MacBook air m2 thermals question


I’ve casually used Video Enhance over the past year. I’m not a professional and only use it for personal hobby projects (movie/video upscaling). Typically i’m experimenting with 1080p → 4k with Proteus. Recently i’ve been considering downsizing my pc to a Mac. I’m especially interested in purchasing a Macbook Air M2, but upgrading the ram to 16GB and the gpu to 10 cores. Video Enhance would really be the only high demand application i will ocassionally run.

My question is for people who have run Video Enhance AI on their macbook air m2. Does it thermal throttle significantly while processing a video for many hours (anywhere from say 4 hours to a day)? Are there any concerns about heat in general while running it?

I like the portability and fan-less design of the Air, since i will be frequently moving it around my house and connecting to different monitors and tvs. I’m torn on whether i should bite the bullet and go up to the pro 14 m2 for the better performance and maybe less wear and tear on the computer.

I have a new M2 MacBook Air. I have a utility that displays a bunch of sensor readings, including various temperatures and power draw. My 13.6" Air has 24GB integrated memory and 2TB SSD - it was maxed out when I bought it.

Right now, I’m running VAI on a short video segment. Activity monitor shows GPU usage at 96-98%. The bottom of the case is warm, not hot. Other core temps range between 165°F - 172°F.

Power draw indicates 24.91 Watts maximum. This is what I see immediately after the model starts running, and I don’t see any reduction in power draw as the processor warms up. I take that to indicate there’s no thermal throttling.

This is in contrast to my Mac Mini Intel. It’s got 64GB RAM and 2TB SSD, with an RX 5700 XT eGPU. When running VAI, the Intel processor cores go to 100°C (212°F) and power draw asymptotes at that temp until they cool to ~98°C, then repeat the cycle. Thermal damages was probably what killed my Mini three months ago. Apple installed a new logic board (thanks, AppleCare). In a couple of months, I’m going to add an external thermoelectric cooler to suck heat out of the Mini’s case, which is a big part of the thermal transport chain. I may also cool the ingested air as well.

Both systems are on Monterey with all updates.

Long story short, I’ve seen no evidence of thermal throttling on my M2 Air. It’s nearly as fast on VAI as my Mini, and uses several hundred watts less than that system with its eGPU.

Overall, I’m very happy with my M2 Air. I very much like the speed, the 24+ hour battery life, the complete quiet, and the light weight. I have used it to drive 43" and 27" monitors.

You know, the only Air complaint I have relates to the low power draw. When I wake up, my usual routine is to make a cup of coffee and go back to bed for a little current events surfing. I rest the Air on my chest (apologies if TMI) for this. Compared to my prior MacBook Pro, it’s bloody cold! Usually, I’ll visit or some other compute-intensive site for a couple of minutes to warm it up. :blush:

my concerns would not go towards thermal issues but regarding gpu power. if using videa ai regulary for hours is your main work a big and powerful gpu card is strongly recommended. for example my 6 core intel 8700K with RTX 2070 super is 5 times that fast than my Lenovo AMD 8 core with integrated graphics. In this case even the best CPU will not help that much with TV AI. I also had several MacBooks and iMacs by Apple and they are just not made for ongoing heavy workload. My 5 k iMac died after 3,5 years with a loud BANG. it was constantly running hot at 100 °C CPU and 105 °C GPU when gaming, not to forget that the only single fan was loud even at low 2000 rpm and never managed to get the immense heat out of the machine. The 2018 MacBook Pro 13 inch was not better, the fan was loud and the iGPU weak.

Thanks, that’s great to hear! May I ask what the length is of the short video segment you are processing? What’s the longest you have done on the air?

It’s amazing how much power is in the air. It’s hard for me to comprehend :laughing:

It’s about 16 minutes content play time. Thermal equilibrium is reached after about 3 minutes of processing time - the core temperatures stabilize by then. I’ve processed videos as long as two hours.

The Air stunned me with its speed. I run COMSOL numeric simulations on it. It’s easily ~5x faster than my 2019 MacBook Pro was on the same simulations.

I’m sure it’s not as fast as a Mac or PC with one or more high-end eGPUs. Short of that, it’s extraordinary.