Apple’s MacBook Air (M2, 2022) received the disassembly treatment by iFixit (opens in new tab)with some interesting revelations about the cooling solution for the notebook, and a mysterious addition to the component mix as well.
The discovery included some things we already knew, courtesy of YouTuber Max Tech who has already dug into the laptop’s innards. Namely, that the new base model MacBook Air has its SSD configured as a single 256GB NAND flash chip, which makes it slower than the previous Air’s pair of 128GB NAND chips (M1), and that’s a little disappointing (although expected, as this is the route Apple took with the base model of the M2 MacBook Pro).
Other highlights include the mysterious addition we mentioned at the beginning, which is the presence of an accelerometer on the MacBook Air (M2, 2022) – to what end, we don’t know yet – and a close examination of the cooling system employed in the notebook.
As you may know, the MacBook Air has no fan, relying on passive cooling instead of a fan – and avoiding the use of space to fit one of them, in addition to ensuring that there is no noise during operation. But iFixit was surprised to see that there is no heatsink used and instead Apple seems to rely on applying a full charge of thermal paste and graphite tape, and that the M2 chip itself is highly efficient in terms of performance. energy and therefore easy to cool.
There’s some good news as the battery is relatively easy to remove and so swap for a new power pack if needed, but the SSD is soldered, so it can’t be upgraded to a better model in the future (and the same goes for the M2 SoC, as you would expect).
Analysis: Heatgate Coming? And that accelerometer?
The main point of interest here is the observations iFixit makes about cooling and how Apple potentially took some liberties in terms of securing the MacBook Air’s seriously thin and slender lines by cutting some corners of cooling.
While we didn’t find any issues with overheating in our MacBook Air (M2, 2022) review, some owners reported that the laptop is heating up in their experience and the M2 chip throttling as a result (reducing performance levels to ensure it doesn’t get hotter ).
The latter is not an ideal situation, of course, and it will be interesting to see if something like a ‘heatgate’ situation develops as more people get their shiny new MacBook Airs. Especially if they are using the notebook in very hot environments, with the current heatwave situation in Europe for example, which has already seen some companies sending out warnings about the thermal limits of their devices.
As for the accelerometer mystery and what it’s for, these gadgets were inside old MacBooks to detect if the laptop had been dropped and to take precautions to try to save the hard drive from damage in the resulting impact. Of course, Apple notebooks have SSDs these days, so that’s no longer necessary – but maybe the company still wants to detect drops, perhaps to see if a faulty laptop has dropped in the past and any damage goes to the owner.
We’re not sure that’s a good enough reason to reserve internal space for an accelerometer, mind you – when space is so at a premium with the MacBook Air in particular – but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Alternatively, perhaps the accelerometer has some sort of application-related function; only time will tell, but presumably it must be there for a good reason.
Through MacRumors (opens in new tab)