First video on thermal throttling for the 2020 MBA

hftvhftv

macrumors member
May 18, 2014
72
17
I saw this and I kind of expected it. The Air seems to prioritize being quiet over anything else performance wise, which makes sense for students who want to be able to use the computer in a lecture hall where doing anything strenuous with it won't result in having everyone turn around and gawk at your shiny MacBook.
 
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Ericdjensen

macrumors regular
Nov 6, 2019
162
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Springfield,VA
I saw this and I kind of expected it. The Air seems to prioritize being quiet over anything else performance wise, which makes sense for students who want to be able to use the computer in a lecture hall where doing anything strenuous with it won't result in having everyone turn around and gawk at your shiny MacBook.
In the video he maxed out the fans to 8000 rpm, which is pretty damn loud, and it barely got cooler. I guess the cooling is still pretty bad.
Still looking forward to getting mine lol
 

Michael Scrip

macrumors 603
Mar 4, 2011
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I'm not surprised either. This is the Macbook Air. It's not supposed to be a balls-to-the-wall performance machine.

It's thin with a power-sipping <12W processor. So yeah... it'll thermal-throttle if you bang on it with heavy-duty software.

If you need more horsepower and better cooling... Macbook Pro is the answer.

But this is still an amazing machine for someone who needs a thin, light, and light-duty Mac laptop. Apple will sell a tons of these... much like the older generations.
 

Aegelward

macrumors 6502a
Jul 31, 2005
528
54
UK
I'm not surprised either. This is the Macbook Air. It's not supposed to be a balls-to-the-wall performance machine.

It's thin with a power-sipping <12W processor. So yeah... it'll thermal-throttle if you bang on it with heavy-duty software.

If you need more horsepower and better cooling... Macbook Pro is the answer.

But this is still an amazing machine for someone who needs a thin, light, and light-duty Mac laptop. Apple will sell a tons of these... much like the older generations.
This argument can hardly fly when plenty of other thin and light windows laptops are similarly thin and are capable of managing their thermals effectively, I mean, naturally they do throttle, but this is apparently idling warm and hits 100c under load. For example the XPS's load temps are in the 70c range (though it can peak at 100% during initial turbo). Truthfully

That said running Cinebench isn't exactly a normal workload, but I would like some confidence that I'll be able to play a round of CSGO or Dota, or do some audio editing without frying an egg
 

hftvhftv

macrumors member
May 18, 2014
72
17
This argument can hardly fly when plenty of other thin and light windows laptops are similarly thin and are capable of managing their thermals effectively, I mean, naturally they do throttle, but this is apparently idling warm and hits 100c under load. For example the XPS's load temps are in the 70c range (though it can peak at 100% during initial turbo). Truthfully

That said running Cinebench isn't exactly a normal workload, but I would like some confidence that I'll be able to play a round of CSGO or Dota, or do some audio editing without frying an egg
Cinebench is not comparable to playing CSGO, if you turn on v sync and play at 1680x1050 there shouldn’t be any issues with thermal performance. As for the XPS comparison, yes it’s better thermals wise.
 
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Useless Touchbar

macrumors member
Jan 25, 2020
31
47
Really disappointing. As a former MBA 2013 owner it pains me that they put all that cool hardware inside this new MBA but didn't bother to put an actual heatpipe in there. Its thermals are better suited for ARM chips than Intel ones (even Y series).

Had they paid just a bit more focus to thermal performance this would have been more attractive device for a lot of people including software developers etc.
 
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lewdvig

macrumors 65816
Jan 1, 2002
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South Pole
This argument can hardly fly when plenty of other thin and light windows laptops are similarly thin and are capable of managing their thermals effectively, I mean, naturally they do throttle, but this is apparently idling warm and hits 100c under load. For example the XPS's load temps are in the 70c range (though it can peak at 100% during initial turbo). Truthfully

That said running Cinebench isn't exactly a normal workload, but I would like some confidence that I'll be able to play a round of CSGO or Dota, or do some audio editing without frying an egg
These 'reviews' are so poor. Why didn't they open up and show the heat pipe? Last year's Air had a fan but not a heat pipe.

