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Repair and disassembly information for the 2020 refresh of the MacBook Air model A2179 with an Intel processor that was released in March 2020.

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thermal paste for heatsink

Has anyone tried replacing the thermal paste on this thing?

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Given how new the system is I wouldn’t mess with it!

There are a few YouTubers who have played around with the system as Apple managed to not understand the need of better cooling once again! Even if you improve the thermal paste it won’t fix the heat sink design Apple went with here.

Apple is using a passive heat sink which has no means to pump the heat out of the case. The fan really only circulates the air within the case.

A good way to think this is how people use a ceiling fan in there homes to mix the air within the room ceiling and floor spaces. This only homogenizes the air within the room it doesn’t add or subtract the heat build up within the room if all of the doorways and windows are closed. Opening a single window doesn’t really cool the room either effectively as the placement of the window will effect what happens. Lets say you have one along the ceiling and other at the floor 2x4 feet (2 feet high). If I open the top window the heated air within the room is lighter than the air outside then it will try to escape the room but it can’t really! As there is no air by volume entering taking the place of the air leaving.

While some air will sneak in along the bottom edge of the open window it won’t be that much! The closer the window is to the middle of the room the more effective the transfer as the volume changes from a few percent to 50 percent if the window is exactly in the middle and as you go down it looses its performance.

Now if we open the bottom window we create an opening for cooler air to enter. This effect is called chimney as its the basis on how they work moving the smoke out of the house. Here we get a full 100 percent of transfer of each window as its like the effect of a set of one way streets Vs a shared two way street.

Apple uses it in their iMac’s! In the new Mac Pro’s lamer flow is used pushing air from one side to the other (from to back). Apple (and most other laptop makers) use a heat pipe design moving the heat from the CPU to a fin area to then exhaust the heat out via a fan. Newer systems have been using a vapor evaporator which is more like how your refrigerator works just not with a compressor.

Apple loves quasi-passive cooling which is has gotten them into trouble! This is where the fan is used just to churn the air within the device. The TimeCapsules and the tower AirPort Extreme all which had heat issues.

We use the term ‘Air Cell’ to define the air space within equipment. Apple appears to have lost its engineering talent which understands this. As they continue to under size the cooling solutions. Not only in the MacBook Air’s the newer MacBook Pro’s also face heat issues do to poor cooling design. Big Steve Jobs was head strong on having a quiet system. But! That doesn’t mean not having proper cooling that is quiet! It can be achieved, I’ve seen it done! And it’s not costly to do.

Apple needs to breakout of their self imposed fog of not understanding on how to effectively cool their gear without making a racket! They almost achieved it in the iMac Pro!

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No, I have tried the thermal pad method though and saw marked improvement - fan rarely if ever turns on (I have the i5 version). It only cost me about $5-6 and is super easy to install. If you ever try the thermal paste let us know!

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I have been experiencing the issue where the fans on a new Mac Book Pro 2020 with intel processor do not kick in thereby causing frequent overheating issues and consequent shutdowns. I reset the SMC, restarted with diagnostics and installed the mac fan control free software, the fans are now running and I am keeping an eye on the temperature of the cores. I had been told that incorrectly applied thermal paste was supposedly the issue but this is not a case of fans constantly, just the opposite.

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I was in the process of trying to rescue a mac from some coffee that spilled inside and I took it apart cleaning out tons of gunk.

I ended up taking the heatsink off not realizing at first it even was a heatsink. Cleaned out a ton of gunk in there so no regrets. There's some hard black stuff in there as if it was hardened glue. Should I clean that off and apply some new thermal paste? Doesn't seem like the usual thermal paste.

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you should. that's apple's thermal paste. not sure what it is or how it works, but you should replace it if it is no longer touching the heatsink


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Corey Nopnop will be eternally grateful.
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