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2020 Air Heatsink Modification Thread

jgorman

macrumors regular
Jul 16, 2019
185
104
If anything that is requiring all 4 cores on the i5/i7 for a prolonged period of time means performance drops to the i3 level anyway, why would I buy an i5?

You bring up an interesting question. The CPU benchmarks show the i5 is faster, but what task can an i5 MBA do that an i3 MBA cannot?

I think an i5 can generally do the same tasks faster. However, PC Mark 10, a home productivity benchmark, suggests an i5 MBA performs similarly overall to last year's dual core MBA.

pcmark10 .png
 
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throAU

macrumors 604
Feb 13, 2012
6,860
4,529
Perth, Western Australia
You bring up an interesting question. The CPU benchmarks show the i5 is faster, but what task can an i5 MBA do that an i3 MBA cannot?

Nothing, it is purely a speed and responsiveness thing. If you're happy to wait, the i3 will do anything an i7 will do.

However, if you have (for example) one thread chewing 100% of a cpu core (e.g. hung app, a background render, etc.), on the i5/i7 you have 3 cores left for other things. The machine will be generally more responsive under load. Maybe the difference between getting frustrated and walking away to wait for something to run, or actually doing work while something runs in the background.

Additionally, the i5/i7 have higher base clock, more cache, better gpu etc.
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PC Mark 10

PC Mark 10 heavily favours single threaded performance and does not take advantage of new instructions (AI/ML) in the newer cpus. ergo.... yes, it will run much the same. Basically almost entirely dependent on core clock speed rather than core count.
 
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TiT38

macrumors member
Dec 1, 2016
97
48
French Alps
@srkirt : thank you for what you shared. Some remarks

1) you put too much of thermal paste. its purpose is too over the very small caves made when machining the surfaces . regarding the surface you just have to put a pea of paste on the center, or for larger surfaces one in the center and one at each corner

2) take care to avoid that any 5 cents coin might not touch the surface component...or your macbook is dead

un saludo
 
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srkirt

macrumors regular
Apr 12, 2020
242
154
Barcelona
You are right but I put the same amount that came from the factory, to crush against the CPU the surplus comes out from the sides. Regarding the coins, you are right, but since I am still in the trial period, I cannot glue anything ... Here in Barcelona everything is closed and the ideal would be a copper copper plate. Anyway you can see when you tighten the cover that there is thicker than without them. Even with all this I hardly notice the air flow coming out near the hinge ...
 
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TiT38

macrumors member
Dec 1, 2016
97
48
French Alps
You are right but I put the same amount that came from the factory, to crush against the CPU the surplus comes out from the sides. Regarding the coins, you are right, but since I am still in the trial period, I cannot glue anything ... Here in Barcelona everything is closed and the ideal would be a copper copper plate. Anyway you can see when you tighten the cover that there is thicker than without them. Even with all this I hardly notice the air flow coming out near the hinge ...

I agree they work like pigs when applying the thermal paste in the factories, it's why it is a good idea to remove it when you purchase a laptop. I my dark times, when I worked on PC 😜 , I Always change the thermal paste on my brand new video cards... sometimes it was horribly put

I am surprised to see that since 2 years of MBA R, nobody released a venturad with heat pipe dedicated for this computer

be careful, it's tough in Spain. (in France Also, even if lesser)
 
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srkirt

macrumors regular
Apr 12, 2020
242
154
Barcelona
What do you think guys? only with WhatsApp can it drop to 37º !! Proven that the performance of this Air can be increased with a more appropriate ventilation system.
Greetings to all and watch your health.
 

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HopelesslyConfused

macrumors newbie
Apr 10, 2020
26
52
I show you my inventions ... here you have the metallic adhesive paper inside the tunnel and on top I have placed three € 80% copper coins to press on the adhesive. I have found several heatsinks and none work for me ... Think my Apple is 2 weeks old! I have to be careful in case I want to return it and Apple doesn't notice anything I'm trying ... complicated ...
- - Post merged: Today at 1:40 PM - -

Here you have the test with the fan at 8,000 rpm and the famous 4K video at 60 fps (it is a lot of information since my 2015 Macbook Pro played it in jerks ...) In the last photo it is at 1440p. This is on Chrome and Macs Fas Control and on the battery. Before making the coins it also went up to 100º but there were no peaks, which there are now. It is complex.

