Macbook Air - 95-100C while gaming

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Biscuitz, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. Biscuitz macrumors newbie

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    Feb 8, 2012
    #1
    I just got my first Mac ever three days ago, Macbook Air (2011 MBA, 1.7GHz i5, 4GB RAM, 128GB). Its primary purpose is for college use, but I was hoping to be able to play some less-intensive games in situations where I don't have my desktop PC at hand (e.g. at a friend's place).

    I'm running Windows 7 with Bootcamp and I've played Counter-Strike: Source and League of Legends, my two main games of choice. Performance-wise, they run pretty smooth on medium settings (40-60 steady FPS).

    However, as the title of the thread indicates, my CPU temps are constantly at 95-100C, usually 97C pretty steadily. I can't help but be worried, since the TJ Max is 100C. (Using Core Temp to monitor temps)

    1) Should I be concerned?
    2) Will a cooling pad actually help? I've been considering this one.*
    3) Should I consider re-applying thermal paste onto CPU?**

    * - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834998051&Tpk=nc1000
    ** - I've never opened a laptop before in my life, and I've never applied thermal paste...the whole idea worries me, especially considering the warranty voids if I open my Macbook (I think?). I might feel more comfortable to try if a detailed guide with pics existed.
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #2
    Your Mac is not overheating. The Intel processors used in Macs are designed to automatically shut down to prevent damage if they truly overheat (around 100C/212F - 105C/221F, depending on your processor). iStat Pro will give you accurate readings of your temps and fan speeds, among other things.

    Unless there is a rare defect in a Mac, most temps are well within the normal operating range, considering the workload being put on it. Websites with Flash content, games and other multimedia apps will put higher demand on the CPU/GPU, generating more heat. This is normal. If you're constantly putting high demands on your system, such as gaming or other multimedia tasks, expect temps to rise and fans to spin up accordingly. It's just your Mac doing its job to maintain temps within the normal range.

    It is also quite normal for your Mac to become extremely hot to the touch during intensive operations. The aluminum body transfers heat more effectively than other materials used in computer casings, so you will feel the heat more. This doesn't indicate that it's overheating and will not harm the computer to be hot to the touch.

    Your fans are always on when your Mac is on, spinning at a minimum of 2000 rpm (for MBPs) or 1800 rpm (for MBAs, MBs and minis). iMacs have 3 fans with minimum speeds in the 800-1200 range. They will spin faster as needed to keep temps at a safe level. If they're spinning up without increased heat, try resetting the SMC. (PRAM/NVRAM has nothing to do with these issues, so resetting it will not help.)

    The intake and exhaust vents are in the back of the computer near the hinge on all Mac notebooks. The iMac vent is a slot on the back near the top of the computer. Make sure the vents remain unblocked to allow your computer to perform at its best.

    Learn about the fans in your Mac
    Apple Portables: Operating temperature

    For Flash-related issues:
     
  3. Biscuitz thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 8, 2012
    #3
    As any good forum user should, I searched the forums prior to my thread to see if I could get a good answer to my questions. I got some information, but my temps were 5-10 degrees higher than many others with a Macbook Air, so I thought I'd post a new thread. So, yes, I've seen this copy-paste wall of text before, and if anything, it might address #1 on my list of questions. But in fact, it does not even alleviate my concerns, since in that wall of text it mentions 100 degrees Celsius as being true overheating, and my CPU is hitting 100C occasionally, though 95-100 is the typical range.

    I was hoping for helpful answers that would address my numbered questions. Should I be concerned? Should I look into a cooling pad and would it even help considering the Macbook Air design? And should I strongly consider re-applying thermal paste?

    To clarify something: I'm not so concerned about my CPU frying from one gaming session as I am about the possibility of decreased life expectancy from occasional (few times a month perhaps) 3-6 hour gaming sessions at 95-100 degrees Celsius. I'm interested in long term effects, as I'm trying to preserve this MBA for 3-5, so I can use it into graduate school (2 years away).
     
