MBA 1.86GHz/128SSD Rev. B Fan at 6200RPM 99% of the time

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by hellfire88, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Apr 28, 2008
    Hi Guys,

    Quick question, I just got this MBA Rev. B 1.86GHz/128GB SSD recently (got a great deal on it) and am liking it a lot thus far. I had a Rev. A and it couldn't handle basic tasks for me so I sold it. This Rev.B seems much more capable.

    Anyways, I don't do much on my MBA, just web-browse on Firefox and iChat (that's pretty much all I have open most of the time, maybe calculator once in awhile). The only thing that may seem like "taxing" the computer is I can have anywhere from 50 - 74 tabs open in Firefox (I know, I have weird browsing habits but I research multiple things at once). I use Flashblock in Firefox so no Flash is running unless I need it. It seems that my fan is at ~6200RPM 99% of the time. Temps range from 64deg C to sometimes all the way up to 82deg C (all this info from iStat Pro widget). Is this normal for this model? Even when I reboot or shut it off for 10min to "cool off" and start it back up within 1min the fan ramps up from 2500 -> 6200RPM. I took it into the Apple Store and the Genius ran some hardware tests and said everything checked out and the fan was "within specifications".

    Just wondering if this is just how the MBA Rev. B is, and if I should just deal with the fan noise (not too bad but annoying nonetheless) or perhaps would installing Coolbook would help? Thanks.
  2. macrumors 68030


    May 26, 2009
    Well the tab thing is strange (as you noted). For the tasks that you explained, I am shocked the Rev A wasn't good enough. I do all of that, + code and compile applications and the Rev A is still snappy.

    Anyway, try coolbook. Also check Activity Monitor to ensure no processes are eating up 100% CPU.
  3. macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    If you have that many browser tabs open at once, you should try instapaper. You can use it to create temporary bookmarks (it's not really for long-term storage) of stuff to read later. There's also an iPhone/iPod Touch app that integrates with it. The app will actually save a text version to your phone so you can continue reading without an internet connection
  4. macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    Very strange, I have A SSD and the fans never kick up unless I am watching a very long utube, other then that never.My B was the same never kicked up with just browsing check your Activity monitor you have a process running.
  5. macrumors member

    Jul 12, 2009
    Rev. c Fan

    I am four or five hours into my first day with Rev. C 2.13 SSD and what I notice is that the fan goes on when I am using the usb optical drive and off when I am not, though it takes a while for it to go off. I expected more time with the fan than I am getting, especially on so hot an afternoon on the top floor Good luck.
  6. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 28, 2008
    Thanks for the tips guys. I guess I'll have to give coolbook a try and will check out that instapaper service.
  7. macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2007
    North Carolina
    My Rev C fans go on pretty much all the's something I've just had to get used to.
  8. macrumors 65816


    Sep 11, 2007
    Toronto, Canada
    Coolbook all the way. The only times your fan will rev up again is when watching anything really processor intensive (HD video, encoding, rendering, etc.). CoolBook is nothing but perfect for the MBA.
  9. macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    That is really far too many tabs open. I have to believe that would heavily tax the system and cause excessive need for round the clock full force fan blowing.

    I don't know that any computer would be able to essentially run 74 browser tabs without taxing the system.

    You need to change what you expect of your computer and not blame your Mac. Heck, even a Mac Pro can be extremely loud with fans blowing when doing something similar to it.

    Don't blame the MBA. User error here! I would say more, because I even feel greater about this than I have stated. Geez... 74 browser tabs!!! I honestly wouldn't expect a Mac Pro fully loaded with RAM and top components run without fans blowing for this type of use.

    ... and then for anyone not to realize what is "normal" and what normal expectations should be... GEEZ!!!!!!!!!!
  10. macrumors regular

    Feb 2, 2009
    74 tabs..... yes, this has got to be contributing to the issue. That's a bunch o tabs.
  11. macrumors regular

    Feb 20, 2008
    Milano, Italy
    In my 6 months experience with a Rev.B 1.86/SSD I must say I do not have any particular fan's problem. During the normal avg activity (web browsing - either Firefox or Safari, no flash, mail, some pics pp with Nikon Capture NX) temps are in the 45°-55° C range (fan 1800-2000 rpms).
    Watching HD movies temps could spike up to 85°C and fan spins to 6200 rpms but it reverts pretty fast to normal rpms as soon as the movie is over.....I might be lucky though :D
  12. macrumors member

