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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > My "new MBA" slows badly when viewing any media

My "new MBA" slows badly when viewing any media
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Nov 3, 2008, 06:53 PM
 
I just grabbed a lightly used MBA 1.6 and just spent a really intense week working the laptop. I noticed that if I try to view any media (hulu, youtube, etc), the machine will suddenly bog down and Ill start getting a slideshow rather than the usual smooth video. When this happens the entire machine will be working really slowly. My activity viewer will show around 90% processor utilization. I think this is heat related as I can sleep the machine for a few minutes and come back and all is well. Is this the known heating issue?
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Nov 3, 2008, 07:41 PM
 
Yea, Flash and OS X don't mix well; it's a well known issue that has gone on for years.

With a flash app (youtube, pandora, etc) open I'll see more than half of my available CPU power eaten up by kernel task making system calls on my MacBook Air.
     
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Nov 3, 2008, 08:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Yea, Flash and OS X don't mix well; it's a well known issue that has gone on for years.

With a flash app (youtube, pandora, etc) open I'll see more than half of my available CPU power eaten up by kernel task making system calls on my MacBook Air.
But does your MBA become totally unusable? I never had this problem with my Macbook or Macbook Pro. Its like running a OSX on a Powerbook Pismo with 256mb or ram!
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Nov 3, 2008, 09:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by webb3201 View Post
But does your MBA become totally unusable? I never had this problem with my Macbook or Macbook Pro. Its like running a OSX on a Powerbook Pismo with 256mb or ram!
Sounds about right for 1.6Ghz and integrated graphics.
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Nov 3, 2008, 09:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cory Bauer View Post
Sounds about right for 1.6Ghz and integrated graphics.

Nah, it should be comparable to my Macbook 1st gen. I think ill take this one in for service. Thanks all.
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Nov 3, 2008, 11:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by webb3201 View Post
But does your MBA become totally unusable? I never had this problem with my Macbook or Macbook Pro.
Yes; even the mouse gets jumpy and the keyboard lags.

Originally Posted by webb3201 View Post
Nah, it should be comparable to my Macbook 1st gen. I think ill take this one in for service. Thanks all.
Let me know if they have a fix... I've reinstalled the OS multiple times and taken it to the Apple store, but the Genius was useless.
     
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Nov 4, 2008, 03:11 PM
 
Try Google "Macbook Air throttle"....

In a nutshell: some 1G MBA will throttle back the CPU within minutes or even seconds under heavy load: it may be the overload of thermal paste which is the cause, some say the throttling back is unstable for things as video.. either way at least the combination is killing...

BTW I have no MBA (yet)
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Nov 4, 2008, 05:12 PM
 
My MBA did this all the time -- especially with a second monitor hooked up. What I believe is happening is that because the GPU/chipset and CPU share one large heatsink, when you tax the GPU, it causes the CPU to heat up and it decides to shut down one of its cores.

I rely on a second monitor while working, so this was unacceptable, and fscking frustrating. I ended up getting the logic board replaced, and that reduced the issue by a good 50%, but it still happened on occasion when viewing videos AND using the second monitor.
     
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Nov 4, 2008, 05:23 PM
 
I don't know about those theories, the temps weren't that hot and it doesn't explain the kernel task CPU usage.
     
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Nov 6, 2008, 06:04 PM
 
When kernel_task goes up in CPU usage and your one CPU graph in Activity Monitor looks entirely used up, that's when one of the cores has shut down.
     
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Dec 30, 2008, 12:36 PM
 
Do a search on "coolbook". I was shocked and angry when i discovered how serious the heat/core shut down problem was on the MBA.

Was delighted (if not a little irritated with Apple) to discover that a cheap, lightweight utility allowed me to remove the problem completely (never any system stutters / core shutdowns) and extend the battery life of my MBA by an extra 40 minutes.

CoolBook controller lowers the voltage provided to the CPU - with the right settings - to ensure that it runs cooler and uses less energy. Works flawlessly.
     
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Dec 30, 2008, 07:09 PM
 
Thanks trillionandone, I'll try that... oh wait, the fan in my MBAir has seized. Ugh.
     
   
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