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #4
    As the "wall of text" clearly states a few times, your temps are normal, considering the workload you're putting on your Mac. So no, you shouldn't be concerned. That was the point of giving that much detail.
    You can if you wish, but it's not necessary at all.
    Again, not necessary.
    You will have outgrown and long since replaced your Mac before you would see any impact on life expectancy. In other words, it might reduce the life expectancy from something like 12 years to 11 years, 11 months and 22 days. Nothing measurable or significant.

    Your concerns, while understandable, are unfounded. Relax and enjoy your Mac!
     
  5. MBHockey macrumors 68040

    MBHockey

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    #5
    Source?
     
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #6
    Source: the hundreds of threads by posters over the years with this same concern, not a single one of which has ever returned to say, "Yep! My computer died because of overheating". Add to that the decades of personal hands-on experience with thousands of computers, not one of which ever died due to overheating.
     
  7. mousouchop macrumors 6502a

    mousouchop

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    #7
    I have gamed on three different Mac machines, Black Macbook (the last gen of these they made, 2.4Ghz C2D?), the first Aluminum Macbook (top-line one with backlit keyboard), and a 15" 2.8Ghz Macbook Pro, ALL of which reached these (95-105*C) temps while gaming. ALL of them, ALL the time. I played WoW for 7+ hours STRAIGHT, DAILY on all of these systems with no negative outcomes.

    I know that none of my source info pertains to a new MBA, but all of these systems are older systems that likely had a lower heat rating than your newer system (going on a limb and assuming each successive iteration of CPU/GPU architectures are built to out-perform the previous, including maximum operating temperature).

    I used to stress about the temp, then I realized there wasn't much I could do to change it, and it wasn't hurting anything. Cooling pad made little difference (maybe 2-3 degrees cooler?). You could install something like SMCFanControl (if it still supports newer Macs, haven't looked at it in forever) to manually set a higher fan speed while you game. There used to be a great app that I used on the Black Macbook to set up tempurature triggers for certain fan speeds, but I think 10.6 broke that app (or maybe it was a newer CPU architecture).

    As stated above, the system will shut down before heat related damage could occur. Stop worrying and enjoy your system/games. Trust me, I wasted WAY too much time worrying about this for NO reason.
     
  8. onthecouchagain macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

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    #8
    Personally, I use SMC Fan Control to kick the fans up a notch whenever I'm running flash/youtube, video chatting, gaming. I don't blow them up excessively, but just enough to keep the machine a little cooler.

    There's no harm in kicking up the fans a little bit. Or am I mistaken?
     
  9. mousouchop macrumors 6502a

    mousouchop

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    #9
    Possibly decreased fan life due to running them at higher RPMs more frequently than designed. But more than likely, no, there will be no harm caused by this usage. If you used SMCFanControl to run them at 6000RPM 24/7, you might notice something then. But even then, probably unlikely.

    If SMCFanControl gives you peace of mind, by all means use it. ;)
     
  10. mrsir2009 macrumors 604

    mrsir2009

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    #10
    I've been frying my MacBook Pro for two years now, and it's still fine :)
     
  11. Chubbysumo, Feb 8, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012

    Chubbysumo macrumors newbie

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    #11

    I would attempt to get Apple to replace it or fix it. No chip should ever run that hot, seeing as the thermtrip has been bumped to 105 on the SB chips that are in apple laptops(everywhere else is 95), its far from normal. Granted, the Air has terrible space for cooling, I have repaired out of warranty ones that Apple would not, and they were able to idle in the mid 40s after a proper application of thermal paste. As far as every other reply in this thread, they are uninformed, or blinded by years of apple laptops doing this. having your chip run at 95 degrees celcius will drasticly shorten its lifespan by as much as 75% or more. Apple laptops have ALWAYS had terrible application of thermal interface material, as most other laptops do as well(way too much), which makes it work as an insulator, and not a conductor. contact apple, and ask them to fix it. as far as what normal temps for the SB chips are, I would say a good range is the 40 to 70 range under full load. I have a newer SB laptop, and it idles at 30*C, and maxes out at 45*C. The Airs were not meant for any gaming, and with them using the CPUs IGP, that also raises the heat from the CPU. Call apple, get it fixed by them, and if they wont, let it burn, and make them replace it. Just for ***** and giggles, google "apple mac book air 2011 thermal paste picture" to see what it usually looks like on a MBA from the factory, and then understand why its so hot. All i have to say is way too much.

