Macbook Air 2013 runs very hot? Is it my i7 upgrade?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by sofakng, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. sofakng macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2008
    I ordered two 2013 Macbook Airs:

    11" - i7/8GB/256GB
    13" - i7/8GB/256GB

    When I play any games (even small/light ones), the fan turns on within 60 seconds and it gets very, very loud and the bottom is just below too hot to touch.

    Is it because of the i7 upgraded CPU?
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    What temperatures are seeing from using the CPU intensive tasks?
  3. SHIFTLife macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2008
    "You're holding it wrong."

    Joking aside, mine runs a bit warm (i7), but it seems true of any mobile machine these days. Every laptop I've used in the past few years has run very warm when you start to tax the processor.
  4. mattferg macrumors 6502

    May 27, 2013
  5. lshirase macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2008
    Define "light" gaming. Both the i5 and i7 will heat up and cause the fans to kick in when playing a game.
  6. Titanium81 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 23, 2011
    i5 would be the same...
  7. Surreal9, Jun 26, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2013

    Surreal9 macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2013
    I just received my i7/8GB/256GB MBA through UPS today, and I'm doing some intensive installation tasks now (including installing games through my virtualized bootcamp partition); I can already notice a fairly substantial difference in the heat between the baseline i5 MBA 2013 that I had picked up from the Apple store to try out.

    I was pleasantly surprised by how cool the i5 was, and was happy about being able to use it on a bed/couch while the unit still remained cool (granted, not gaming, but kept it's cool with streaming flash video).. already with this i7, I can feel it getting certainly noticeably warm on the underside, borderline uncomfortable on the lap, and definitely uncomfortably hot in the very top part of the keyboard by the screen (fortunately there's no reason to really touch there..).

    I'm a little discouraged by this, as I'm not even 100% sure I need the i7 upgrade, considering how performant the i5 ended up being in most cases. I just figured if I was upgrading the RAM and HD, might as well get a faster CPU as well. It's possible the extra stick of RAM is partially responsible as well. Now I'm somewhat regretting the decision.. I was quite fond of the cool temps.. that being said, I don't really game from the bed/couch, it's possible things will still be manageable in my use cases.

    Granted, the i5 still got relatively hot and the fans kicked in when gaming as well. But you could barely feel it on the underside, just along the top, where it's insanely hot on the i7 version.

    Anyway, TL;DR - yes, seems like the i7 does run quite a bit hotter.

    [updated with a screenshot of temps from iStat Pro.. maybe someone can post temps of an i5 doing intensive tasks]

    Attached Files:

  8. leslie11 macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2013
    I ran a couple of tests aimed at seeing which machine ran hotter, both 11".

    Like you, the I7 got hotter much faster than the I5 and the fans kicked in much earlier too.
  9. Surreal9 macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2013
    Ah, thanks for your results. I wish I had checked the temps of the i5 I had before I returned it, but it doesn't matter since it's not the actual temps that you feel using the machine anyway.. All that really matters is that it's a noticeable difference, and borderline uncomfortable on the i7.
  10. Jazwire macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2009
    My wife's i5 gets hotter faster than my i7, we both just got them.

    I am starting to wonder, if they did a really bad thermal paste job on a lot of the units.

    I ran a netflix movie side by side with my wife's i5, hers got warm, mine was almost cool throughout the entire movie.

    The more testing I am doing, and seeing, the more oddities I am seeing.

    My wife's i5 "should" be cooler than my i7, but its really not even close. Mine takes a lot to get it warm.
  11. AppleMacNerd macrumors regular

    Jan 23, 2013
    United Kingdom
    I read through that test you did yesterday and it did seem quite weird that the i5 got hotter than the i7 not what I was expecting from the start.
    Be good to see your other tests, good that you have 2 MBA's with different spec to compare! :)
  12. CycloneRcr macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2013
    The Waterfront
    Is you Air also an 11" ?

    It could be the smaller chassis which amplifies the heat difference between i5 and i7.
  13. Steve121178 macrumors 601


    Apr 13, 2010
    Bedfordshire, UK
    I've been telling people for years to save money and just go for the i5 option. Only a small percentage of people genuinely require the i7's extra horsepower and who in their right mind would choose a MBA for CPU intensive tasks?

    Most people underestimate just how good & competent the i5 actually is.
  14. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    but not really though. it's because he's playing games. it would do the same thing with the i5
  15. amj23 macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2013
    I would like to know whether or not the i7 model is better than the i5 for gaming tasks such as Minecraft or Assassin's creed. Is there also a heat difference when playing? If there isn't a substantial difference between the two I think the i5 is a better decision.
  16. Steve121178 macrumors 601


    Apr 13, 2010
    Bedfordshire, UK
    Bear in mind these are ULV CPU's, but there may be a few percent difference, but virtually unnoticeable.
  17. Morzak macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2013
    I got my i7/8/256 yesterday. I don't think that the i7 gets especially hot. Youtube 720P/1080P is no problem the device gets handwarm or slightly warmer, 1080P MKV stream from a NAS also didn't get it to heat up.

    Installed Kerbal Space Program on it and yes it gets hot when tasking it, I wouldn't want to have it on my lap in those cases.
  18. Surreal9 macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2013
    Sorry, I should have clarified mine was a 13". It's indeed possible there are some differences like that between the two sizes.

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