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LAPTOPS

SVALT Cooling Stand models S and S Pro with 16-inch MacBook Pro and model S Mini with Mac Mini, and SVALT Cooling Dock model D with 16-inch MacBook Pro

Heat Generation

Before diving into cooling system diagrams and descriptions for each MacBook model below, it is important to understand why cooling is needed. Computers generate work through processors. The more work they do, the more power they pull, and the more power that goes through the system, then the more heat is created. Processors generate so much heat that temperatures can rise to the point of causing errors, reducing hardware durability and can even leading to immediate hardware failure.

To avoid frying the computer, a built-in cooling system attempts to remove a portion of the heat that could cause hardware damage. However, when the cooling system is not sufficiently sized, as is often the case for laptops and compact desktops, then processing power is throttled. Throttling helps to protect hardware, but it results in slower performance. If not already familiar with throttling, then you can learn more on the Throttling page.

While processors (CPUs and GPUs) are the primary heat generating components within a laptop, essentially all electrical components generate some heat. For instance, the computer’s internal power supply and batteries can also generate significant heat when being charged or when being rapidly discharged. The computer memory (RAM) and storage (hard drive) modules also generate heat.

Apple laptops, as with most laptops, use a built-in cooling system to remove internal heat. These cooling systems consists of the following components that will be reviewed in greater detail in the subsequent sections: 1) an external aluminum enclosure heat sink, and 2) an air cooling system that includes one or more processor heat sink, heat pipe, heat radiator fan, cool air intake vent and hot air exhaust vent.

Aluminum Enclosure

The first production Mac laptop with a metal enclosure was released in 2001, and by 2006 all Mac laptops began to use an anodized aluminum metal enclosure. Using metal instead of plastic allows the enclosure to act as the device’s structure onto which mechanical and electronic components mount. This helps create a structure that is light, strong and rigid, as well as creating a durable and beautifully finished surface.

The aluminum enclosure also acts as a heat sink, absorbing heat from internal heat generating components through direct physical contact (conduction), heat waves (radiation) and hot air (convection). This means that the aluminum enclosure is an important component in the laptop’s built-in cooling system. For the aluminum enclosure to function as an effective heat sink that absorbs heat from internal heat generating components and then expels it into the surround environment, the enclosure needs to be uncovered and as open as possible to the surrounding environment. For the most effective cooling, then the enclosure should be exposed to cooling airflow or another external heat sink to pull heat away from the laptop.

This means that running the laptop with the screen open will increase heat transfer and allow for greater cooling, so if you prefer running with the screen closed in clamshell mode, then supplemental cooling becomes essential. This also means that while laptop covers and cases may serve their purpose in decorating and protecting surfaces, those are typically made of insulating materials such as plastic and wood that will negatively impact cooling by insulating the aluminum enclosure and preventing heat from escaping. Each particular setup has its advantages and disadvantages, so a user decides what best serves their needs.

Air Cooling

All recent Mac laptop models with a built-in air cooling system include one or more processor heat sinks, heat pipes, heat radiators, fans, cool air intake vents and hot air exhaust vents. Heat is transferred from the processor to the heat sink, which then transfers heat to the heat pipe, which then transfers heat to the radiators through which the fan blows air that extracts heat from the radiator’s large surface area and finally expels it out of the laptop. The laptop’s internal fans pull cooling air through intake vents, and depending on that laptop, the cooling air path can help to directly cool components as the cool air is pulled into the fan. The processors, heat sink, pipe and radiator are typically the areas on a laptop with the highest temperatures. All of these components are located towards the back edge of the laptop, approximately at the center upper section of the keyboard.

Keeping the laptop intake vents open with access to fresh and cool air helps with cooling performance, while keeping the exhaust vents free of obstructions is essential for maintaining proper laptop function. Restricting hot air exhaust vents can quickly lead to higher temperatures, and sever restrictions of blocking the vents could result in hardware damage. Even placing an external fan that pulls heat from the laptop can cause damage if the fan is not pulling more exhaust air than would normally be discharged by the laptop’s internal fan.

