As technology becomes increasingly more complex, dynamic, and advanced, the demands that we place on our laptops has risen alongside this growth. When it comes to gaming, editing videos, or even watching movies, we want higher-resolution imagery, faster transitions between frames, and full control over our experience. The catch, though, is that the harder your laptop works, the more heat it will generate, and the slower it will run over time. Heat generation and laptop speed go hand in hand.
The SVALT Cooling Stand
and SVALT Cooling Dock
were designed to address this problem, by helping your laptop achieve and maintain peak performance, while creating a more open, ergonomic and elegant professional laptop workstation. So once you have a SVALT workstation setup then it is time to make a few refinements to ensure you are getting all the performance your computer can deliver.
In this post, we’ll cover a few actionable ways that you can set your Mac laptop up to run at optimum speed and reduce the heat generation when used in conjunction with the SVALT Cooling Stand and Cooling Dock. Aside from being a performance-enhancing list of best practices, this is also a way to increase the healthy lifespan of your machine and save money in the long run.
SVALT optimizes computer cooling, and the following workspace setup guidelines will help achieve the best cooling:
- Avoid Restrictive Spaces: Locate the computer away from walls and corners for access to more air circulation and avoid trapping hot air that could be pulled back into intake vents. Avoid placing within a small enclosed space (cabinet, shelving, under desk, etc) without a dedicated mechanical air conditioning system (like a server room).
- Avoid Heat Sources: External displays, hard drive arrays, and other common professional desktop accessories can generate and exhaust heat. To avoid transferring that heat to your computer, identify the neighboring device’s hot exhaust vent and position it to reduce heat transfer.
- Avoid Hot Spaces: As a general rule, an increase in ambient air temperature will lead to higher computer temperatures. If your office space has forced air heating, then try to position the computer so that it is not hit by heated air. Of course, the reverse is true with air conditioning, as that airflow could help drop ambient air temperature.
- Avoid Direct Sunlight: When metal is placed in direct sunlight then it will absorb heat, which will reduce it’s heat sink cooling capabilities and could result in heat radiating into the computer.
SVALT cooling solutions help manage the additional heat generated when using a laptop as a desktop replacement with external monitors. However, if you are tackling an intensive task that does not require additional screen real estate, then reducing the number of connected external displays or limiting the external display to a single lower resolution monitor will help reduce the computer’s GPU’s workload. Depending on the application and external display configuration, external GPUs (eGPU) can help transfer workload away from the computer’s internal GPU.
Limit Background Activities
A computer’s operating system and applications can consume considerable resources and increase temperatures without you having launched an application or executed a task, such as Spotlight indexing
, Diagnostic Submission
, TimeMachine backups, cloud based storage backups, other network activities and virus activities. You can use Apple’s Activity Monitor
found inside of the Utility Folder located within the Applications Folder to identify and then disable unnecessary applications that tax your system (CPU, GPU, RAM, storage, network, etc). One of the easiest quick fixes is to disconnect wired internet connections and turn off wireless internet connections, as this will prevent a number of background activities, including receiving emails, texts or photo calls from interrupting an intensive workload. Another way to eliminate unwanted background activities is to remove unnecessary Login items, applications that automatically launch at startup. To see and remove these applications open System Preference, go to Users & Groups, click on Login Items, uncheck or delete unnecessary items, preventing then from launching, and then restart if required.
Quit any applications not required. Running a virtual machine (VM) or running an application in a VM is going to zap performance, so avoid if possible, or if a native macOS option isn't available then run the OS/App in Boot Camp instead.Update Software
Keeping your OS and applications updated usually helps things sync up for smoother and faster operation. However, OS and applications can become burdened with features, many layers of code and bugs that over time, which can make them less efficient. With the exception of security updates, it is generally a good idea to wait a few days/weeks to hear about any issues before installing a major OS/App or firmware update, or wait until after the first bug update/patch has been released.
Free Up Boot Drive Space
When a hard drive includes your OS it is known as the boot drive, and when your boot drive starts to run out of free/open space then speed can take a huge hit. Depending on what you are doing, the type of boot drive, and the drive’s capacity you may need between 10-50% and 10-100GB of your boot drive to be free space. In general 15% or 15GB is considered minimum, and once approaching that level then you should be prepared to upgrade to a larger drive or transfer data to free up space. If you work with large photo, video, rendering or other files, then 100GB is a more reasonable minimum. Another way to free up boot drive space is to keep your project data on an external drive, just be sure to use a fast 7200RPM drive, SSD drive or multiple RAID drives if storage speed impacts on your workflow.
All storage devices will eventually fail, and a sudden loss of data is a sure fire way to reduce productivity. It is not a question of if, but when data loss could occur from reaching the drives end-of-service life, accident or theft. Any important data requires regular backups. If you do not require large backup capacity, then online/cloud based backup solutions can provide a simple and robust option. However, if you require large backup capacities, then you will likely need to use a local and off-site physical backup system. For many consumers, Apple's built-in Time Machine software with a couple inexpensive external drives will provide sufficient physical backup protection. For professionals, keeping a cloned copy of your working drive with Carbon Copy Cloner
plus multiple copies of external storage sets is highly recommended. A 7200RPM desktop drive or SSD drive will cut down on backup times. Note that RAID drives might not be your best option for backups because the additional hardware and/or software increase the chances of failure and many default RAID configurations prioritize speed over reliability.
Use A UPS If Required
Similar to loss of data, a sudden loss of power or a severe power fluctuation can cause a computer’s built-in data storage and external data storage devices to fail. One of the advantages of using a laptop is that it includes an internal battery that acts as an Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPS), so your laptop only requires a surge protector. If power is lost while running in clamshell mode, either from a power utility event or from accidentally disconnecting the power cable, then the laptop will instantly enter sleep mode. If you are using bus powered external drives that pull power through the data connection cable, then in most cases the data on the external drives should also be protected. However, if you are using external drives that require a separate power source, then a UPS will be required for those drives, but be sure that you do not use the UPS for your laptop power source and that you only use a surge protector for the laptop power. See Apple’s article Troubleshooting MagSafe Adapters
for an explanation of why a UPS should be avoided when using a laptop.
Back to top of page