That is very interesting, thank you for sharing. I agree that a thin copper shim (a small, thing square of copper) would be better than coins but when in lockdown, what can you do!

After all your experiments, what have the results been? Heat still seems to be the same, any difference in sustained CPU frequency or fan speed? The idle temperature of 38 degrees with one tab open is great, but I am wondering if the same idle temperature could be achieved without metallic adhesive paper/copper mod/repasting.

I think if somebody is struggling with the thermal management of their Macbook Air, the best thing you can do is to reapply thermal paste in a thin, even way that provides better contact. The big problem with this is I believe with Apple this voids your warranty, so big disclaimer of Do Not Try This At Home, I just find this kinda stuff interesting.

I re-pasted a 2013 MBA years ago with Arctic Silver 5 and was able to get a drop of 5 degrees C across the board and lower fan speeds consistently, but that was out of the warranty period. They really do slather that stuff on at the factory, providing sometimes poor thermal conductivity.

Greetings to friends from France and Spain and everybody look after each other!
 
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srkirt

macrumors regular
Apr 12, 2020
242
154
Barcelona
That is very interesting, thank you for sharing. I agree that a thin copper shim (a small, thing square of copper) would be better than coins but when in lockdown, what can you do!

After all your experiments, what have the results been? Heat still seems to be the same, any difference in sustained CPU frequency or fan speed? The idle temperature of 38 degrees with one tab open is great, but I am wondering if the same idle temperature could be achieved without metallic adhesive paper/copper mod/repasting.

I think if somebody is struggling with the thermal management of their Macbook Air, the best thing you can do is to reapply thermal paste in a thin, even way that provides better contact. The big problem with this is I believe with Apple this voids your warranty, so big disclaimer of Do Not Try This At Home, I just find this kinda stuff interesting.

I re-pasted a 2013 MBA years ago with Arctic Silver 5 and was able to get a drop of 5 degrees C across the board and lower fan speeds consistently, but that was out of the warranty period. They really do slather that stuff on at the factory, providing sometimes poor thermal conductivity.

Greetings to friends from France and Spain and everybody look after each other!

I still do not give up (things to be locked) or direct the air to the heatsink or put a copper rod from the heatsink to the top of the turbine ... I do everything with great care because it only has two weeks and I can still ask for the money because the store has a 15-day trial but they don't start counting until the confinement is over ... hehehehe
 
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HopelesslyConfused

macrumors newbie
Apr 10, 2020
26
52
If the fan/heatsink design is roughly the same as the 2018 model, I (like another poster) am surprised nobody has machined and started selling a third party modification to improve Macbook Air thermals.

I suppose that kind of thing isn't as common in the Mac world as it is in the PC world, but if someone could come up with a proven modification that improves the thermal performance of the MBA, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Until then, experiments!
 
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srkirt

macrumors regular
Apr 12, 2020
242
154
Barcelona
Good morning !! Well I explain what I have done by order of photographs.
The 1st, 2nd and 3rd parts cleaning.
The 4th application of paste but a thin layer.
The 5th surprise !! with that amount you hardly touch the heatsink !!!
Conclusion: this processor has to carry a lot of thermal paste since the heatsink has a frame around the cpu ... very strange ... why so much paste? in other heatsinks there is no such frame ... will they make it hotter?
You guys think.
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Here you will see that I have put enough paste, I have noticed it when I have placed the heatsink.
Then another homemade invention of aluminum to bring the heat of the coins to the turbine ... it did not help ... grrrrrrr.
In the end I opted for 4 smaller coins and it works almost the same as with three but there is more room for air.
I only have one doubt ... why so much thermal paste? perhaps filling that hole with copper sheets would not need as much and the heatsink would be closer to the cpu.
Well guys I'm getting tired of so much testing and actually if I have noticed an improvement in the 4K 60fps but it still gets stuck ... I also don't understand why the heatsink gets to 100º so fast !! Was it because of the Turbo? The issue is that it will not reach more than 90º and thus the turbo will not stop working.
I wish you a happy day and tell me your opinions.
Thank you !!!
 
