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FAQ

If you have any questions not covered here, then please contact us.

What laptops does it work with?

See Laptop Compatibility page to learn what devices works with the SVALT Cooling Dock.

What’s different between the D1 and D2?

See SVALT Cooling Dock store collection for a description of differences.

Why buy it instead of cheap cooling trays?

SVALT does things differently than the typical consumer electronic company, as we design and manufacturing the SVALT Cooling Dock locally in Portland, Oregon, USA. While there are pros and cons with local manufacturing, for SVALT the decision boils down to making people and the planet a priority over lowest possible cost and highest possible profits. Working locally also allows SVALT to create products that are as much about art as performance, and as much about craft as technology.

SVALT is a private mission driven company because it allows the founder, Chad Kirkpatrick, to take an obsessively detailed approach, designing everything from the logo to website to packaging to product, as well as manufacturing locally whenever possible. This approach helps SVALT meet our goal of ethically delivering the best and most extreme products that we can make. And it is this approach that allows SVALT to create a hyper-niche product like the SVALT Cooling Dock, a product that is unique in its extreme levels of design, features, performance and quality. Awarded three patents, nothing like it existed before, and creating it took considerable resources. All of that means that costs are higher and profits are lower than typical consumer electronic products, but it does allow for SVALT to offer something unique within the market place.

We each get to decide what does and does not have value, and there are advantages and disadvantages to each approach. However, for those that value DIY bootstrapping startup efforts, innovation, design, performance, features, quality, art, craft, local manufacturing, made in the USA, ethical treatment of people and the planet, and personal customer service, then the SVALT Cooling Dock will be a compelling option.

See Innovative By Design and About SVALT to learn more.

Why do you manufacture locally?

SVALT is based in Portland, Oregon, USA because it is a city in the heart of the Pacific Northwest that combines our two favorite things, close proximity to wilderness and robust design culture. We manufacture locally because it allows for immediate in-person communications with the diverse group of people involved with part supply, part manufacturing, product assembly, and beyond. This results in a manufacturing process that helps to ensure that products are made to SVALT’s exacting standards, and ensure that people and the environment are treated with respect in a lawful, humane, non-discriminatory and sustainable manner. Ultimately, this is a project of passion, and it is our goal to share and inspire passion from Portland to the rest of the world.

See About SVALT to learn more.

Why use the laptop with the screen closed?

A laptop’s built-in screen, keyboard, power management, cooling system and ergonomics have been optimized for mobility, which means they can fall short when performance and productivity is required at the office. The SVALT Cooling Dock was created to transform laptops into more ergonomic, productive, powerful and professional desktop workstations with the following advantages:
  • Operates the laptop in closed-screen clamshell mode so that the laptop’s bottom air intake vent opens up for the SVALT Cooling Dock to directly cool the laptop’s processors and turbo charge the laptop’s small cooling system, which helps to reduce processor throttling and improve performance when running high-demand applications for extended periods of time.
  • Disables the laptop’s built-in screen to help optimize graphics performance for driving multiple full-sized and high-resolution external displays.
  • Disables the laptop’s built-in screen to free up system power and avoid performance throttling induced by a limited power supply.
  • Disables the laptop’s built-in screen to preserve screen life.
  • Setups a pro workstation with two or more identical side-by-side external displays.
  • Setups a more ergonomic workstation with two or more large external displays located at eye level, and with the use of keyboard, trackpad, trackball, mouse or drawing device of your choice.
  • Creates a more clean, open and modern workspace, while regaining valuable desktop space with a reduced laptop footprint.
See Laptop Clamshell Setup to learn more.

How can I tell if my laptop is throttling?

If you are experiencing slow performance or you hear your laptop’s internal fans running at maximum speed then your laptop may be throttling performance and in need of supplemental cooling. When the computer is throttling the peak Turbo Boost or multi-core processor speeds will drop, which causes performance to slow and temperatures to decrease. Processor speed throttling is a normal occurrence with laptops as they have smaller and often underpowered cooling systems that are unable to keep up with heavy workloads, such as gaming, video editing, photo editing, and 3D rendering.

The SVALT Cooling Dock has been specifically designed to reduce or eliminate throttling and unlock your laptop's maximum performance potential. A powerful desktop sized fan drives cooling air onto the CPU/GPU processors to reduce or eliminate throttling and unlock your laptop's performance potential. The SVALT Cooling Dock’s two pound aluminum cradle acts as a massive heat sink located right next to the heat generating CPU/GPU to deliver passive cooling.

See Laptop Throttling to learn more.

Will it make my laptop faster?

