new capability of MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Pete A, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. Pete A macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2010
    I realized something while responding to another thread. (

    Someone asked how to protect their new Air from office theft, since it lacks a Kensington-lock slot. We said: lock it in a drawer or take it with you.

    He said: But what if it is busy downloading or processing? The answer is the same, after turning on InsomniaX (free app that keeps the machine awake when closed).

    I'm used to thinking that my laptop shouldn't be moved much while it's busy, because a jolt might damage the hard drive. But the Air's SSD changes the game. As I wrote in the other thread:

    Do you need to go to class while downloading a movie for tonight? (Legally, of course.) No problem, if you have campus-wide wifi. Turn on InsomniaX, toss the Air in your bag, and go.
  2. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    While I use a lot of laptops in clamshell mode I take care not to put them in a bag while running. Outside the bag they can likely cool themselves adequately but inside something that may not be the case and you really don't want to test a devices thermal protection that way.

    As insomniaX warns - your computer may overheat in clamshell mode and in a case it's much more likely so take care.
  3. Pete A, Dec 10, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2010

    Pete A thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2010
    Hmm, good thought. But does clamshell mode itself inhibit cooling? Apart from being put in a bag?

    I guess I was thinking of my own backpacks, which are pretty loose. And I don't think downloading generates much heat. I could be wrong.

    EDIT: Maybe we need a little app that shouts "HEY IT'S HOT IN HERE!" when the CPU rises above a certain temperature.
  4. nissan.gtp macrumors 6502

    Aug 22, 2007
    my local best buy has a usb-based alarm. unplug it, lots of noise ensues :D

    could be a partial help
  5. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Clamshell does not inhibit cooling, but it dampens it due to the surface of the keyboard being covered by another layer, the display.

    Downloading does use CPU, the CPU uses power and even when only using 10 to 20 percent of the CPU's capacity, there will still be heat generated and circulation in an enclosed space (bag) will let the temperatures rise, as no new, cooler air is being introduced into the circle, thus the CPU gets hotter and hotter. But the Mac will eventually shutdown if the CPU gets too hot.
  6. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    When in clamshell mode air is not escaping up through the keyboard. Not huge given when plugged into an external monitor the LCD and backlighting are off likely balancing out. But in 10.6 insomniaX can't tuen off the LCD and backlighting the way it would be in normal clamshell mode so more heat is generated and less can escape. It may or may not be an issue but insomniaX does have a warning about it.

    A soft bag of any size is likely to partially or fully block most of the convection and radiation cooling so no way I would even put a 1.4 ULV in a bag running. I have had machines fail to sleep occasionally and were very warm after brief periods in a bag but indeed no lasting ill effects.

    Just suggesting caution.
  7. Pete A thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2010
    That sucks a bit. Good thing there's no backlighting of the keyboard in the new Airs. :)
  8. DavidFL macrumors member

    Mar 25, 2008
    Couldn't you just dim/turn off the brightness on the screen before closing it?
  9. BeyondtheTech macrumors 68020


    Jun 20, 2007
    Let me get this straight.

    If I use InsomniaX on my Air, the LCD and backlight will remain on even when the lid is closed?

    And the best option is to force down the brightness to 0 before closing the lid?
  10. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    According to insomniaX this is the case if you are running 10.6 and they say they have no intention of fixing that issue. MacBooks are kind of like refrigerators in that it's a bit harder to tell what goes on inside once you close them. I use it on my UMB not my air so I am just repeating what the documentation says.

    Manually turning the brightnesst down all the way would help some but I still wouldn't put it in a bag running.
  11. Over Achiever macrumors 68000

    Over Achiever

    Jul 22, 2002
    Toledo, OH, formerly Twin Cities, MN
    The other thing you have to consider is that while the MBA is SSD, it doesn't mean there are no moving parts. The fan is still spinning, and may spin faster as the computer heats up in the backpack. Gotta keep that in mind as well!

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