Excess thermal paste causing high temps in MacBook Air (updated)

Excess thermal paste causing high temps in MacBook Air (updated)

Summary: Remember the thermal paste problem with earlier MacBook Pros that was reported back in May 2006? Well, it's back.

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Remember the thermal paste problem with earlier MacBook Pros that was reported back in May 2006? Well, it's back.

Read more about the grease problems in my earlier reports:

Chief Japanese Mac disassembler Kodawarisan took apart his MacBook Air (of course) and discovered a metric-ass-load of thermal paste (also called "thermal grease") on the top of the CPU and GPU. Witness:

Excess thermal paste contributing to high temps in MacBook Air

Kodawarisan says (Japanese version, Babelfish English translation) that it's about twice the amount that's needed (sound familiar?) and that skimming off about half dropped his temps down.

It all started when he noticed that his MacBook Air's fan was turning on frequently, especially when he was taxing the CPU and/or GPU. After opening the MacBook Air case he suspected that the excessive quantity thermal paste to be the cause.

Temperature Monitor was reporting the temperature of his Core 2 Duo chip to be running between 50 and 70? (122 and 158 degrees Fahrenheit).Which is quite toasty.

What temperature does your MacBook Air run at?

Update: MacFixIt is covering the issue after noticing reports of high MacBook Air operating temperatures on Apple's discussion boards. The recommend bringing it to Apple for service and making sure that you've installed MacBook Air SMC Update 1.0.

In completely unrelated news: Jordan Bunnell had success installing a Verizon Wireless USB727 EVDO Modem inside a MacBook Air. So what if he had to remove the Airport and Bluetooth cards to make room. (Tip: CrunchGear via MacNN)

Topics: Laptops, Apple, Hardware, Mobility

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30 comments
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  • Well, as they say

    Too much of a good thing can be bad.
    GuidingLight
  • Hacker computer

    They must switch the CPU with a hacked CPU.Geek-tech globs it on.
    BALTHOR
  • Busted by the FCC?

    Could this be a FCC hacker bust?Attack a Government system and we fry your little butt.
    BALTHOR
  • Every chip in that computer has an FCC/FBI mark in it

    If the computer is shipped back to the manufacturer they will see the file mark.
    BALTHOR
  • Thermal grease is only there to fill...

    any gaps due to imperfections in the heat sink and the cpu where they are not totally flat. No thermal grease is as effective as metal to metal. The less thermal grease you can use to assure no dead air space between the sink and the cpu the better. Metal to metal is soooo much better than metal to grease to metal. This is hardware 101. Who taught these assemblers how to assemble?
    bjbrock
    • Apple is not to blame

      [i]Who taught these assemblers how to assemble? [/i]

      Just like hard drive failures in Macs are not Apple's fault (because Apple does not make the hard drive), neither can this be blamed on Apple because Apple doesn't actually assemble Macs themselves.
      NonZealot
      • I didn't even mention Apple's name...

        in my post. Let alone blame them. I simply laid blame on the assemblers.
        bjbrock
        • Sorry

          [i]I didn't even mention Apple's name...
          in my post. Let alone blame them.[/i]

          Didn't mean to imply that you did. I was actually agreeing with you. Apple isn't to blame here, it is the assemblers that bear 100% of the blame. It is very important to know that when a Mac overheats, the consumer blames the right party which, in this case, is not Apple. I only wish that Apple would let me choose the company that assembled my Mac so I could choose a [b]good[/b] assembler instead of a bad one. That would be nice. :)
          NonZealot
          • If it doesnt work properly...

            ...then you blame the company whose label is on it. After all, they are the ones you paid their money to.

            If my house burns down due to faulty wiring, I'll go against the general contractor because thats who I made the deal with and thats who I paid my money to. If he wants to blame his electrical subcontractor, thats his problem. My contract was not with the subcontractor.
            cornpie
          • Apple is to blame

            By your standard Apple can't be blamed for anything that goes wrong with their products except maybe the operating system. That is ludicrous.

            Apple is ultimately responsible for their product, no matter what work is subcontracted out. That's how every company on the world works.

            If I buy a Dell and the hard drive fails, its Dell's fault and they would replace it.

