For people with new MBA that often use it on your lap, how's the heat?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Shoruken, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. Shoruken macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2011
    I'm having an extremely hard time deciding whether to sell my 2010 13'' Ultimate and buy a new one. I put it on CL and the first person that contacts me tells me he had my the 2010 13'' Ultimate and sold it for a new one, and now he wants the old one back due to the new one being too hot. He said temperature-wise it was like a MBP but I've never had one for reference.

    I often use mine on my lap and notice no discomfort at all, even when the CPU is at 65C, during flash browsing. It gets warm but it's not bad and definitely doesn't make me want to move it onto another surface.

    Heat is actually a big deciding factor for me now, since I regularly use my MBA on a couch. Anyone have any input?
  2. applewins macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2011
    I have the 11'' ultimate and I use it a lot for browsing when I'm chilling in my bed. For light work like browsing or notes taking it doesn't warm up but as soon as you start doing work in iMovie, GarageBand or even watching a video in fullscreen it's getting warm. It's getting that warm that you probably will take it off. If you start pushing the MBA to it's limits the fans will start to work and it's getting even warmer.

    So to sum up, as long as you do light work, you won't have any problems I guess.
  3. bizzle macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2008
  4. Shoruken thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2011
    Warm enough to move it off your lap for just a movie? Are we talking Youtube or a local file? What's the CPU at here?

    Also would anyone be willing to tell me what a 2011 MBA fullscreen Netflix temperature and CPU usage would be after 5 mins of watching?
  5. applewins macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2011
    I didn't try out a movie stored on SSD, but if you're watching videos on youtube it's getting pretty warm, I don't know the exact temperature but it's not very comfortable watching movies for hours like that.
  6. MacLappy, Aug 18, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2011

    MacLappy macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2011
    Coming from a base 13" 2010 macbook air to a base 13" 2011 macbook air, it is noticeably warmer but by a relatively small amount. Since you have a 2010 macbook air you should be able to guesstimate how the new air would respond based on how your current system acts. As you find your current system somewhat cool, the new one would be just slightly warmer and i doubt that you will find the new air unbearable. I too enjoy using the macbook air on my lap and have no issues web surfing, writing a document or watching flash videos with the macbook air on my lap. However i would like to add that i find gaming on either the 2010/2011 macbook air, too toasty for comfort on my lap. Hope that helps.:D

    p.s. Heat tolerance is pretty subjective so this response is really only for the OP as he has the old macbook air as a gauging point. If you are completely new to the unibody macbook airs i would strongly suggest going to an apple store and testing it out before committing to a purchase.
  7. alecgold macrumors 65816


    Oct 11, 2007
    11" i7, so that should be "the worst" but I have no trouble playing music, browsing internet, emailing, doing regular stuff.
    Watching video (youtube) makes it warmer, but still good possible to balance it on my chest, standing up. When I put it down on a blanket/mattress, I put a book underneath it, just to keep it from being to insulated.
    When sitting on the couch, legs crossed, I never had any problem as large parts of the bottom are "unsupported" and therefore the laptop has every possibility to get rid of the heath.
    If I read a lot over here at the forums, I'm one of ten that don't have a heath problem with the i7. When I'm encoding video, it really gets warm, CPU heating up to 93C, but it revs up the fan and it soon stays at 83-86C. But I don't do video encoding while hanging not the couch, so that's not a problem.

    +1, good advice!
  8. JonLa macrumors 6502

    Dec 22, 2009
    Hmm. Using Safari, Outlook and a few other apps on Lion, but not watching flash video, my 2010 Ultimate 13" regularly wanders into the low 70s C. I've switched to Chrome and Mail, and added that Speedfan app to set the standard fan speed to 3000 rpms instead of 2000, and now I move between 58 and 68 through normal use.

    I should add that this is on my lap or resting the Air on a soft cushioned footstool, so ventilation is not the best (the footstool may even sustain heat for longer).

    A friend with the new i5 13" claims his temps, running Chrome and Mail, are in the 50s
  9. cityathrt macrumors regular

    Sep 8, 2010
    Well, as a point of usage reference I play Torchlight with my 2011 MBA 11" on my lap, while having Safari, iChat, Windows Live Messenger, and a couple other random programs open in the background. Warm to the touch, but fine for me, even on bare flesh. ...I almost took a chunk out of my leg yesterday when accidentally catching my thigh in the hinge as I opened the MBA, now that is quite a bit more problematic..:rolleyes:
  10. pollaxe, Aug 18, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2011

    pollaxe macrumors 6502


    Aug 13, 2010
    West of England
    I've used a 2011 13" on my lap a fair few times - nothing important has been scorched away from my body yet. :) Seriously, so far (apart from when it's been in clamshell mode) my MBA has barely made it to warm, let alone hot.

    I tend to use mine on a cushion now but that's due to size not temperature.
  11. onthecouchagain macrumors 604


    Mar 29, 2011
    It depends on what you're doing, but the honest answer is, it gets pretty warm even under light browsing use. And if you start running videos/Flash/games, it can get pretty hot. Definitely not ideal nor very comfortable. Not only does the bottom get heated, but the keys themselves can too, especially toward the upper left (where the lower numbers and the area around the Q and A keys).

    I've decided I'm going to start being very honest about Apple products. I personally think the hype and branding that Apple fanboys go on; where they'll defend Apple products and claim perfection, actually does Apple disservice. This is as much Apple's fault too: they attempt to sell perfection when their products aren't perfect. Except for a few exceptional ideas and practices, they are similar to other computer companies.

    I like my Air for many reasons, but the heat is not one of them. It can get hot.
  12. calvol macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2011
    Nice review: on the subject of cooling, here's the Google translation >
    The CPU seems a Windows or MacOS to achieve, especially in multi-threaded benchmark critical temperatures faster than the fan can dissipate it. This is mainly due to the sluggish fan control, which intervenes only at extremely high CPU temperatures.

    In other words, when TurboBoost kicks in, the 2011 Air gets hot!
  13. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    My i7 MBA has gotten slightly warm (i.e., above room temperature) a few times when my FileVault was busy encrypting all my data, but otherwise it's been remarkably cool. My 2008 unibody 2.4GHz Core2Duo MacBook gets much, much hotter.
  14. Fernandez21 macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2010
    I have an 11" i7, My cpu was the hottest at 77 degrees, after that was my ram at 56, everything else was in the 40's. Definitely feels warm, but I wouldn't say hot.
  15. vitzr macrumors 68030


    Jul 28, 2011
    I never put my Mac in my lap without an X-Pad. They are thin, light, silver to match the aluminum, and have a nice grippy surface on the bottom. With your MacBook in place, there's room underneath it for good air circulation. There inexpensive enough that I keep one at home, and at less that the thickness of my MBP, I carry one in my bag.
  16. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    It's fine, although I don't expect to have any children... :rolleyes:
  17. Travisimo macrumors 6502a

    Dec 22, 2009
    Browsing the web, e-mail, listening to music = NICE AND COOL
    Watching a video, 2D or casual games = WARM
    3D games, video encoding = HOT

    Really, the only time it gets hot enough to feel somewhat uncomfortable is during 3D games. For example, I've been playing Minecraft full-screen with no fog and my 11" Air (i5) gets pretty hot. Still tolerable, but definitely noticeable.

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