Apple Silicon M1 Laptop Cooling Systems

  • Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch Apple Silicon M1 Max 2021 cooling system
  • Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch Apple Silicon M1 Pro 2021 cooling system
  • Apple MacBook Air 14-inch Apple Silicon M1 Max 2021 cooling system
  • Apple MacBook Air 14-inch Apple Silicon M1 Pro 2021 cooling system
MacBook Pro 14/16-inch M1 Pro/Max (Apple Silicon) 2021+ : The new next generation M1 Pro / Max MacBook Pro includes two cool air intake vents located on each side as well as the return of the pre-2016 model’s central intake vent located along the back screen hinge for direct processor cooling. Vents located on both ends of the back screen hinge exhaust hot air from the two internal fans. With the screen lid open, duplicate vents on the top of the screen hinge allow for additional hot exhaust airflow. The M1 Max processor uses a larger processor and heat sink than the M1 Pro. The 14-inch cooling fans are approximately the same size as prior generation laptops, while the 16-inch cooling fans are roughly 86% larger than the 14-inch and 51% larger than the prior 16-inch Intel laptop, which allows the new 16-inch to run in a special high power mode. The SVALT Cooling Stand model S Pro has been optimized to provide the most powerful and quietest cooling solution for these laptops with the screen open and with additional cooling performance capabilities as the result of the new laptop’s new vents located above the back screen hinge, while the Cooling Dock model Dx Pro has been optimized for closed screen (clamshell mode) with additional cooling performance capabilities as the result of the new laptop’s center intake vent allowing for direct processor cooling.

Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch Touch Bar Apple Silicon M1 2020 cooling system MacBook Pro 13-inch M1 (Apple Silicon) 2020-2021+ : The M1 generation MacBook Pro includes the same case design and cooling system layout as the former entry level non-Touch Bar Intel version that uses a single fan with exhaust vent and intake vent along the underside back screen hinge. The SVALT Cooling Stand model S Pro has been optimized to provide the most powerful and quietest cooling solution for these laptops with the screen open or closed (clamshell mode), while the Cooling Dock model Dx Pro has been optimized for closed screen (clamshell mode).

Apple MacBook Air 13-inch Apple Silicon M1 2020 cooling system MacBook Air 13-inch M1 (Apple Silicon) 2020-2021+ : The M1 generation MacBook Air lacks an internal built-in air cooling system and as a results relies only on the external aluminum enclosure to act as a heat sink for cooling. The SVALT Cooling Stand model S Pro has been optimized to provide the most powerful and quietest cooling solution for these laptops with the screen open or closed (clamshell mode), while the Cooling Dock model Dx Pro has been optimized for closed screen (clamshell mode).



Intel Laptop Cooling Systems

  • Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch Touch Bar 2019-2020 cooling system
  • Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch Touch Bar 2016-2019 cooling system
  • Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch Touch Bar 2016-2020 cooling system
  • Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch non-Touch Bar 2016-2019 cooling system
MacBook Pro 13/15/16-inch Touch Bar (Intel) 2016-2021 : The MacBook Pro Touch Bar generation includes two cool air intake vents located on each side. The larger 16 and 15-inch versions include two hot air exhaust vents at either end of the back screen hinge. The 13-inch version also includes two exhaust vents along the back screen hinge, although, some entry level models include only a single exhaust vent along the back screen hinge and the other exhaust vent is used as an intake vent. The SVALT Cooling Stand model S Pro has been optimized to provide the most powerful and quietest cooling solution for these laptops with the screen open or closed (clamshell mode), while the Cooling Dock model Dx Pro has been optimized for closed screen (clamshell mode).


  • Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch Retina 2012-2015 cooling system
  • Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch Retina 2013-2015 cooling system
  • Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch Retina 2012 cooling system
MacBook Pro 13/15-inch Retina (Intel) 2012-2016 : The MacBook Pro Retina generation includes two cool air intake vents located on each side as well as a central intake vent located along the back screen hinge for direct processor cooling. The larger 15-inch version includes two hot air exhaust vents at either end of the back screen hinge. The initial versions of the 13-inch included a two exhaust vents along the back screen hinge, while the later versions included only a single exhaust vent along the back screen hinge. The SVALT Cooling Stand model S Pro has been optimized to provide the most powerful and quietest cooling solution for these laptops with the screen open, while the Cooling Dock original model Dx Legacy has been optimized for closed screen (clamshell mode).



