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In June 2017 Apple updated its 13" MacBook Air with a newer Broadwell Intel Core i5 processor, resulting in slightly increased performance and battery life.

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SMC a pain in the butt

This in a general question, and the reason why i am choosing not to post in Apple’s discussion is i would get the limited standard lecture.. I hope this would be more broad..

Why is SMC/PRAM such a problem? It seems the “defacto” standard Apple users for just abut everything, from fan speeds too high, to power and everything in-between where as on Windows PC, you have noting of that, and half the complains too..

Is this because SMC is software and would cause more issues over say the BIOS in a PC ?

Of all the time i’ve ever used computers i’ve had more times resetting SMC on a Mac than i would ever had to fiddle with BIOS in Windows systems to “fix” things up that decided to go atray.

For some reason, it always puzzeled me for such a ‘perfect” system, why the the opposite?

e.g… Apple has a habit of reckons “high” fan speed is considered normal, but a Windows system, we know all too well high fan speed points to indication of heat, and anyway to “reduce”that heat would be beneficial…

But Apple says it doesn’t matter, as it won’t destroy the system (for some reason we’d rather go by “fail-safes’ than common sense)

Can someone explain this to me better than i can?

Comming from a Windows background, and dabbed in both systems… Windows clearly wins here… but that could be nly because i’m judging Apple based on a limited eco-system as well.

Answer this question I have this problem too

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Actually its not a problem of the system its us! Sometimes things get blown out of proportion resetting the SMC & PRAM (technically NVRAM in the newer systems). Here’s a bit more on it Reset NVRAM or PRAM on your Mac

But getting back to why is it us? We fail to deal with the care and feeding of our systems based on what it needs.

Let’s look at your pet cat or dog. Both require attention at set time points, feeding, walking, playing and cleaning up. If you mess up or not doing one or more of the pets needs you have a mess or a dead pet.

Here we let the systems batteries run low or exhaust fully. So what happens is the system can loose its NVRAM settings. For SMC the systems sensor may get stuck with the low power condition so its only reporting this.

Is this an issue with Macs Vs PC’s that’s a hard one to answer! A Mac is not the same as a PC! In some ways it’s a super set of what a PC is. In other words its a PC plus more! And I’m not talking about the OS aspect strictly within the hardware.

Now let’s dig into the fan issues. Apple’s manic directive to make thinner systems is the root issue! They have always been fighting physics! Heat needs to be shed from the CPU & GPU chips (the largest heat sources in the system) this requires three elements a heat dump (metal plate on the chip) and then a means to move the heat to a radiator to expel the heat into the air via a fan blowing air across the fins of the radiator.

The mass of the heat dump needs to be large enough to absorb the spike of heat and then the static state condition. The heat pipe(s) need to effectively move this heat. This is the set by the performance of what the system is expected to run at. Opening a simple web pages is not going to create a lot of heat unlike rendering a video which will push the limits. and the fan has to move as much heat as possible without drowning us with noise.

Now let’s look at this from a systems designers perspective. Its often two if not three years before the system is shipped when the designer puts pen to paper to design the system. your boss says to you it needs to be thinner! You look at what you have to work with for CPU’s & GPU’s and you push the design to the edge, the testers test it and over time the system is fine tuned. But we have a problem!

This is all done in a vacuum! In the real world applications are moving forward with more advanced ability which pushes the hardware harder. People are eating up the newer apps and the design you roll out the door is 2 years old! The amount of over design is not even close to what people are attempting to do with this new system as the designer cut away too much of the cooling system to make the system thinner!

So… Find apps that are two years older than the first shipment of the system and only use these apps you have a winner! Now run the rest apps of today 2020 what happened?

I can’t blame Apple alone here as some of this is the makers of the chips not setting a thermal point and designing mobile chips not to exceed this or set a better cooling requirement spec. Basically passing the buck to Apple so they end up holding the bag when the CPU heat is greater than what was expected (this is what was the down fall of the first i9 mobile chips)

As to which is better and why

Apple needs to live with its failures and Windows PC makers need to live with theirs. I wouldn’t jump to the fact a Windows system runs the fans harder as being the key deciding issue. They too have heat issues if they try to follow Apples direction. It’s a bit of playing chicken, where each throws a knife at ones feet to see who manages to miss their own toes (or cars).

The thermal limit of the chips is being monitored by the SMC so the system won’t exceed it. The CPU is merely slowed down so it produces less heat and if you had blocked all of the vents the system would have gone into shutdown with the fans still running hard to lower the temp. Again this is our failure not the systems as we exceed its threshold but blocking the cooling.

So is a Windows system better - No its the same! They may take a more aggressive path with the fans than slow down the CPU. Both will hit the thermal limit if allowed to. A thinner system will get there sooner though.

So then what is import to you the size, the look the performance? Having a Porsche is more of a status symbol vs being practical, having a pickup to haul limber if you are carpenter and if you are a school teacher a small urban car is all you need.

So I do the same! I have a few systems each has its benefits a smart cellphone when I’m about, a tablet when I need to read or want something transportable for presentation. A laptop when I need something more and a desktop when I need a large screen and lots of things connected.

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