MBA fan problem revisited

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by ltsching, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. ltsching macrumors member

    Feb 7, 2008
    Okay, so I've read tons of threads here and at the Apple forum about the problems regarding the unusually sensitive/loud fan (and core shutdown) in the MBA. I am wondering if we can isolate the problems to specific programs/activities and determine whether these are acceptable compromises for having a thin and light notebook or to demand a fix from Apple. Having had PB 3400, PB 2400, PBG4 15" and 12", the loud fan is driving me crazy and I will likely switch to a MBP if this continues.

    So for me the fan comes on (at 6200 rpm) when 1) I am connected to 20" ACD doing basic chores (email, Safari, iWork, etc.), 2). When using MBA by itself just watching Flash video, and 3). When Time Machine is doing backup to Time Capsule. All these I consider simple tasks that should not slow down the machine or make it non-responsive.

    What are people's thoughts on this? Accept its design flaw and live with it, or would you consider switching to a different machine?
  2. n0de macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2005
    I agree with your list with one exception; try your "light chores" list but without browsing to sites which have ANY flash at all (including ads). I bet it would behave just fine then. Also, what version of Pages are you using? I did notice an improvement once I brought mine to the latest version.

    I can completely understand why a time machine backup or a spotlight indexing would cause the situation (both are effectively scanning every single file on the system, or user directory, looking for changes), but nothing on your light chores list should be anywhere near so intensive.

    Although even with these issues I am not giving mine up!
  3. sir. mac macrumors regular

    Nov 21, 2006
    There is a hack to limit the max fanspeed to 4000RPM. Which gives almost no difference in temperature drop and makes it almost silent (at least compared to 6200). I even tried it when playing 720p movies, and the temperature was stable around 70 celcius. Also you could reapply the thermal paste (or pay a service center to do it for you). And you could install coolbook (, which most likely will make the machine 5-10 degrees cooler.

    After having done these things this is the best machine I have ever had! :D
  4. ltsching thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 7, 2008
    Thanks n0de, for the response. All my softwares are up to date. But don't you think watching YouTube (or other video files) in FF or Safari should be considered "normal" or "basic" computing activities in this day and age? Even my old but reliable PB 12" run these tasks with absolutely no hiccup. It just seems ridiculous that mundane function has to be sacrificed to this extent to achieve such a beautiful form. I will probably keep mine until I am absolutely sick and tire of the fan noise.
  5. ltsching thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 7, 2008
    I will take a look at coolbook and see how it goes. Thanks.
  6. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    Flash in OS X eats up A LOT of CPU %. It can take up to 50% from BOTH cores on my MacBook and up to 80% on my iMac.

    I'm not surprised flash makes your fan spin faster.
  7. sir. mac macrumors regular

    Nov 21, 2006
    yeah.. flash sucks on a mac. You can use pithHelmet to disable all ads in Safari, I think. That should help. :rolleyes:
  8. Scott6666 macrumors 65816


    Feb 2, 2008
    I could not discern any pattern to it. It happened with lots of stuff running and it happened with only Safari and iTunes running.

    There are too many variables here. Since the case of the unit is a part of the cooling process you will have to consider how long its been running, temperature of the room, surface its on, etc.

    My position is that if you have to do all this work, you are essentially doing the job the Apple engineers should have done. You should not have to do this with a $1800 (or god forbid $3000!!!!!) machine.

    Try the fan limit hack and leave the rest alone, or get a MBP and wait for Rev B.

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