MBA: Heat and YouTube

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by KyleKlink, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. macrumors regular


    First, to Scottsdale: Thanks for getting into my head about the SSD nonsense. Now I cannot bring myself to pull the trigger on the low end Rev. C Air. I keep worrying about performance! In the Apple store I tried out both and there is a considerable difference; it took about 10 seconds for the HDD to open Pages, compared to 2 bounces for the SSD.

    Is excessive heat still an issue with Rev. C MBA as it was with Rev. A (I've read that it was a big problem)? I'm not comfortable cracking open the air and reapplying thermal grease, so stock is how I intend to use it. I've been known to occasionally get sucked into viewing a couple hours worth of YouTube videos (never HD), and I worry that doing so on the Air is going to kick the fans up to 6200 and annoy me.

    What's everyone's experience with the high end Rev. C when it comes to heat? Is it as bad as some people make it out to be?
  2. macrumors 601


    YouTube will heat up the MBA or MBP or MB regardless of it having a SSD or HDD. It doesn't matter. Flash eats up the CPU like cake.

    The MBA will suffer more because of its limited cooling ability. MBP or MB will last longer but it will get hot after hours of youtube.
  3. macrumors regular

    Here's measurement i just made on my 2.13Ghz rev. C:
    Conditions: Snow Leopard, Safari with one tab is the only app open, playing MJ's "Thriller":
    Ambient temperature: 65F

    Time: Fan speed
    0": 2.5K
    1': 3K
    1'34": 4K
    2'01": 5K
    2'28": 6K
    2'38": 6.2K (max)

    On 2.26Ghz Macbook Pro 13": fan speed dropped from 2.5K to 2K with the same conditions

    Edit: MBP has a baseline fan speed of 2K (as opposed to 2.5K on MBA), and the "drop" from 2.5K to 2K is probably purely coincidental. I'm sure if I loop this youtube video long enough, the fan speed will go up. The noticeable difference is that MBA's fan revs up much more readily than MBP's.
  4. nph
    macrumors 6502a

    I dont follow what you mean. Did the MBP 13" drop in fan speed and temperature?
  5. macrumors regular



    And 6.2K sounds pretty loud, no? This is what concerns me about going for a MBA. I don't want a laptop that is going to blast me with loud fan noise anytime I try to do something.

    But the glass screen on the MBP 13" is horrible, I don't think I could tolerate it. Just using it in the Apple store for 5 minutes annoyed me. Granted, the store has more lighting than I do in my home.

    It looks like I might just sit on the sidelines for a while until Apple puts out something more appealing.
  6. macrumors 601


    I feel that the MBA gets a bad rap with playing videos and YouTube. I play videos without big problems all the time. One thing I am aware of is that the MBA is NOT a Mac Pro, nor is the MBP/MB. The 2 GHz barrier makes a big difference for Macs running QT, Flash, and etc. But whether it's a 2.13 GHz MBA or 2.4 GHz MBP, Macs are not particularly good with videos/Flash. At the same time, I don't get 6200 rpm spikes all the time because I am aware of why Macs have these problems... BAD SOFTWARE NOT HARDWARE!

    I close out of other apps to play HD videos and etc. I realize an open FireFox/Safari window with Flash running, and a few other apps like Mail and etc along with the videos is problematic. Is it a problem NO. I close out of apps and I recommend others do the same. Close out of the app you're not using anymore to allow the MBA to prioritize on what you're currently focused on! This doesn't mean all the time, just when you're dealing with many Flash pages, viewing multiple videos and etc... use your head and know the Mac's limitations!

    A lot of these problems will continually be improved by software updates/upgrades. Look at how SL allows utilization of h.264 decoding, Grand Central, and OpenCL. Adobe and the Mac have never played nice together. Thinks that are a snap on a 1.6 GHz Windows PC are often problematic on a 2 GHz Mac! That's the truth... check into all of the threads and know your Mac's limitations.
  7. macrumors 601


    Just watching an HD video via YouTube will cause the system to heat up. The Flash Plug-In uses 50%+ CPU regardless of how many applications you have opened or not.

