Apple released a new Macbook Air in March of 2020 and on paper, it seems to check all the right boxes. Notable features include a much better scissor-switch keyboard (compared to the butterfly switches), and the ability to configure a quad-core CPU for only $100 extra over the base model, which now starts at $999.
So what’s not to like?
There’s just one problem with the 2020 MacBook Air: fan noise and high temps. Ok, maybe you can count that as 2 problems.
According to tech reviewers, even doing something as simple as watching a YouTube video can trigger the CPU to run at 100 degrees Celsius and extremely loud fans. The culprit? A CPU heatsink that doesn’t seem to be connected to the exhaust fan with heat pipes in order to actively cool it. Shocking, isn’t it?
The result is a potentially powerful laptop that can only display its chops for short bursts. But more importantly, the issue is excessive fan noise while doing even normal everyday tasks that shouldn’t be generating such fan noise.
There are reports that you can use a tool to turn off Turbo Boost in order to keep the CPU running slower and thus not get too hot or invoke excessive fan speeds. That may be all well and good, but having to gimp the system means you aren’t getting what you paid for.
Is There An Alternative?
Yes, in fact there is! Later this year (as soon as May possibly), Apple is rumored to refresh the 13" Macbook Pro, potentially with a new 14" model that has some design cues and feature upgrades similar to the 16" Macbook Pro released last year in 2019. We can expect:
- Similar scissor-switch keyboards as the 16" MacBook Pro and 2020 MacBook Air
- Higher resolution and better color screen vs. the MacBook Air
- Slightly heavier, but much more powerful than the MacBook Air
Unlike the Macbook Air, the MacBook Pro generally has superior thermal management, which means you will actually be able to use the power you pay for, and not have to deal with excessive fan noise while performing simpler daily tasks like watching videos.
This is all conjecture, but at this point I would wait to see what the new 2020 MacBook Pro refresh brings if you are in the market for a new Apple notebook computer.