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Laptop Speed Tips

SVALT D2 High-Performance Cooling Dock air flow MacBook Pro 15-inch Retina display workstation

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 Dock was 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 MacBook up to run at optimum speed and reduce the heat generation when used in conjunction with the SVALT 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.

Limit Background Activities
Use Apple’s Activity Monitor found inside of the Utility Folder located within the Applications Folder to identify and then remove unnecessary applications that tax your system (CPU, GPU, RAM, storage, network, etc). OS and applications can consume considerable resources and significantly 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. One of the easiest quick fixes is to disconnect a hard internet connections and turn off a wireless internet connections, as this will prevent the vast majority of background activities, including receiving emails, texts or photo calls from interrupting an intensive workload. For instance, watch Activity Monitor and CPU temperatures the next time a phone call comes through. 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.

Close Applications
Quit any applications and widgets not required. Running a virtual machine (VM) or running an application in a WM is going to zap performance, so avoid if possible, or if a native OS X option isn't available then run the OS/App in Boot Camp instead.

Update Software
Keeping your OS and applications updated usually helps things synced 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 external USB 3.0, Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt2 drives, just be sure to use a fast 7200RPM drive, SSD drive or multiple RAID drives if drive speed has an impact on your workflow.

Backup Data
All storage devices will fail, and a sudden loss of data is a sure fire way to reduce productivity. It is not a question of if, but when a drive will fail. 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 most consumers, Apple's OS X built-in Time Machine software with a couple inexpensive USB 3.0 external 3.5" drives will provide all the physical backup protection they require. A 7200RPM desktop drive or SSD drive will cut down on backup times but RAID drives might not be your best option because the additional hardware and/or software increase the chances of failure and most 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 for both mobile and desktop workstations is that laptops include 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, and in most cases you will only need to reconnection the cable and press the space bar on the keyboard. If you are use bus powered external drives that pull power through the data connection cable then in most cases the data on the external drives will 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, 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.

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