Limiting Handbrake threads to prevent throttling on M2 Macbook Air

Due to a recent surgery, I've been recovering at a location outside my home for a few weeks. I brought all my media with me on a spare hard drive, but one movie I had ripped but never transcoded wouldn't play on the 'Smart' TV here.

It seems to do okay with some H.264 profiles, but not the one for this 4K Blu-Ray rip. Therefore, I thought I'd transcode the file so it would play.

I also wanted to do other work on my laptop—in my lap. And unfortunately for Apple's latest M2 MacBook Air, there's no fan or heat sink to keep the M2 SoC cool.

And that meant the temperature around the top middle of the keyboard—and the bottom middle of the laptop—got quite uncomfortably hot with Handbrake's default settings, which would max out the CPU during the transcoding process.

I could encode anywhere between 10-18 fps at 4K resolution with x264, but the SoC temperature rose to 105°C and was uncomfortably hot within a minute or so.

Laptop Temperatures: What's safe? How do I avoid overheating?

A question oft asked on the Apple Discussion boards (and other online computing forums) is: "My laptop seems really hot on the bottom* - is this safe?" This page will attempt to answer this and many other questions about iBook temperature concerns.

Why is it important to control (to a certain extent) your computer's temperature? Because a computer is like a car: if it's too cold, it won't run, and if it's too hot, it will overheat. As with all physical objects, a computer must obey the laws of physics, and when the temperature is too high or too low, things inside the computer won't work well. The optimal operating temperatures for your specific computer should be listed in the computer's manual.

Temperature Monitoring Software

There are many free software programs to help you monitor your Mac's temperature (whatever model it may be). My favorite is Temperature Monitor (free). Temperature Monitor allows you to see all temperature sensors in windows, the Dock, the menubar, or your Dashboard.