Does Playing Games on MacBook Air Damage It?


If you’re a super-gamer, you would’ve probably understood that laptops are not the best gaming machines to use for prolonged gaming sessions. This rule even applies to the expensive Apple product, MacBook Air (although still cheaper amongst its other Apple brothers). Still, if you do continue to game excessively on a MacBook Air, will this damage the laptop slowly in the long run?

Yes, playing games on a MacBook Air does slowly damage the system in the long run. As it lacks an internal fan to cool off its heated compartments, you should not game on a MacBook Air, especially for more than one 1 hour or you risk overheating your machine.

Apple products have always been designed to cater to different people, but gamers have never been their primary focus, and the hardware inside reflects that. A MacBook air is not designed to play games but rather to be an all-in-one capable machine that the perfect tool for a wide variety of people including creatives and bloggers.

I will explain why playing games on a MacBook air damages it and why your MacBook air gets so hot playing games and how to keep it cool.

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Why Playing Games On A MacBook Air Damages It

This is especially true for working professionals and business people, hoping to take advantage of MacBook Air’s sleek design and lightweight configurations for easy, portable work to be done while on the go.

A MacBook Air is certainly refined specifically for those purposes, omitting the extra hardware which makes the laptop heavier and bulkier, to compensate for a modern, intuitive design to attract new customers.

As a result, the absence of an internal fan, optical drive, and dedicated graphics processing unit (GPU) provide ample space for Apple to improve other core competencies of the MacBook Air to meet user expectations.

But do they make the gaming experience worse on a MacBook Air?

  • Lack of internal fan
    • The common use of an internal fan is to dissipate the trapped heat inside the laptop, once the hardware accumulates heat under excessive workloads.
    • Although a proper heat-sink is installed and strong thermal paste is applied, the absence of circulated airflow can still trap the heat generated within the MacBook Air’s cover, potentially damaging the corresponding hardware generating the heat whilst also faulting other components too.
  • No optical drive
    • Removing the optical drive at first glance may seem like ingenuity, especially when most applications and softcopies can be shared and installed online nowadays.
    • However, when installers and applications (such as DVD movies, game installers, etc.) are saved inside the MacBook Air itself, this clogs up the computer’s memory very quickly, especially if you are rocking the most basic MacBook Air specs (256GB SSD memory space)
    • Gaming consoles (PS5, Xbox Series X/are still providing physical game copies for gamers to play with, which saves internal console memory while also lessening the background processes of the gaming console in-game (by reading the optical disc instead of running it via application processes).
  • Dedicated GPU
    • This is the most important component when it comes to video game applications – the hardware which runs specific 3D-applications without hogging the main central processing unit (CPU) itself.
    • MacBook Air does not have any dedicated GPUs built into the system, sharing 3D-application processes with its own CPU cores and threads instead.
    • As a result, intensive use of both CPU and GPU processes simultaneously during gaming will undoubtedly affect the processor’s life span as a whole, potentially damaging it later in the future.

Techquickie explains briefly on the emphasis of overheating laptops, in the video below:

So why does a MacBook Air get heated extensively when gaming?

Read on to find out the answer.

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