The latest MacBook Air M3 can hit up to 114 degrees Celsius

The 2024 MacBook Air M3 on a wooden table in front of a bookshelf.
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

The M3 MacBook Air is a fantastic laptop (we said so in our review) that's easily worth picking up for the majority of Mac users who don't need the power or significant heft of the MacBook Pro lineup.

And yet, as with prior models of Apple laptops that featured the M2 chip, the MacBook Air is getting pretty hot. How hot, you ask? Well, 114 degrees Celsius.

That comes via the team at Max Tech, testing whether the fanless design can keep up with the power of the M3. After all, no fan in the chassis means quieter running and one less thing to drain the battery.

On the other hand, we saw with the M2 how it would build up heat and then throttle performance since it wasn't able to cool itself with an active cooling solution.

Max Tech's 15-inch M3 MacBook Air's core temperature reached that staggering figure of 114 degrees Celsius via a 3DMark benchmarking test, with 46 degrees Celsius on the chassis.

You can see the video below.

What are the risks of thermal throttling?

The good news is that the Mac will naturally bring its temperature down to avoid causing damage to itself (and others). It dropped to around 100 degrees Celsius, which is about what you'd expect from similar devices, but doing so can cause a performance drop in tougher workloads.

In our review, our reviewer said "[the fanless design] can lead to some thermal throttling under extreme load, but I never noticed anything to the detriment of my work. And that silence is golden."

Should you be worried about the M3 MacBook Air being a danger to use, though? It's unlikely, but the Pro is usually a better option for sustained performance across tasks like video editing and conversion.

We'll keep an eye on further developments in any case, but it's something to consider when finding the best MacBook for you.

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Lloyd Coombes
Contributor

Lloyd Coombes is a freelance writer with a specialism in Apple tech. From his first, hand-me-down iMac, he’s been working with Apple products for over a decade, and while he loves his iPhone and Mac, the iPad will always have his heart for reasons he still can’t quite fathom.

Since moving from blogging to writing professionally, Lloyd’s work can be found at TechRadar, Macworld, TechAdvisor and plenty more.

He’s also the Editor in Chief at GGRecon.com, and on the rare occasion he’s not writing you’ll find him spending time with his son, or working hard at the gym (while wearing an Apple Watch, naturally). You can find him on Twitter @lloydcoombes.

  • naddy69
    237 degrees Fahrenheit (what is this "Celsius" thing? 🤣) is VERY hot. Why is there no fan in an "Air"?
    Reply
  • FFR
    I guess because most consumers that get an air would not use cpu + gpu throttling apps.
    Reply
  • naddy69
    Good point.
    Reply