Friday, March 28, 2008

hot (macbook) air

So, after a month of MBA bliss, found a problem. Despite the early adventures I wrote about, various OS X updates have eliminated the click wonkiness, making me very happy with the Air. It is easy to travel with, its battery life has been more than sufficient, and I've been able to run everything I wanted on it.

Until last night.

I was testing a friend's Flash-based game project and discovered that Flash pushes the MBA's CPU enough to trigger self-protection, turning on the fan and limiting performance. Other people have written about the MBA's aggressive thermal settings, so it isn't clear if the Flash performance problems are because the CPU isn't up to it or if its performance is being clamped.

Either way, it means the MBA may end up not being my only computer.


Trev said...

I have to imagine that cooling the processor would be a big challenge in such a small case.

Osprey said...

Should have two little holes so that you can plug in a special winter coat with an air circulation device.


Or maybe it should be gloves. (It's snowing here.)

Anonymous said...

... it isn't clear if the Flash performance problems are because the CPU isn't up to it or if its performance is being clamped.

Flash is an irrational CPU hog. It is this way due to all the layers of abstraction that make it work as a high-level authoring environment. Try running the same app on one of your non-Air Macs with top running or Activity Monitor open. It's typical (not just common, or possible) for Flash to quickly devour 100% of the CPU.

So my sense is that it's because the performance is being clamped, but only because Flash wants the whole CPU.

cory ondrejka said...

@Ian: yes, Flash does do a good job of saying "Yo, CPU, over here biatch!" Which is a pity, because there are some sweet Flash projects circulating around that are going to just eat laptops alive.

Anonymous said...

Flash regularly crushes the performance on my work computer with our Goblin Game prototype. Thankfully at home my machine is so ridiculously overpowered that it can handle Flash eating one core. :P

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