2011 13" MBA fan/heat

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by dlim, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. dlim macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2012
    Sometimes when I use my MBA the fan starts noticeably acting up (louder, upper left area of keyboard starts getting hotter, etc.), but it's never a regular/constant occurrence.

    For example, I'll be watching netflix for like 4 hours one day, and everything's fine. I go to sleep, wake up the next day, during the first 5 minutes of watching netflix it starts acting up. I usually just end up restarting my MBA and the problem goes away until the next time it returns. It also happens sometimes when I'm downloading a torrent (somedays I'll be downloading 5 and it's fine, others I'm downloading 1 small file and the fan starts getting louder/MBA getting hotter), or when I'm using a media player to watch something.

    Is this normal behavior? I tried searching but couldn't tell if it is normal, or if mine's just problematic. I used to only use my air for studying/note taking, but now that I sold my desktop I wanted to use it as a main. I bought a mini to use as my main because of this situation, but now I kind of want to return the mini and get a TBD display to use with my air.

  2. dlim thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2012
    Did some more research and found my answer regarding Netflix and the silverlight plugin it utilizes.

    Any suggestions/input regarding the same fan/heat issues when downloading torrents (I use uTorrent) or watching media (I use Mplayer OSx Extended)?
  3. dlim thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2012
    Would/do laptop shell's (i have the Incipio Feather) and keyboard covers contribute to increasing the temperature/heat, and as a result, fan speed, of my laptop in clamshell mode?
  4. psxp macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2008
    I would think so., but dont have stats to prove - maybe something not too noticable..

    but I have been running a flash blocker for the past week and battery life, and heat has been amazingly better. I see why apple doesnt like flash!
  5. anirudh macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2008
    Its been about a month since I bought my Air, and the fans never turned on even once! Well, maybe just once when i was converting some books from PDF to EPUB. I download torrents almost the whole day, watch Hi Def flash videos on youtube, have the air connected to a LCD to watch 720p movies and browse the internet..
  6. jterp7 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2011
    youtube for some reason is not that stressful to the air. Try some flash streams like espn3 or high def ones on justin.tv etc. and you'll get some fan noise lol. It's sort of annoying that the MBA will choke on these when my 3yr old pre i5 quadcore pc does just fine. Same amount of ram but it does have a gtx260, to give you an idea of how old it is. I think the truth is that flash is just written poorly for the mac.
  7. anirudh macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2008
    Apple hates Flash, plain and simple :) Good thing I don't visit the sites you mentioned. The air does everything I want it to beautifully and then some.

    On a side note, if one visits these sites regularly, would the performance be better if one were to watch them in bootcamp?
  8. warfed macrumors regular

    Apr 16, 2011
  9. TheJing macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2011
    Somewhere in Europe
    You beat me to it.

    The Air goes very hot, around 95C, when you wake it up from deep sleep and plug the cable in straight away. This is a problem that Apple will have to fix as it is very annoying.
  10. YosemiteSam81 macrumors member


    Jan 7, 2012
    Great Lakes
    I use Safari to watch Netflix and don't get as much fan problems. With Chrome it was pretty bad.
  11. dlim thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2012
    I tried to replicate the deep sleep/heat/fan situation on my air but I'm not experiencing it (which I'm not complaining about!), unless I'm doing it wrong? I've done:

    sleep it for at least 1 hour -> plug in mag safe -> open lid (wake it up) and I'd use it normally and nothing would be wrong (no fan issues).

    I actually haven't had fan issues for a week or so now. It's just really random. But once it does start up, even if I quit all my applications and leave my MBA alone for like 5-10 minutes, it doesn't die down. Once I restart it though it goes back to normal. Still unsure if that's normal behavior or not.
  12. dlim, Jan 21, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012

    dlim thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2012
    It just happened again. I was using my laptop normally for a few hours now, and then I decided to do a time machine back up, and MBA started heating up and the fan acting up again.

    CPU: 87 degrees
    Fan: 6700rpm

    So I stopped the back up and everything started calming down a little.

    Just wondering if this is normal behavior or if I should have apple check it out?


    I just restarted it and tried to do a time machine back up again, currently in the process of backing up right now and the iStat says:

    HD mackintosh: 51
    CPU: 73
    Enclosure Base: 34
    Enclosure Base 2: 34
    Enclosure Base 3: 31
    Heatsink B: 43
    Mem Bank A1: 56
    Mem Controller: 45

    Fans Exhaust: 6150 rpm

    is this something I should worry about or is all good and normal? thanks guys
  13. warfed macrumors regular

    Apr 16, 2011
    "For at least 1 hour" how many minutes exactly? Deep sleep doesn't kick in until 70 minutes. Try 1.5 hours to be sure.

    As for the backup, yeah sounds normal. The animated background alone in time machine can make your CPU go over 80C.
  14. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    The Intel processors used in Macs are designed to automatically shut down to prevent damage if they truly overheat (around 100C/212F - 105C/221F, depending on your processor). iStat Pro will give you accurate readings of your temps and fan speeds, among other things.

