13" MBA heat/noise vs. 15" MBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by iceberg888, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. iceberg888 macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2010
    San Francisco, CA
    I've been on the fence between a 13" MBA vs a 15" MBP lately. I'm a fan of the the 15's HR-AG display, but am potentially even more enamored of the MBA's portability and SSD.

    Coming from a 2.2Ghz SR Black Macbook (4GB/500GB), one feature I'd definitely like is something quieter. I'm usually running multiple MS Office 2011 apps (Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) simultaneously on the OSX side as well their XP counterparts on VMware Fusion (I have certain financial risk modeling tools that only work on Windows). Combine that with a lot of Safari tabs, Skype, Adium, and NPR playing in the background via Flash, it all heats up the processor to the point where the fans can be really blowing (5000-6000 rpms according to iStat). Get the processor anything over 63C and they'll start to ramp up.

    I had heard complaints about the i7 heat when the MBPs were first introduced and have some reservations whether it'll be a noisy machine. I'm assuming the MBAs with their LV processors would have run cooler (although perhaps the thinner housing counters some of the cool running).

    Anyone with experience with both that can comment? And curious if throwing an SSD in the MBP would make it cooler/quieter. If not, then the MBP is out of the running, and MBA it is.

    Thanks in advance for anyone's thoughts.
  2. deedas macrumors regular


    Dec 2, 2003
    Baltimore, Maryland
    While my MBP was a C2D not a new i5/7 I can tell you sometimes you could have reheated last night's pizza by flipping it over. Toasty.

    My MBA got warm but well under uncomfortable levels (and it cooled quick too) after ripping and encoding to m4v for about 1.5hrs

    I can no longer count my laptop as a good way to never have kids. :p

    Edit: Oh yeah, fan noise is about as loud as any other mac laptop, but unless you're encoding video, etc. you'll prolly never hear it.
  3. EggrollShop macrumors member

    Jun 22, 2009
    Like deedas I also had a C2D Macbook Pro. It was the first generation unibody and boy did that thing get hot doing anything. If you search around you'll most likely find similar responses to this question but from my own personal experiences I haven't had any issues with my Air in terms of heat. I watch HD content on my bed and it barely gets hot. Only time I hear the fans going are when I play steam games.
  4. kyle.c macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2010
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    I'm switching from a c2d 15 MacBook pro to a 13 MBA, glad to hear that! Still waiting for my new MBA...
  5. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    Another experience with a C2D 15" MBP and the new MBA's. In average use, the MBA's are significantly cooler and quieter than the MBP.
  6. neteng101 macrumors 65816

    Jan 7, 2009
    Its winter now - I miss my hand warmers, they do not come standard on the 13" MBA.
  7. kyle.c macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2010
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    But in summer it's a cooking pan, I rather not have it
  8. dmelgar macrumors 68000

    Apr 29, 2005
    13" MBA is louder than a 13" MBP.
    If the MBP sounds like a hair dryer, the MBA sounds like a jet.
    The 11" MBA is whisper quiet.
  9. kyle.c macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2010
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    U mean even it's in idle state? I'm sure it's noisy when doing heavy stuff like gaming
  10. millerb7 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2010
    I have the 15" MBP you're interested in.

    I put a SSD drive in it.

    100% silent, 100% cool.

    Even watching movies and viewing flash, the fan HAS NOT kicked on a single time.

    My old C2D 15" MBP would be a freaking airport the second I turned it on, and I never had to leave my room to cook my eggs, just toss it on there and fry em up.

    This new one with the SSD is INSANE!

    I would do aftermarket SSD like I did and save yourself some money for a better SSD.
  11. iceberg888 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2010
    San Francisco, CA
    Did it run that cool before the SSD?
  12. dmelgar macrumors 68000

    Apr 29, 2005
    I don't know about 15" MBP, but the 13" MBA fan is much noisier than the already noisy fan in a 13" MBP.
  13. lembowski macrumors member

    Oct 5, 2010
    I use my 13 MBA mostly for web/itunes/photos/etc so nothing cpu intensive and my fan hasn't kicked on once since I've had it. My netbook I had before would constantly kick on every 5 or 10 minutes doing the same thing. So I'm really happy with the MBA in this regard.
  14. Schorsch0815 macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2010
    I had an MBA 13" new model. With Skype it went up to 6000rpm. Hell of a noise. I thought I got a bad model, so I returned it and took another one. Same.

    Waiting for the new MBP 13". If that doesn't do any better I go back to PC. I am typing this on a Thinkpad and its dead silent, with Skype running in the back.

    To be frank, I wonder what Appel did to get it so much wrong.
  15. dmelgar macrumors 68000

    Apr 29, 2005
    Try the 11" MBA.
    Sounds like you don't like Mac though. Fan isn't going to make or break it. Maybe happier with a Windows machine.
  16. ReallyBigFeet, Dec 13, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010

    ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    Check my sig, I think I have both models you are trying to compare. A 2010 i7 15" Hi-Res and a 2010 13" MBA.

    The 15" MBP really only heats up during intensive tasks such as Handbrake ripping, rendering videos or playing a game. On the latter, Steam games almost all seem to peg my fans at max. I don't know why that is they just do. Skype will also get the fans going but only if I invoke the webcam during a call. Otherwise, I don't notice this machine running any hotter than any other MBP I've ever owned. The noise, while there, isn't overly distracting other than when playing a game. I don't game that often on a Mac as I find the experience woefully underwhelming when I've got a very good Windows gaming rig in my office to use for that activity instead.

    The 13" MBA, by comparison, doesn't seem to invoke the fans near as fast as my 15" MBP running the same apps and working with the same files. That spinning hard drive (7200 RPM 500g model in the MBP) may make a difference. The same apps WILL invoke the fans on the MBA, but they seem to do so later in the processing cycle. Then again, the 13" MBA takes almost twice as long to get to the same level of rendering or conversion as the MBP so that could be the difference. I've run some small tests where I tried to convert or render the same file, using the same app, side by side and in almost every case the MBP's fans will come on in half the time as the MBA's, but at the point they do, it's already 2-3X further along the task. I'm not surprised by this....it's just working harder/faster than the MBA.

    Games are a different matter. The 13" MBA's fans SCREAM when playing the same game. Far, far louder to me. I think it's likely because it's such a small frame with a tiny exhaust port so you hear it more.

    Not a very scientific comparison but I hope this answers your question. Hope this helps.

    PS - One thing I will say moving between both machines frequently: The 15" Hi-Res display and the 13" MBA's display, while different resolutions, have almost identical PPI. This makes the 13" MBA "feel" a lot more spacious than it already is, especially when compared to a 13" MBP's display. So if you decide to go the Air route, you'll find the display on the 13" model a real joy to use.
  17. Bosep macrumors regular

    Nov 11, 2008
    The problem with mac is that "standard" program use so much CPU power, I mean when i use skype videochat on my 2.0 ghz c2d asus laptop on windows 7 the processor use 50% less compared to my macbook unibody 2.0 ghz, same with flash, same flashvideos usually makes the processor use like 20-30 % sometimes above, on my asus the cpu only uses 7-10 % on the same videos.

    So that's why MBA use the fan more often than a pc laptop. But I still think MBA is a better choice even if you replace os x to windows 7. Windows 7 +MBA works great and the fan wont go up as often and the mba will be cooler.

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