Modified M2 MacBook Air with a $15 thermal pad delivers enhanced performance

Although the new M2 MacBook Air has received good reviews for its design, display, and performance, thermal throttling is a concern for the notebook during heavy workloads. YouTubers @MaxTech have come up with a cheap modification to resolve that issue with a $15 thermal pad.

M2 MacBook Air - Apple

In 2008, Apple launched its thinnest, lightest and fanless notebook, the (Intel-based) MacBook Air which was praised for its portability and lower price than the MacBook Pro but was criticized for its, obvious, thermal throttling issues because of the lack of heat management system.

Apple’s solution for the overheating issue was not to introduce an active or passive heat management system but to transition the MacBook Air lineup to a faster and more power-efficient Apple Silicon from Intel processor: the M1 chip in 2020 and the M2 chip in 2022.

The cheap mod will keep the M2 MacBook Air’s cooler but revoke Apple’s 1-year warranty

Previously, YouTubers @MaxTech ran benchmark and thermal tests on the new M2 MacBook Air which showed that the machine did heat up and throttled during heavy workloads. They also did a teardown of the notebook that revealed Apple has housed the M2 and other chips in a metal casing and shielding and not a vapor chamber.

Therefore, they pasted thermal pads on top of the metal casing, right over the motherboard or Logic board, to transfer the heat of the M2 chip into the chassis faster. Luckily, even with slightly thicker thermal pads, the lower case fit perfectly back on and the modification worked!

M2 MacBook Air

To test the performance and thermals, YouTubers exported fifty images using Adobe Lightroom on the modified and unmodified M2 MacBook Air models.

  • The original M2 MacBook Air exported the files in 2 minutes and 55 seconds.
  • The modified M2 MacBook Air exported the files in 1 minute and 56 seconds. 

M2 MacBook Air

M2 MacBook Air

Other testing showed the modified notebook scored higher in benchmark tests, and its temperature stayed 5 degrees cooler than the unmodified notebook.

As exciting as the fix is, it will make Apple’s 1-year warranty void if users modify their machines. Having said that, thermal throttling will only be an issue for M2 MacBook Air users if they are editing high-resolution videos for a long time, daily.

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About the Author

Addicted to social media and in love with iPhone, started blogging as a hobby. And now it's my passion for every day is a new learning experience. Hopefully, manufacturers will continue to use innovative solutions and we will keep on letting you know about them.