Macbook Air overheat solutions

I’ve installed the update and it really helps. Looks like what it essentially does is that in extreme situations it throttles the two CPUs down to 800MHz rather than the really drastic stuff where one CPU shuts down and performance falls. There is much controversy about twhat happens. There are three utilities that every MBA needs:

* Macbook Air overheating results in 1.2 GHz CPU – Mac Forums talks bout MSRTools which let’s you see what the CPUs are actually running at. Let’s you look at the low level voltages and also the clock speeds.
* “smcFanControl”:http://homepage.mac.com/holtmann/eidac/software/smcfancontrol2/index.html is another one. Gives you the exact fan speed and temperature.
* “istat pro”:http://www.islayer.com/ is a Dashboard Widget that does the same.

There is a tool called “Coolbook”:http://www.coolbook.se/ which underclocks your MBA. Right now it looks like it is incompatible with the Apple update which does something similar.

MacBook Air Disk problems and how to Remote Bookt

Well, when my machine was freezing, I was used to Windows so my first thought was, uh oh, the hard disk is crashing. Ran Disk Utility and it asked me to Repair the disk with the installation Mac OS X. First note, you should always have this DVD with you whereever you go (I didn’t), since it does things that the operating system can’t do.

Second, pray your SuperDrive doesn’t get erratic and won’t turn on. Mine did this exactly.

Third, you can actually “remote boot”:http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2008/02/07/remote-install-mac-os-x-on-macbook-air-pokey-but-it-works from any Windows machine if you have that magic OS X installation DVD. it is a little arcane, but as “Apple”:http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2129 lays out you:

# you basically find another Mac or Windows machine.
# On a Mac, you then run _/Applications/Utilities/Remote Install Mac OS X_
# On a Windows machine, you insert the Mac OS X Install Disc 1 and choose _Remote Install Mac OS X from the Install Assistant
# Click continue twice and then choose the network connection, either AirPort for wifi or Ethernet if you are using the USB Ethernet Adapter on your MBA
# Restart start your MBA and hold the Option key during start up.
# From here you can run Disk Utility from your remote install disk.

MacBook Air Core Shutdowns and Freezes

Well, maybe I’m hard on hardware, but have four problems with my MacBook Air right now in order of problems:

h2. “Intermittent Freezing”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1415343&tstart=0 (aka “Core Shutdown”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1445521&tstart=1)

Originally I thought that this was because my hard disk has corruption problems. ClamAV would run and then system would lock, so then I disabled this, but still had it. Then had to repair the disk which was complicated (see below the SuperDrive problem) but finally fixed that.

The main issue looks like when the MacBook Air gets really hot when you are watching a video, the system freezes for 10-15 seconds and then starts. I have the same symptoms which is one core looks like it is at zero and the other is maxed out. For a while I thought it was something in the background and I do see kernel task (whatever that is maxing out). You can get this quite easily by playing a Youtube video and playing a movie in itunes for about 10 minutes.

Some folks think that is has to do with using it on your lap and not a hard surface because it covers the vents in the back. Apple actually recommends that you don’t operate it with a pillow or on your lap. (Funny, I don’t think they are super realistic about that!)

Most folks are using “istats”:http://www.islayer.com/ to check the CPU temperatures that are up to 90C! “Macsimumnews.com”:http://www.macsimumnews.com/index.php/archive/macosg_macbook_airs_intermittently_freezing has a good summary.

Some people are having success with resetting the SMC (system management controller) by. The current theory is that when you get to a certain heat level, instead of lower clock frequency, one of the cores shuts down and you get a full freeze. One guy actually cracked his MBA and redid the thermal grease on his system. Other have installed something called “smcFanControl”: which spins the fan at the 6200rpm macx all the time.

Others thing that it is a heatsink failure so you need to take to the Apple Store to replace. Other report that installing the “SMC Update”:http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/macbookairsmcupdate10.html fixes it although it you’ve been taking all the Apple Updates you should be up to 1.23f9, Start /Utilities/System Profiler to see what version SMC you have

# Shutdown the Mac
# Hold shift+control+option+power on
# wait 5 seconds (no chord of heaven)
# power on

Other like “Paul Stamatiou”:http://paulstamatiou.com/2008/05/11/putting-an-end-to-macbook-air-core-shutdown say that this happens with lots of graphics like watching a movie because the GPU and the CPU share the same heat sink. That’s true, with my MBA, it happens often when watching a movie. His solution is undervolting with a third party app called “Coolbook”:http://www.coolbook.se/CoolBook.html. You use the parameters that “Plasmadesign.com”:http://plasmadesign.wordpress.com/2008/04/02/macbook-air-core-shutdown/ suggests which are essentially keeping it at 0.9V under 1.6GHz and at 0.95V at 1.6Ghz. This is much lower than the stock 1.1V. In battery mode, it is 0.9V and you only run it at 1.2GHz under battery power. BTW, this also increases battery life significantly too, although the machine is obviously much slower.

MacBook Air SuperDrive jammed and will not eject so shake it!

Hat tip to “TUAW”:http://www.tuaw.com/2008/06/24/mod-use-your-macbook-air-superdrive-on-any-machine/ apparently, “Tnkgrl”:http://tnkgrl.wordpress.com/2008/06/24/macbook-air-superdrive-for-all/ has figured out how to open up a Superdrive, replace a part and thus make it universally compatible with all computers. Great geekout. OTOH, why go to all the trouble :-)? The “photos”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/tnkgrl/sets/72157605790040071/ are really useful so you can disassemble it. The short version is the black bottom comes out if you slip a credit card in the seam. Then you can look the LEDs and see if the drive is lighting up. (Mine was). In the end, I shook it enough that it seemed to unjam the drive. So give that a try before returning.