  • Apple MacBook Pro 17-inch Unibody 2009-2011 cooling system
  • Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch Unibody 2008-2012 cooling system
  • Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch Unibody 2008-2012 cooling system
MacBook Pro 15/17-inch Unibody (Intel) 2008-2012 : The MacBook Pro Unibody generation does not include intake vents along the side, and instead includes sections of intake vents along the back screen hinge. The location varies between models and configurations. The larger 17 and 15-inch versions typically include two hot air exhaust vents along back screen hinge, but the vent location varies between models and configurations. The 13-inch version includes a single exhaust vent along back screen hinge. The SVALT Cooling Stand model S Pro has been optimized to provide the most powerful and quietest cooling solution for these laptops with the screen open or closed (clamshell mode), while the Cooling Dock model Dx Pro has been optimized for closed screen (clamshell mode).
Apple MacBook Air 13-inch Retina 2018-2020 cooling system MacBook Air 13-inch Retina (Intel) 2018-2020 : The MacBook Air Retina generation does not include intake vents along the side, and instead includes a single intake vent at one end of the back screen hinge and a single exhaust vent at the other end of the back screen hinge. Unlike other air cooling laptops, the processor’s heat sink is not connected to a heat pipe, radiator and cooling fan. Instead the processor heat sink has cooling fins that transfer heat to internal airflow generated by the built-in cooling fan. The SVALT Cooling Stand model S Pro has been optimized to provide the most powerful and quietest cooling solution for these laptops with the screen open or closed (clamshell mode), while the Cooling Dock model Dx Pro has been optimized for closed screen (clamshell mode).

  • Apple MacBook Air 13-inch 2008-2015 cooling system
  • Apple MacBook Air 11-inch 2015-2018 cooling system
MacBook Air 11/13-inch (Intel) 2008-2017 : The first MacBook Air generation does not include intake vents along the side, and instead includes a long intake vent running from the center to one end of the back screen hinge, and then a single exhaust vent at the other end of the back screen hinge. The SVALT Cooling Stand model S Pro has been optimized to provide the most powerful and quietest cooling solution for these laptops with the screen open, while the Cooling Dock original model Dx Legacy has been optimized for closed screen (clamshell mode). Apple MacBook 12-inch Retina 2010-2015 cooling system MacBook 12-inch Retina (Intel) 2015-2018 : The MacBook Retina generation lacks an internal built-in air cooling system and as a results relies only on the external aluminum enclosure to act as a heat sink for cooling. The SVALT Cooling Stand model S Pro has been optimized to provide the most powerful and quietest cooling solution for these laptops with the screen open or closed (clamshell mode), while the Cooling Dock model Dx Pro has been optimized for closed screen (clamshell mode).


SVALT is Cool by Design

The above represents some of the insights into cooling that SVALT uses to help create the world’s most effective cooling solutions of their kind; a creation process that begins by studying how laptops work and then uses that understanding to design products that help them perform at their best. SVALT products optimize the laptop’s built-in cooling systems (external aluminum enclosure heat sink and internal air cooling), and then adds supplemental cooling to increase total cooling capacity and boost performance potential.

SVALT cooling comparison diagram by models Cooling Diagram : The diagram above provides an approximate overview of total potential cooling capabilities. The upper half of the diagram shows the approximate amount of supplemental cooling that a given SVALT model can potentially provide. The lower half of the diagram shows the approximate amount of heat potentially generated by the computer that will then need to be removed to avoid throttling and achieve optimal performance. In some instances the computer can be operated in different configurations, such as with a laptop screen open or closed in clamshell mode. These different configurations will decrease or increase the amount of heat within the computer, and therefore impact the overall cooling performance. For instance, while the Cooling Dock Dx Pro provides significant cooling power, running the laptop in closed screen clamshell mode traps more heat compared to running the laptop with the screen open on the Cooling Stand S Pro. Another factor is the use of external monitors, with additional and/or higher-resolution monitors increase GPU heat generation within the laptop.

You can deep dive into all of the ways SVALT obsesses over details to create the most extreme cooling performance solutions by going to the Cooling Stand product page, Cooling Dock product page, and Compare page.

Please contact us with any questions, feedback or general inquiries and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.