Is the 11.6" MBA Fan Always On?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by iRun26.2, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. iRun26.2 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    #1
    If I have only the 'Finder' open and the screen is on only one square of brightness, I can still hear a very weak sound that I think is the fan.

    It is very very soft (and my wife couldn't hear it). The computer shows 6 hours of battery left and 50% power remaining. It's like it's using very little power... but could my fan really be running all of the time???
     
  2. DreamLand macrumors member

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    Jan 10, 2009
  3. acron1 macrumors regular

    acron1

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    Dec 7, 2008
    #3
    The fan is running @ about 2k RPMs when the computer is not working very hard or idling and off when it's asleep...:)
    And yes you can hardly hear it when it's not going full blast.
     
  4. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 10, 2008
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    Denver
    #4
    The fan runs all the time the computer is powered on (but not when off, sleeping or hibernating). Speed ranges from an almost inaudible 2000rpm to a reasonably quiet but quite audible 6000 rpm.

    I found the 11.6" 1.6/4/128 to run very cool for a Mac (in the range of 40-50 deg C most of the time) and the fan speed remains slow and almost inaudible except under the heaviest loads.

    Thats quite an improvement over previous MBAs and even over my uMB which have about the same speed range but are noisier at a given speed and tend to run hotter and faster more often.

    Try a free utility called SMC Fan control to experiment with fan speeds and keep track of speeds and temp.
     
  5. 11800506 macrumors 65816

    11800506

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    Oct 31, 2007
    Location:
    Washington D.C. Area
    #5
    The fans of all modern Mac notebooks are always constantly on, not just the 11.6" MBA. They all generally run when at idle at around 2000 rpm. My Macbook Pro is the same way.
     
  6. gwsat macrumors 68000

    gwsat

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    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #6
    That's right. As a practical matter, though, the fan, or in the case of MBPs, fans, are inaudible when running at 2,000 RPM.
     
  7. iRun26.2 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    #7
    Thanks for such an in-depth response!

    I am amazed that the fan still has to be running when the computer is basically doing nothing (but just sitting there, letting me read the screen). I would have thought they could turn everything off at that point (CPU and GPU wise).

    I am disappointed that I can faintly hear the fan. At least it is not too loud even when I push it a little harder. I've always been told that I have exceptionally good hearing...so maybe most users don't even notice it.

    Were the fans always on in the old MBAs, too? I thought the fan in my original Rev. A MBA were completely off unless I was doing more than just typing (because I never heard them).

    (Maybe the fan in my old MBA were just so quiet I never heard it).
     
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #8
    All laptop fans are running now, the OS will control the speed of the fan, but its always running, heck, even on desktops the fans are always running. The CPU would cook itself without the fans running.
     
  9. yegon macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    #9
    As jimboutiller said, smcfancontrol is your friend. I've always found the fans in Apple lappy's to be set woefully low, and sometimes slow to realise when they're needed. When I run anything intensive I always whack up the fans prior, otherwise you regularly see your temps hit 80+ degrees before the fans kick in at 6200 rpm. Not healthy imo, and smcfancontrol easily rectifies this.
     
  10. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
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    Boston
    #10
    People tend to run hot and cold on smcfancontrol (no pun intended). Apple keeps the fan speeds low but temps up to have better battery life and a quieter machine. Personally, I'd rather of a cooler running laptop, but that's my preference.
     
  11. iRun26.2 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Aug 15, 2010
    #11
    My 11.6" 1.6GHz/4G/128G MBA does seem to be a lot cooler than my previous MBA. That in itself is almost reason enough to upgrade to the new (and smaller) MBA!

    (I hate it when a laptop is too hot to put on your lap...)
     
  12. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #12
    mostly because apple is using intels' CULV CPU which is runs much cooler then apple's prior generation

    Agreed!!! I used to have a 2.53 MBP and it would cook my lap if I used it over extended periods
     
  13. yegon macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    #13
    That's true.

    The only thing I do on battery that tends to ramp up the heat is flash video, so I accordingly raise the fans. Otherwise, on battery it's usually okay on default for me.
     

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