Notebook Coolers : A Buyers Guide

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by X2P, May 23, 2008.

  1. X2P

    X2P I♥COOLING | NBR Super Mod

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    [​IMG]

    This is the third major update of this buyers guide for users in search of a notebook cooler. I have written this guide in order to help users avoid the myths and legends that are out there about notebook coolers.

    Pictures are from various sources including reviewers and forum members as well as manufacturer sites. Thank you.

    I am working on a way to integrate prices please be patient.

    I am sorry for the deley in the release of this update but this has been a MAJOR update and has been very very time consuming for me. If there are any issues please PM me or post.



    What is a “notebook cooler”


    The name should be self explanatory but for those who find it not, a notebook cooler is a device that may or may not use fans and normally sits underneath your notebook in order to provide extra cooling for the notebook.


    What use are they?


    There are many bashers out there about notebook coolers. Truth be told, every laptop will have different results with different or even same coolers. In general though a notebook cooler is quite helpful at lowering temperatures of components within a notebook. Many claim that a notebook cooler will do next to nothing and are “useless” or a waste of money as the post below shows (click for original).


    [​IMG]


    This is a false statement and the user probably did not a) choose a good cooler for his system b) choose a sub-par cooler c) is having a bad day.

    Most people do notice a difference with coolers if don’t properly and for some where the cooler can only hit a 1-5C difference it can mean all the difference in the world. If you look at Cooling Central under “are you over heating?” temperatures enter risky territory when a video card reaches 90-95C, a processor reaches 70C or a hard drive reaches 60-65C. Those are just risky temperatures and there are also “threshold” temperatures as well which are higher and can be viewed at Cooling Central. But for users who reach temperatures around or excess of those that are known to be dangerously high it 2C can make a difference.

    One issue that most users also have with notebook coolers being “ineffective” for them is that many users expect far too much out of a notebook cooler. Yes people do see massive differences but many are happy with slight differences. Do not expect a notebook cooler to be a “savior” although it may be the case for some.

    A notebook cooler can also extend the life of a notebook as a major enemy and killer of any electronic device is heat. Unfortunately notebooks are not excluded. Many notebooks have heat issues and a notebook cooler is just one of the possible solutions and is a road that some users may want to venture.

    There are also users who have purchased notebooks which have noisy fan(s) and during normal usage cannot stand the sound of those fan(s). Some notebook coolers can run quieter then even an average notebook fan.


    Which one is right for me?


    There are a few steps you can take in order to choose a good notebook cooler for you.

    1) The most important thing is the make sure that the vents and fans of the notebook and the notebook cooler align. Raw fan power or CFM (Cubic feet per minute, which is a measure of the volume of air flowing in a system.) is not everything. Alignment of fans and vents will have a bigger role in how effective the cooler is in most cases. Exceptions would be if a notebook does not do well in the presence of any notebook cooler you have tried or if you are having ridiculously high temperatures in specific cases. An example of this would be the Zalman NC1000 versus the Zalman NC2000 debate for a 15.4 inch notebook. After tests were done the lower CFM NC2000 beat out the NC1000 due to the fans and vents being hit better. Here is the link to that article.

    Here is an example of how to check alignment.


    1) Find the measurements of the vent area or the cooling area of the notebook cooler you are interested in. You could look at reviews or comparisons as they may have measurements already laid out or ask a two or more users of the cooler as they may provide you with the information. The reason you may want to ask two or more users is that one may be biased or they could both have different measurements on what they find to be the area in which airflow comes out and it is recommended if it is the case that two come back with different results find at least one more opinion.


    [​IMG]


    2) Now that you have found the measurements for cooler’s fan/vent location and other measurements flip your notebook over and measure your own vent fan placement. The goal is to see if your notebook will align well with the cooler’s vents. I recommend you take a picture of the bottom and Photoshop or MS Paint the measurements for each location to make it easier for your self after all measurements are taken. If your notebook vents generally hit but only about a centimeter is being missed on top/bottom or both etc it should be fine. (Thank you to the user I have borrowed the image from)


    [​IMG]


    2) Noise. Some do not mind the presence of excess fan noise but there are many who are bothered by almost any noise in general. Many coolers do make a lot of noise but there are some that are quieter then others. One tip is often but note always notebook coolers with higher CFM generate more noise as they either have an extra fan resulting in a 50% raise in noise (mathematically calculating 2 +1 =3, the one is 50% of the 2) or the smaller space in vents to create a higher CFM (Think about blowing through a straw full breath and the noise it would create, now remove the straw and think about that noise which is quieter? No straw).


