Hi, SO I was talking about this with my wife at dinner and realized neither of us could figure this one out so if there are any engineers out there, I'd love to have a definitive answer of some sort... Basically, I've been lurking/researching threads on various forums trying to figure out what would be my best option for a laptop cooling pad for my macbook pro Based on what I've absorbed, I've taken various steps to keep it cool, including: - Configured w. 512 GB SSD (I just did that cause it sounded neat but some folks say these run cooler) - don't play video games on it - turned off automatic graphics switching - installed iStat K, so, I did these things cause a friend's MBP recently died (logic board fried) and he swears it cause he ran it too hot, for too long This is the first laptop I've owned, so now I'm geeking out on trying to figure out what all the variables are for this First thought was to get one of those "laptop cooler" things with the fans, so I got a Zalman 2000 off of amazon. It does seem to keep both ambient temp and CPU about 4 degrees lower (celsius) when surfing the net - 57 degrees CPU rather than 61 Now, I realize that NEITHER of these temps are anything to worry about I just am curious about the following: So, obviously most of the laptop coolers on the market are made for PCs, which have vents on the bottom, wheras macs dissipate heat through the hinges I picked up my MBP and sure enough the zalman is basically just blowing cold air at the flat surface of the bottom - NO air is getting inside the machine at all, so how effective can that be (already answered that - seems to be about 4 degrees C less than when off) But assumin I want to really understand the physics of this and the MBP is already engineered to cool itself admirably without extra fans blowing at its bottomside - lets just take that as a given - then it seems a passive cooling device would make more sense So, of those, some folks say that something like the mstand works as an effective heatsink since aluminum conducts heat so effectively http://www.amazon.com/Rain-Design-10032-mStand-Laptop/dp/B000OOYECC OK, makes sense, if the aluminum case of the mac itself is designed to dissipate heat then something like that would effectively increase the surface area of the case and so dissipate heat at a much greater rate This looked good too, and similar claims are made for it (the omnistand): http://www.radtech.us/Products/omnistand/ BUT, in neither case is the aluminum of the MPB case actually in contact with the aluminum of either stand - they both have rubber pads which prevent metal/metal contact (and thus, scratching) So, theres at least a thin layer of air between the two aluminum surfaces - so can either stand really act as a "heat sink" since air is such a terrible conductor? I do not understand the physics of that. Wouldn't they function as INSULATING layers instead? If so, then wouldn't it make much more sense to just expose as much of the case to the air as directly as possible with something like the incline pro: http://www.koyono.com/Inclinepro-Portable-Ergonomic-Laptop-Cooling-Stand-p/inclinepro.htm or the "Opteka X-Stand Ergonomic Portable Natural Airflow Cooling Stand" http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004ARHYZS/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00 or the bookarc: http://twelvesouth.com/products/bookarc/ So that's an engineering question - if the aluminum case is already so effective at dissipating heat, and since these aluminum stands etc don't actually have metal to metal contact - then would they NOT actually effectively increase the surface area? WOuldn't they actually function as INSULATORS? Wouldn't it be BETTER to chose some alterate means of exposing as much of the case to the air as possible, either by lifting it off the desk or else truning it on its side? Is this whole "stand as heatsink" thing just a scam based on a misunderstanding of thermodynamics? Or is there something about "heatsinks" and how they work I'm not just getting here? Is the case itself an effective enough dissipating device that all it needs is adequate airflow, or would it actually be able to dissipate heat more effectively if it had a greater surface area? Thanks!