Can a MacBook Air run in clamshell mode 24/7?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by dmk1974, Jun 2, 2016.

  1. dmk1974 macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    I am thinking of replacing my 2012 Mac Mini, which is left on all the time, with a 2015 MacBook Air. It would effectively be a desktop replacement and with an external USB drive for my media (same as with my current Mac Mini) it would be perfectly sufficient for my use.

    I know that the MacBook Air can run in clamshell mode when connected to a monitor/keyboard/mouse. I am just wondering if I can leave it on 24/7 as a server machine without any major harm (this is how my Mac Mini has been running for almost 4 years). The monitor display is ok to go black, but I don't want the machine to go to sleep mode. Thanks!
  2. Shirasaki macrumors 604


    May 16, 2015
    I keep my MacBook Air on 24/7, only restart when system freezes or install system/software updates.
    Until now, no major issue, no significant hardware damage.
    The longest continuous running time of my Air is 30 days 1 hr, under Mac OS X 10.11.2.
    So, you definitely can do this. As long as you are not using your mac to do something constantly using 100% CPU then you are good to go.
  3. akimoriRyuuji macrumors regular


    Jun 28, 2015
    I would allow the battery to drain at least once a month. It is not intended to be used as such, but you certainly can. Though if you are interested in a server machine, I would not look at purchasing a laptop; let alone a Macbook Air.

    I'm not sure why you would buy a Macbook rather than building your own server which would be much more cost effective.

    If you must buy a Mac, why not get a newer Mac Mini? Is there some reason you want a ultraportable laptop?
  4. Ace2617 macrumors regular


    Mar 16, 2016
    I use my MacBook Air in Clamshell mode with an Asus monitor and Magic Keyboard/Mouse. It works well for the most part, but it only has 4GB of RAM, so it causes some lag/freezing occasionally. I certainly don't keep mine in clamshell mode all the time. I agree with akimoriRyuuji though. In my case, I already had the MacBook Air and just wanted a bigger screen at times, so for around $200 I got the keyboard, mouse, and monitor. But if I was looking for a computer to use in an already-established setup, not sure I'd pick the MacBook Air personally. I'd probably go with another Mac Mini. I'm actually going to be getting a Mac mini soon to add to my setup though, so perhaps I'm a bit biased.
  5. cambookpro macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2010
    United Kingdom
    I use a 13" cMBP with a broken keyboard as a server for filtering my mail, caching downloads, AirPrint and transcoding video when I'm not in a rush. It's tucked away on a shelf connected to the charger and Ethernet.

    It seems to run find, I control it via Back to my Mac when I'm away or just screen sharing over the local network when I'm home. It does need occasional restarts, about once every 40 days as otherwise it gets a bit funny. Once all the dock icons turned into Network Utility icons which was strange. Overall though it seems to run fine, I wouldn't worry about using it in clamshell mode.

    I've installed InsomniaX to prevent sleep when the lid is shut as I don't have it connected to any peripherals, and SMCFanControl to run the fans at a higher speed as I'm slightly wary of the ventilation not being great. Also bought iStat Menus so I can see what it's doing, but in all honesty it wasn't really needed as there don't seem to be any problems.
  6. 960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    The only concern I would caution you on would be the size of the MacAir SSD. A server by design reads and writes almost constantly to storage. This can quickly wear down and kill a small SSD.

    For the naysayers, yes software mitigates this to a large degree. The site is probably not seeing a million hits a second. The SSD ( even a 64GB ) one should run reliably for several years. This is just a ''read up on it' post.
  7. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    I've tested out with my current 11" MacBook Air running in clamshell mode and it seems to be ok (only a couple days so far). I passed the 2012 Mac Mini to my in-laws so they are now finally Mac users.

    I did see that I can get a 2014 base Mac Mini with a 240gb SSD drive for under $500. Compared to the MacBook Air, this has a 1.4 GHz processor instead of 1.6 GHz. Both have only 4gb RAM. Benchmarks say the MBA has a 5% faster processor, but wonder if I'd even notice any difference.
  8. Spink10 Suspended


    Nov 3, 2011
    Clamshell mode is rMBP is in clamshell about 90% of the time.
  9. Rok73 macrumors 65816


    Apr 21, 2015
    Planet Earth
    That's a fairy tale.

    Naysayer here. This doesn't apply for the built in flash memory in the most recent MacBook Air 13" e.g. and not even for modern SSD's. The reliability time for them is between 1.5 and 2 million hours.
  10. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    I received the 2014 Mac Mini (base) from UPS today. I really only need about 60-70gb of storage on it since I use that external 2TB USB3 drive for the media files. Think I should crack it open and install a 240gb SSD into it? I'd get a 120gb, but it's $40 vs $60 so might as well get the bigger one for $20 more. Makes the machine effectively the same exact speed/ram/graphics as my wife's 2014 MBA 13" (just a different SSD) for just under $500.

    I could also just get another "cheap" MBA to use as my desktop since they come with the SSD integrated and allow for flexibility if I need an additional laptop (for some reason). Or make my 11" the "desktop" machine since it's already faster in CPU/graphics than the 2014 Mini or 2014 MBA. But another MBA would be at least $700-$800 depending on which model I get.

    I do prefer to have a separate dedicated machine for my desk (Mac Mini or laptop in clamshell-only mode) and then an additional "around the house" laptop. Neither really needs to be a powerhouse. I do have to say, speed-wise, running my 2015 MBA 11 as my "desktop" machine has been smooth with no issues at all.
  11. akimoriRyuuji macrumors regular


    Jun 28, 2015
    Dumb question but would a Chromebook suit your needs for that around the house laptop?
  12. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    Not a dumb question at all! I did try to go that route ~6 months ago with a cheapie Samsung 11". Nice machine, for the money especially, but just can't quite compete with a MacBook. Even though about 5x the price, I like using the 11" MacBook Air so much more.

Share This Page