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MBA Pre Purchase Questions


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 17, 2009
So I'm finally going to get an MBA. I was set on the 11" for maximum portability but after going to the Apple store and spending some time with them I've decided the 13" will suite my eyes much better. I just love the form factor of the 11" but I think in the end I'd be unhappy and going with the 13" will give me an excuse to get the 11" at some point. :D

My question is this. Does the 13" have a built in fan? If so, is it noisy? A quiet fan is very important to me.

I will be getting 8GB RAM and 2.0GHz Processor.

As always, your help is appreciated.


macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
My question is this. Does the 13" have a built in fan? If so, is it noisy?
All Mac notebooks have built-in fans. On the MBA and 13" MBPs, they have one. On 15" and 17" MBPs, there are two. How quiet or noisy they are depends on what you have running. More demanding apps put more load on the CPU/GPU, driving up temps and increasing fan speeds.

The Intel processors used in Macs are designed to automatically shut down to prevent damage if they truly overheat. CPU Tjmax = 105C (221F), GPU Tjmax = 100C (212F) on i3, i5, i7 processors. (Source: Intel)

If you're not already using it, iStat Pro (free) or iStat Menus ($16) 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 your fans are 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 (except the new MBP with retina display, which has intake vents along the sides at the bottom). 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:


macrumors member
Jun 13, 2012
My question is this. Does the 13" have a built in fan? If so, is it noisy? A quiet fan is very important to me.

It does have a fan.

I own a MBA13 and I never hear it. (I don't play games or do anything else that could heat up the CPU.) Without any Apps running I just went into my absolutely quiet bedroom and put my ear on the keyboard. I thought I heard a very, very faint fan noise that way. I think even if you have super-sharp hearing you should be OK.

Since there's an SSD in the device you also won't have HD noise either.


macrumors P6
Oct 23, 2010
It can get noisy if the CPU is doing something intensive, but that isn't very often. Most of the time it isn't noticeable. I've had a virtual machine running Windows 7 at times and couldn't hear the fan.


macrumors 601
Aug 27, 2012
When I was looking the first thing I googled was "FANLESS" notebook.

Well apparently these days no such thing exist, disappointed! Toshiba made a fanless a while back but of course outdated and no longer available.

What am afraid of is, all moving parts will wear out over time, a silent fan now will get noisy after a certain point. I keep my stuff for a while. People who replace laptop every year need no reply.

I sure hope I can buy a replacement and DIY myself when the time comes.


macrumors 6502a
Dec 2, 2008
You will be able to hear the fans, but they are very quiet.

Also Apple's Asymmetrical fan design on the '12 Air's and rMBP's help reduce the fan noise by spreading out the noise frequencies so the noise is less distinguishable.
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