Will I damage/stress my 11" macbook air by gaming?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by macguy360, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. macguy360 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2011
    I have read other posts and I believe an anandtech review which stated the temps on the 11" macbook air can get significantly higher than macbook pro's while playing games. I was just wondering if playing games such as (wow, star wars kotor, borderlands, left 4 dead 2) will cause the 11" air to run hot and possible damage it or stress it out.

    *by hot I mean around mid 90 degree celsius range.
  2. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    I wouldn't worry too much about damage unless you have this running 24/7 on CPU-intensive tasks. Game performance might suffer a bit if the chip stays hot for a long time, as it will throttle down, but chips are designed to adapt to conditions so as not to burn themselves out.
  3. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
  4. misterneums macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2009
    If the computer turns itself off--then you might have to think about it.
  5. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Your internal hardware may not last as long, since it has a limited lifespan. I've had an old Windows desktop with a CPU that crapped out on me.

    However, that was after nearly a decade. ;)

    I wouldn't worry about it too much. Today's laptops are just these throw-away machines. It's not as bad as mobile phone turnover rates, but it's still something that's only expected to last 3-5 years. If you plan on using it for longer than that, it'll probably still be OK if you game on it for 5 years. I'm not promising you anything, but the chances are very good that your computer will last for as long its useful lifespan.
  6. 2IS macrumors 68030

    Jan 9, 2011
    Yes it will run hot. It will consume more power which means more heat. Which means yes, it will put more physical stresses on the laptop. Everything from the batteries, power supply, conditioning circuits on the board, to the processor and even the fan will be under more stress.

    Well if affect the life span? Well if you take two identical laptops, one that you put under these stress and one that you don't and simply run them until they die, then perhaps the gaming one will die first. That said, I highly doubt you will decrease the USEFUL life span of the laptop at all.

    My advise is to enjoy your investment and not worry about it. I remember I use to be anal about temps when I was building my own PC's. I'd have crazy heat sinks and loud fans. I still build my own gaming PC's but I'm over the whole temp craze. I just want a quiet PC. Sure, my temps are higher and my over clocks suffer by about 1-200MHz which isn't a whole lot. But you know what, my quiet PC's with higher temps have lasted every bit as long as every other build and have been far more enjoyable to use.
  7. tom vilsack macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    Nov 20, 2010
    ladner cdn
    in the fine print,i believe apple rec that you only play these games in a air conditioned room at the south pole :D

    game on....
  8. Travisimo macrumors 6502a

    Dec 22, 2009
    I have no inside knowledge, so take my advice with a grain of salt:

    In the short term, it's not going to damage your computer in any way. If for some reason the chips get too hot, they are designed to shut down before damage is done.

    In the long term, it could be argued either way. You might think that regularly running the computer hot with fans at higher speeds will prematurely wear your computer. However, not using your computer enough can also prematurely cause problems. For example, battery longevity can actually be reduced by not using it enough. And shutting the computer off and on a lot could arguably be more detrimental than running it hot.

    For example, a light bulb that is on 24/7 may last longer than a bulb that is turned on and off frequently simply because the act of turning it on and off is far more stressful than constantly running it. It's not quite a perfect analogy, of course, since running games will actually increase the heat and motion of your fans. But I think the moral is that you should just use the computer how you want and only worry if the computer starts turning itself off for some reason.

    For the record, I've been playing a fair amount of Minecraft on my Air. And it does get hot (even with this game which is not as demanding as many others), but it's never turned off, had any glitches, or anything like that so I'm not worried...
  9. Xgm541 macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    The part about the lightbulb is very true. Turning equipment on wears it out more than having it on all the time, especially spinning parts. The air doesnt have a mechanical hard drive so at least that's good.

    Minecraft is actually a very CPU intensive game btw :p
  10. minnus macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2011
    I can't say for sure with any authority, but -

    When I first received my i7 13", I stress tested it (Full Load / Prime 95) to observe stability and temperature control. I must have ran it for an or two at a time. It would peak at 95/6 C.

    Since I have had it (a week), my Air has frozen twice and required a force shutdown (holding down the power button).

    Unfortunately, I ran the stress test pretty much when I received the machine, so I cannot say anything like "My computer was flawless till I stress tested!".

    I have no idea what caused the freezing issue. I returned my Air shortly after. I do not know if the freezing is related to the stress testing I performed. You can draw your own conclusions.
  11. misterneums macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2009
    I haven't had my computer fully lock up at all yet--and that's with abusing it decently with some CS5 work.
  12. TheHumphries macrumors member

    Dec 9, 2009
    If you are going to game for a while, I'd install smcfancontrol (works on new macbook airs)

    Make yourself a gaming profile with exhaust fan speed maxed out. Just run that while you are gaming. Will help with heat alot. Then when done, set it back to default.

