Why Apple didn't put a heatpipe on 2018 Macbook air?

Kraizelburg

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 10, 2018
201
61
Spain
Hi, I just cant understand what's the point of having a fan with no heatpipe connected to the heatsink. It seems the fan only moves hot air inside the case but not from the processor.

In my honest opinion having a heatpipe would have helped a lot to the performance of this laptop.
 
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lucasromeiro

macrumors newbie
Nov 8, 2018
15
5
Hi, I just cant understand what's the point of having a fan with no heatpipe connected to the heatsink. It seems the fan only moves hot air inside the case but not from the processor.

In my honest opinion having a heatpipe would have helped a lot to the performance of this laptop.
Good question!
 

stratokaster

macrumors member
Jul 30, 2011
73
52
Dublin, IE
I think Apple expects to sell a bazillion of these laptops, and if they can save $2 on each and every one of them by not installing a heatpipe, that's two bazillions in savings.

Frankly, this is a puzzling decision, because installing even a thin heatpipe would have improved both thermals and acoustics. Notebookcheck.net (one of the best laptop review sites around, if not the best) indicates that the fan noise is unacceptable for this level of performance. https://www.notebookcheck.net/Apple-MacBook-Air-2018-i5-256-GB-Laptop-Review.357481.0.html
 
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Kraizelburg

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 10, 2018
201
61
Spain
I think Apple expects to sell a bazillion of these laptops, and if they can save $2 on each and every one of them by not installing a heatpipe, that's two bazillions in savings.

Frankly, this is a puzzling decision, because installing even a thin heatpipe would have improved both thermals and acoustics. Notebookcheck.net (one of the best laptop review sites around, if not the best) indicates that the fan noise is unacceptable for this level of performance. https://www.notebookcheck.net/Apple-MacBook-Air-2018-i5-256-GB-Laptop-Review.357481.0.html
I agree a small heatpipe would have improved thermals, noise and performance. I'm totally sure they would do it in the next revision maybe with a bit more powerfull chip.
 

Jimmy James

macrumors 601
Oct 26, 2008
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I’d have to argue that if you’re stressing the new Air so much that it runs hotter than the sun, with performance impacted, you probably bought the wrong laptop for your needs...
I would argue that it could be the right laptop most of the time yet sometimes this would be very beneficial.
 
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darkmatter343

macrumors regular
Sep 18, 2017
125
96
I agree a small heatpipe would have improved thermals, noise and performance. I'm totally sure they would do it in the next revision maybe with a bit more powerfull chip.
It comes down to thermal tolerance and user experience, with the latter usually sacrificed first.
 

Kraizelburg

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 10, 2018
201
61
Spain
It comes down to thermal tolerance and user experience, with the latter usually sacrificed first.
A heatpipe doesn't sacrifice any user experience, actually it's the other way around as the chip could boost more efficiently and cool down quicker. And this does not have to mean a noisy mac just a cooler one.
I have a core m3 windows laptop which is passive cooling and I can tell you that the cooler it is the better it works, and not talking about windows vs mac but just pure intel architecture. Even intels chip thermal limit is usually 95ºC - 100ºC we all know that they run better under low temps as intel c-states work more efficient.

Cheers ;)
 

darkmatter343

macrumors regular
Sep 18, 2017
125
96
A heatpipe doesn't sacrifice any user experience, actually it's the other way around as the chip could boost more efficiently and cool down quicker. And this does not have to mean a noisy mac just a cooler one.
I have a core m3 windows laptop which is passive cooling and I can tell you that the cooler it is the better it works, and not talking about windows vs mac but just pure intel architecture. Even intels chip thermal limit is usually 95ºC - 100ºC we all know that they run better under low temps as intel c-states work more efficient.

Cheers ;)
I was answering more to the original question of why one wasn't added to the laptop in the first place. Obviously yes, laptops run better when cooler, but if the thermal limits allow for it, they will sacrifice the heat pipe as long as the CPU keeps within it's limits. As a result, the user experience is sacrificed but if it saves Apple a few bucks...
 

kawalerzysta

macrumors regular
Oct 28, 2013
138
63
Tobyhanna, PA
I’d have to argue that if you’re stressing the new Air so much that it runs hotter than the sun, with performance impacted, you probably bought the wrong laptop for your needs...
I bought new base MacBook Air. My plan was to use it just for browsing, Netflix etc. When doing it, it was warm, but acceptable, so I was OK with it. However when I wanted to play Hearthstone, things went quickly downhill. Computer sounded like jet on the take off with fans running, and it got extremely hot. I understand that it is not designed for gaming, but game like Hearthstone should not be taxing on the system. So unfortunately, I am returning it, despite liking the package.
 