    3) Looks are also important to an extent. Many users want their work space to match and look organized. It is not a good idea if you have an overly sleek notebook such as a new Dell Latitude E and buy a cooler that looks gaming oriented unless it is determined that the cooler will do a far greater job. It would be like taking a Maybach and tossing a racing spoiler on it.


    [​IMG]


    4) Aluminum or a metal in general is a better choice when buying a notebook cooler over plastic for the following reasons. Metal conducts heat, especially aluminum, better then plastic will. Meaning if the contact surface is built out of metal it may provide a better cooling experience. The other advantage of a cooler using its largest surface made out of metal would be strength. Metal is usually stronger than plastic as you should be able to guess.


    5) In order to get the best price possible use a site such as:

    Canada: www.shopbot.ca
    USA: www.pricegrabber.com


    Find the lowest price available for the product and find a local store that does price matching. Many stores do this but some require a cash payment in order to allow for price matching.


    6) Use common sense

    If you would like further assistance on this please fill in the FAQ provided at the bottom of this guide.


    Is there anything to be avoided or anything that requires warning?




    1) The Targus Chillpad’s are chronically under achieving and not making a difference. The fans are known to cut out, be noise and lastly be a potential a health hazard according to the State of California.

    “This product contains chemicals, including lead, known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. WASH HANDS AFTER HANDLING”

    This excerpt was taken off a Targus Chillpad box and more about this can be found here.

    2) Although some generic brands pull through it is generally not a good idea to purchase a generic brand. They tend to use cheaper materials and under perform as they do not really cover vents properly.

    3) The USB ports on notebook coolers vary from USB 1.1-2.0 and if it is an issue please check the original manufacturer’s website for details.





    Coolers on the Market: Desk or Around the House


    Zalman NC Series

    <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" src="http://w455.photobucket.com/pbwidget.swf?pbwurl=http://w455.photobucket.com/albums/qq280/X2PNBR/Zalman NC/32095944.pbw" height='120' width='400'>[​IMG][​IMG]


    These are the most popular notebook coolers here at NBR. It is sleek, sexy and comes in black or silver. Its main feature is its silent effectiveness. It runs at an astonishing 18.0 - 25.5 dBA ± 10 % making it a minor hush while it cools your notebook. Both models are powered by the same fans which makes the CFM for the NC1000 higher but with less cooling space (less vents) it may not reach all the vents and/or fans on some notebooks. They have a special air flow system making a balanced airflow from the vents.


    NBR

    Zalman NC2000 (B) Review (Written by myself)
    The 15.4&#8221; Smackdown: Zalman NC1000 VS NC2000 (Written by myself)
    Zalman NC1000 Review (Written by Nexs)
    Zalman NC1000 Review (Written by P_boucher)
    Zalman NC1000 with Dell XPS 1530 Review (Written by WileyCoyote)NEW!

    Offsite

    Zalman NC1000 Review (www.tweaknews.net)
    Zalman NC1000 Review (www.bcchardware.com)
    Zalman NC2000 With the Dell XPS 1730 Video Review (Youtube&#8217;s iftibasher)
    Zalman NC2000 Review (www.techpowerup.com)


    Cooler Master Notepal Infinite

    <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" src="http://w455.photobucket.com/pbwidget.swf?pbwurl=http://w455.photobucket.com/albums/qq280/X2PNBR/Zalman NC/CM Notepal Inifinite/120962e1.pbw" height='120' width='400'>[​IMG][​IMG]


    This cooler has a unique airflow system similar to that of the Zalman. It is similar to a knight in shining amour with its crosshatched ventilation on the top. A key feature which makes this cooler very attractive to many is that it does not suck air in from the bottom. That means it can be used on virtually any surface, its main cooling region is around the edges. The updated version has replaced the dark grey for silver and added a 4 port usb hub in the rear.


