judge by missing details if it is a real problem or a usage problem.

    You may stop ranting and give more details. You could also give feedback to Apple and explain them en detail what happens here: - otherwise, keep to the ToU and stop ranting.

    20" iMac(Intel), G4 MDD 2x867MHz, MBA 1.6/HDD, ACD 20", iPodTouch, Mac OS X (10.5.2), and one machine on 10.4.11
  • MBA in Texas Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 17, 2008 9:25 AM (in response to dstracey)
    For what it's worth, I believe you. My first Air had that problem and it was fairly easy to make a core shut down. I could also duplicate on every Air in our local Apple store as well.

    This second Air also does it, but I have to push it much harder -- I can't force a core shut down unless I have my 23" Cinema Display attached and a Parallels or VMWare VM running.

    Oh -- running it with the lid closed accelerates the problem, but I can replicate even with it open.

    Message was edited by: MBA in Texas
    MacBook Air 1.8/SSD, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • John Scott1 Level 2 Level 2 (300 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 17, 2008 10:47 AM (in response to dstracey)
    My two cents on this would be that because Intel had to shrink the cpu core in order to fit in the MBA. I would have to conclude that the core temperature is somehow reaching the point of shutting down the cpu. I don't know if this again is a case like the MacBooks had when the heat sink was the problem. But I had a feeling that heat was going to be a issue for the MacBook Air.You simply have too little space for proper airflow. Which is one reason you do not see fast CPU's in these type of laptops. Of course Apple seems to push this heat issue on many of its laptops. I for one thought the MacBook was much warmer than some other Laptops with similar specs.Some of the temperature readings showed this.
    I do know that when playing online video content on my MacBook that CPU usage was very high and temperature rises on the core (CPU) were quite high.I am sure this is happening in the MacBook Air Too.
    MacBook, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • BarryXSharp Level 5 Level 5 (7,880 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 17, 2008 9:53 PM (in response to John Scott1)
    The Intel core is designed to shutdown when its temp exceed 204ºF. If temp get this high it's because either fan is not spinning at 6500 rpm, the fan is defective in that it's not delivering enough cooling air or there's some other issue causing the heat buildup. The inoperative fan it quite likely the cause in many cases.
    iPods, 1G/2G Shuffle, MacBook Core Duo, PM G5 Dual 2.5 (June 2004), Mac OS X (10.5.2), SwiftData 200,iSight,AEBS(GbE),iPhone,Burly5bay eSATAPortMultiplier,MBA 1.8/SSD
  • Marcus S. Zarra Level 1 Level 1 (65 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 18, 2008 7:41 AM (in response to BarryXSharp)
    The core shutdown occurs, at least on my most recent MBA, while the CPU is in the 60c range. This is no where near the thermal limit. I think this has more to do with the GPU than the CPU personally as I can get the core to drop while watching videos that only cause the CPU to idle. Also, since it happens while running a second monitor or doing very large USB transfers, it may very well have something to do with the ports and improper air flow in that area.

    Apple is aware of this issue and while my current MBA does exhibit the problem, instead of draining the stock in Colorado, I am waiting to see what they are going to do about it.
    MacBook Air 1.6Ghz, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • BarryXSharp Level 5 Level 5 (7,880 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 18, 2008 8:26 PM (in response to Marcus S. Zarra)
    MY first 1.6 GHz MBA w/SSD overheated within the first 6 hrs of use. It was due to a defective fan that did not rotate as it should have. AppleCare told me to take it to my local Apple Store and they promptly exchanged it with a 1.8 GHz MBA w/SSD as they don't stock CTO MBA as mine was with the 1.6 GHz/SSD combo.

    I've not had any issue whatsoever with my new MBA and I run it pretty hard at times. My fan RPM kicks up to 6500 and temps never exceed around 86ºF/30ºC over extended periods. This should be the expected behaviour of the MBA.
    iPods, 1G/2G Shuffle, MacBook Core Duo, PM G5 Dual 2.5 (June 2004), Mac OS X (10.5.2), SwiftData 200,iSight,AEBS(GbE),iPhone,Burly5bay eSATAPortMultiplier,MBA 1.8/SSD
  • childlost Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 19, 2008 10:26 AM (in response to BarryXSharp)
    I had the exact same issue, with one core shutting down when temp reaches 60-62C.
    I went to the apple store, explained how annoying it was and that my MBA was practically unusable because I couldnt even watch a video without triggering some kind of erratic behavior.

