Macbook Air 1,1 Overheating and Fan Issues

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by UnePommeDeTerre, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. UnePommeDeTerre, Jun 20, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014

    UnePommeDeTerre macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2014
    A couple of weeks ago I went on Craigslist and bought this old MacBook Air 1,1. I took it to the Apple Store because it was running so slow, and they dropped it down from Lion to Snow Leopard. I eventually tweaked everything out so that it doesn't run so slowly anymore. However, according to iStat Menus, my fan is constantly running at 6200rpm, even if I'm not really doing anything. Currently, I have one tab open (Safari) and watching a youtube video in another program (YouView) and my fan is still running at 6200rpm. It occasionally drops to around 4000rpm but that doesn't last long, and is quite rare. After a couple of hours, this thing will become unbelievably hot (I am using it on a flat surface with nothing covering the vents) and to the point where it almost burns if I touch it. Also, a process called Kernal_Task will occasionally start to take up almost 150% of CPU leaving the computer pretty much useless. I figure that's when it gets too hot and I read that Kernal Task will kick in when the computer is starting to overheat. But sometimes that happens when I'm just browsing and I have multiple tabs open. I did tons of research but I don't seem to be having very much luck. Can anyone help out?

    My specs:
    2008 Macbook Air 1,1 13"
    60GB HDD
    2GB RAM
    1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    OS X 10.6.8

    I have another HP that has some similar specs (2GB RAM and 1.6ghz AMD dual core processor) and I never had any kind of problem like this. On this one, I can't watch youtube normally, I tried ClickToFlash but that was still taking up too much CPU so I switched to YouView which is much better. I can't have more than 3 or 4 tabs open before the computer starts to lag a lot. I can't do very much with this thing. I had an older '08 MacBook (Aluminum Unibody one) and had no such problems, but then again, that one was much faster and I had upgraded it to 8GB RAM.

    As far as tweaks go, I've got
    iStat Menus (to keep an eye out on CPU, RAM usage, and temperature)
    YouView (to watch Youtube instead of in browser)

    Here's a screenshot of when I was searching for solutions, and the fan was running at 6200 rpm. I only had 4 tabs open and a youtube video playing in the background. The computer should not be running this hard.

    Any help would greatly be appreciated.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. orourke macrumors newbie

    Nov 6, 2008
    The first (and even my second) generation macbook air suffered from this problem. It basically cripples the whole computer.

    Here is a rather informative blog post:

    1) Download (and buy) Coolbook and adjust the voltages of your CPU to try to limit heat generation. This will greatly help.
    2) Open the bottom of your computer and make sure the fan isn't clogged with hair/debris etc.
    3) Consider re-seating the cpu cooling system with some new arctic silver etc.
  3. UnePommeDeTerre thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2014
    Thanks for the help.
    I downloaded and bought Coolbook, but I have no idea how to use this thing! What are some good settings to use for it? I tried to do some research on it but nothing makes sense to me. I'll open up the computer tomorrow and see what I find.
  4. orourke macrumors newbie

    Nov 6, 2008
    You should be lowering the voltages for different cpu speeds to a lower voltage setting. If your computer becomes unstable/crashes, you'll need to increase the voltage a step until you have a stable computer.

    You can see this thread:

    If you read that thread, everything will be answered.
  5. UnePommeDeTerre thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2014
    Thanks! I took a look at the thread, and I decided to try it myself. Here's the settings I've decided to test.

    1200MHz .9500 V
    1400MHz .9625 V
    1600MHz .9750 V

    0800MHz .9000 V
    1200MHz .9500 V
    1400MHz .9625 V
    1600MHz .9750 V

    I'll be testing these out all day, but so far so good, as I'm typing this, my fan is at a nice and comfortable 2500rpm. I'll update later on or tonight.
  6. UnePommeDeTerre thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2014
    So after using the computer for a full day I am happy to say that it is 1000 times better! It doesn't get as hot, and Kernal_Task didn't take over my computer. It still runs at 6200rpm, a lot when doing heavy browsing, but when I'm not doing very much, it runs at 2500-4000rpm. I guess I'll just deal with it then.

    Thanks so much for the help. :D
  7. danb1974 macrumors newbie

    Jul 10, 2014
    Just got an original (1,1) 13" macbook air, in pretty rough shape. Dead (swollen) battery, slightly noisy fan, had a few falls. But it's alive and kicking.

    Done so far
    - took it apart, replaced thermal grease (old one was dry)
    - greased the fan, as a temporary measure, sounds better
    - updated smc to latest version; did a smc reset

    Stumbled upon the seemingly classic issue: even light browsing makes the fan go slowly up to 6200rpm, from which it takes many minutes to get back to normal 2500rpm (even though the temps are long back to normal). I guess that how the smc is programmed.

    The cooling on this model is not great at all, just a plain metal sheet, no fins, no nothing, and that tiny fan, taking care of both cpu and chipset.

    There are no cpu hogging processes, btw

    The os choice is limited
    - the original 10.5 labeled as only for this model - no appstore, so no joy
    - 10.6 (I have only a generic dvd, nothing air-specific)
    - 10.7 (bought via appstore, nothing air-specific), and that's the last one that works on this platform

    Between 10.6 and 10.7, is there any better choice thermal-wise? I just need the laptop not to go full speed while googling and browsing facebook. No movies, nothing heavy.

    It has 2GB of ram, so no memory constraints either. Just the slowness of the tiny hdd.
  8. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    With old hardware, there is so much u can do with it.
  9. danb1974 macrumors newbie

    Jul 10, 2014
    I know. I'm dissapointed because I own a 2010 mbp which has real cooling that works, fan stays at 2000 rpm while browsing and it takes a 3d game or some compiling to make it enter panic mode.

    I'm not ready yet to give up on the air, therefore any suggestions are welcome
  10. x3n0n1c macrumors regular

    Jul 9, 2014
    I notice in the screenshot you posted that your fan control setting in iStat Menus is set to "medium" instead of "default". Depending on how this is set, this could result in higher than normal fan speeds.

    Just a thought.
  11. DmbShn41 macrumors 6502

    Jun 22, 2009
    I read that 10.6 is better for these than 10.7, Lion was a memory hog. 10.6.8 along with some cpu tweaks mention above, and a possible HDD swap, will get you back to usability.

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