    NBR

    Cooler Master Notepal Infinite Review (Written by Johnny_T)

    Offsite

    Cooler Master Notepal Infinite Review (www.liewcf.com blog)
    Cooler Master Notepal Infinite Review (www.digitgeek.com)


    NZXT Cryo LX

    <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" src="http://w455.photobucket.com/pbwidget.swf?pbwurl=http://w455.photobucket.com/albums/qq280/X2PNBR/Zalman NC/NZXT Cryo/8d217008.pbw" height='120' width='400'>[​IMG][​IMG]


    This is one beast of a cooler and was designed straight up by NZXT as a cooler for desktop replacements. Weighing in at 3 pounds this is one big beast boasting not one, not two but three fans. It also has a 4 port USB hub built in back. It is quite a futuristic in your face design kind of like a Spyker. Like many other coolers it comes in black or silver. (it should be noted that some users may not have sufficient power coming out of the usb in order to run the cooler at its full potential, here is a link to an example of this)


    NBR


    Review of the NZXT Cryo LX
    (Written by Garetjax)
    Mini Review of the NZXT Cryo LX (Written by Diablo85)

    Offsite


    Review of the NZXT Cryo LX
    (www.bigbruin.com)
    Review of the NZXT Cryo LX (www.aphnetworks.com)
    Review of the NZXT Cryo LX (www.futurelooks.com)
    Review of the NZXT Cryo LX (www.ocia.net)
    Review of the NZXT Cryo LX (www.thinkcomputers.org)
    Review of the NZXT Cryo LX (http://www.overclockersclub.com)


    Enermax Aeolus CP001

    <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" src="http://w455.photobucket.com/pbwidget.swf?pbwurl=http://w455.photobucket.com/albums/qq280/X2PNBR/Zalman NC/NZXT Cryo/Enermax/5c7b9f97.pbw" height='120' width='400'>[​IMG][​IMG]


    This cooler boasts a single 220 mm fan with five blue led lights which can be powered on and off. It has a mesh type cooling rack and once again comes in black and silver. Its unique one fan design has only been seen in a couple other coolers such as the original, brought forth by DigitalCowboy. Unfortunately the Aeolus eats up one USB port on your notebook without replacing it.


    NBR

    Enermax Aeolus CP001 Review (Written by AHL395)

    Offsite

    None


    Thermaltake T500

    <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" src="http://w455.photobucket.com/pbwidget.swf?pbwurl=http://w455.photobucket.com/albums/qq280/X2PNBR/Zalman NC/T500/e8fa02f9.pbw" height='120' width='400'>[​IMG][​IMG]


    Another sucker. This T500 is another cooler that sucks air away from the notebook. There are a few notebooks that do blow air out of the bottom and this cooler may be a great solution. It can be used on most surfaces as the exhaust is on the back of the cooler but only comes in glossy black. It does not replace the USB port used by its DC USB cable.


    NBR

    None

    Offsite

    Thermaltake T500 Review (www.bjorn3d.com)


    Thermaltake T1000

    <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" src="http://w455.photobucket.com/pbwidget.swf?pbwurl=http://w455.photobucket.com/albums/qq280/X2PNBR/Zalman NC/T1000/4cc59a4a.pbw" height='120' width='400'>[​IMG][​IMG]


    The T1000 has a similar concept to the Enermax Aeolus CP001. It has a 120mm blue led fan and has an extra USB port onboard in order to replace the USB port used to power it. It blows air up like your average cooler but sucks air from the bottom, rear and both sides of the cooler which is unique to the T100&#8217;s design. Coming in a glossy black finish with red sides it has restricted color options.


    NBR

    None

    Offsite

    Thermaltake T1000 Review (www.xtremecomputing.co.uk)


    Belkin F5L001

    <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" src="http://w455.photobucket.com/pbwidget.swf?pbwurl=http://w455.photobucket.com/albums/qq280/X2PNBR/Zalman NC/belkin/216aba05.pbw" height='120' width='400'>[​IMG][​IMG]


    This cooler flashes a unique artsy or architectural design that only comes in white and is a budget option for some. The single fan on the F5L001 blows air up allowin warm air to travel and leave through the crevece. It uses one fan in the middle which is a let down.