    As a sidenote, all that heat in the chassis will reduce the lifespan and charge capacity of the battery by getting it really hot, and may possibly cause the battery to overheat and burn.
     
  12. TheRealDamager macrumors 65816

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    #12
    Original poster - simply look at the longterm status of GGJStudios and the "new poster" status of this comment, and you will know what to believe. GGJ is consistently correct, based on years of feedback on these forums. This last poster, unfortunately, is ill-informed.
     
  13. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #13
    As in another thread where you posted nonsense, this is completely false. Please don't post false and misleading information, as there are some who are naive or foolish enough to mistakenly think that you know what you're talking about.
    Again, quite false and misleading.
    Again, you have no idea what you're talking about. The CPU/GPU is separated from the battery, such that battery temps are never remotely near that of the CPU/GPU.
     
  14. anirudh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2008
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    India
    #14
    OP, you are worried about your new Mac Air, and thats absolutely fine. When I got mine, even the slightest of fan noise would make me think its gonna burst in flames :) But trust me (and everyone else posting here), theres nothing to worry about. Modern processors shut down/ throttle down performance when the temperatures go beyond their TDP. Read this short section
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_design_power

    Remember, MOST mac users (or for that matter most PC users in general) don't think about reapplying thermal paste and whatnot. I would start worrying about hardware problems in two cases:

    1. Your Air has such high temperatures even while idling
    2. Even with these high temperatures the fan doesn't seem to be spinning.

    Rest assured, all our macs behave the same way and they have been perfectly fine over the years.

    EDIT1: And as far as the cooling pad is considered, sure, go ahead and get one. It'll keep your machine cooler. But know that its not a requirement :)

    EDIT2: There have been many posts stating that Apple does not apply their thermal paste optimally. You could reapply it. I think the most popular one being Arctic Silver. Its reported that they bring down temperatures by a few degrees. But again, that DOES NOT mean your laptop is faulty right now.
     
  15. Chubbysumo, Feb 8, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012

    Chubbysumo macrumors newbie

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    Feb 8, 2012
    #15
    The battery is in the same chassis as the CPU and Itegrated GPU, which means that everything within that chassis will be exposed to that heat because the air does not have proper venting.


    I have 20+ years computer experience, how about you? I have taken apart and fixed thousands of laptops, desktop, netbooks, and phones, and ultrabooks. I would not post misleading information. Heat is bad for a Lithium Ion battery(causes it to expand, and makes the compound less stable, which can mean it can spontaneously combust, look up basic chemistry for this).

    TheRealDamager: longterm status doesnt mean crap. I know my computers, and can tell you, from my 20+ years experience, that no laptop should run at 95 degrees celcius. this is nearly enough to boil water, and burn skin, and damage other components that are near it, including the battery from prolonged heat exposure. Just use google to verify my accuracy next time. I may have just registered the forums account here, but I have been on the internet since the mid 90s, and have been fixing computers since 1990. I can provide some sources as to what safe and normal operating temps to intel CPUs are, if you would like, if that would make you feel better.

    Just because it is, does not mean it should be, and sometimes doing a little research and not blindly trusting your preferred PC maker(Apple laptops are PCs) results in far more experience gained for you. Never blindly trust someone on the internet, but I have done my research, and you can too.
     
  16. GGJstudios, Feb 8, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012

    GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #16
    So you're a relative late-comer. There's no shame in that. Trust me, you don't want to go there with me. It could prove quite embarrassing for you. :rolleyes:
    Too late. You already have.
    In a very general sense, yes it is. However, the heat levels and durations being discussed here are no where near the point that it would significantly impact the battery life or stability. This is proven by many years experience by millions of Mac users who routinely run games or other resource-intensive apps. Based on your claims, there should be, at the very least, hundreds of thousands of reports of battery fires and explosions. It's simply not true.
    Interesting juxtaposition of those two statements!
    I'll trust Intel and Apple more than you. Of course, based on your statements, my neighbor's cousin's stepson is sounding more credible!
    Being in the same chassis doesn't mean all components are exposed to the same heat. This is easily proven by iStat Pro's readings which show a wide variance between temps of the CPU/GPU and other components. And the Air does have proper venting.
     