Kraizelburg

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 10, 2018
201
61
Spain
I bought new base MacBook Air. My plan was to use it just for browsing, Netflix etc. When doing it, it was warm, but acceptable, so I was OK with it. However when I wanted to play Hearthstone, things went quickly downhill. Computer sounded like jet on the take off with fans running, and it got extremely hot. I understand that it is not designed for gaming, but game like Hearthstone should not be taxing on the system. So unfortunately, I am returning it, despite liking the package.
Ohh really? that isn't good good news at all. I have a windows ultrabook core M3 same as macbook pro without any fan and I can still play some light steam games like Endless Legend without getting crazy hot.
If it is not a big problem, could you post some screenshots ?

Cheers
[doublepost=1542652916][/doublepost]Thanks god today I went to the store to get it but they didn't have space grey so I didn't buy it at the end.

Now I'm thinking to get the 2018 MBP with touchbar base model, I can get a good deal, 1630eur.

What would you do in my situation? opinions wellcome.
 

Barna Biro

macrumors 6502a
Sep 25, 2011
653
31
Zug, Switzerland
I bought new base MacBook Air. My plan was to use it just for browsing, Netflix etc. When doing it, it was warm, but acceptable, so I was OK with it. However when I wanted to play Hearthstone, things went quickly downhill. Computer sounded like jet on the take off with fans running, and it got extremely hot. I understand that it is not designed for gaming, but game like Hearthstone should not be taxing on the system. So unfortunately, I am returning it, despite liking the package.
You can of course choose to just assume things and be happy with the decisions you make based on your assumptions or you can actually look into the issue a bit and perhaps discover that it might not have anything to do with the Air itself: https://us.battle.net/forums/en/hearthstone/topic/20755765770 and https://www.reddit.com/r/macgaming/comments/4o2q6w/hearthstone_macbook_pro_hot/ and and and...
[doublepost=1542653496][/doublepost]
Hi, I just cant understand what's the point of having a fan with no heatpipe connected to the heatsink. It seems the fan only moves hot air inside the case but not from the processor.

In my honest opinion having a heatpipe would have helped a lot to the performance of this laptop.
In theory, the processor could be just fine without the fan altogether. Why did they add it? Because in the situation when one would push the system for a longer timespan, then the fan can actually help keep temperatures more stable, which also means more stable performance (you don't get throttling so fast, or maybe at all). Why is this important? Because it clearly places the Air between the Macbook and Macbook Pro.

I have to agree with @darkmatter343's comment, meaning that if you're really pushing the machine so often to its limits that temperature is really a constant issue, then either the apps you are using are not well optimised for Mac or they are indeed that demanding in which case, you might have gotten the wrong notebook for the job. It happens...

I develop enterprise level software for a living and do all kind of other projects on the side (web, desktop, mobile dev... you name it) that also include light to medium graphic design and video editing and the new Air is more than capable of handling the stuff I throw at it (+ even some light gaming, but I do have a desktop PC for that). Would a Pro handle things better, would it be perhaps significantly faster in certain situations? Definitely... is one mandatory for my job / needs? Clearly not... so if you're not happy with it, then just get something else. Thankfully, Apple isn't the only brand on the market and nor is it the cheapest or even the one with the most performant devices...

There's no point in dramatizing the situation, no single device will ever fit all needs.
 
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Ulenspiegel

macrumors 68040
Nov 8, 2014
3,070
2,268
Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
You can of course choose to just assume things and be happy with the decisions you make based on your assumptions or you can actually look into the issue a bit and perhaps discover that it might not have anything to do with the Air itself: https://us.battle.net/forums/en/hearthstone/topic/20755765770 and https://www.reddit.com/r/macgaming/comments/4o2q6w/hearthstone_macbook_pro_hot/ and and and...

For whatever reason the "Hearthstone-Mac-problems" seem to only happen in newer machines.

(Egyébként, az észrevételed jogos).
 

Kraizelburg

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 10, 2018
201
61
Spain
You can of course choose to just assume things and be happy with the decisions you make based on your assumptions or you can actually look into the issue a bit and perhaps discover that it might not have anything to do with the Air itself: https://us.battle.net/forums/en/hearthstone/topic/20755765770 and https://www.reddit.com/r/macgaming/comments/4o2q6w/hearthstone_macbook_pro_hot/ and and and...
[doublepost=1542653496][/doublepost]

In theory, the processor could be just fine without the fan altogether. Why did they add it? Because in the situation when one would push the system for a longer timespan, then the fan can actually help keep temperatures more stable, which also means more stable performance (you don't get throttling so fast, or maybe at all). Why is this important? Because it clearly places the Air between the Macbook and Macbook Pro.

I have to agree with @darkmatter343's comment, meaning that if you're really pushing the machine so often to its limits that temperature is really a constant issue, then either the apps you are using are not well optimised for Mac or they are indeed that demanding in which case, you might have gotten the wrong notebook for the job. It happens...

I develop enterprise level software for a living and do all kind of other projects on the side (web, desktop, mobile dev... you name it) that also include light to medium graphic design and video editing and the new Air is more than capable of handling the stuff I throw at it (+ even some light gaming, but I do have a desktop PC for that). Would a Pro handle things better, would it be perhaps significantly faster in certain situations? Definitely... is one mandatory for my job / needs? Clearly not... so if you're not happy with it, then just get something else. Thankfully, Apple isn't the only brand on the market and nor is it the cheapest or even the one with the most performant devices...

