MBA extremely noisy since SL install

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by DP812, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. DP812 macrumors regular

    Aug 13, 2009
    I got my MBA last year and never had any real problems with overheating or a noisy fan. But since I upgraded to Snow Leopard, my fan has been extremely noisy. Sometimes, it starts right off being noisy immediately upon start-up before I've even used any programs. Just basic stuff such as surfing on Safari or typing a document in Open Office with nothing else running have caused it to be noisy.

    It's not overheating, the temperature has been within range and I haven't had the unit freeze up or shut down suddenly on me. I've tried both the SMC and PRAM reset and these have, at most, resulted in a temporary fix.

    Here are the details about my system:

    Model Name: MacBook Air
    Model Identifier: MacBookAir1,1
    Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
    Processor Speed: 1.6 GHz
    Number Of Processors: 1
    Total Number Of Cores: 2
    L2 Cache: 4 MB
    Memory: 2 GB
    Bus Speed: 800 MHz
    Boot ROM Version: MBA11.00BB.B03
    SMC Version (system): 1.23f20
  2. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    It's an original MBA. They suffer worse with SL than they did with L. It's unfortunate, but the system is an overworked and overheated Mac with not enough space to properly cool. And not enough graphics capabilities with the Intel integrated graphics problems.

    Bottom line is that Snow Leopard is going to run hotter and require faster spinning of fans (thus louder) than Leopard. Look at OpenGL performance in Snow Leopard as it's far INFERIOR to Leopard. There is your added problem on top of the CPU and Intel graphics. Remember that your CPU is going to run hotter than a Penryn used in the v 2,1 MBAs. Your graphics are running at 18% of the power of Nvidia GPU in v 2,1 MBAs. Your driver controller and memory are also problematic compared to a v 2,1 MBA.

    Want it to perform BETTER? Reinstall Leopard and give up on Snow Leopard. Hell bent on SL, get a v 2,1 MBA. Apple went with the Nvidia GPU on most Macs for a reason, they perform MUCH BETTER especially with requirements of Snow Leopard.

    With the extremely low price of v 2,1 MBAs, you could dump your original and pickup a v 2,1 MBA for not too much more money. A lot of people don't realize the differences between original MBA and v 2,1 MBAs, and they will overpay for the original and underpay for v 2,1 not understanding the differences.

    You can also try CoolBook, reapplying thermal paste, and using a cooling pad with your MBA... all could help.

    Good luck.
  3. PsyD4Me macrumors 6502a


    Mar 11, 2009
    under your bed
    wouldn't his fans run more often with coolbook?
  4. DP812 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 13, 2009
    Thanks for the advice, Scottsdale. I do have a cooling pad and I haven't had much problems with overheating. Although I'm very cautious about reapplying thermal paste because I'm not very computer savvy and have never done anything like that, so I'd rather not mess around with the computer's insides.

    But at least now I have a clear explanation, which is more than what Apple was able to give me. So thanks.
  5. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Well, Apple obviously had a clearer picture of what Snow Leopard was capable of and would require from a hardware standpoint by the time the v 2,1 MBA was released in October 2008. Remember that the original MBA was introduced in January 2008.

    Apple apparently realized that using one 9400m GPU across most of its Mac lineup would allow the simplest driver creation to incorporate OpenCL, h.264, and Grand Central for the ultimate experience with Snow Leopard. Apple was clearly thinking ahead to Snow Leopard, almost a full year in advance, when it introduced the MBA v 2,1 in October 2008. I applaud Apple for its improvements to the MBA at that time.

    Meanwhile, Apple has let many of us down with Snow Leopard problems and poorly executed OpenGL in SL. It's sad that OpenGL is actually much better in Leopard than Snow Leopard. I tested 10.6.2 and noticed the problem is still there with poor performance of OpenGL. For the meantime, MBA users are better off with Leopard than Snow Leopard. Unless you have a specific reason to run SL now, you're much better off waiting for Apple to "fix" Snow Leopard.

    I don't think so at all. I could be wrong, but I really don't believe CoolBook would require more fan speed at all. The byproduct should do the opposite.
  6. sanford macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2003
    Dallas, USA
    This has been said before, but people put too much on the MBA, rev. A or otherwise. They look cool, they're so small and light, w/ full size screen and keyboard; so a lot of people bought MBAa who should have bought MBs or MB Pros. I use my rev. A MBA as my PRIMARY and ONLY -- if you don't count the two family Macs, which I never touch unless I need to read a CD or DVD -- computer. No external monitor, no external SuperDrive. I have ZERO problems with it. My hinge did loosen a bit, but got no worse and isn't even noticeable. You'd really have to smack this thing around to get that hinge to break. Not that I'm saying it perhaps shouldn't have that extra durability, but it's not a big issue.

