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This cooling chip prevents CPU throttling on the M2 MacBook Air

2023 November 27
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The MacBook Air cannot provide sustained performance under heavy load indefinitely because it lacks a fan, so the CPU must be throttled.

A company called Frore Systems has developed a solution to help with that, a tiny laptop cooling system dubbed AirJet. It allows a fanless MacBook Air laptop to maintain performance during sustained tasks instead of slowing down the CPU.

It kinda makes your MacBook Air perform like a MacBook Pro, which sports a fan that maintains a proper operating temperature. You can learn more about the AirJet and how this technology can help cool ultra-thin devices on the Frore Systems blog.

AirJet Mini prevents CPU throttling on the MacBook Air

The base M2 chip that powers the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air doesn’t need a fan because it was designed to throttle CPU performance when the operating temperature exceeds safety limits.

This prevents the CPU from frying when running complex tasks requiring lots of CPU and GPU power during a sustained period, like playing a game. Each unit can remove 4.25 additional watts of heat and itself consumes one watt. It’s also very thin, allowing three such modules to fit inside a 15-inch M2 MacBook Pro.

How does it perform?

Sean Hollister of The Verge has run some benchmarks to illustrate the difference between a regular 15-inch M2 MacBook Pro and one fitted with three AirJets.

He used Cinebench R23 to measure multicore performance to strain the CPU. After 30 minutes of Cinebench R23, the M2 chip without an AirJet throttled the CPU from 3.2GHz to 2.8GHz. This is normal behavior for fatless laptops that cannot sustain peak performance forever.

In another example, he played Shadow of the Tomb Raider. After 30 minutes, the frame rate dropped to 22 versus 27 frames per second with an AirJet installed in the machine. The AirJet isn’t suitable for laptops like the MacBook Pro, which uses the fans to keep Apple silicon within a proper operating temperature.

Not available to purchase

More powerful systems need even more capable cooling systems, like the Mac Studio, which employs two large fans along with a massive heat sink. Were Apple to use an AirJet-like cooling system, it could free up space inside laptops for bigger batteries or make desktop computers like the Mac Studio even smaller.

The AirJet isn’t a product you can buy today—Frore Systems has developed the AirJet and AirJet Mini as a proof-of-concept demo. The company has no plans to turn it into a viable product for end-users. Instead, it hopes to license the technology to other computer makers to use in their products instead of the spinning fans.

Hey, does your notebook overheat because you tend to run too many demanding tasks or graphically-intensive apps and games? Don’t worry; there are several things you can check to prevent a MacBook from overheating.

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