Based on the 8000 rpm fan test I'd say the 2020 model is the same. No heat pipe, therefore max fans had almost no affect.
 

johannnn

macrumors 65816
Nov 20, 2009
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Sweden
This video is of the mid tier model. Compared to the cheaper model, it has a much more powerful CPU, and a beefier GPU. Both of these makes the computer run hotter. The low tier i3 model should definitely be cooler.
 

burgman

macrumors 68020
Sep 24, 2013
2,039
1,515
I'm not surprised either. This is the Macbook Air. It's not supposed to be a balls-to-the-wall performance machine.

It's thin with a power-sipping <12W processor. So yeah... it'll thermal-throttle if you bang on it with heavy-duty software.

If you need more horsepower and better cooling... Macbook Pro is the answer.

But this is still an amazing machine for someone who needs a thin, light, and light-duty Mac laptop. Apple will sell a tons of these... much like the older generations.
As always the right tool for the job.
 

ilikewhey

macrumors 65816
May 14, 2014
1,401
1,491
nyc upper east
I'm not surprised either. This is the Macbook Air. It's not supposed to be a balls-to-the-wall performance machine.

It's thin with a power-sipping <12W processor. So yeah... it'll thermal-throttle if you bang on it with heavy-duty software.

If you need more horsepower and better cooling... Macbook Pro is the answer.

But this is still an amazing machine for someone who needs a thin, light, and light-duty Mac laptop. Apple will sell a tons of these... much like the older generations.
microsoft excel is not heavy duty software.
 
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nylon

macrumors 65816
Oct 26, 2004
1,130
495
microsoft excel is not heavy duty software.
Excel does not cause any Mac to thermal throttle. Thermal throttling will only occur when all cores are pegged to the max for a sustained workload which very few software programs actually do. In the video linked above Cinebench R20 pegs all cores of the CPU for a sustained period. This does not mimic real world work load. It's a stress test.
 

souko

macrumors regular
Jan 31, 2017
173
110
I would say for 2018 and 2019 MBA cooling was enough. But for 2020 quad core it definitely is not for more demanding tasks. It is sad...


exporting video would use more of the cpu if properly cooled...

Edit: another video about cooling
 
Last edited:

intelligence

macrumors regular
Aug 27, 2015
165
246
These 'reviews' are so poor. Why didn't they open up and show the heat pipe? Last year's Air had a fan but not a heat pipe.

Based on the 8000 rpm fan test I'd say the 2020 model is the same. No heat pipe, therefore max fans had almost no affect.
There will be a separate video about that AFAIK.
 

ascender

macrumors 68030
Dec 8, 2005
2,933
888
Its all about compromise though isn't it?

Those ordering the base Air, will probably never hear the fans apart from when they are setting-up Dropbox (just like the fans go on a 16" MBP when you do that).

Those ordering specced-up Airs are probably wanting something which is fast enough to handle lots of multi-tasking and a bit of "everything". They know that those times where they maybe a bit of video encoding, that they're going to hear the fans blasting. But its not their everyday job/workflow, so its not really an issue.

The Air is a very portable, compact laptop for "everyone", so thermal performance isn't top of the priority list.
 
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Peter_M

macrumors regular
Jun 20, 2018
130
63
It would be interesting to see benchmarks for the i5 vs i7 CPU option, both for shorter bursts (regular "snappyness" doing everyday tasks) and more sustained workloads.

To what others say here, the lack of a better cooling solution is a shame, but even though I have a MBP (through work) I still end up using my MBA 2019 model, because it's a much more comfortable form factor for everyday use. Hopefully the next version (2021?) will offer better cooling, for even more performance.
 

hftvhftv

macrumors member
May 18, 2014
72
17
It would be interesting to see benchmarks for the i5 vs i7 CPU option, both for shorter bursts (regular "snappyness" doing everyday tasks) and more sustained workloads.

To what others say here, the lack of a better cooling solution is a shame, but even though I have a MBP (through work) I still end up using my MBA 2019 model, because it's a much more comfortable form factor for everyday use. Hopefully the next version (2021?) will offer better cooling, for even more performance.
That is a hope everyone most likely shares, but Apple will most likely continue to reserve proper cooling for the base model MacBook Pro.
 
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