is it safe to buy a MacBook Air yet?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by flat6, Mar 13, 2008.

  1. flat6 macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2004
    I want a MacBook Air as it'd make my life easier (I'm currently trudging along on a decaying PowerBook G4) but I'm scared of all these heat management and fans going crazy issues. Have they been sorted out yet, or are the latest batches that people are buying/exchanging for still having issues? Because I can wait for another 1-2 months. I'd rather not, but I can. Thanks! :apple:
  2. mark34 macrumors 6502a

    May 18, 2006
    I got the first SSD unit my store in Austin got in stock. It is much more than "safe" to buy one. My unit has been flawless. I have seen the fan speed rise to above 6,000 rpm at times, but it has never been an issue. Doesn't happen very often and it seems like it does so in normal functioning manner.
  3. Alkiera macrumors regular

    Mar 11, 2008
    Some suggestions from the big heat thread are that the SSD models seem to run a little hotter. Ironic, considering they're supposed to be better about heat and power issues, but I know the only time my 1.6/80gb HD model's fan spins up is during long video conversion in iMovie.

    Mine was built in february, and haven't had issues, other people have had issues. To me, it sounds like some of their build practices haven't been entirely ironed out, particularly related to thermal paste on the major chips. One user opened up his MBA and re-did the paste, and temp problems were reduced.

    If you need a more consistent machine, the standard macbook is a good bet. I carry my MBA everywhere with me, tho, so I went for the lighter option.
  4. flat6 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2004
    Ironically enough I refuse to get the MB of MBP because of heat issues as well, but whereas only some MBAs have heat issues, ALL MB's and MBP's have heat issues. They're impossible to use as an actual lapop, since they'll, well, burn my lap. I had hoped that they'd have reduced the heat levels since the PowerBook G4 days, but I walked into an Apple Store a few days ago and held all the laptops up with my palm underneath them, and the MBs and MBPs felt just as idiotically hot as my PowerBook G4. The MBA was the only one that had a diminished enough heat level that I can actually imagine comfortably using it as a laptop. I guess I'll pick one up tonight, hopefully I get a good one :rolleyes:
  5. AreanFSL macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2007
    Once you pick one up, report back with your heat level comparisons.
  6. Scott6666 macrumors 65816


    Feb 2, 2008
    Not in my opinion

    I'd say no until at least a few people here say they've purchased in March and had no issues.

    The SMC update does not seem to have made any difference with many.

    I have heard that some early ones once they fixed the thermal paste that their machine was better but this is like only 1 or 2 reports. And these are people that fixed their own. It implies that the MBA *could* be fixed but there is no evidence yet that Apple has rolled any kind of fix into manufacturing.

    There are many who complain they are on their 2nd or 3rd MBA and they are still having problems. These are clearly "later" units.

    I personally returned mine (and had to take a credit) and I'm waiting another month to get some real info that it's been fixed.

    Also check the Apple support forums to see what's up. I'd think there would be a lot of posts if some of the early adopters were getting good units back.
  7. jlbrown23 macrumors member

    Aug 18, 2007
    Mine has been working fine(bought it last week) - the only times I get major fan use are when I am lying on the sofa with the Air on my gut or chest. This effectively blocks the entire fan vent, so no surprise the fan goes a bit, but it is still cooler than my MacBook & I haven't really heard it kick on at any other time.

    I do wonder if most of the fan issues are folks who somehow have that vent blocked. I know my MacBook does exactly the same thing(when I am in couch potatoe mode), so I don't know that it is an Air issue(outside of the fact that the vent is a little easier to block, since it is actually ON the bottom of the machine & not behind the screen hinge like the MacBooks).
  8. twynne macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2006
    London, UK
    I bought mine (1.8 SSD) about 3 weeks ago (it shows week of manufacture as 8) and it has no issues at all so far. I'd say go ahead, but check the serial of the unit before leaving the store. I believe you can see the serial on the outside of the box so you won't even need to open it. If it's not 7 or newer I'd be cautious. You might even get them to check before you pay...

    Good luck!
  9. Scott6666 macrumors 65816


    Feb 2, 2008
    No. Not for me. I was careful about that.
  10. flat6 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2004
    Sage advice.

    By the way, why did you have to settle for credit when returning it? I thought they have a 14-day return policy. Although it seems that it's subject to a 10% restocking fee. I don't feel much like blowing $200 for nothing :mad:

    Where in the serial number does this manufacture week show up? I'll definitely want to check for this. Thanks for the tip.
  11. PDE macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2005
    For what it's worth: I got the latest penryn MBP 2.4ghz last week and it runs very cool compared to both previous MBPs and powerbooks. It's the first 15" Apple laptop I've been comfortable having on my lap for longer periods. The MBA I had was even cooler in everyday casual use.
  12. twynne macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2006
    London, UK
    It's the 5th digit I believe, so for example W8807XXXXXX would be week 07 of 2008.
  13. twynne macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2006
    London, UK
    Found this over in another forum:

  14. Wingnut330 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 16, 2008
    Central Ohio - USA
    Based on the above seriel number methodology, mine was made in week 5 and it has been flawless. 1.6Ghz, 80GB HDD. It's a great machine!
  15. iHerzeleid macrumors 6502a


    May 5, 2007
  16. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    Yes. It's safe. It's very very safe.

