The Joys of Fanlessness

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by JamesGoodman, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. JamesGoodman macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2015
    #1
    When I bought my MacBook a few months ago I moved my Air to my office, where I only find myself a few days a week. Except for a few weeks of summer a year in a top floor city apartment without AC, when it was running hard all the time, I never much noticed my fan. But now that I'm using my MacBook 90 percent of the time, the fan on my AIR sounds like a jet engine. Don't know what's ahead for the MacBook and Air lines, but going back to a fan is going to be difficult.
     
  2. boltjames macrumors 68040

    boltjames

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #2
    With the physical cost of fans, from the expense, to the size penalty, to the weight penalty, and to the battery penalty, don't be surprised if Apple becomes the first fanless manufacturer and both the new Pro and the new Air are silent types.

    And don't be surprised if Apple cuts back on the processing power to do this. No different than BMW's which now run 4-cylinder engines where they used to be 6's. The real-world torque and passing power feel the same, no one cares that what's under the hood is supposedly "lesser" that it once was. A few milliseconds slower as a tradeoff for a fanless design is win-win. No one can feel a millisecond. Everyone can hear a fan.

    BJ
     
  3. Newtons Apple macrumors P6

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #3
    Until they make even more efficient CPUs fanless will come at a cost of speed. If they do not cut back on CPU speed the CPU will throttle and do it for you. Very fast CPU's needs lots of power creating lots of heat. It is all about compromise.
     
  4. dogslobber macrumors 68020

    dogslobber

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    Location:
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    #4
    Under normal operating conditions, the MBA is as quiet as the MB. I've got an MBA here and it's very quiet when not doing any lifting. Perhaps your MBA is faulty.
     
  5. navaira macrumors 68040

    navaira

    Joined:
    May 28, 2015
    Location:
    Amsterdam, Netherlands
    #5
    The only reason I know my MBA has a fan is that I have a little tool that tells me it's running at 1200rpm (more or less). It makes absolutely no sound.
     
  6. toddzrx macrumors 6502a

    toddzrx

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    #6
    Sorry for being obtuse about it, but your analogy to car engines here is a little off. BMW's turbo engines have not cut back on power at all, and in fact their torque curves are significantly healthier at lower RPM than their older NA motors, which shows up in steadily decreasing 0-60 and 1/4 mile times over the years. When it comes down to it, an engine is just an air pump, and a 4 cylinder engine can be designed to put out just as much power as a 6 or 8, within reason (although you pay for it with reliability or overall engine life). BMW is not cutting back on engine power in the same manner as Apple cut back on processor power for the current rMB.

    [Disclaimer: 2002 M3 owner]

    That said, any Pro laptops without a fan are in the distant future, barring some unforeseen breakthrough. More power requires more energy and creates more heat on processors using the same process node; it's physics. Additionally, Apple continues to make smaller laptop chassis which further complicates heat dissipation.
     
  7. ahostmadsen macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    #7
    I agree. My wife has a Surface Pro 4, and that fan constantly comes on. It's enough to wake me up if she uses in bed.
     
  8. boltjames macrumors 68040

    boltjames

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #8
    What I meant to infer by my analogy is that BMW made an unpopular move on paper that turned out to be great in the real world. Where most thought that going from a 6 to a 4 would compromise performance, they instead redefined what 'performance' actually meant to its buyers. Adjusted for inflation, the price of a typical 3 Series hasn't increased at all since 1985, yet today owners get scores of creature comforts and technologies which are more important than eking out another 10th in the quarter mile. Your reference above interprets my comments in the bubble of 'engine power' when I'm referring to the whole package. The cheaper/lighter engine begat things like LCD infotainment systems, halogen lighting, power seats, auto sensing wipers, split folding rear seats, you know, the stuff that really matters to drivers whose daily average speed is about 36 MPH.

    [Disclaimer: 2015 4 Series M-Performance owner]

    Which takes me back to the RMB whose lesser engine on paper allowed for innovations like the fanless design which led to it's uber-sleek and slim form factor, the very heart of what means the most to its buyers. We don't need more power from our notebooks; we need more portability.

    BJ
     
  9. Wowereit macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2016
    Location:
    Germany
    #9
    boltjames and the reality distortion field.
    You are the guy claiming that everyone wants to make the MacBook something it just is not meant to be - a new Air.
    Fanless MacBook Pro is the direct opposite, making the Pro something it just is not meant to be.
     
  10. Mr. Buzzcut macrumors 65816

    Mr. Buzzcut

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Location:
    Ohio
    #10
    A different engine configuration with the same or better power output is not a parallel to a CPU with drastically reduced computational power. I'm glad Apple made the rMB but I don't see its technology replacing the Pros any time soon. I do think people need to be more realistic about their actual needs when it comes to both cars and computing, and resist the urge to buy "better" just for the sake of it. It is nice to have a range of quality products instead of just a couple that try to be everything to everyone.
     
  11. toddzrx macrumors 6502a

    toddzrx

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    #11
    I understand what you are trying to convey; I just think the car metaphor is not the best one.

    Here's your comment; how else am I supposed to interpret it?

    Finally,

    But your analogy isn't right here: the newer BMW engines are more powerful, especially in terms of low RPM torque, than their predecessors. On the other hand, the Core M processors are purposely less powerful than the processors that Apple has historically put in their laptops so it can go fanless.