    Unless there is a rare defect in a Mac, most temps are well within the normal operating range, considering the workload being put on it. Websites with Flash content, games and other multimedia apps will put higher demand on the CPU/GPU, generating more heat. This is normal. If you're constantly putting high demands on your system, such as gaming or other multimedia tasks, expect temps to rise and fans to spin up accordingly. It's just your Mac doing its job to maintain temps within the normal range.

    Your fans are always on when your Mac is on, spinning at a minimum of 2000 rpm (for MBPs) or 1800 rpm (for MBAs, MBs and minis). They will spin faster as needed to keep temps at a safe level. If they're spinning up without increased heat, try resetting the SMC. PRAM/NVRAM has nothing to do with these issues, so resetting it will not help. Also, make sure you don't block the vents, which are located at the rear, near the hinge.

    Learn about the fans in your Mac
    Apple Portables: Operating temperature

    For Flash-related issues:
    Not significantly, since the MBA doesn't depend on the keyboard area for cooling.
  15. dlim thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2012
    Oh I just said at least 1 hour because the links said to do it for at least 1 hour. But my MBA was on sleep for I'd say 3+ hours.

    Is the deep sleep fan/heat issue supposed to be an issue with EVERY MBA? Or should I just consider myself lucky?
  16. warfed macrumors regular

    Apr 16, 2011
    I'm not sure if it's every MBA, but quite a few people report it, and most don't notice it or don't know how to re-create it.

    Apple tech support doesn't acknowledge it as an issue, told me it's normal for MBA to get hot (for no reason).

    I went to see a genius anyway. He ran diagnostics after I demoed the issue and said it's a faulty logic board and the heat is a symptom... again not the case as a new logic board didn't help.

    I'm just hoping the next EFI update will fix it, as with the original EFI that issue didn't exist as far as I know.
  17. jterp7 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2011
    maybe its me...but in fullscreen mode html5 seems to spin up the fans more than before. This is irregardless of 360p vs 1080p.


    I remember turning it on one day and noticing the fan going all crazy and I didn't have youtube or espn open. It turns out dashboard occasionally goes haywire and takes 100% cpu. I feel like I'm in windows again with the activity monitor constantly open to monitor for this stuff. I suppose I should be annoyed but its something I did with my pc before.

    I'd say once every few days I have to force quit dashboard to fix this.
  18. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Did you notice my statement that you quoted about fullscreen viewing?
  19. jterp7 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2011
    about it being partially implemented? I guess its really only experimental at this stage since there's not much of a change for me in resource use or cpu temps.
  20. dlim thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2012
    So I guess I was able to emulate the deep-sleep mode issue thing.

    I left my laptop on sleep mode for roughly 3-3.5 hours. Came home, plugged in the magsafe, turned on my MBA (opened the lid up), connected my external monitor and USB hub, and went on slickdeals.

    All I had running was ichat, itunes, chrome, and word. It didn't happen right away but after maybe 5-10 minutes I started hearing the fan so I looked at my iStat and noticed the fan was going at maybe ~4.5k RPM, and the temperature was at about 80 degrees. I shut down all my apps and left my MBA alone while I did my dishes to see if it would go back to "normal." Came back to it, it was running at about 3.5k RPM and 75 degrees so I slept it, waited a bit, and turned it back on. And now everything's fine.

    I'm not worried about my MBA overheating or anything, but was just wondering if this was normal activity or if I should take it in to have it checked out. But from searching around the forums and from your replies, seems like it is normal behavior.

    Thanks guys! (but do correct me if I'm wrong! haha :])

    It just did it again after I posted this. But when I closed chrome the fan went back down to ~2k RPM. Is it something with google chrome? All I have open in my tabs are gmail, google calendar, and this forum. Should I be using safari instead? I like using chrome because I feel that it's faster.
  21. IngerMan macrumors 65816


    Feb 21, 2011
    Why don't you try Safari for a few straight days and see if it continues. I find Safari runs cooler then Chrome. I average 50C normal internet browsing and word, excel, mail. If I play flash intensive games it will warm up but only while I play the games 70-80C. I have had a few times since I owned it in August were it was getting warm 78-84C for unknown reasons. I re-booted in those rare cases and it went to 50C. It not the norm for me and I am not worried about it. I like both Safari and Chrome, but I think the machine acts better with Safari. Just my personal belief and no backing to prove it.
  22. jterp7 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2011
    a lot of those reboots could be prevented by restarting dashboardclient. At least in my experience, it tends to creep up in memory and cpu use over time and for whatever reason needs this attention, resulting in eventually 90%+ cpu use and like 1gb memory use.
  23. warfed macrumors regular

    Apr 16, 2011
    Unfortunately it is "normal" behavior from what I read. Hopefully the next EFI update fixes it. Another thing you can do is disable deep sleep, but that will drain your battery quicker over night.

    Also you don't have to restart the computer to correct the sleep bug. Just close and open your lid again and you should be good to go.

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