The SVALT Cooling Dock is a supplemental cooling system that increases the cooling capacity and cooling reserves of a laptop’s built-in cooling system. Since most laptops have a comparatively small built-in cooling systems, these systems can struggle to keep up with the heat generated by CPU and/or GPU processors running at or near maximum speed for an extended period of time. When developing photos, editing videos, rendering models, playing video games or running other high-demand applications a laptop’s built-in cooling system can fail to keep up, leading to internal fans spinning at max, heat building up throughout the system, potentially degrading component reliability, processor throttling and slow performance.

The SVALT Cooling Dock has been specially designed with multiple patents to turbo charge the laptop’s built-in cooling system, help avoid a laptop meltdown, overcome heat induced throttling and maintain peak performance while under heavy and sustained workloads. As a result, a SVALT workstation will help speed up your laptop compared to one that is throttling. In addition, the SVALT Cooling Dock closed-screen clamshell configuration increases workstation productivity by allowing all of the laptop’s power to be used by the processors and all of the laptop’s graphic resources to be dedicated to driving multiple full-sized and high-resolution displays. The external displays, along with the ability to use any keyboard and other input device of your choosing, will help to improve ergonomics and productivity.

See Performance By Design to learn more.

Will it help preserve laptop life?

Computers can generate a significant amount of heat, and depending on a number of factors, that heat can reduce hardware life and reliability, so as a general rule, hardware life and reliability can be increased by reducing hardware’s exposure to high temperatures. Clamshell mode uses an external monitor that disables and preserves the built-in display. Clamshell mode also uses an external power supply so the laptop does not go through additional battery cycles.

See Laptop Throttling to learn more.

Can I use USB power from my laptop?

The SVALT Cooling Dock has been designed to unlock maximum laptop performance when used at the office. USB power can drive a smaller 6-volt fan, but it cannot drive the larger, more powerful and more efficient 12-volt fan used in the SVALT Cooling Dock. Using USB power has another disadvantage, as the power must be pulled from laptop’s system and this has the potential to generate additional internal heat, as well as using power that otherwise could have been used by the computer system for improved performance. Laptops with the top-end CPU and GPU configurations often require more power than the external power supply can provide when running at maximum speed, which requires supplemental power to be pulled from the battery and can lead to processor performance throttling. Disabling the built-in screen frees up more power for the processors so that the system can maintain maximum speed. The SVALT Cooling Dock is about maintaining maximum performance so robbing the system for USB fan power would be counter productive. Finally, the SVALT Cooling Dock has been designed as a solid piece of desktop furnishing for your laptop, not as light-duty accessory for mobile use.

See Innovative By Design to learn more.

How does it provide laptop stability?

The SVALT Cooling Dock’s substantial two pound aluminum dock with non-skid feet create a stable and elegant support for your premium laptop, while the innovative leaning support configuration provides easy laptop operation. With the laptop securely in the dock and connected to external displays, keyboard, mouse and power, the laptop screen can be easily opened to quickly power on the laptop. This avoids dropping the laptop when attempting to enable clamshell mode operation by picking up the laptop, opening the screen, pressing the power button, and then quickly closing the screen. The upright leaning position with the dock’s compact form also helps to regain valuable desktop space and create a more clean, open and modern workspace.

See Innovative By Design to learn more.

Does dust need to be cleaned?

As with any air cooled computer it is recommended that you inspect your laptop for dust and remove dust build up on a regular basis. Dust accumulation with or without supplemental cooling will vary depending on operational hours and the amount of dust in the environment. A MacBook Pro with 15-Inch Retina Display laptop was opened to inspect for dust after approximately 4,000 hours of operation with a SVALT Cooling Dock in an environment considered to be dustier than a typical professional office. Only a slight amount of dust was found, and a quick blow from a hand pump blower easily removed the dust that had lightly accumulated around the internal fan, at the air intake and adjacent fan blades. The same laptop with same SVALT Cooling Dock setup was found to have virtually zero dust accumulation after approximately 2,000 hours of operation. If you attempt to clean dust from your laptop then take care and seek professional services as required. iFixit is a great resource with Mac laptop repair guides and repair tools, such as P5 Pentalobe Screwdriver, anti-static wrist strap and mat, dust blower, as well as a guide to electrostatic discharge.

Where else can I buy SVALT products?

You can checkout and purchase the SVALT D2 High-Performance Cooling Dock (silver aluminum + black fan) in-person through Made Here PDX at their downtown Portland, OR (40 NW 10th Ave Portland, OR 97209) retail location next to Powell’s City of Books. SVALT also sells through Amazon, where the D2 (silver aluminum + black fan) and D1 (silver aluminum + red fan) Cooling Docks are available.

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