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AndreasM

macrumors member
Dec 22, 2012
33
3
Will the MBA 2020 do my work(web development/IntelliJ IDEA, Zoom/Slack,/Teams, Jira/Trello, Email and Google docs) quicker and louder than my current MBA 2018 or will I simply not reach the top performance if I today with a MBA 2018 i5 has a totally silent laptop?

My preference is that I choose a silent laptop before loud fans and great performance and the fans on the MBA 2018 runs so seldom that I almost don't reflect upon it in my daily work. Is the heat sink/fan setup the same in MBA 2020 as in MBA 2018?
 
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RegularGuy09

macrumors regular
Feb 20, 2015
167
78
Will the MBA 2020 do my work(web development/IntelliJ IDEA, Zoom/Slack,/Teams, Jira/Trello, Email and Google docs) quicker and louder than my current MBA 2018 or will I simply not reach the top performance if I today with a MBA 2018 i5 has a totally silent laptop?

My preference is that I choose a silent laptop before loud fans and great performance and the fans on the MBA 2018 runs so seldom that I almost don't reflect upon it in my daily work. Is the heat sink/fan setup the same in MBA 2020 as in MBA 2018?

How does your 2018 model run with that workflow? 2020 will be faster, and should not run hotter/louder.
Just curious, how much RAM do you have?
 
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AndreasM

macrumors member
Dec 22, 2012
33
3
How does your 2018 model run with that workflow? 2020 will be faster, and should not run hotter/louder.
Just curious, how much RAM do you have?

I have 8 in my MBA 2018. But my plan is to go with 16 on the MBA 2020 with either i5 or i7 since I will do more web development (10% to maybe 25-50% of my workload) with the MBA 2020.

I can just say that if there's the same setup and fan problem with 2018 as with 2020 then FOR ME there's no issue with this machine. I've been more than happy with the MBA 2018 during the last 1,5 year and it doesn't get hot or loud.
 
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jgorman

macrumors regular
Jul 16, 2019
185
104
I have 8 in my MBA 2018. But my plan is to go with 16 on the MBA 2020 with either i5 or i7 since I will do more web development (10% to maybe 25-50% of my workload) with the MBA 2020.

I can just say that if there's the same setup and fan problem with 2018 as with 2020 then FOR ME there's no issue with this machine. I've been more than happy with the MBA 2018 during the last 1,5 year and it doesn't get hot or loud.

There are some differences in the thermals between the 2020 MBA and older 2018 or 2019 models.

First, the 2020 MBA's CPU is generally drawing more power and generating more heat. The 2020 i5 CPU is a 10W chip versus 7W for the 2018 or 2019 i5. The new CPU also can draw more power, over 32W, when turbo boosting. However, the 2018-2019 model CPUs draw less than 15W in turbo boost. Even though Apple increased the size of the CPU heat sink in the 2020 MBA, this might be why even light use, like scrolling through a webpage, seems to cause the temperature to rise.

Second, the 2020 model seems to let the CPU stay at about 100 degrees C under load, while the 2018 and 2019 models keep it about 97 degrees C, according to Notebookcheck's 90-minute stress test. This not might sound like much, but the maximum allowed temperature of the CPU die is 100 degrees C.

Lastly, the fan noise is different compared to the 2018 and 2019 models. Sometimes, even when the CPU reaches 100 degrees C, the fan will be almost inaudible. However, the Notebookcheck review says the fan generally runs more often, and it also gets louder. After a while under load, the fan noise of the 2020 MBA averaged about 45 dba, while the 2019 model averaged about 34 dba, and the 2018 model averaged 30 dba.
 
