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Boiling hot: Laptops and portable devices are known for running hot when CPU and GPU units have to deal with demanding workloads. However, recent tests have shown that the newly released M3 MacBook Air can reach unprecedented heat levels.

Apple has launched new MacBook Air models to generally positive reviews. The new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Airs are based on the M3 SoC that Apple claims provide up to 60 percent more performance compared to the M1 models, and are up to “13 times faster” than older Intel-based MacBook Airs.

A recent test performed by Max Tech confirms that the M3 systems are indeed very fast, but they also tend to experience some of the most extreme working temperatures recorded in the industry. The lightweight laptops include no fans, relying instead on passive cooling to provide a silent computing experience.

Max Tech tested the 15-inch MacBook Air using the 3DMark Wild Life Extreme and Cinebench 2024 benchmark suites, recording how hot the system was running. The hottest core inside the M3 SoC reached up to 114 degrees Celsius on multiple occasions, while the CPU and GPU units in the chip reached up to 107 and 103 degrees Celsius under load. The external chassis hit 46 degrees at its hottest point.

Laptop processors are generally safe to operate at higher temperatures under stress, but maintaining a temperature significantly higher than the standard boiling point of water is essentially unfeasible. The M3 MacBook Air did go into thermal throttling, reducing frequency and power consumption to return to a still high but safer temperature of around 100 degrees C throughout the test.

MacBook Air models based on the M2 SoC had similar ‘overheating’ issues, but there is no evidence that they were able to reach the same extreme temperatures recorded on the M3 system. Max Tech compared the performance of the MacBook Air to an M3-based MacBook Pro laptop, which is designed to provide higher performance levels thanks to its active cooling system.

Due to thermal throttling, the MacBook Air model experienced a steep decline in graphics performance (27 percent) on 3DMark Wild Life Extreme.

So far there have been no widespread reports of overheating issues with the new M3 laptops though. After all, the MacBook Air is designed for light computing tasks and is ill-suited for heavy workstation-like loads.

[ For more curated Apple news, check out the main news page here]

The post Apple M3 MacBook Air hits 114 degrees Celsius under full load first appeared on

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