    Again, I know I'm being obtuse and I get what you are trying to mean; I'm just taking issue with logic.

    What's a 4 Series???;)
     
  12. boltjames macrumors 68040

    boltjames

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #12
    Hey, I'm not the one crying and wishing upon a star every night. And by the way, I don't think the Apple lineup has to change one iota. Sure, the Pro and Air need a physical refresh, but the Pro is industry-best at what it does and the Air is a value play and quite affordable. That said, the one domino that makes all the others tumble is the fanless design. That's what leads to weight reduction and size reduction and increased battery life and the addition of a USB-C port. So it can't be discounted.

    The analogy wasn't supposed to be about "processing power" vs. "engine power". What BMW did was unthinkable (go down to a 4 cylinder engine) but sales skyrocketed because it turned out that buyers didn't need or care about all that horsepower. They viewed "performance" not as a metric of 0-60 times but rather "how the car performs for what I need it to do" and losing some horsepower allowed BMW to add things like memory sets and LCD infotainment systems that made the car a better "performer" in their daily lives. And I'm one of those buyers. I never needed all that engine sitting in traffic on the daily commute but getting a host of new standard features made a marked difference every day. RMB, same thing. Cutting back on processing performance allowed for a fanless design which led to all the form factor wins. I never stressed any notebook near its max, so I'm not missing anything. But I gain a ton of portability.

    A niche vehicle for those who appreciate style, creature comforts, and technology over "engine performance".

    BJ
     
  13. Mr. Buzzcut macrumors 65816

    Mr. Buzzcut

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Location:
    Ohio
    #13
    So you're still saying BMW cut power even though they didn't to prove your point? The smaller straight 6's were pretty anemic. Smooth but anemic. What customers ended up with was neither cheaper or less powerful. It is not a good comparison, period.
     
  14. toddzrx macrumors 6502a

    toddzrx

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    Nov 20, 2012
    #14
    Hahaha! Now I know you're not a car guy!
     
  15. MacRazySwe macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 7, 2007
    #15
    Surely you must mean M428i, Mr Boltjames... :D
     
  16. boltjames macrumors 68040

    boltjames

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #16
    Let me say this again since clearly you're not getting it:

    There was an uproar amongst owners and enthusiasts when BMW pulled the beloved 6 from the 328i and replaced it with a 4. People jumped up and down and screamed that BMW had lost its way, they cried that the new engine chirped like a hamster, they said it was a step backwards, they hated on it. But once the car delivered and people actually used the thing, they realized that the power was there and the savings that BMW found from a smaller/lighter powerplant allowed them to get gobs of new standard features at the same price adjusted for inflation.

    I went from an E90 with a 6 and without standard options like day/night mirror, split folding rear seats, garage door opener, memory seats, heated seats, LCD infotainment, iPod integration, Bluetooth, and once in the new F30 with a 4 I got all those extras free of charge. That's the analogy to the RMB, again, when you get this concept of "powerful" out of your head. Smooth, anemic, none of this mattered. We'd rather have 4 cylinder with creature comforts than a 6 cylinder without. RMB, better form factor because it's processor is a 4 not a 6. Savvy?

    BJ
    --- Post Merged, Mar 28, 2016 ---
    You bet. Great car.

    BJ
     
  17. Mr. Buzzcut macrumors 65816

    Mr. Buzzcut

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Location:
    Ohio
    #17
    I'm glad BMW, a luxury brand in the US, have found it in themselves to include standard features found in just about any car these days. Competition is a good thing. On the other hand, the base model does still have vinyl seats. I doubt the turbo 4 is any cheaper to produce. It's design probably offers better economy and emissions which is why they are using it. People who objected either like the smooth, linear power of the 6 or perhaps remembered the 318 less than favorably.

    I'm sorry, I still fail to see the parallel to the MB. Apple made a light laptop. That's it. No extra features, functions, or capabilities. In fact, quite a bit has been taken away to make it what it is.

    I'm glad you like your car. We'll just have to agree to disagree about how it's anything like the MB.
     
  18. Roller macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    #18
    The fan in my 2011 MBA has rarely been an issue for me because it's almost never on to the extent that I notice it. It does get quite loud when it's doing heavy lifting, but that reminds me that it's alive and kicking without having to look. :)
     
  19. boltjames macrumors 68040

    boltjames

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #19
    Trading horsepower for form factor is a recent revelation for automobiles and now computers. That's the analogy. Whether it works for you or not, my opinion, that's how most people see it.

    What matters related to this thread is that there are 1,000 "common" users out there for every 1 "enthusiast" user and we don't come close to straining our processors to the point where we need anything more than what's in the current RMB. Watching an HD video on YouTube with Skype and Outlook and Excel running in the background works very quickly and efficiently, there isn't anything else we need to multi-task on, we're busy executives who don't game or compile 4K video, we'd rather have a fanless design and get the benefits of quiet, thinness, reduced weight, etc. as we hit up Facebook. It's really that simple. The audience for this notebook is different than the Pro or the Air. We knowingly compromised horsepower for form factor.

    And we are happy we did and we are grateful to Apple for allowing us the opportunity.

    BJ
     

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