lap heat

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by meistervu, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. meistervu macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    If I have one complaint about my new 13" MBA, it's the heat when it sits on my lap. Do you have a solution?

    First, some numbers. I don't play games or run any CPU intensive apps. I took some measurements:

    CPU 75 C / 167 F
    My lap (with a meat thermometer between my MBA and thigh :) 36 C / 97 F
    The fan was running at 2K rpm

    I trust my meat thermometer. It has always served me right.

    While 97 F is about my body temperature and feels really nice on a cold day, it feels a bit uncomfortable to me on my lap. I tried putting a thin book between myself and the MBA and it felt much better.

    I used to use a laptop desk for heavier laptop, but the MBA doesn't need one in my opinion. But some thermal separation would be most excellent.

    Has any one used a MBA cover to keep cool?
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    A magazine works pretty well. Those temperatures are normal.
  3. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    Do you have the i5 or i7?

    You can buy a thin leather sleeve to carry the 13" ... then use the sleeve under the laptop, works great, you don't notice the sleeve underneath and no heat either.
  4. meistervu thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    I have the i5.

    Since I posted my question, the temperature has gone down significantly. My CPU now hover around 40-50C, down from 75C. I am not sure what happened. As the result, my lap temperature now measures a more reasonable 30C/90F.

    Still, some insulation would be good.
  5. Obscurelight macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2011
    Sounds like the new airs have some sort of breaking in like car engines
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    It's normal that Apple notebooks can get too hot for a lap:
    From: Apple Portables: Operating temperature
  7. meistervu, Jul 26, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2011

    meistervu thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    If I were Apple I would post the same warning. It makes sense as there is no getting around the law of physics. With current technology and design, CPU, memory, and battery all generate heat and aluminum is an excellent thermal conductor which helps draw out the heat and cool the machine. Running the fan at higher speed helps but the tradeoff would be a noisier machine.

    On the other hand that warning is rather generic, like saying operating a motor vehicle can be dangerous, where as I want to find out how well a particular car handles and what kind of tires I can put on it to give it better traction.

    I am sure they give the same warning on a Macbook Pro which run a lot hotter. And once they did, there is no good legal reason to remove the warnings.

    Nevertheless, I think the MBA strike a good balance between heat and power. My fan is silent, and so far for the most part I am OK with my MBA on my lap. I would be more comfortable if it is cooler.

    While piece of cardboard or a magazine as someone has suggested help (I use a small hardback), I can't help but think that there may be a more elegant solution that I always have with me, like a nice and slim cover. I am only looking to lower the heat effect by a few degree. This morning when the CPU was at 75C, the bottom of my MBA was 36C which is a bit too warm. Later this afternoon I did the same things at the same room temperature, for some reason the CPU temp drops down to 40-50C, and the bottom of the MBA felt much more comfortable.

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