Is gaming harmful to a Macbook Air?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by adcx64, Aug 6, 2015.

  1. adcx64 macrumors 65816

    adcx64

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    Philadelphia
    #1
    I plan on playing CSGO and Minecraft on a brand new early 2014 MBA. Is this damaging to the SSD? Will this cause poor performance in the future?

    Thanks friends :)
     
  2. The Clark macrumors regular

    The Clark

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    #2
    It shouldn't cause any damage to your SSD. However, if I were you I'd make sure to take frequent breaks between gaming sessions in order to keep your Macbook from overheating.
     
  3. Shirasaki macrumors 603

    Shirasaki

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    #3
    Don't need to worry much about the age of ssd. But try not store very important data on it because the data will likely permanently lose if you operate improperly. :)
     
  4. adcx64 thread starter macrumors 65816

    adcx64

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    #4
    Thanks. What do you mean operate improperly I will lose data?


    So i should see no degradation in performance by gaming on my MBA?
     
  5. motrek macrumors 68020

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    #5
    I would be surprised if games use the SSD very much at all. I would definitely not worry about this.
     
  6. Shirasaki macrumors 603

    Shirasaki

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    #6
    You see few or no degradation of performance on it if you play the game Intel graphic card is capable to carry.

    I say this because recovering lost data from ssd is not so possible like what we did under traditional hdd.
     
  7. motrek macrumors 68020

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    #7
    If the Mac overheats it will turn itself off. If it's not off, then it's fine. :)
     
  8. The Clark macrumors regular

    The Clark

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    #8
    Really? Good to know. Mine has never done that, and sometimes the bottom gets really hot so I'm always sure to take a break.
     
  9. BrettApple macrumors 65816

    BrettApple

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    #9
    I played games on my 2008 MacBook (unibody/9400m) all through high school and into college. The thing ran right around 200ºF the entire time and did so for hours on end (Burnout Paradise anyone?). It's now nearly 7 years old and works just as well as it ever did.

    Playing games will not kill your MacBook (unless you have an 8600m GT or 2011 ATI card, heh). It's just running CPU/GPU intensive tasks. Sure a desktop or gaming laptop is better, particularly in the cooling department, but Apple designed their computers to perform at their stated speeds indefinitely.

    Heck, simply encoding with Handbrake will heat up any Mac. My 2008 would encode for hours on long projects and hover around 200ºF (like a game) and my 2013 rMBP and 2015 MBA run about the same temperature doing the same things (just way faster). Pretty impressed with them actually, as I've been able to sustain some of the turbo boost clock speeds under full load for over an hour with each logical core being utilized. As shown by the Intel Power Gadget (OS X) or Windows 10's task manager.
     
  10. joeblow7777 macrumors 601

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    #10
    Am I missing something? Why would playing games harm any computer? That seems to me like asking if watching action movies will damage your TV. I know that SSDs technically have limited read/write cycles, but a decent one should last for several years. I don't understand why gaming would affect that.
     
  11. motrek macrumors 68020

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    #11
    Well I don't want to add to any irrational paranoia but putting the computer through thermal cycles by letting it rest is probably worse for it than if you just let it run at the same temperature for a longer time. :)
     
  12. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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    #12
    Temperature could in theory damage components, which is what OP is scared about I assume.
     
  13. wksj, Aug 7, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2015

    wksj macrumors member

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    #13
    It's not something special to Macs. Intel CPUs (not sure about AMD) automatically shut down when the temperature is extremely high to avoid permanent damage. This doesn't mean "If it's not off, then it's fine", and that other components won't get damaged before you reach that temperature.

    Look at this page: http://www.buildcomputers.net/cpu-temperature.html Highest safe CPU temperature recommended by Intel for most desktop CPUs is between 67°C-72°C, but they won't shut down until they reach 105°C+.
     
  14. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 14, 2007
    #14
    Discrete mobile GPUs are quite likely to be damaged when they're exessively used because the BGA soldering is going to break due to thermal stress. Some MBP lines were very vulnerable to this, but this also happens to normal PC notebooks.
    Integrated solutions (like in the MBA) are way less likely to suffer from issues like this, so I wouldn't be too concerned.

    Your SSD shouldn't be damaged at all, I don't see any reason for this. Your battery life might decrease though, they don't like high temperatures.
     
  15. motrek macrumors 68020

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    #15
    I applaud the effort made by this web page, but they are very misguided.

    All modern motherboards can control the fan speed of the CPU fan and they will have certain default settings that will balance CPU temperature vs. fan noise.

    If you take a random motherboard with random default settings, you will get essentially random CPU temperatures.

    It doesn't tell you anything about "normal" or "safe" temperatures.

    From an engineer's perspective, if Intel specifies that a chip can operate at 105C with no qualifications, it means it can operate at that temperature indefinitely. Any other sort of specification would be completely illogical. Imagine if you're trying to build a space shuttle and you rely on Intel's 105C specification but they turn around and say "oh wait we only meant for 20 minutes at a time" and your space shuttle crashes. Doesn't happen.

    And if you don't believe that rationale, look at how Intel manages its turbo boost feature. Its chips will increase clock speed if there is power and thermal headroom. And if you use Intel Power Gadget, you will see that the chips will happily run at maximum turbo boost speed indefinitely even if they are around 100C. Of course Intel wouldn't design their chips to do this if they thought it would somehow harm the chips.

    So rest assured that you will not damage your Mac just by running certain software on it for certain lengths of time.
     
  16. majkom macrumors 65816

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    May 3, 2011
    #16
    no, u can play on air as much as you want... i mean, are u really asking something like that?
     