    Jul 12, 2009
    My Rev. is now a day old. On my first day, using the optical drive in a top floor apartment on a hot day, the fan was on most of the day. But today, a cooler day without the optical drive, the machine has been on since 7am and the fan has yet to kick in. CAn't complain about that.
  13. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 28, 2008
    Lol, I did mention in my original post that I may have rather "unorthodox" browsing habits. I like to research many many things at once so I've always had around 30-70 tabs open in Firefox. Funny thing is, I've used a 2.4GHz Unibody Macbook (before they were called "Pro) and a 2.26GHz Macbook Pro 13" and both can handle this just fine (the fans never really revved up to 5k+ til I watched HD movies or fired up a game).

    I had a Macbook Air Rev.A and although I loved the size and weight (screen too!) it could not handle my browsing and ichat (the whole laptop would freeze to a halt) so I moved to try other Apple laptops since then (2 mentioned above). I still missed the size and weight of the Air so I wanted to "revisit" the experiance after Apple had a chance to make 1 or 2 revisions.

    I figured I don't use finalcut or Photoshop or any of the other "traditiional heavy liftiing tasks" but I suppose my 74 tabs is "another form of heavy lifting" for computers heh. Surprisingly, it CAN handle the 70tabs and iChat fine (although flash videos at this point get choppy) but the fan is just at 6000RPM+ all the time.

    You're right in saying that perhaps my expectations for this little guy was a bit too much, but I bought this laptop with my own $$ so I should be able to use it as I want to (saying it's "User error" is a bit off). I'll either have to adjust my computing habits (though I shouldn't have to "settle") or change to a different model. About the only current Apple laptop I haven't tried is the 15" Macbook Pro so perhaps I'll have to give that a whirl lol (the 17" is too big for me). Nonetheless I do appreciate your feedback Scottsdale as well as everyone else's. Thanks!
  14. macrumors 68030


    May 26, 2009
    I just opened firefox, and started 70 tabs. Wow. You need to scroll quite a bit to even get to the 70th tab starting at tab 1. That seems horribly inefficient. Don't get me wrong, I like tabs, but that just seems like total overkill since you can't even see more than ~20 tabs before it starts to require you to scroll left and right on the tab bar. But each to his own I guess :)
  15. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 28, 2008
    Tab Mix Plus (add-on for Firefox) lets you have multiple rows of tabs. And theres a handy drop-down button that lists all your tabs. 70 sounds like a lot but for me I can find what I need pretty easily. I guess as you mentioned, "to each his own" :).
  16. macrumors regular

    Dec 7, 2008
    Yes that is a lot of tabs, but unless they're full of lots of javascript etc I wouldn't think it a problem. It's not unusual for me to have >100 tabs if I'm doing a literature search or trawling news articles (PhD student occupational hazard) and my Air handled it fine.

    Check your Activity Monitor (with all users' processes visible) to see if something is actually eating CPU time. Mine started acting like that for a while, and it turned out I had a java process absolutely hammering the CPU, using up more than a whole core. To its credit the machine was still perfectly responsive - it was just noisy. This persisted after reboots - it took me ages to track it down since all ACtivity monitor says is Java, not what java is actually doing - it was actually a copy of frostwire set to start on start up installed on another user that I thought I'd deleted. It also wouldn't have shown up unless I told it to show all users.

    Sadly "Within Specifications" is Apple's answer to everything! Seriously though, in my experience it is not "normal" but it probably isn't too abnormal - in this case they may be right. To clarify... when I didn't have a rogue process eating the CPU, my Rev B machine had quite similar usage, except I wasn't using flashblock. Even with many many tabs open fans would not come on unless there was some flash video going on, and even then it would have to play for quite a while before fans would come on. At the time I was about the only person on these forums saying they could play HD video without instant fans increasing, so maybe I had an unusually cool one. In case this sounds smug, it made up for it by its hinges failing after 3 months and lots of screen lines! Just noticed yours is 1.86GHz. Mine was 1.6, not sure how much difference that makes.

    From what I've read there seems to be a lot of variability in the thermal characteristics, part of which may be down to the thermal paste in your particular machine - there are various threads on this, and on coolbook, which might very well help, but at the cost of slowing things down a little on occasion - worth a try though.

    best of luck

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