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  • ahostmadsen Level 2 (280 points)
    That review describes it very well. I have also had to learn how to manage the MBA to avoid overheating, constantly checking activity monitor to make sure nothing runs high on cpu, closing Safari, other applications; and if I need to run anything intensive, doing it at my desk with a fan behind the MBA. Mostly I can then avoid the issue, but sometimes it happens anyway. I wish Apple would come up with a solution.
  • mgerbasio Level 1 (20 points)
    I think Apple's solution was the MBA Rev 2, unfortunately. I'm more annoyed there hasn't been anything from Apple telling us what we can expect, if anything, getting our less than a year old PCs to work as sold.

    If my MBA R1 worked as well as my iPod I'd be staring at a MBA R2 now. Unfortunately the few small problems make me really hesitate to slap down $2.5k for a new one to gain speed and correct issues with my current MBA. I do like my MBA, but, I'm thinking a netbook might be even more convenient for the road and it is a lot less expensive.

    Regards-Michael G.
  • childlost Level 1 (0 points)
    My first gen. MBA becomes practically unusable after an hour or two of not even intensive use (email and safari!) because kernel_task starts taking 150% of the CPU and everything slows down to unusable levels.
    I went to the Genius Bar yesterday and they put the CPU under heavy load for half an hour in front of me, opening 15 quicktime movies at the same time, running Chess and Graph... and kernel_task stayed between 2% and 8% most of the time, with brief peaks to 40%. I hate when that happens.
    At home I use my MBA on a stand, to be sure I don't cover the vents. The only difference between my apartment and the apple store is the AC. Indoor temperature in my apt is around 74 degrees, at the Apple Store it's lower. The fact that the MBA can't handle temperatures around 74-75 degrees is very disappointing. The MBA is still at the store right now but if they return it to me saying that there's nothing wrong with it, I might just sell it and get a MacBook. but I would be REALLY disappointed.
  • ahostmadsen Level 2 (280 points)
    This is exactly why I have never taken my Air back to the Apple store. In my office with AC I never had either core shutdown or a wild kernel_task. At home, without AC, it happens if I do moderately intensive work. But I will never be able to reproduce that in an air-conditioned Apple store.
  • 997TTS Level 1 (0 points)
    I recently bought a Macbook Air 1.86 GHz/128GB SSD. I actually hoped that Apple learned from past mistakes, my first gen Macbook Air with 64GB SSD was overheating constantly, shutting down itself after half an hour or so. There isn't much difference with the second generation, my new Macbook Air gets so hot, it isn't much different to the first gen.

    The reason is simple: the air vents on the lower back part of the Macbook Air. Since I'm using my Macbook Air in bed most of the time, the vents are partially covered due to the soft structure of the bed mattress. This really *****, my other laptop, a Sony Vaio Z11VN Windows Vista laptop, doesn't show any overheating signs, simply because the ventilation works much better.

    In my opinion, the Macbook Air has a design flaw, whoever designed it, never tested it on a bed. This is pretty much ridiculous because many people I know actually use their laptops in bed very often.
  • ahostmadsen Level 2 (280 points)
    I had two chances to stress my Air today. First I did video editing with iMovie, including coding a movie through Quicktime, which took half an hour. I did this on my desk with a fan behind the computer, and all worked well. kernel_task never went above 4%. Even during the half hour processor intensive coding.

    Then later, I tried to watch a streaming video from Netflix on bed. I put the MBA on a pad so that the vents were not blocked. After less than 10 minutes kernel_task went crazy, and it was impossible to watch the video. We had to switch to my wife's older MacBook.

    So, the kernel_task problem is indeed very temperature sensitive.

    Message was edited by: ahostmadsen
  • Trexuphigh Level 1 (5 points)
    I just picked up the refurbed MBA1.6 that Apple has on the online store. I put it through some paces in terms of large file transfers, Benchmark software runs, music, youtube, Photoshop CS3 tasks, etc. I find that the temps are not bad. IStat states CPU is at 50-60 C during during most ongoing tasks. Case seems cool. No worries about a hot underside. It feels cooler than my 12" Powerbook G4 and cooler than my wife's Black MacBook 2.2. With the Air as with any laptop keeping the vents clear of obstruction is key and for intensive tasks like Photoshop editing I intend to use my USB port replicator/ Cooling base that I used with my 12".
  • John Allen2 Level 1 (35 points)
    So, the kernel_task problem is indeed very temperature sensitive.

    I have found that as well on my 2nd gen Macbook air with SSD.

    I ended up purchasing Coolbook from to reduce the speed/temperature the computer runs at. It has helped.

    But I still once and awhile see the temp go up to 110 degrees and things get really slow. Usually when watching streaming videos and having other cpu intensive apps open.
  • sr-mac Level 1 (0 points)

    great post. i'm actually on my second mac book air. apple already replaced one, and i'm still having the EXACT same problem. actually, i've noticed both my mba's progressively deteriorated, as i use video (cnn video) and iChat video all the time. i'm debating asking apple to replace this machine altogether with a macbook pro, as this is getting really old. but now, maybe i'll have them replace this with another air, to see if they can get it right. i really love this machine, but at times, it JUST DOESN'T WORK..
  • drewt1 Level 1 (0 points)
    hi, My daughter has the original air and it always freezes up during her ichat sessions after a short time. It almost appears as it gets hot problems start. I see you have been through two, any improvements or should I just upgrade her computer to a pro, brick etc. I have 5 kids in this house and she is the only one with an air and problems.
  • __robbie_g__ Level 1 (0 points)
    I recently read the announcement by Apple that the MacBook Air is unsuitable for use with Xcode and external monitors -

    Apparently the MBA shuts down CPU1/1 as its coping strategy when having to do sustained, resource intensive operations. I have the exact same issue when I try to run VMWare Fusion with Microsoft Windows Vista as a guest OS.

    To me this coping strategy is a design fault that needs to be addressed as a catastrophic issue, since it renders the device unusable. I would suggest that this design fault could be analogous to a general purpose passenger airliner that automatically shuts down one of its jet turbines to prevent the plane from overheating...completely unacceptable.

    Doesn't the device support CPU Frequency Scaling strategies? It seems that there is no user definable scaling strategy options built into the shell?

    Can someone from Apple comment please
    Regards, R
  • RT11 guru Level 2 (175 points)
    Hmm. That hardly qualifies as an "announcement". In any case, nobody from Apple is going to respond in these forums.
    There is a utility called CoolBook that lets you adjust the frequency and voltage of the processors. I thik it runs on the Air.
  • __robbie_g__ Level 1 (0 points)

    Is the third party tweak supported by Apple? Is it free? Anyway, I guess I will have to give it a try, since if Apple Xcode and a second screen are not supported by them, I don't suppose much else is either...and clearly this issue has been around for a while without much effort being made to rush a patch out.

    Mmmm. I'm lovin it.
  • RT11 guru Level 2 (175 points)
    Coolbook is here
    . Looks to be 10$ US.
    By the way, I don't use an external monitor but I do run CPU hogs like Mathematica with no problem. I don't why Xcode should be so special.
  • rthesing Level 1 (0 points)
    Ged Timson wrote:
    ...I have just discovered printer applications which were running in the background which were causing the temp of the machine to rise ...

    After having similar issues with my MBA getting really hot really quickly along with decrease system performance and short battery life, I came across this post and found that I too had background printer processes running assuming it had something to do with my remote printer (through Airport Extreme) Once I shut down the process it was like a whole new machine!! Thanks!