    NBR

    Belkin Laptop Cooling Pad/Stand (F5L001) Review (Written by Tiffany Boggs)
    A Collection of Quick Mini Reviews of the Belkin F5L001 (Written by Various NBR Members)

    Offsite

    Belkin Laptop Cooling Pad (F5L001) Review (www.everythingusb.com)
    Belkin Laptop Cooling Stand (F5L001) Review (www.cnet.com)


    Vizo Xena II/ Vantec LPC-460TX

    <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" src="http://w455.photobucket.com/pbwidget.swf?pbwurl=http://w455.photobucket.com/albums/qq280/X2PNBR/Zalman NC/Xena/4ec6e06c.pbw" height='120' width='400'>[​IMG][​IMG]


    This cooler is one of many of its kind. It uses a single fan and may be a good option for an average home user. It features a swivel base and can be tilted greatly. It uses a single 70mm fan but does not replace the USB port used to power it. An similar alternative would be the Vantec LPC-460TX.


    NBR

    None

    Offsite

    Vizo Xena II Review (hardwarelogic.com)


    NotePal W2 (2 or 3 fans)/ Rosewill RNA-7000W/ Lian LI NC-02 = Generic

    <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" src="http://w455.photobucket.com/pbwidget.swf?pbwurl=http://w455.photobucket.com/albums/qq280/X2PNBR/Zalman NC/Generic/392cc6e0.pbw" height='120' width='400'>[​IMG][​IMG]


    This is a generic notebook cooler, built off aluminum alloy and comes with 2 or 3 fans depending on size and can support a maximum of a 17&#8221; widescreen notebook. There are many other similar models such as the Rosewill RNA-7000W (Especially good for Macbook Pros), Lian LI NC-02, Bytech NC-500 etc. These generic coolers are also at times built out of plastic.


    For Reviews there are far too many to list, please use your preferred search engine to locate some.


    [​IMG]


    Coolers on the Market: Portable Users that Need it On the Go


    It is important to note that some of the following coolers are hard to find.


    Spire Pacific Breeze

    <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" src="http://w455.photobucket.com/pbwidget.swf?pbwurl=http://w455.photobucket.com/albums/qq280/X2PNBR/Zalman NC/Spire Pacific Breeze/1e7cc066.pbw" height='120' width='400'>[​IMG][​IMG]


    This is a compact cooler, light and easy to pack. In the looks department it has blue LEDs on both fans that are even visible during day. This cooler sucks air form the top behind your notebook then blows it horizontally under. It is quite a unique design but if you have a nine cell battery that sticks out the back this cooler is not for you.


    NBR

    Guide to Cooling Down Your Notebook (Written by Chaz)

    Offsite

    Spire Pacific Breeze Review (www.overclockers.com)
    Spire Pacific Breeze Review (www.geek.com)


    Thermaltake T2000

    <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" src="http://w455.photobucket.com/pbwidget.swf?pbwurl=http://w455.photobucket.com/albums/qq280/X2PNBR/Zalman NC/T2000/d9bc74a7.pbw" height='120' width='400'>[​IMG][​IMG]


    This cooler may be an option if you are a constant traveler but own a notebook up to 15&#8221; as it has a slightly different method of cooling compared to similar counterparts. It features dual 70mm fans and is powered by DC USB. Unfortunately like its larger sibling the T500 it does not provide a USB port to replace the one used on your notebook. It also takes after the T1000 as it also has a glossy black finish and ride sides.


    NBR

    None

    Offsite

    Thermaltake T2000 Review (www.cdrinfo.com)
    Thermaltake T2000 Review (www.ocia.net)



    Thermaltake T4000


    <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" src="http://w455.photobucket.com/pbwidget.swf?pbwurl=http://w455.photobucket.com/albums/qq280/X2PNBR/Zalman NC/T4000/91de9e23.pbw" height='120' width='400'>[​IMG][​IMG]


    This portable cooler has dual 70mm fans like the T2000 and a very similar design. It also uses a DC USB to power itself and once again does not replace the port used by the cooler on a notebook. It has the same finish as the T2000 but is more compact and comes with a travel bag. A feature this Thermaltake cooler has over other Thermaltake coolers is that it has a knob in order to provide fan control.


