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Old Jan 6, 2013, 12:18 PM   #1
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Fan noise in clamshell mode with external display

Hey guys, long time lurker here.

So I finally bought a DP > HDMI adapter, so i can use my Macbook Air 2012 (i5, 128Gb SSD) at home with keyboard, mouse and external monitor as my main computer.

But I can't get over one thing - it gets really hot when I'm streaming video online (Youtube for example), fan starts spinning like crazy, especially if this is HD video and upper left corner is really hot.

Now i've tried a lot of things, tried different browsers, even clean installed OS X to make sure this is not a software issue, lifted it up from my desk with a makeshift stand, but result is still the same - fan is really loud.

Is my Mac working as intended? Does your Mac get really hot when streaming flash video, while using external display? I'd really love to use my notebook as my main device, but i'm really disappointed with its' performance right now.

Last edited by HaydenRU; Jan 8, 2013 at 10:34 AM.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 08:27 AM   #2
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My MacBook Pro did that in clamshell mode also, as does my new MacBook Air. It never hurt the MacBook Pro and there is nothing that seems wrong with my air so far. I always thought if it was getting warm that it was good the fans would turn on. I don't think apple would make it to be used in clamshell mode if it wasn't safe.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 10:12 AM   #3
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Take a look at the activity monitor. If it is really high, then the particular video is using the software decoder rather than hardware acceleration. It is encoding problem. I find this to be true occasionally on foreign youtube videos. Not so much on US videos. I find that fewer and fewer videos require the software decoder. Also clamshell will run hotter because the case uses the keyboard as part of the airflow for cooling. It will run cooler if you have the top open and the screen light turned off. But ultimately the heat will not be a problem other than the fan noise.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 01:48 PM   #4
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Yes, they do warm up nicely when streaming video. Normal behavior.
2012 MBA 13, 2 Ghz i7, 8 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD; 2011 MBA 11, 1.8 Ghz i7, 4 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD; 2010 MB Pro 15, 2.66 Ghz i7, 8 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD; two iPad 3s and a mini, two iPhones and a bunch of iPods
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 02:32 PM   #5
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The same thing happens with my MBP which I keep upright in a BookArc. I noticed it helps quite a bit to turn it over so the vents are facing upward.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 08:29 AM   #6
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I dare you people to run this video in 1080p without hitting 90C and 5000RPM on your fan.

What a freaking disgrace, Apple. How is my Tegra 3 android tablet able to tear through HD video and just warm up a bit, but full-fledged i5 can't handle flash video without heating up to 90 degrees?

Last edited by HaydenRU; Jan 9, 2013 at 11:07 AM.
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