Apple recently refreshed the 13-inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with the new M2 SoCa new generation chip that maintains the 8-core CPU configuration divided into two blocks, one high-performance quad-core and one high-efficiency quad-core, and is accompanied by a GPU with up to 10 graphics cores.
The thing is that the 2022 MacBook Airs that use the M2 SoC have a passive cooling systemthat is, totally without fans, while the 13-inch MacBook Pro that mounts said chip uses an active cooling solution, made up of a fan that accelerates the cooling process and prevents heat from accumulating.
Using a passive cooling system has advantages, as it is largely unaffected by the passage of time and the accumulation of dust and dirt, and offers completely silent operation. However, it also has its disadvantages, which is that it is capable of dissipating less heat, which can lead in certain situations to quite marked problems of «thermal throttling», that is, to a loss of performance due to excess heat.
MacBook Air M2 suffers from performance loss due to excess heat
And the problem is not new, it also occurred in the MacBook Air with the M1 chip, present in the 2020 models. The jump to the ARM architecture and the development of custom chips It was a success by Apple, especially because of the jump that it has allowed in terms of performance, consumption and working temperatures. However, Apple has not been successful in the cooling systems used in its MacBook Air line, and the performance tests carried out by The Verge confirm this.
The MacBook Air with M1 chip fell from 6,803 points in Cinebench R23 (multi-threaded test) in the first round to 5,369 points after a 30-minute cycle. In the case of the MacBook Air with M2 chip, the drop is also very marked, since it goes from 7,706 points to 6,767 points. It is clear that it is a problem of loss of performance due to excessive heatsince the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which mounts the M2 chip and an active cooling system, not only does not lose performance but also improves its score in the 30-minute cycle.
However, it must be recognized that Apple has managed to reduce the loss of performance due to heat compared to the previous generation, since in comparative terms the MacBook Air M2 loses less performance than the MacBook Air M1. I understand that without the fan improves the user experience in certain aspects, as it reduces weight and allows for a lighter and slimmer design, but at the same time it forces the user to bear a considerable performance loss.
I do not want to end without reminding you that, in addition, the 2022 MacBook Air It has also been surrounded by some controversy due to the slowness of the SSD of its base configuration versus the previous generation model.