  17. halledise macrumors 65816

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  18. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #18
    Resetting the SMC can help with fans spinning up without increased heat. It won't have any effect on the OP's situation, however.
     
  19. TheRealDamager macrumors 65816

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    #19
    So please post the multiple instances of Apple Macbook Airs with "spontaneously combusting" batteries. Please...
     
  20. Chubbysumo macrumors newbie

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    Feb 8, 2012
    #20
    Intel lists the hottest the chip can go(thermtrip shutoff) as 100 degrees C, so if its getting that hot, there is a problem with the cooling. IF you would care to do some research, you would know that heat is bad for chips that have circuits and switches as small as the SB chips do, and you would also know that any temp that is that hot is bad for any chip. The desktop variants have the thermtrip at 95, and even intel has suggested that you never run them that hot, and that if they do, you should contact your computer MFG. If you dont believe me, email an intel rep yourself. As far as the rest of it goes, if there is heat in 1 place, it can and will spread to the other places of the laptop, especially one so cramped as the air, and since the chassis is aluminum, that will aid in spreading the heat much faster to the rest of the laptop. Temp sensors embedded into hardware cannot be trusted to be accurate, because of the various ways they can be read, I can pull up 5 different monitoring softwares on my laptop and get 5 different readings from every sensor in my laptop. An external thermal measurement should be used(IR temp gun, thermal camera if you have one). Heat, of any kind, is bad for electronics, and especially CPUs, because of how small their transistors are getting, 1 atom out of place, and the whole thing is done. Silicon(the material the CPU is "printed" onto) starts to burn at 199 degrees C, but damage to the PCB around the chip can occur at much lower temperatures than that. You can always use the hand test of course: if you put your hand on it, and have to pull it away, or get burns, its too hot. Google next time may save you some embarrassment.
     
  21. Chubbysumo macrumors newbie

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    #21
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1150145
    well, there is one that expanded, and blew out of its case. It could have easily caught fire
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1279785
    there is another one

    in fact, here
    http://www.google.com/#hl=en&q=+sit....,cf.osb&fp=f2900e4a30b61916&biw=1280&bih=706

    I can spot 5 instances on that front page where the MBP or the MBA were involved, and thats the first page. The rest of google yields several results

    http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/Apple_Sony_Settle_Battery_Fire_Lawsuit_in_Japan/
    An apple contracted battery maker(sony) had a battery catch fire, and was sued.

    The FAA put out a warning about traveling with Li-Ion batteries, and how they can pose a significant fire hazard.

    http://www.macrumors.com/2007/03/12/macbook-battery-fire/
    not an air, but still, proves the point.

    Apple will NEVER comment on these incidents, and have settled out of court for any damages, along with an NDA to the victim. Its a sad but true fact, that when Li-ion and li-ploy batteries get hot, even by a few degrees more than whats acceptable, they become unstable, and can possible combust(what if that last link was in your lap when it happened?) Its not worth arguing, because you could have done this google yourself.
     