    Good Luck
  13. misterneums macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2009
    When I've been gaming, my fan's been maxed regardless (6459 rpm or something like that)

    I generally don't use my Air for gaming, but I made an exception for HoN when I went to a friends place for the weekend. It ran that perfectly fine. Still, there's a big difference between the 13 inch screen I have and the 23 inch I have on my PC desktop ^_^
  14. xkmxkmxlmx macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2011
    Bottom line is, you will "damage" (wear?) *anything* you use, if you use it. So yeah, if you game, over time, you might see some signs of wear.

    But computers were meant to be USED. Use it! By the time you see any significant wear, it will probably be obsolete anyway. So just go for it.
  15. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    You did the right thing by returning it; Apple has a tendency to get sloppy with the thermal paste and, as a result, the MBPs and obviously some Airs are overheating.

    Mine gets to around 96C when I'm playing Oblivion on Bootcamp but that's a given with the integrated graphics card and automatic overclocking.
  16. johnadams2007 macrumors member


    Jul 25, 2011
    will it get hot? yes

    will gaming damage it? no
  17. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    The gaming PC I bought in 1998 is still alive and well and repurposed :

    # grep "model name" /proc/cpuinfo 
    model name	: Pentium II (Deschutes)
    Don't quite remember what happened with the 8 MB Voodoo 2 card it had (a Monster 3D II, after I sold its original Voodoo Graphics based Monster 3D), but I know the Sound Blaster AWE64 is in a box somewhere, next to the Sound Blaster Live! that upgraded it and both still in working order. However, it's current AGP GPU, a Matrox Mystique G200 still works fine :

    # lspci | grep "VGA"
    01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Matrox Graphics, Inc. MGA G200 AGP (rev 01)
    So no, you won't damage anything by gaming on your computer. This machine lasted me close to 12 years now and it's still running as buttery smooth as the day I bought it. It ran through countless games of Quake, Quake II and Quake III, not to mention all-nighters in Unreal Tournament. All under Linux too, why shoddy open source drivers and narry a failsafe in place. Before I switched it to Linux and went all Quake on it, it played through things like Jedi Knight, Final Fantasy 7, various MechWarrior titles and dozens and dozens of benchmarking runs.
  18. johnadams2007 macrumors member


    Jul 25, 2011

    jk. thanks for the trip down memory lane. i still have the computer i built in 1998 for starcraft and it works fine. voodoo2 on a pentium 2 ftw!
  19. meistervu macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    op, please report back in 10 years

    But make sure you play games on it at least 4 hours a day for the next 10 years. Your contribution will be indelible to the gaming community.
  20. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    I had 128 days of /played on my WoW main on a Dell laptop, in a little under 2 years. I think I was the only player in my guild who managed to do BWL/MC/Kara and other raids with a trackpad from my couch or my bed. The Dell laptop still works fine today, it just sits unused in a closet now.
  21. darshie76 macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2008
    There is a very well known physical process that happens when any conductors has electricity running trough them: part of the matter gets lost in energy (heat) and photons (protons accelerated).

    This is why you see the tungsten wire in a lamp to get smaller and smaller until it gets so thin that it burns out,

    This happens in any corpse that is subject to electricity.

    Now in the specific; the chances that you will burn your machine are close to 2-3% (not all the wire and stamped circuits are the same thickness or quality), but we are talking of people that keep the computer on 24/7 for years....I highly doubt that you could damage or reduce it's lifespan.

    At the same time, more time under stress increase the chances of failure (same thing if you drive your car 80 miles a day with frequent stops in traffic will ruin it faster than if you run the same miles at constant speed), for the mechanical parts...in the air the only mechanical parts are the fan and the keys; it has SSD so there is no hd.

    Before you will get a fan failure thou it will be years; so you have nothing to worry for the next 3-4 years, if you play about 40-50 hours a week (more or less 6-7 hours a day).
  22. kyle0103 macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2012
    What's the fun when you are afraid of using the computer?
  23. darshie76 macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2008
    Some people buy ferrari and other expensive cars and they never drive them....guess it is the same fear :)
  24. jsolares macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2011
    Land of eternal Spring
    I used my Macbook 13" Unibody (got it a couple of months before they turned pro) for gaming and torrents so it was on a lot, one night a loud bang noise awoke me, turns out the battery swelled up, thankfully it didn't explode.

    Was it related? no idea, i got a new battery (had to buy it and it was still under applecare, sometimes i really hate not having a direct apple store down here) and sold it to a friend, it's been solid (except the hinges have lost a bit of their strength) ever since.

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