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AndreasM

macrumors member
Dec 22, 2012
33
3
There are some differences in the thermals between the 2020 MBA and older 2018 or 2019 models.

First, the 2020 MBA's CPU is generally drawing more power and generating more heat. The 2020 i5 CPU is a 10W chip versus 7W for the 2018 or 2019 i5. The new CPU also can draw more power, over 32W, when turbo boosting. However, the 2018-2019 model CPUs draw less than 15W in turbo boost. Even though Apple increased the size of the CPU heat sink in the 2020 MBA, this might be why even light use, like scrolling through a webpage, seem to cause the temperature to rise.

Second, the 2020 model seems to let the CPU stay at about 100 degrees C under load, while the 2018 and 2019 models keep it about 97 degrees C, according to Notebookcheck's 90-minute stress test. This not might sound like much, but the maximum allowed temperature of the CPU die is 100 degrees C.

Lastly, the fan noise is different compared to the 2018 and 2019 models. Sometimes, even when the CPU reaches 100 degrees C, the fan will be almost inaudible. However, the Notebookcheck review says the fan generally runs more often and it also gets louder. After a while under load, the fan noise of the 2020 MBA averaged about 45 dba, while the 2019 model averaged about 34 dba and the 2018 model averaged 30 dba.

This sounds to me that the MBA 2020 is a more powerful machine but also will use this power at more times and then basically run the fans more often to cool it more often and louder than the MBA 2018. Can you expect an upgraded MBP 13 or even MBP 14 to be even more powerful but also in that case run into fan noise problem or is this only for slim ultrabooks like the MBA?

I just want to avoid to get a MBA 2020 and have enough power but also get constant fan noise as a result even if I'm not using all that power. If you understand what I mean. Maybe the only option is to buy one and test and return if it isn't silent or powerful enough.
 
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jgorman

macrumors regular
Jul 16, 2019
185
104
This sounds to me that the MBA 2020 is a more powerful machine but also will use this power at more times and then basically run the fans more often to cool it more often and louder than the MBA 2018. Can you expect an upgraded MBP 13 or even MBP 14 to be even more powerful but also in that case run into fan noise problem or is this only for slim ultrabooks like the MBA?

I just want to avoid to get a MBA 2020 and have enough power but also get constant fan noise as a result even if I'm not using all that power. If you understand what I mean. Maybe the only option is to buy one and test and return if it isn't silent or powerful enough.

I cannot really say what the new MBP will be like.

About your use, when you are doing web development, you might spend some time in the Chrome dev tools. On the 2020 MBA, it looks like Chrome runs hotter than Safari, so that might be an additional consideration if you are trying to avoid heat and fan noise.
 
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AndreasM

macrumors member
Dec 22, 2012
33
3
I cannot really say what the new MBP will be like.

About your use, when you are doing web development, you might spend some time in the Chrome dev tools. On the 2020 MBA, it looks like Chrome runs hotter than Safari, so that might be an additional consideration if you are trying to avoid heat and fan noise.

So your conclusion here is that you can be perfectly happy with the MBA 2018 both with speed, fan and temp for your daily work and when you upgrade to MBA 2020 (for web development) then the power of this machine gets you into fan and temp problem. That is bad news for all of us that like the MBA form factor an had hoped to finally get a quad core light dev machine in the Air format.
 
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hipnetic

macrumors 65816
Oct 5, 2010
1,171
476
Sorry, I haven't read the entire thread, but am looking to purchase a new MacBook Air for my wife. I don't expect her to be doing any 4K video editing, but she does do some 1080p video editing on occasion. Is the heat/fan still a concern with that use case? And has anyone tried installing that software to disable the turbo mode and then run some intensive tests (like video editing) to compare it in its hobbled (disabled turbo) mode against a 2020 i3 and/or against a 2019 i5?

Lastly, any recommendations around what use cases the 16GB upgrade would be beneficial?