    NBR

    None

    Offsite

    None

    Coolermaster NotePal D1

    <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" src="http://w455.photobucket.com/pbwidget.swf?pbwurl=http://w455.photobucket.com/albums/qq280/X2PNBR/Zalman NC/D1/3a1d1751.pbw" height='120' width='400'>[​IMG][​IMG]


    The D1 like many of in its class utilizes two 70mm fans but has an intake on the back making it quite helpful as it can be used on a lap as well as a desk still being portable. It has a vented contact surface made of aluminum and similar to that of the Zalman NC series but there is a possibility for un-even air flow. It has a compact cable which is under the cooler when traveling and does replace the USB port used to power itself. It is only available in black for the time being.


    NBR

    None

    Offsite

    None


    Coolermaster Notepal P1

    <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" src="http://w455.photobucket.com/pbwidget.swf?pbwurl=http://w455.photobucket.com/albums/qq280/X2PNBR/Zalman NC/P1/6589a391.pbw" height='120' width='400'>[​IMG][​IMG]


    This cooler is quite basic but stylish. Coming in silver with slight chrome it is slightly defining. Its power button does not only power on the cooler but accents its design. There is a case for the USB port on the bottom as well as a spare USB port but does suck air from the bottom using the standard 70mm fans.


    NBR

    None

    Offsite

    Cooler Master Notepal P1 Review (www.trustedreviews.com)
    Cooler Master Notepal P1 Review (www.3dgameman.com)
    Cooler Master Notepal P1 Review (www.futurelooks.com)
    Cooler Master Notepal P1 Review (www.ocia.net)
    Cooler Master Notepal P1 Review (www.virtual-hideout.net)



    [​IMG]


    Can I build a Cooler?

    Yes it is very possible to build your own cooler as long as the build is willing to put the time and effort in. They usually do work well as you can align fans perfectly to where they are required . For people on a budget and like DIY jobs it may be a great option.

    Google is a great place to start to research for making your own coolers. But here is a simple one that one of NBR's members has made.


    Passive Notebook Coolers


    Passive coolers are a solution that is good for those concerned about every last minute of battery life and require use on a lap or similarly soft surface. Unfortunately many passive coolers do not cool but generate more heat. It is a solution for those wanting a passive or cost-effective solution to a cooler could use something such as a thick wallet, erasers or pretty much anything solid under the back legs of their notebook in order to improve air circulation.


    More Cooling Tips


    For more cooling tips visit cooling central.


    FAQ


    If you require further assistance in deciding on a cooler please fill in the following FAQ:


    1) Budget

    2) Is noise an issue for you? Are you annoyed but noticeable noise?

    3) Post a picture of the under side of your notebook along with basic measurements like shown earlier in this guide. (just link to a previous post if your notebook has been posted before)

    4) Do you have a color preference?

    5) Any brands you would like to avoid?



    Did you like this Post? Did you learn something from it? Then vote for it in the NBR Amazing Content Contest
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2015
    LTBonham likes this.
  2. ElKid

    ElKid Notebook Evangelist

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    1st! lol

    Nice thread; lots of work done! Very helpful. And I love the headings.

    +1
     
  3. jetstar

    jetstar Notebook Deity

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    Nice work!
     
  4. X2P

    X2P I&#9829;COOLING | NBR Super Mod

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    Thanks guys. I think people were dissapointed with my last one so I decided screw it. Kept the begining but redid the rest :)
     
  5. Xirurg

    Xirurg ORLY???

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    Great job! ;)
     
  6. overwhelming

    overwhelming Notebook Enthusiast

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    Good job done, X2P!
    Regarding the efficiency of heat dissipation, I strongly believe mine Rosewill's RNA-7000W performs really well. It has two 70mm quiet fans in the middle blowing air upward and meanwhile its heavy aluminum absorbs the heat from the other parts of my ASUS G2S-A1 bottom. Works like a miracle. The con is that it looks pretty mediocre.
    Here is a review from OverclockersClub: http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/rosewill_notebook_cooler/4.htm
     
  7. X2P

    X2P I&#9829;COOLING | NBR Super Mod

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    Alright Ill check a few other reviews see what i can get together and add er to the list. I will do it somtime within the next 24 hours, its saturday for me but i have school :eek: :(
     
  8. SonDa5

    SonDa5 Notebook Deity

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  9. X2P

    X2P I&#9829;COOLING | NBR Super Mod

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    is it a passive cooler?

    I have now added the Rosewill RNA-7000W
     
  10. SonDa5

    SonDa5 Notebook Deity

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    Looks like it. No fans. Impressive numbers.
     
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