Thanks to silicone pads: M1 MacBook Air almost as fast as the Pro model

Last year Apple presented its first MacBook models with “Apple Silicon”, a SoC that combines CPU and GPU, among other things. Both the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro from 2020 have the chip called M1, but have different performance values. As you can see on YouTube, this is due to the heat dissipation of the two models. While the MacBook Pro has a fan, the MacBook Air only has a "heat sink". However, if you connect this to the aluminum housing using silicone pads, then the performance values ​​can be increased. I have summarized the details for you below.

These are the performance increases shown in the video mentioned after the modification of the Apple MacBook Air with the M1 chip. In the following you will find further tips as well as a second video with the same procedure.

These are the performance increases shown in the video mentioned after the modification of the Apple MacBook Air with the M1 chip. In the following you will find further tips as well as a second video with the same procedure.

The procedure: silicone pads on the SoC's heat sink

Basically it is quite simple: Unscrew the lower cover of the M1 MacBook Air, stick silicone pads on the heat dissipation of the Apple Silicon and close the laptop case again. Of course you need a certain screwdriver for the screws in the same, because there are the ones Apple loves Pentalobe screws be used. 

The aim of this short intervention, which will definitely cost you the guarantee, is the heat transfer from the M1 SoC to the case instead of the heat spreading in the laptop itself. Because, as we know, the performance is throttled when certain components get too warm: Explanation of the kernel_task in macOS.

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Alternative or additional cooling can also help

If you do not want to carry out the procedure described above or perhaps even support it with additional measures, then a laptop cooler may be something for you. Even without the modified Apple notebook, it can ensure that its waste heat dissipates and does not accumulate as much. 

You can find a post on laptop coolers from this summer with this link. Personally, I'm a big fan of these types of accessories, especially those models that can be tilted so that the laptop is elevated and its screen is at eye level even on normal tables. In general, you shouldn't have laptops standing directly on a wooden table top.

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Video of the "High on Tech" channel

In the video embedded below you will not only find the illustrated instructions for the procedure described above, but also benchmark results, which should prove the performance effect of the silicone pads. In addition, a temperature comparison is made on the underside of the housing. At the same level as the SoC, it reached 49 ° C without pads and 58,8 ° C with pads. The video is in English, but since there is a lot of pictures, you should be able to get the most important information without having too much language skills.

Video of the “Linus Tech Tips” channel

And when I had already finished writing the above paragraphs, when I continued clicking around on YouTube I actually found a video that addressed the topic described in February of this year. It almost looks like the video embedded above is just a replica of the video embedded below. This is also better produced and shows actual video recordings of the procedure instead of photos. Be that as it may, both come to the same conclusion more or less: the silicone pads help.

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