  17. cerberusss macrumors 6502a

    cerberusss

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    #17
    I think Apple thoroughly tests even the MBA for prolonged intensive usage. However, I hate it when the notebook gets so hot. On almost every Mac I owned, I installed smcFanControl, a freeware utility that allows you to set the fan speed manually.

    So before I'm doing something cpu intensive, I just set the fan speed to maximum. The Air ramps up the fan speed automatically, but I feel it's a bit conservative.
     
  18. Noble Actual macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 10, 2014
    #18
    CSGO and Minecraft aren't even graphical intensive.

    Personally I use a small fan next to my MBA when playing Heroes of the Storm because it gets too hot to press some of the keys after a while.

    Mac won't break though.
     
  19. Toutou macrumors 6502a

    Toutou

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    Prague, Czech Republic
    #19
    Minecraft can be a very demanding game - because by default there is no FPS limit (it can be set in the settings easily, though). It doesn't matter how graphically intensive a game is - the GPU always runs at full speed - just like an engine without a throttle.
     
  20. pedro_martins macrumors member

    pedro_martins

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    Aug 4, 2015
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    Portugal
    #20
    No, there won't be a problem at all. In fact, your doubts and the first answers are something very weird to say, in 2015. You bought a computer in order to use it as you please. Gaming on it 24/7/365/10years won't do any harm to it, unless it had some defects. If, for some reason, it reaches some critical state, the computer will shut itself until it cools off.

    I have a 2011 Air and for months I used it regally during the day and let it convert videos (always max CPU usage) during the night. The computer was built to never pass 105 degrees, so there isn't any problem. People talking about cooling pads and so on have no idea of what they are talking about. It's a waste of money.

    Now, you bought a Mac and not a crappy PC. Your Mac is made of an aluminium-based alloy, not only because it makes it look damn cool, but because it conducts heat. So the chassis does the same as a fan. That's why no one in their right mind should ever invest on plastic PCs. Alloys like this were expensive, but Apple and Apple alone made it possible to become mainstream.

    So, a Mac will always seem "hotter" than a regular plastic PC because it is sending heat through the chassis, while in the PC the heat is trapped inside. That is specially dangerous to computers with AMD/NVIDIA GPUs. So, this means that no matter what some people want to say, if you want a long lasting PC for play any sort of game or doing anything minimally intensive, it has to:

    a) Be built with the same alloy as Macs, with similar-copied thermodynamic solutions;
    b) Be very, very big and thick with many fans.

    In the first case, you have computers like the Razr Blade, copying as much as they can from the rMBP. Take this in consideration: Apple's approach is so superior, that they are the only company building 28W Intel chips on computers with 13" (or less) screens, and in order to fit a discrete graphics card, Razr builds a computer close to the 15" rMBP, and can't price it as cheap as the 13" rMBP because they aren't as good with design and engineering, supply chain and economies of scale. As such, they don't sell and no one gives a f***. Heck, no one of does rMBP clones sell in any meaningful quantity, and they just give problems, or are as expensive as Macs. (If you have the money, no one chooses a regular PC over a Mac).

    In the second case, you have monstrosities like Alienware's machines and some Asus Machines, that no one also cares about as well. Call it enthusiast's machines. A small, irrelevant but vocal niche.

    So yeah, play as much as you can, torture it, and enjoy it. My MBAir is amazing and I won't ever buy another computer from another company, as long as Apple keeps making such amazing products. Now, that TN panel was long in the tooth when I bought my MBAir...
     
  21. Isamilis macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    #21
    I agree with this. Yes, the machine will shutdown when its overheat, but the life of components (i.e. board) have been shorten due to heat. I have iMac whose graphic card is broken because of getting heat in the long period (which theoritically not possible because Mac will shutdown if overheat).
     
  22. adcx64 thread starter macrumors 65816

    adcx64

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    #22
    Thanks guys. I was just worried about taxing the SSD and memory too hard, thus degrading performance in the future.
     
  23. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #23
    That was a defect due to poor engineering on nVidia's part and they had to pay out hundreds of millions to cover recalls and repairs. You should be able to get your iMac fixed for free.

    So you can see that failure due to heat is not a normal situation. The upshot is still to not worry about it.
     
  24. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 14, 2007
    #24
    On notebooks with discrete GPU this definitely isn't unusual. Apple had serious problems with almost every 15" MBP line in the last decade. There were repair programs for (at least) Nvidia 8600GT, ATI 6490M, ATI 6750M and Nvidia 650m (built 2007-2013!). The 330m also had a quite high failure rate, but I don't think Apple had a repair programm for those. Only very few cards were more robust, e.g. the GT 9600M.
    The problem is simply that the BGA soldering will be weakened due to the heat so some points might break sooner or later causing video problems.
     
  25. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #25
    Well technically it will be weakened due to thermal cycling, not heat, and that's only if the manufacturer chooses the wrong materials for its bumps and underfill:

    http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1050052/nvidia-chips-underfill

    There's no rule that all chips have to wear out and fail like this--look at the CPUs for these laptops. Has there ever been a recall for Intel CPUs that are damaged by thermal cycling?

    All the nVidia chips using a certain process were affected by bump/underfill problems due to faulty engineering, so that's no surprise that you can come up with a long list of chips that are faulty. The ATI models you mentioned are a surprise and I can't find anything online about them failing due to heat. There are some threads about "glitches" that people suspect are due to thermal throttling but I see little evidence that that's actually the problem. I don't see anything about recalls or service plans.
     

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