Right now I'm leaning towards the i5 / 8GB / 512GB config.
 
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reacher

macrumors member
Apr 5, 2020
52
16
The 2020 i5 CPU is a 10W chip versus 7W for the 2018 or 2019 i5.
According to an Intel website, the i3 from the 2020 Air is 9W and the i5 and i7 are 10W.
Would you think it make any difference like the i3 will hold the power longer and throttle to higher frequency?

https://ark.intel.com/content/www/u...000ng4-processor-4m-cache-up-to-3-20-ghz.html
https://ark.intel.com/content/www/u...030ng7-processor-6m-cache-up-to-3-50-ghz.html
https://ark.intel.com/content/www/u...060ng7-processor-8m-cache-up-to-3-80-ghz.html
 
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Mainsail

macrumors 68000
Sep 19, 2010
1,536
1,666
Will the MBA 2020 do my work(web development/IntelliJ IDEA, Zoom/Slack,/Teams, Jira/Trello, Email and Google docs) quicker and louder than my current MBA 2018 or will I simply not reach the top performance if I today with a MBA 2018 i5 has a totally silent laptop?

My preference is that I choose a silent laptop before loud fans and great performance and the fans on the MBA 2018 runs so seldom that I almost don't reflect upon it in my daily work. Is the heat sink/fan setup the same in MBA 2020 as in MBA 2018?

I am with you. My 2019 MBA is essentially silent. Rarely hear the fan. I like it. I would not trade noise for performance, but in fairness, I don‘t tax the system very much. If I had must-do processor intensive tasks, I might be willing to make the trade-off for performance.

As I understand it, the older lower wattage dual core i5 does not excercise the fan as much...just chugs along at a slower speed. Is my understanding correct?
 
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jgorman

macrumors regular
Jul 16, 2019
185
104
According to an Intel website, the i3 from the 2020 Air is 9W and the i5 and i7 are 10W.
Would you think it make any difference like the i3 will hold the power longer and throttle to higher frequency?

https://ark.intel.com/content/www/u...000ng4-processor-4m-cache-up-to-3-20-ghz.html
https://ark.intel.com/content/www/u...030ng7-processor-6m-cache-up-to-3-50-ghz.html
https://ark.intel.com/content/www/u...060ng7-processor-8m-cache-up-to-3-80-ghz.html

I do not know. I have not seen any tests that compare how long they turbo boost. I also do not know if sustained clock frequency matters, because even if the i3 can sustain a higher frequency per core, only two cores can perform work at that frequency. With the i5, up to four cores can perform work.
 
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nylon

macrumors 65816
Oct 26, 2004
1,231
652
Sorry, I haven't read the entire thread, but am looking to purchase a new MacBook Air for my wife. I don't expect her to be doing any 4K video editing, but she does do some 1080p video editing on occasion. Is the heat/fan still a concern with that use case? And has anyone tried installing that software to disable the turbo mode and then run some intensive tests (like video editing) to compare it in its hobbled (disabled turbo) mode against a 2020 i3 and/or against a 2019 i5?

Lastly, any recommendations around what use cases the 16GB upgrade would be beneficial?

Right now I'm leaning towards the i5 / 8GB / 512GB config.

The i5 quad core MBA will do 1080p video editing perfectly well. As with any laptop the CPU will ramp to its maximum capability while editing and rendering video. I would not be concerned about the heat under such occasional load. Macs always run better with more RAM but they also have exceptional memory management so will perform well with 8GB. 16GB is beneficial for people who consistently run multiple programs at a time or do a lot of video editing. I would wager that the i5/8GB/512GB config is a good fit for your wife given your stated use case explanation.
 
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Mainsail

macrumors 68000
Sep 19, 2010
1,536
1,666
There is slightly bigger heat sink in latest, 2020 model.

Thanks. I saw that after I posted and removed it. In general, is it fair to say that the 2019 i5 is going to be quieter than the 2020 i3 due to the higher power and performance of the i3? How about battery life?
 
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