Designing Innovative Solutions
For the SVALT Cooling Dock
, the designer and founder of SVALT, Chad Kirkpatrick, set out to design the ultimate professional laptop workstation that could deliver increased performance without requiring any laptop modifications. However, the design needed to be more than an engineered solution, it needed to be an elegant office furnishing made from quality materials to elevate and prominently display Apple’s premium laptops. To achieve these design objectives, every dimension, angle and feature had to be researched, tested, and refined to respond to the way the laptop operates and regain as much performance as possible for high-demand professionals. Now, let's take a closer look at what was required to design the innovative triple patented SVALT Cooling Dock, the first and only product of its kind.
Understanding Apple Laptop Built-In Cooling Systems
To create the SVALT Cooling Dock, the first step was to unravel the intricacies of Apple’s laptop cooling. The pre-2016 MacBook Pro with 15-inch Retina display has a primary air intake vent within the rear screen hinge, located between two exhaust vents, right next to the the CPU and GPU processors. The exhaust vents extract hot air driven by two large fans that pull cool air from the primary central hinge vent and two vents along the sides. The fan driven cool air is pushed through heat radiators that are connected to a single heat pipe that is connected to processor heat sinks. Laptop models with a separate dedicated GPU have two separate heat sinks, one for the CPU and the other for the GPU, while models with a integrated GPU have a single heat sink for the CPU. An aluminum enclosure absorbs heat from the internal heat generating components and then transfers that heat to the exterior, however, this passive cooling strategy plays a secondary role in heat reduction compared to the active air cooling system.
The 2015 to 2013 MacBook Pro with 13-inch Retina display models have a single fan on one side. The 2012 and earlier MacBook Pro with 13-inch Retina display models have two small fans on both sides. The 13-inch and 11-inch MacBook Air models have a single small fan on one side. The 2016 and later MacBook Pro models do not have a central air intake vent. The MacBook does not have any air cooling system.
For more information about compatible devices, see Laptop Compatibility
Basing Design On Laptop Cooling Fundamentals
The fundamentals of laptop design dictate that performance is limited by the laptop’s ability to remove heat, and because laptops typically have less powerful cooling systems, it is understood that supplemental cooling will be required to reduce or eliminate throttling and thus regain maximum performance for most, if not all laptops. In short, more cooling equates to more performance.
For a deeper dive into the fundamentals of laptop cooling, see Laptop Throttling
Reaching Beyond What Has Been Done Before
After extensive research, design and testing, it was determined that improvements in performance would require more than moving air around the bottom surface of the laptop, which is the method used by previous laptop coolers. While blowing air against the laptop’s bottom will cool the surface, this does not results in an immediate temperature reduction where it counts, at the heat generating CPU and GPU processors. To significantly improve the laptop’s cooling capacity, cooling air needs to be sent directly into the laptop’s central cooling intake vent, where it immediately cools the CPU and GPU processors.
By running the laptop in closed screen clamshell mode, SVALT discovered that the laptop’s bottom vent opens up and provides direct access to the air intake vent, CPU and GPU processors.
Unlocking Superior Performance
The SVALT Cooling Dock is the first and only product of its kind that turbo charges laptop cooling systems to unleash peak performance potential. The SVALT Cooling Dock has been designed to supplement the laptop's built-in cooling system without requiring any modifications. The laptop support’s leaning angle, width, height and associated padding were precisely selected for optimal airflow, so that the laptop's hot air exhaust vents and cool air intake vents would flow freely and efficiently, even with the Cooling Dock’s fan powered off, but with the fan powered on, then the SVALT Cooling Dock unlocks maximum performance.
With the laptop in closed screen clamshell mode the SVALT Cooling Dock drives cooling air directly into the laptop's central cooling intake vent, for immediate and effective cooling where most needed, on the heat generating CPU and GPU processors. The fan is housed in a massive two pound aluminum dock, carved from solid aerospace aluminum to provide a solid, stable and functional heat sink laptop support. The aluminum heat sink is located next to the CPU and GPU, to remove heat even when the fan is powered down. A minimal use of padding on the aluminum dock was carefully placed to protect the laptop's finish while keeping as much of the aluminum heat sink exposed for maximum passive cooling.
