Video Review: The SVALT D's Built-In Fan Sets it Apart From Other MacBook Docks

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The Svalt D is a MacBook dock with a unique feature - a built in cooling fan that's designed to keep a MacBook's temperature down when used in clamshell mode with an external monitor. Keeping the MacBook cool helps prevent processor throttling due to the high temperatures a MacBook is subjected to when in clamshell mode.

We went hands-on with the Svalt D to test the claims that it reduces temperature and speeds up performance, and we were impressed with how it worked.


Made up of a two-pound block of aluminum, the Svalt D is an attractive, sturdy stand that matches well with Apple's line of MacBooks. The Svalt D houses a small stand that moves air through a MacBook, and thanks to an adjustable rubber foot, it's compatible with all of Apple's notebooks.

To test the Svalt D, we exported two different videos from a MacBook, with and without the dock. Without using the dock, exporting a video took 15 minutes and caused the temperature of the MacBook to rise to 121 degrees Fahrenheit. With the stand, our video exported in 14 minutes and the stand kept the MacBook at 105 degrees Fahrenheit, a 16 degree difference.

Our one complaint about the Svalt D concerned the two modes of the fan. There's a normal mode and a silent mode, but switching between them requires using a special standalone cable, which is a bit of a hassle and an extra expense. Luckily, both modes are relatively quiet and don't make as much noise as a MacBook fan, but the silent mode is definitely a better choice for users who want the quietest possible performance.

In our opinion, the Svalt D is a solid dock that lives up to its claims, keeping your MacBook cool when it's used with an external monitor. The Svalt D is available in Silver and Black and can be purchased from the Svalt D website for $149.95. The Silence Adapter is available for $8.95.

Note: MacRumors received no compensation for this review.

Top Rated Comments

DogHouseDub Avatar
72 months ago
USB powered fan by Thermaltake - $15

Ikea napkin holder - $2

done :-)

regarding where the air is blowing - the bottom case draws heat away from the components so it can be more efficiently dissipated (much like an audio amplifier). Keeping the air moving along the bottom of the case is a great way to decrease the internal temp - no need to force air inside the case itself, IMO. Even resting the Macbook upside down can help substantially.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
swrobel Avatar
72 months ago
So, just to be clear, this thing isn't a dock by any definition. It's a stand with a fan.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ckWTB Avatar
72 months ago
I hope the following information helps clarify a few things:

Silence Adapter
The Silence Adapter is an optional accessory for sound sensitive environments, it is not a standard accessory or required for typical office environments.

Laptop Cooling Configuration
The laptop’s active built-in cooling system is the laptop’s primarily method of cooling. The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display includes two large cooling fans that exhaust hot air out at both ends of the rear vent located under the screen hinge. A primary cool air intake is located at the center of the rear vent (between the two exhaust vents). A heat sink attaches to the CPU/GPU chips and transfers heat through a heat pipe to heat radiators located at the fan exhausts. The current 13-inch Retina differs from the 15-inch Retina model in that it has a single large fan on one side of the rear vent, while the older 13-inch Retina have two smaller fans. The 13-inch and 11-inch MacBook Airs have a single small fan on one side of the rear vent.

In addition to the active cooling, aluminum laptops also uses passive cooling through the laptop’s aluminum enclosure that functions as a large heat sink. The enclosure absorbs heat from the internal heat generating components (processors typically contributes the most heat) and then transfers that heat to passing air or other nearby heat sinks. This passive cooling is a secondary method of cooling, with slower and smaller contributions to cooling the CPU/GPU components.

By driving cooling air directly onto the CPU/GPU chips through the laptop’s primary intake you can achieve immediate and significant cooling. There is an air gap between the fans and exhaust vents through which the waste heat is driven out, so that the internal fans do not spin fans and exhaust their waste heat as normal. Overall this airflow supports and supplements the laptop’s built in cooling system.

If you want to see the layout of cooling and other laptop components for yourself then I recommend check out iFixit://www.ifixit.com/Device/Mac_Laptop (http://www.ifixit.com/Device/Mac_Laptop)
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SnarkyBear Avatar
72 months ago
$150??!? For that price I expect a TOP QUALITY dock.

But then you have to pay extra for an external converter for silence mode? Because installing a switch would have been WAY to complex and costly? And the external attachment that you have to switch in and out manually?

Seems bush-league to me. Something I would expect on a $8.99 dock from Walmart.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
brand Avatar
72 months ago

I hope the following will help clear up the use of the term performance cooling dock: A dock is a structure designed to connect one object that is typically mobile (a laptop) to another object that is typically stationary (desktop workstation) for the purpose of moving substances between the two objects, such as loading cargo onto a ship, loading packages onto a truck, sending astronauts from a space station to an escape vessel, sending electricity through cables to power an electronic device, or sending cool air through an aluminum cradle heat sink into a laptop. The laptop is docked within the SVALT D to move cool air from the dock into the laptop. The SVALT D is a performance cooling dock in which all aspects of the device has been designed to effectively send cooling air into the laptop, such as the cradle’s shape and exhaust vent padding have been designed specifically to mate and seal around a MacBook air intake vent.

That is a stretch if there ever was one.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
brand Avatar
72 months ago
When is a dock not a dock? When it is a SVALT D.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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