There's no point in dramatizing the situation, no single device will ever fit all needs.
I'm not dramatizing anything, the point of this thread was to express my modest opinion about something that it may have helped to get more performance with the same hardware to a little cost.

I also have a powerfull ryzen desktop, the point of buying a mac is only because I wanted to try mac OS on a portable machine and replace my core M3 ultrabook when I'm on the go.
 

Barna Biro

macrumors 6502a
Sep 25, 2011
653
31
Zug, Switzerland
For whatever reason the "Hearthstone-Mac-problems" seem to only happen in newer machines.

(Egyébként, az észrevételed jogos).
Do please check the links I've posted more carefully (not to mention that what I've posted is just a fraction of what is out there). It has been happening since the release of the game... people have been complaining about heat issues and high CPU usage (not only on Macs) for quite a long time now. Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming them for the entire issue, I'm quite sure there's more to it than we know and online threads reveal... all I'm saying is that this is not a new issue and nor is it an issue specific or limited to the new Macbook Air.
[doublepost=1542655652][/doublepost]
I'm not dramatizing anything, the point of this thread was to express my modest opinion about something that it may have helped to get more performance with the same hardware to a little cost.

I also have a powerfull ryzen desktop, the point of buying a mac is only because I wanted to try mac OS on a portable machine and replace my core M3 ultrabook when I'm on the go.
Not to be rude, but is your opinion based on some technical knowledge and experience or are you just assuming that having a heatpipe would have improved ("a lot") the performance of the machine? I find it hard to believe that Apple really never ran a simulation and just winged the decision (but what do I know? i'm also just playing the assumptions game right now)... we also don't know how exactly adding a heatpipe would have affected the current design/layout (internals i mean), whether it would have introduced other problems/limitations... perhaps it's indeed a price thing and they decided that the potential performance gain is so small that it would make no difference in real life usage (of course, considering who Apple thinks this machine is for).

I mean, we can hypothesize about things endlessly and you're definitely welcome to share your opinion, I guess I just fail to see the point in some of the rants/affirmations/ideas that don't seem to have any real substance...
 
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Ulenspiegel

macrumors 68040
Nov 8, 2014
3,070
2,268
Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
Do please check the links I've posted more carefully (not to mention that what I've posted is just a fraction of what is out there). It has been happening since the release of the game... people have been complaining about heat issues and high CPU usage (not only on Macs) for quite a long time now. Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming them for the entire issue, I'm quite sure there's more to it than we know and online threads reveal... all I'm saying is that this is not a new issue and nor is it an issue specific or limited to the new Macbook Air...

The provided links were an interesting read.
Nevertheless, experiences in the "Hearthstone-Mac-problems" in the aspect I mentioned may differ, as outlined in this thread.
 

kawalerzysta

macrumors regular
Oct 28, 2013
138
63
Tobyhanna, PA
You can of course choose to just assume things and be happy with the decisions you make based on your assumptions or you can actually look into the issue a bit and perhaps discover that it might not have anything to do with the Air itself: https://us.battle.net/forums/en/hearthstone/topic/20755765770 and https://www.reddit.com/r/macgaming/comments/4o2q6w/hearthstone_macbook_pro_hot/ and and and...
[doublepost=1542653496][/doublepost].
If my iPad, iPhone, chromebook and PC can play Hearthstone without issue, I am not going to keep machine that is unable to play such a basic game. I used to own 2013 rMB Pro, and I don't recall any issues I had with playing Hearthstone. So I had no reason to believe that 2015 MB Air would struggle.
 

ondert

macrumors 6502
Aug 11, 2017
348
688
Italy
Because it's Apple, can't even cool a 7w tdp chip properly. A fan not connected to anything and goes up to 8000 rpm. Bravo! Who did offer this solution, and obviously greedy Tim jumped right after onto it? I really wonder if we are going to see properly cooled Macintosh. I'm curious about the new Mac Pro's cooling.
 

lambertjohn

macrumors 65816
Jun 17, 2012
1,025
1,006
I have a 2018 Air, the base model. Use it every day. The fan's never come on once that I know of. The computer's dead silent. But I don't play games on the thing; I use it to get stuff done.

Heat pipe or no heat pipe, the latest Air is a great little computer that serves my needs perfectly: basic photo editing and writing.
 
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Crystalwaves

macrumors newbie
Oct 6, 2019
1
0
I use the 2018 air to play battletech :v sims 4, minecraft, surviving mars, CoD WWII, Phoenix Point ._. No problem at all
 

revmacian

macrumors 6502a
Oct 20, 2018
763
678
USA
I’d have to say that it’s all about the air flow path. If the fan is inside the enclosure pulling hot air from the inside of the enclosure and pushing it outside the enclosure, then the hot air is being pulled away from the heat sink as well because the heat sink is inside the enclosure. Now, if you open the enclosure then the air flow path is interrupted.