Some other tricks are noted below that are software related

The short story is that although some folks think it is incompatible with other computers because it needs more current (1 amp is needed to burn, although much less to read). There isn’t specail firmware either. You can take apart the SuperDrive and mount it into a PC and it works fine. What happened is Apple hacked into the IDE-to-USB bridge and make special firmware. The slime!

“Apple Discussions”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1550094&tstart=0 has other frustrated people with the same problem. Apple – Support – Discussions – Disc stuck into superdrive AND won’t …

I have just bought a MBA. I managed to install windows ans other software through the superdrive. Now I’ve just put a DVD into it to watch a movie and it got stuck into the superdrive. I browsed on the forum, tried to reboot while holding the trackpad button but the disc is still stuck… at rebooting the superdrives “becomes alive” but it looks like it has no force to eject it (and I have tried rebooting both with and without the power cable connected to MBA)

There is a rumor that holding the mouse button down while it reboots will work. Also that holding down the “C” key when booting might help.

Now here is what I think it happening, it is trying to eject (you can hear the drive spinning and it trying to hiccup). Apple – Support – Discussions – Disc stuck into superdrive AND won’t …

Does it sound Like it’s trying to eject? These new SDs are so thin that it is common for them to get out of alignment. The DVD rubs against the top of the case and stops ejecting. It happens often on the MacBooks and maybe this is the case with the USB drive.

With the aluminum MacBook Pros Apple ships a spatula to adjust the case. It’s under warranty so you should take it back in any case.

As an aside one strange thing is the drive doesn’t appear at all in the “System Profiler”:http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=262108 and they also suggest resetting your “PRAM”:http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=2238 or “PMU”:http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=303319. Most folks are just replacing the SuperDrives though on MacBook Pros as this example shows.

First comparison of MacBook Air vs. the Lenovo Thinkpad X300

The ultraportables are some of the most interesting improvements being made now. With the “X300”:http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2270393,00.asp out now, you can really make a comparison. The long and short of it is that the X300 looks like a PC rather than a style marvel and has a solid state disk like the MacBook Air option. It does use a low voltage processor, so is about a third slower than the MBA, but it should have better battery life and of course it has a DVD. More importantly it has an EVDO option built in. This is probably what I miss the most about the MacBook Air. Wifi just isn’t everywhere and it would be nice to have a 3G modem option.

“Geek.com”:http://www.geek.com/thinkpad-x300-the-full-review/ agrees adn notes that it is nice to ahve three USB ports as well. You can stuff a 6-cell battery in and get 5 hours or take out the DVD and get up to 7.5 hours. The main drawback is that 64GB is a bit small for most operating systems.

Net, net, if you have to have a PC, this is the ultraportable to get. As I’ve told folks before. If you can hold out at all, please wait. The real miracle here are the solid state drives and this coming fall, they are really coming out in force. Will make the 80GB in the MBA and the 64GB in the X300 look tiny and way expensive.

Time Capsule and Airport Extreme Downgrade to 7.3 and MBA Problems

Well, many folks on “Apple’s discussion”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=7026416 are talking about performance issues with 7.3.1. Like me, I now lose the connection to the Time Capsule drive and then Time Machine fails and looks for a password (which should be on the key chain).

The other problem is slow network “speeds”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1477962&tstart=-2 where folks are seeeing speed stuck at 2Mbps (I see 2MBps), but when they go back to 7.3, they get back to high speeds. That is what most folks are seeing. 2MBps even on large copies. Also, the MacBook Air looks stuck at about 2MBps writing while the MacBook Pro is at 9MBps as “Macintouch”:http://www.macintouch.com/reviews/timecapsule/ reports. As an aside, you should get about 14MBps with a direct gigabit ethernet connect.

Here is how you downgrade:

# Start /Utilities/Airport Utility
# Click on your Airport and click on Manual Setup
# Choose Base Station/Upload Firmware and you should see 7.3.1 and 7.3

MacBook Air crashes with parallels

i just had these problems. With Parallels, you get a kernel panic and the equivalent of the blue screen of death. What happens is you get the message to hit the power button in a nice window floating on top. It’s never been a problem with the Macbook Pro or Macbook. There is a hotfix apparently from Parallels just for the MBA:

Macbook Air crashing with Parallels – Mac Forums

It keeps crashing. There are already some discussions about this on the Parallels forum. I have just bought the Macbook air and is very frustrated because Parallels keep crashing with increasing frequency with my MBA.

Macbook Air Kernel Crash (build 5584) under 10.5.1/10.5.2 – Parallels Desktop Products Support

The update of Parallels Desktop for Mac with the hotfix for MacBook Air kernel crashes is now available. This thread is closed by Xenos. Please ask any questions you have on the build 5592 in this thread.

I’m getting a kernel crash using parallels under osx 10.5.1 (and also under 10.5.2). I think it has to do with the x3100 graphics in the air, but am not certain. Anyone else having this problem? My crash log says it is a result of com.parallels.kext.vmmain(3.0).

Hotfix for MacBook Air – Parallels Desktop for Mac – Parallels Desktop Products Support

The update of Parallels Desktop for Mac with the hotfix for MacBook Air kernel crashes is now available.

This is a special build recommended for MacBook Air users only. In all other cases the build 5584 is still relevant.

Please download the build 5592 here.