    They started a torture-test right in front of me, running five youtube videos, the chess application (computer vs computer mode), the itunes visualizer, garageband playing a loop, etc. I have a menubar app that shows the activity of the two cores and the temperature reached.

    During the torture test, both cores went up to 100% activity, and temperature went up to 82C (a temperature my MBA never reached at home) but the cores never shut down.

    they kept the MBA for two days and then called me telling me they couldn't make the core shut down even one single time.
    My conclusion is that the MBA only works when you use it on a flat cold surface. If you use it on your lap, if you put it on your mattress or on any soft surface (isn't that how people use a laptop most of the time though?) it will be almost unusable, because the vents are at the bottom of the MBA and get obstructed very easily.

    What's weird though is that the CPU temperature even in those conditions (on my lap or on my bed) never went above 65C. So it's not the CPU overheating, it must be something else.
    I m going to pick up my MBA at the apple store this evening and make a few more tests. But I'm puzzled.
    MacBook Air 1.8 Ghz 64Gb SSD, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • Rhyd Level 3 Level 3 (795 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 19, 2008 11:05 AM (in response to childlost)
    on page 58 of the User's Guide:

    +Handling your MacBook Air+
    +_*Set up your MacBook Air on a stable work surface that+_*
    *_+allows for adequate air circulation under and around the computer. Do not operate+_*
    *_+your MacBook Air on a pillow or other soft material, as the material can block the+_*
    *_+airflow vents*._ Never place anything over the keyboard when operating your computer.+
    +Never push objects into the ventilation openings.+
    +The bottom of your MacBook Air may become very warm during normal use. If your+
    +MacBook Air is on your lap and gets uncomfortably warm, remove it from your lap and+
    +place it on a stable work surface.+

    Apple is not at fault when the user fails to follow explicit instructions.

    Message was edited by: Rhyd
    MBA1.6HHD  MBP 2.4 SR LED, 8G iPhone  PB15"hi-res 1.67, OSX10.4.10, 10.5.2, Mac OS X (10.5.2), MBA MBP + PPC Mac notebooks, towers, and desktops now back to System 7.
  • Brian Caslis Level 3 Level 3 (795 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 19, 2008 11:10 AM (in response to childlost)
    If you torture test it, then yes it's unusable on a soft surface. Is this surprising?

    However, for general web surfing, email, and other none CPU/GPU intensive things it works fine on your lap or even on a bed.

    Honestly, I just don't understand why anyone would be puzzled by this. You can see where the vents are. Blocking them stops air flow, the results are pretty predictable.
    MBP 15" 2.6GHz 4GB, 200GB HD, Mac OS X (10.5.2), MBA 1.8 64GB SSD; iPhone
  • childlost Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 19, 2008 10:47 PM (in response to Brian Caslis)
    What puzzles me is that, when my MBA is on a soft surface, one core would shut down when the temperature reaches 60-62C, which is not considered overheating.
    MacBook Air 1.8 Ghz 64Gb SSD, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • Brian Caslis Level 3 Level 3 (795 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 20, 2008 6:12 AM (in response to childlost)
    I don't think you can judge the shutdown condition solely based on CPU temperature. I would not be surprised that there is a combination of factors causing a shutdown. It makes sense that if there is no ventilation a core would shutdown earlier since the temperature will spike faster in those conditions. Without knowing how Apple or Intel have setup the logic to determine when a shutdown occurs it's impossible to say for sure.
    MBP 15" 2.6GHz 4GB, 200GB HD, Mac OS X (10.5.2), MBA 1.8 64GB SSD; iPhone
  • Mark Assad Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 20, 2008 4:19 PM (in response to dstracey)
    It's more than just on a bed -- or at least for me.

    I was able to get the core to shutdown while using it flat on a desk, in an air-conditioned office.

    Sure, I had a movie on repeat for about 15 minutes to do it. But, the fact is that if it is over-heating in perfect conditions, then in normal conditions, it's a real problem.

    I tried taking it to an apple store, and was told, sure, we'll look at it, but don't expect a response for two weeks.

    I think I'd just be happy with my money back, and I'll switch it for a mac book pro.

    Macbook Air, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
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