Your new MacBook Air is getting too hot to affect performance. It’s not the first time

Zoom / M2 MacBook Air logic board. The M2 is the large slide in the left center with the Apple logo printed on it.


If you’ve read iFixit’s teardowns, in-depth reviews, or followed any tech user on YouTube, you may have known that the new M2-equipped MacBook Air is an antipyretic, in addition to being fanless.

While it’s not something every MacBook Air owner notices, we did some tests, and the M2 MacBook Pro was 30 percent faster than the exact same M2 in the MacBook Air. More adventurous YouTubers have gone even further – Max Tech installed thin thermal pads on the MacBook Air’s M2 that dramatically boosted the chip’s performance in both real and synthetic benchmark tests, while lowering the chip’s maximum temperature from 108°C to high temperature. The lowest temperature is 97 degrees Celsius.

All heat pads, heatsinks, and heatsinks work in the same way: they come into close contact with the processor and release heat away from it. Because this heat is distributed over a larger surface area, it becomes easier to dissipate, making it easier to keep the processor cool. The M1 MacBook Air includes a passive heatsink (that is, one without a fan) that transfers heat away from the chip, while the M1 and M2 MacBook Pros use active cooling systems that draw in cold air and eject hot air for more effective cooling. .

The M2 MacBook Air does not have a passive or active cooling system. This is common for the company’s phone and tablet chips, which don’t get as hot as the M2. but that he is An odd design decision for a laptop, especially considering that Apple included a heatsink in the previous Air, and the M2 is a chip that’s bigger and hotter than the M1 in the first place.

Before we continue, this mod is not something we condone. Aside from voiding your new MacBook Air’s warranty, adding thermal pads that transfer the M2’s heat to the bottom of the laptop can cause all kinds of unintended consequences, including but not limited to “making your lap really hot”. You also risk causing accidental damage to M2 or other components. Seriously, please don’t mod your new MacBook Air just because a YouTuber did it (or at least give others more time to figure out all the unintended side effects so you don’t have to).

However, this is part of an unfortunate pattern for the MacBook Air – the Intel MacBook Air 2020 was also able to perform better than it offered, and the reason was also the cooling system.

In the event that I do as I say and don’t, I’ve modified my 2020 Intel MacBook Air, so I can speak with more authority about its cooling issues. The problem wasn’t that Apple didn’t include a heatsink and fan, but the heatsink was poorly set up – there was a very large gap between the bottom of the heatsink and the top of the processor, and Apple had to use a larger ball of thermal paste to fill that gap. but where slim The thermal paste layer can fill small gaps and improve conduction and heat transfer as well Many Thermal paste results in less efficient heat transfer. Oops! Possible solutions to this problem include using thin copper gaskets to bridge the gap between the CPU and the heatsink, as well as placing a heat pad on top of the heatsink in the air to improve conduction.

Although the causes of thermal problems in these two devices are different, both problems are definitely Feel It can be avoided. Maybe Apple is trying to save some money, or make the MacBook Air a little lighter. The company probably thinks that the performance degradation won’t actually be noticeable by most people most of the time (and that’s probably true). The company probably doesn’t think most people will use their MacBook Air for continuous workloads that bring the processor to its thermal limits (although that would be an odd assumption, given the company’s renewed interest in gaming in macOS Ventura and the MacBook Air’s status as the most popular laptop from Apple).

Whatever Apple’s reasons may be, letting the M2 run at higher temperatures over many years could eventually become a reliability issue — the hotter computer components run, the faster they wear out. That’s also the MacBook Air design we’ll likely live with for the next three to five years, according to the above. Apple must be cooling All of these systems correctly, for the benefit of the devices and the people who use them.

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