Stay Cool With the MacBook Air

I love my MacBook Air, but a few months back I discovered a problem that made me seriously consider giving it up. The issue: Turns out that Intel's Santa Rosa chip architecture, used by the MacBook Air, shuts down a core when it gets too hot. The result? At random times, generally on warm days and generally in the afternoon after I'd been using my MacBook Air for a while, the computer would become crazily unresponsive. Turns out I was running on a single processor core!

Running two cores at lower speeds is much preferable to running a single core at a higher speed. The sad thing is, the MacBook's built-in software currently just isn't up to the task. So I reluctantly tried CoolBook, a $10 utility that lets you reduce the speed and voltage of the MacBook's processor.

I was skeptical, but two months later I haven't noticed a single instance of a core shutdown. While recording this video, I disabled CoolBook, pulled up a couple of Flash-based Web videos and, sure enough, within 10 minutes I was once again experiencing full core shutdowns.

Here's hoping Apple fixes this extremely annoying problem in a future software update. But in the meantime, this $10 utility has managed to keep me from abandoning the MacBook Air out of sheer frustration.

Anyway, if you'd like to hear me yammer on about CoolBook and core shutdowns, check out the video.

DownloadMacworld Video #60

Format: MPEG-4/H.264

Resolution: 320 x 240 (iPhone & iPod compatible)

Size: 16.4MB

Length: 5:30

Show Notes

CoolBook is pretty inscrutable when it comes to settings. It could really use a "simple mode." But I used the settings suggested by Rob Randtoul on his blog and they worked quite well, though your mileage may vary.

You might also want to check out Apple's discussion forums about the issue.

To subscribe to the Macworld Video Podcast using iTunes 5 or later, click here.

You can also see a complete archive of all our videos on Macworld's YouTube channel. Subscribe to that channels and you will be notified whenever we post a new video.

Or just point your favorite podcast-savvy RSS reader to: http://rss.macworld.com/macworld/weblogs/mwvodcast

Subscribe to the Power Tips Newsletter

Comments