I’m giving up on my MacBook Air

I’m pretty upset today because I finally decided to give up on my beloved MacBook Air. It’s been a love hate relationship almost since the very beginning, but the frustration I experienced while trying to record the podcast recently has thrown me over the edge. Those that listen to the show live on Tuesdays know that I have to put an ice pack under the Air while I record or it’ll over heat and ruin the recording. This is just so absurd but believe me I’ve researched it plenty and came to the conclusion that the Air simply isn’t designed properly and thus the CPU can’t even come close to running 80% for any extended period of time without overheating (kernel_task uses up all the cycles).

So I finally broke down today and bought a 13-inch MacBook Pro. Ultimately it came down to be being less superficial than I usually am when it comes to computers and swallowing my pride. You see I just hate the idea of buying another laptop with a useless optical drive. So while I’ll almost never use the DVD drive I’m now faced with carrying around, at least I’ll have the following perks. No overheating, no loud fan running all the time, two USB ports, a Firewire 800 port to capture HDV with, an SD slot (which in effect frees up another USB port), about 30% more battery life, another 80GB of disc space, and some much appreciated performance. And for this I gave up about $100, a 20-inch Apple Cinema display, and about 1.5lbs to carry around when I travel. Seems like a good trade, but I miss my Air already; dammit Apple.

11 Responses to “I’m giving up on my MacBook Air”

  1. shawn says:

    It’s funny you mention not wanting an optical drive as most complain about NOT having one!

    I agree it should not have the over heat issue that it does and the aftermarket software (coolbook) solves the issue for most, but I never in a million years (even at the expensive price) would have confused this with an AV editing machine, let alone watching lots of video. This is an internet machine at most with some video in between!

    • Ben Drawbaugh says:

      I agree and didn’t buy it to do video editing, but that isn’t what I was trying to do. All I need to record my podcast is Skype (no video) and Audio Hijack Pro. And my MBA couldn’t do it without overheating. But it should be able to run the CPUs at 100% for more than a few minutes before overheating. Definitely not what I expect from an Apple product.

  2. scott baker says:

    I have the same issue with my Lenovo X61 tablet. It was fine when I got it in the winter, but when the summer time came around I realized the same problem. I’m afraid to leave it on and leave the house because of how hot the thing can get, even when sitting there idele.

    I also plan on getting a 13″ MBP, but I’m waiting for snow lepard to come out.

  3. Patrick says:

    I have a 17″ MacBook Pro (April 2009) and I feel like it constantly overheats, too. Of course, every Apple notebook I’ve ever had feels like it overheats.

    My girlfriend has the 13″ you have and it is REALLY bad at overheating. She had to buy a USB-powered laptop cooling pad.

  4. Ben Drawbaugh says:

    When I say overheating I mean the laptop starts to lock up and freezing, not just hot to the touch. I don’t care how hot it gets as long as it continues to work properly.

  5. Nic says:

    Just got a 13 inch MBP.. it also overheats and runs loud.. I thought it might be the italian summer.. but today i was sitting in the library and eventually felt intrusive as my computer were louder that everyone elses. Not cool. I mean I know I was doing animation work and they maybe word processing.. but it gets really hot. Like is shuts down. Think is 90 degrees. Not happy. Hope yours is better.

  6. Bryan says:

    I just reached the same conclusion. I bought this as a basic e-mail / Office App machine, but it can’t handle running Entourage, PowerPoint, Excel and iTunes at the same time. Opening a browser window with any kind of Flash animation or media puts it right over the thermal edge into Kernel_Task hell. And, before that starts, clock speed drops to 800MHZ which slows everything anyway.

    I tried an experiement today where I put bags of ice above and below the keyboard, then loaded the CPUs at 100% for 40 minutes. Worked perfectly, and when I resumed a normal system load the MacBook was as snappy as I’d ever seen it. CPU temps were between 99f and 120f. I removed the ice (the case became so cool I was worried about condensation problems), and in about 30 minutes it was back to its normal fan blasting, slow running, about to completely crap out self.

  7. Marvin Suwarso says:

    Hi Ben,

    I’m currently using the first gen MacBook Air and beginning to develop a serious interest in the 13 inch MacBook Pro since I’m finding the Air to be seriously slowing down a lot.

    How’s the new MBP performing? Any slow-down issues?

    • Ben Drawbaugh says:

      No slow downs at all, it is working out really really good. I do wish it was as light or sexy as the Air, but it is a great compromise. I get the same nice display, back-lit keyboard and touchpad, but with a Firewire 800 port, SD slot, much better performance and a longer battery. I also really like being able to use my iPhone headphones with it to make Skype calls or to just control the volume.

      I just wish I wouldn’t have waited so long.

  8. TV says:

    Rip the optical drive out and add a second HDD

  9. aly mckenneh says:

    I agree. I screwed myself when I spent my money on my mba. It sucks. I downgraded from a macbook pro to this piece of crap. Light….yes! Does the job….Not Even!