    Only thing I'd ever want is more HDD or SD space. And that's all for music. I have a huge collection on the Air, which only represents a fraction of what I own on CD and vinyl, and I buy more almost every week. But after installing SL I got 8 GB back, so that helped quite a bit -- for the time being.

    But I'm a writer. The MBA is great for that, best Mac I've ever owned, unobtrusive, goes anywhere, can be closed and set aside in a letter organizer, etc. I watch movies on an HDTV, and for games we have a Wii and a PS3. I've long used Mellel instead of Word, so word processor performance is not an issue. At the MBA price point, then and now, a lot of people bought them and tried to make them their primary Macs because they're not inexpensive. But they should have paid a tiny bit more and picked up an MB Pro, or a lot less and gone with the perfectly great MB, even before the aluminum unibody model that is now branded part of the Pro line.

    If you want or need top-end performance, the MBA, while really the best ultralight in design and usability, is not a top-end performance portable.

  7. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008

    It certainly isn't considered "TOP END" to expect an MBA to run OS X Snow Leopard without loud noise from fans all the time. It certainly isn't "TOP END" to expect the original MBA to play simple, non-HD, videos without experiencing core shutdown, lockups, and overheating. The original MBA is almost as worthless as the iPhone at running Flash Internet sites. In fact, almost anything "intensive" causes overheating because of the Merom CPU, paired with worthless Intel integrated graphics, in the super confined space of the original MBA's form factor. Apple even has you believing your original MBA wasn't ever supposed to be "capable" of normal MAC computing.

    You have listened too much to what Apple "Geniuses" say the MBA wasn't made for NOW, after the fact. Meanwhile, when Steve Jobs introduced the MBA to all of us he exclaimed it was a "Mac." The problem is Macs always worked, and people had a certain level of expectations from Macs. The MBA failed many people on very basic levels. Apple could have warned us all ahead of time that the MBA wouldn't "just work" even on very basic levels. It should have called the original MBA a mere "word processor" for "writers" like yourself who champion such a Mac as worthy.

    Heck, you even write off the hinge issue as the user error as you think one would really have to "smack" that thing around to break the hinge; so much for all of those who just opened the MBA a few more times than you to see the hinge break in front of their eyes with NO SMACKING applied. Even Apple has admitted to the MBA's failures there. You're giving Apple far more credit than it deserves just as you're doing with the original MBA.

    Furthermore, OS X Snow Leopard raises the level of problems again for the original MBA. The Mac that couldn't do what Mac lovers expected of it. Basically, it was great for a writer (you) but was bad for a writer who has other ideas of what a Mac should be able to do (me). I do more than just write... and there lies the problem. The original MBA didn't just work... in fact it failed us ALL, even those who refuse to admit it. Although to the least those who paid $999 to $1299 for it. Different expectations indeed.

    Now, those who seem happiest with the original MBA are those who paid $999 to $1299 for it refurbished or buying the "dumped" units after Apple had introduced the MBA v 2,1. People who bought the original MBA for $1799 to $3099 expected a MAC. People who bought the original MBA for $999 to $1299 knew the limitations and problems but expected much less from it because they could get it so very cheaply and fit the role as a secondary Mac or even a primary Mac for VERY LIGHT USERS or "writers."

    The point is Apple has learned and moved on, and unfortunately for many original MBA owners, Snow Leopard really wasn't made for the original MBA... the designers of the MBA v 2,1 did have Snow Leopard in mind and made the newer MBAs Snow Leopard ready. Here lies the problem, the original MBA is used by many who will want to install Snow Leopard but that will further display the original MBA's weaknesses. It's just too bad that Apple didn't wait until October 2008 to introduce the MBA.

    Snow Leopard runs better on the v 2,1 MBAs than the original MBA, but it's still not great. Snow Leopard really requires more resources and fails us in OpenGL so Leopard really is the better OS for all MBAs right now.
  8. Shodan macrumors member

    Oct 10, 2009
    After using Snow Leopard from it's release with a broad range of software, I respectfully disagree.
  9. miniConvert macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2006
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    Rev A MBA 1.8/SSD

    Mine developed a very noisy fan some time ago. I finally got around to getting it repaired by Apple, now it's totally silent.


    Oh, they replaced my screen and top case, too, to fix the hinge fault :)

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