Keeping Your Big Aibook Warm

After having spent a great deal of quality time using one of Apple's Big AlBooks during the past month, I've managed to figure out how to get the thing to heat up. Under general use it warms up just enough for the casing to be comfortable in your lap on a cool morning. That's about it, generally speaking.

But the Big AlBook has another side to its stunning personality. You might say its the toastier side of the slab. The secret to warming the thing up seems to have something to do with putting the the GPU to good use.

The heart of the Big and Little AlBook's video subsystem is the NVIDIA GeForce 4. It does an admirable job at all times. Whether its rendering a simple desktop picture, shoving the screen saver around from one pixel to the next, or playing a QuickTime video, its performance never disappoints.

But those are all pretty smalltime, compared to what its capable of. There are a few other things that really take the chip to task and that's when things start to heat up. The first time I noticed a few more Farenheits than usual issuing from the smooth shell of my AlBook I had downloaded and was toying around with the latest incarnation of MAME. MAME has this disconcerting habit of dimming the entire screen when it engages. Suffice it to say I do NOT keep Big Al in my lap when I'm MAMEing. Another simple little application which warms the cockles of the AlBooks heart is Maelstrom. Its a fun little game not unlike the old Asteroids, but I like it a lot better.

Before the hazing begins, yes, that's about as high as my gaming spirit soars. I'm just not a gamer, as I'm sure any of you who are will attest.

If you're not living on the bleeding edge of the gaming world and would like to see for yourself if a Big AlBook can be heated up during normal use, I've got one other little tip for you.

You might have heard that Apple and the iSteve recently updated an insignificant little application for Mac OS X. Its called iTunes. All in all its a fine little application and I'm made to understand it has new new and interesting features. One of the older features in the application is the visualizer. Its fun to watch and when my little boy isn't asking me to play a video for him or watching the Tarzan DVD he's busy being fascinated by the visualizer. Yes, I like it too.

In any case, running the visualizer for a little while has the same effect as those high-end games I mentioned a little while ago. So there you have it. If you're concerned that your AlBook just isn't living up to the warm reputation garnered by its little brother, fear not. You too can make your lap into the hot seat.

Lest I sound like I'm bashing BigAl, let me set the record straight. I'm not. I hardly ever get the funky little fan in this thing to come on and aside from a few failures to wake from sleep, its been a flawless companion. The AirPort Extreme card works well, though so far I've just used it with other Macs equipped with the older AirPort cards.

Its still the coolest computer I've ever used, in spite of sometimes warming up under heavy graphics use. You might say, I can take the heat