            Apple is to blame as is every company who sells anything.
            Question everything
          • Apple isn't even to blame for the OS

            [i]Apple can't be blamed for anything that goes wrong with their products except maybe the operating system.[/i]

            No, Apple isn't to blame for most things in the OS either. The web server is Apache, the printing system is CUPS, the kernel is BSD, the HTML rendering library is KHTML, etc.

            [i]Apple is ultimately responsible for their product, no matter what work is subcontracted out. [b]That's how every company on the world works.[/b][/i]

            No, that's how every [b]PC[/b] company in the world works. Apple makes Macs which are not PCs... at least according to both the EU and the DoJ.
            NonZealot
          • Well, except for CUPS...

            Funny comment, although Apple bought CUPS last year, so
            you are now allowed to blame Apple for the printing issues.
            Ambivi
          • another victim! ;-)

            NZ is as anti-apple as they come. he's just having fun with you guys and being sarcastic.
            lostarchitect
          • RE: Apple is to blame...

            I think you have the right idea, but you did not express it well.

            Apple is [b]responsible[/b] for the quality of the products it sell; no matter who manufactures them for Apple. If a customers Mac burns up because of this issue, Apple is responsible to the customer. What responsibilities the assembler has toward Apple is [b]between[/b] that company and Apple. Both Apple and the manufacturer may share the [b]blame[/b] for this issue. It comes down to (lack of) QC. The mfgr should have been doing QC on the finished product; and Apple should have been randomly pulling stock for their own QC analysis. Ultimately, it does come back to the assembly. Somewhere in the assembly line, something is not being done right.

            Several years ago; one of the major auto mfgrs came out with a new model. The assembly line guys, in order to make the first batch off the line be impressive; put in additional staples to hold down the trunk carpet. What they did not realize, is that those extra staples, in areas that they should [b]not[/b] have been placed; ended up puncturing fuel tanks. It was not done maliciously; but there is the 'law of unintended consequences'.

            This issue may be another example of the 'law of unintended consequences'.
            fatman65535
      • WHAT?

        Are you retarded? Seriously, Apple keeps rehiring the same incompetent firms, how are they blameless?

        This is why Apple stays in business, because most of its fanboys are so flippin' stupid that they just bury their head in the sand when Apple wrongs them.
        zupobaloop
      • I disagree, I believe Apple is responsible for this

        When a consumer is paying a premium for a product, and lets face it, Apple charges premium prices, then the consumer should expect a premium product.

        Apples job if they wish to make it in the premium market is to have all these things worked out, to pay someone if needed to assure quality control. Hiding behind assemblers (ultimately Apple employees, or Apple contractors) is nonsense. Apple chose the assemblers, Apple chose the hardware, Apple put their name on it and sold it at a premium price, Apple is fully responsible for making sure it is premium grade.

        Making excuses for a company, no matter how well you like their product, will ultimately do no good what so ever for the company nor for its consumers. It's best to call them out when they mess up, in this way they have incentive to correct whats wrong and raise their own bar, and the bar of the industry they are involved in. Lowering your expectations only allows the company to start circling the drain.
        starcannon99022@...
      • Apologists at play

        Apple is absolutely responsible. They are ultimately responsible for the QC of the product they sell that bears their name. They are responsible for choosing their assemblers, as well as manufacturers. They are responsible for insuring the assemblers are well trained and doing it right. Equating the failure of a mechanical component with the improper assembly is very much like comparing lobster to coffee.
        Dr. John
  • Thermal Grease

    So Apple doesn't know how to apply thermal grease properly? LOL!!!

    I'm not going to buy a Mac until Apple does.
    Grayson Peddie
    • Don't punish Apple, they aren't to blame

      Buy your Mac and when it overheats, swear at the assemblers. They are the ones that are actually at fault here.
      NonZealot
      • rrrriggght

        Sounds like they are reaping income from a seriously flawed product, why not?

        "Apple techs are assembling MacBook Pro?s with too much thermal paste because the MBP service manual tells them to! According to MacBook Pro service manual "0.2-0.3cc" of thermal grease should be applied to all three chip mating surfaces."

        http://blogs.zdnet.com/Apple/?p=187
        toddo12