    Because of the Air's limited heat capability, even using the system in a A/C environment won't help too much. The chips will heat up, the system's fan will rev up.

    The OP does not want high revving fan for watching YouTube on hours on end. Because of this requirement, the OP should opt for the 13" MB or 13" MBP option.
  8. macrumors 601


    Then you're blocking your vents. I don't have those problems. I really believe those who complain the most are doing something wrong. I don't set my MBA on bed, carpet, and etc as that will heat up the MBA fast. I use a laptop pad that's hard plastic on top and comfy on bottom for legs.

    There is something the worst complainers are doing to cause more heat than normal.
  9. macrumors 6502a


    Oh my...I've been looking for something like this for ages - could you tell me the make please?
  10. macrumors regular



    Do you use Coolbook on your Air? (Does Coolbook even work with the Air?)
  11. macrumors regular

    The fans do spike up to 6200rpm whenever I watch youtube. Noise isn't really an issue as any audio will drown out the quiet hum. I think people make out the noise to be a bigger nuisance than it really is. As far as heat and thermal paste, get the applecare warranty (cheaper on ebay). Chances are most folks will upgrade prior to the 3yr warranty expiration. I'm also sure the rev C is built better than an A. However at this point, wait out a little bit. The C's been out since June and I'm sure a D is around the corner this fall/winter.
  12. macrumors regular

    Yeah 6.2K is pretty loud, but you can get around this by turning your video volume (with external speakers hopefully) all the way up!

    I should add that the above test was conducted with MBA mounted on a laptop stand. The rear vents have a 3" clearance and are not blocked by any stretch of imagination. I live in Northern California where it is 65F all day long, I can only imagine the MBA fan problem to be much worse elsewhere in the country.
  13. macrumors 6502

    The ambient temperature makes a big difference in terms of how hard the thermal management system (fan) has to work. I definitely notice my Air spinning up the fan more often on warmer days (house with no air conditioning). Even a fairly small video is enough to kick the fans up for me, but I don't really notice it when I am using headphones. However, when trying to use the poor tinny speaker in the air, it can be a little annoying esp if there is other environmental noise. It also helps to be careful and avoid blocking the vent as this will usually kick the fan up to the 3000-5000 range pretty quickly (it is kind of self correcting behavior :rolleyes: ). I do wish they would revisit the whole cooling design when/if they do a redesign as it would be nice to be able to sit with the machine on your lap w/o having to be careful to ensure the machine is situated properly, etc. None of this is so horrible or a deal breaker for me as I really do like the Air and pretty much exclusively use it.
  14. macrumors 601


    I am not blocking the vents, I'm using it on a kitchen table with a lot of clearance and fans still reach 6200rpm pretty easily.

    I even tried this trick at the Apple Store, open up a HD youtube video, play it for 5 minutes, check if its running at 6200rpm, it will be.
  15. macrumors member

    On my 1.6 GHZ Rev A with CoolBook installed:

    1 2500
    1'34" 2500
    2'11" 3015
    2'28" 3914
    2'38" 4500
    3'49" 6200
  16. macrumors newbie

    On my Air, I installed the Click to Flash plugin for Safari. What a CPU saver! It basically puts a grey screen where flash would be, if I wanna see the flash, I just click on it. And it's great cause those annoying flash ads that are everywhere on the net won't be loaded unless you click on them, basically makes surfing a pleasure and no CPU struggling. And also especially if you watch alot of Youtube, you can tell Click to Flash to automatically load up the H.264 version of the video, so you don't even have to use Flash on Youtube. Plus the H.264 videos are a better encode than the flash ones and plays much better with Apple hardware, and less CPU usage!
  17. macrumors 65816


    I have been dying for an optimized flash update forever now. Does adobe just not give a flying ****?
  18. macrumors regular

    Thank you! That is the single most helpful advice on keeping the MBA cool that I have received. I installed Flashblock on Firefox (serves the same function) and the difference is dramatic. It's amazing how much flash-based junk there is on most pages nowadays.

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