To ensure maximum heat reduction, a more powerful 12-volt desktop fan is used instead of 5-volt USB powered fans used by most laptop coolers. The fan pulls 12-volt power from a wall plug instead of pulling it from the laptops to avoid generating more heat by taxing the laptop’s built-in power supply, which would be counterproductive as it could contribute to temperature induced throttling. Finally, a laptop’s power supply may not have sufficient capacity to meet all of the laptop’s power requirements when the system is running at max, so pulling more power would only increase the chance of performance throttling induced by insufficient power availability.
For performance testing, see Performance By Design
Delivering New Levels Of Cooling Performance
The more powerful, advanced and customizable SVALT D2 High-Performance Cooling Dock model configuration includes an intelligent temperature based variable speed cooling system with black fan. The SVALT D2 is the culmination of years of development. It adds technology to the performance of the D1 while staying true to the fundamental design goal of creating a simple product of substance, a raw physical object that communicate value simply by holding the product in your hand. The SVALT D2’s technology provides simple set-it-and-forget-it operation that intelligently delivers silent to overwhelming cooling power. An external sensor measures laptop temperatures and automatically adjusts fan speeds from 0 to 3600 RPM over the course of the workday. The cooling system runs in auto mode by default, but at any time Turbo mode can be activated for an immediate blast of extra cooling power, or a number of advanced and customizable cooling modes can be selected for even more user control. A LED responds to user activity and visually signals the cooling mode state, while the fan momentarily speeds up to provide an audio signal. A black and more powerful high-quality fan is used to create a more understated and professional workstation, as well as deliver additional cooling power when required.
For more information on setting up and operating a SVALT workstation, see SVALT Workstation Setup and Operation
Adapting To A Wide Range of Devices
The SVALT Cooling Dock’s leaning vertical configuration with slide adjustable pad allows for compatibility with a wide a wide range of devices, including laptops that operate with their screens closed in clamshell mode, convertible/flip laptops operated in clamshell mode or with their touchscreens flipped open, and touchscreen tablets, as well as the flexibility to to work with devices that have thin protective cases installed. That means the SVALT Cooling Dock does not required the purchase of additional inserts or models, and that a single dock can be used at a variety of workstations, or conversely, a single dock can be used with a variety of devices.
For more information about compatible devices, see Laptop Compatibility
Operating Laptop In Convenient Clamshell Mode
The SVALT Cooling Dock’s and substantial aluminum dock provides a stable leaning angle that resists tipping, while the padded leaning configuration allows for an easy clamshell mode power on process and Touch ID access while the laptop remains securely inside the padded cradle with cable connections in place. This not only makes for a quicker transition from mobile to desktop operation, but avoids dropping the laptop as you attempt to pick it up, open the screen, press the power button, quickly close the screen and then return it to the dock all while cables are attached.
For more information on setting up and operating a clamshell mode workstation, see Laptop Clamshell Setup
Transforming Laptops Into High-Productivity Professional Workstations
The SVALT Cooling Dock’s clamshell configuration effectively transforms a laptop into a desktop tower, disabling the laptop’s built-in screen, keyboard, trackpad and speakers so that you can use larger, more powerful and more ergonomic external monitor, keyboard, trackpad/mouse, speakers, and any other accessory required to create a high-productivity professional desktop workstation. By disabling the laptop’s built-in display in clamshell mode all of the laptop’s graphic resources can be dedicated to driving a 5K external monitor or multiple 4k external monitors for improved graphic performance, while also preserving the laptop’s built-in screen.
The SVALT Cooling Dock’s compact form and leaning clamshell configuration also helps to regain valuable desktop space and create a more clean, open and modern workspace.
For photos of professional SVALT workstations, see Example Workstations
, and for more information about laptop workstation ergonomics, see Ergonomic Laptop Workstations
The SVALT Cooling Dock Is The Ultimate Laptop Workstation Accessory
SVALT was created to explore the limits of design and deliver extreme levels of performance for professional and other high-demand users. It was not created to manufacture and sell mass-produced consumer products compromised to meet the needs of the most number of people. As a result, the SVALT Cooling Dock
is a hype-niche product, an elegant and high-performance workspace furnishing that does more than merely support a laptop, but elevates and prominently displays premium Apple laptops. With an aesthetic fit and finish that matches and accentuates Apple laptops, the SVALT Cooling Dock leaves a mark of refined design at your workspace, communicating style and sophistication. The introduction of the SVALT Cooling Dock is the ultimate workstation accessory, and has establish a new standard for professional laptop workstations.
For information about quality materials, manufacturing and ethics, see About SVALT
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