    Now put down that drill!
  17. al82 macrumors regular

    Feb 13, 2008
    I had 3, all had problems, so i wouldn't say its "very safe"
  18. PDE macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2005
    I had three too, all of which had problems. I would say it's safe if you're willing and prepared to go through a few replacements with Apple. They're good about exchanges when you have problems so that's positive news I suppose. Just be prepared psychologically and it's fine!
  19. flat6 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2004
    I guess at least it's good news that I'll eventually get one that works.

    What the typical test to determine if it's a good one or not? Run a YouTube video for 4-5 minutes and see if it starts freezing the operating system for 10-15 seconds at a time?
  20. conchshell macrumors member

    Feb 5, 2008
    I bought one that was made 10th week of 08 and had fan issues (~6000+rpm all the time) until software update, and now they are at 2500 rpm most of the time. it had the screen i was hoping for. as of now the only issue i have is the backlit keyboard sensor was reversed (and was actually fine before the software update) and i have no problems w/ movies or flash. i was expecting many more problems, bought it frys b/c i assumed i would be returning it, and i have the backlit keyboard set to manual with f5/f6 so i am keeping it, assuming it doesn't start falling apart and displaying problems in the next two weeks. ymmv,
  21. Scott6666 macrumors 65816


    Feb 2, 2008
    I was 3 days outside the 14 day period before the cores started acting weird. I didn't want to argue much; thought I was lucky to get credit. I didn't want a replacement because I think I would have had the same issues. I am a Windows switcher and I liked Mac OS enough that I thought I would just get a MBP if all else failed. Just felt like waiting on the MBP a bit since that was a new release and I really hoped that Apple would address the MBA issue within a month or two.

    Also, I charged this to a corporate card and I thought if I put it back on the card and the recession hit big time that I would not be able to get my boss' approval again in a month or two. :rolleyes:
  22. Scott6666 macrumors 65816


    Feb 2, 2008
    I would not assume that you will eventually get one that works. I personally think that those with OK MBA's think that 6200 occasionally is OK or they just don't do processor intensive things (I hear the flames coming already).

    You could unpack it in the store. Use their access point. Install iStat. Hit YouTube. Run a few videos (ya gotta give it a chance to heat up the underside a bit; a cool underside could wick away a bit of the heat). Click over to the widgets while its playing and see what happens to the fan.

    It's harder to check for core shutdown. You have to have the Activity monitor up and iStat at the same time to see fans and cores. Plus, my cores were OK for the first couple weeks and then acted screwier over time. The fans however were trouble from the start.

    You can even try these tests on their demo models. I did today at a store in MD and the fans hit 6200 fast. The MBP stayed at 2000 with the same test. Did not check for core failure; high fans are enough for me. Now grant it I bet the floor models are day 1 releases so I would not think this is a good test for a model fix but you can practice so you can see what to do when the offer you yours.

    They might let you do this even before they run your plastic so you don't have to return it 5 minutes after you buy it.

    [Yes, yes, yes I am a bitter and cynical ex-MBA owner. Someone on the boards even stooped to calling me an "angry Panda"; my wife and kids enjoyed that one! AP out!]
  23. joefrank64k macrumors 6502


    Feb 12, 2008
    Go get it! I've had nothing but good luck with my MBA (built in late Feb), and you have to look at the problem posts with some perspective...the majority of people who buy computers do not post on forums...and when they do, it's USUALLY (repeat USUALLY :)) because they're seeking advice about a problem they're having.

    So the postings can lead you to think that the majority of MBA's are all running at 6500 RPM, with one core shut down, stuttering through the latest YouTube video...but that isn't the case...for the most part, people go buy their MBA, take it home and enjoy the heck out of it! I know I am.

    If it does the things you want it to do, then go get it! It really is a great, lightweight, thin laptop that is a joy to carry around and a joy to use.
  24. Suncusser macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2008
    My week 2 MBA hasn't had any fan issues

    My MBA has a week 2 serial number and I've had it since Feb 8. Its a 1.6/80 and while I've heard the fans occasionally, they don't run too long. Been working on a keynote talk for the last couple of hours and my fan is running at 2500. I'm a little puzzled why it takes so long to charge up the battery but I've adapted. I think the keyboard lighting is not yet right but I just use F5/6 to manage and I expect that it will be fixed at some point in an update. I tried to install the MBA update the other day and it said I was already up to date so there seems to be an issue there that I hope will be fixed. I get the sense that the heat issues may occur to a greater extent with the 1.8/SSD. Is this true?
  25. czeluff macrumors 6502

    Oct 23, 2006
    perfect for me

    Bought my MBA today. Buddy of mine works at the store. We tried to buy one yesterday but they were out. So the one I got today was brand new.

    I had zero issues regarding long charge times, heat, fan noise etc.


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