  22. GGJstudios, Feb 8, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2012

    GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #22
    Not necessarily. Even with proper cooling, temps can reach that level during intensive processes. If such temps were hazardous, Intel would have set the Tjmax at a lower level.
    I've done more research than you know.
    Again, you distort the issue. Yes, generally speaking, extreme temps can be bad for any electronics if sustained long enough, but operating up to the upper limit of the CPU for many hours is not hazardous or damaging. No one runs a Mac at maximum for days/weeks/months at a time without stopping, which is what it would take to cause noticeable problems, if then. If you take the time to read the real-life experiences of hundreds or thousands in this forum alone, you'll find they're running at such levels quite frequently and have been for years, through several Mac models, with zero heat-related problems.
    Trusting what an individual Intel rep says is as reliable as trusting what is said by an individual employee of Apple or any other company. In every company there are new employees or those who simply don't know as much as others. It's wiser to trust official company statements in writing, because the whole company has to stand behind those. In my experience of calling tech support in various companies, I usually find I know more about their own products than they do. YMMV.
    Actually, the aluminum helps in dissipating heat, as it is a good conductor. If anything, it helps lower the temps, not raise them.
    They're far more accurate than your statements.
    Again, this is completely false. While it may be too hot for your hand, it's not too hot for the equipment. I quote Apple:
    That IEC document provides a limit of 70C for metal parts that are touched. Pain would be felt at a much lower temperature than that. (around 44C). Therefore, using hand touching to determine a safe temperature for a computer is not appropriate or accurate. (more results of that pesky research you keep suggesting I haven't done!)
    And here are the facts:
    Obviously, this wasn't caused by a heat issue, as the MBA was in sleep mode. It's merely a case of a defective battery.
    And here are the facts:
    Another case of a defective battery in a sleeping MacBook. It has nothing to do with the topic of this thread.
    All defective batteries. None related to the high operating temperatures being discussed in this thread.
    Defective battery. Not high operating temps.
    Again, batteries, not high temps from operating.
    No, it doesn't prove anything.
    As with all the others you posted, these are cases of defective batteries in sleeping Macs, not a result of high operating temperatures.
     
  23. Chubbysumo macrumors newbie

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    Feb 8, 2012
    #23
    70 degrees for metal parts is hot, and pain is felt according to the user, but its a general rule, that if its too hot to handle, its too hot for it being a computer. I have seen computers go up in smoke at 90 degrees(new SB chip at that). It should not idle at 70, and it should not get to 95, period. I would call apple and have them fix it, because this will reduce the lifespan of the entire laptop(and the SSD if he has one, can be fried by those temps, flash memory is not good with heat). While yes, the chassis would act as a heatsink, laws of physics says that if 1 spot is hot, that heat will spread evenly to the rest of the material, thus, it may dissipate some of the heat, but that also gets dissipated right into other components. You really should email in intel rep, they are very knowledgeable, and honest(I run a computer repair shop, gotta call them all the time). While apple employees may not know what the head is doing, intel employees know all about their products, and it shows. I did an early 2010 MBA repair about 3 weeks ago, with this exact same problem(out of warranty), and after I was done with it, it idled at 40, and maxed out at 55. Its not normal for a chip to be this hot 100% of the time, or even 50% of the time, it indicates there is something wrong with the cooling solution. Sure, its a different chip, but its nearly the same type of cooling solution. Having a hot CPU damages microscopic bonds, melts solder connections around chips(look up why the Nvidia 8800GTX had to be "reflowed" because the GPU was getting too hot) at exactly 100 degrees C, melting and disconnecting, same idea here, given time, even if he does not do it often, this temp can be very damaging. The solder connections that hold the stuff on the board can be melted in some cases with temps as low as 90 degrees C if the mix does not stay mixed from when its initially done. Its not worth the potential damage, and I still think he should contact apple care for warranty service.
     
  24. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #24
    False. Just false.
    If that's true, they were defective.
    No, it shouldn't idle at 70C. Yes it should get to 95C under high loads.
    Nothing needs to be fixed, as the temps are within safe operating range.
    No one has suggested that they run that hot 50% or 100% of the time. They only run that hot under extreme loads, such as gaming.

    You can keep posting misinformation repeatedly, but it won't make it true. There are millions and millions of Mac users who run high temps while gaming or other intensive processes, who have zero problems created by the heat generated. If this were not true, the news media would be flooded with reports of at least hundreds of thousands of Mac failures, fires, user injuries, etc. This is not the case because what you are posting is absolutely false.
     
  25. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #25
    Someone with decades of experience with computers wouldn't write things like:

    Some of your statements are so completely incorrect I wonder if you've ever actually opened a computer before (highlighted).
     

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