Do Laptop Coolers Work?

I hadn’t bought a notebook cooler for Risk just because I never felt the need to, but like most laptops out there, Risk gets warm too.

Suck or blow?

Antec NoteBook Cooler S

Most cooling pads I looked at had the same basic look: a rectangular pad with two or three fans inside, hooking up to the laptop’s power via USB. Some were obviously some cheap plastic, while some allegedly had the perfect cooling materials in aluminum and ceramics. But the Antec NoteBook Cooler S looked like nothing else. It blows the cool air in rather than suck the air out and claims to lower the temperature by 15 degrees Celsius. I was sold.

Then the lady at the shop that sold this Antec product convinced me not to get it and asked me how quickly my notebook warmed up.

Cool down the over-, not the almost-heating

I really didn’t know. I often get time-warped when I use the computer, so I said in 30 minutes to an hour. She was shocked. She said their notebook at the shop (a white, 12″ MSI) runs the whole day and stays at a decent temperature level without cooling aids. I placed my hand on the notebook and I observed that Risk runs a little warmer than it.

Could it have been the CPU? The GPU? Yes, I was more concerned about the GPU because from experience it had the highest temperature readings.

Buy a well designed notebook!

Of course it was natural for the lady to advise that if I was having temperature problems, then I should have the notebook vendor take a look at it. I guess it’s like treating the symptoms without any prescription instead of going straight to the doctor. Laptops should have been designed properly enough to consider ventilation, of course, but some just aren’t.

But my Risk isn’t suffering from any “hot flashes!” Risk isn’t overheating nor is Risk rebooting automatically. I’m just concerned with the warmness, especially since I don’t use an air conditioner in my room. Sometimes I keep the fan off because it gets chilly at night-’til-dawn. And sometimes I like to use laptop on my lap!

“Buena Mano”

Risk and the cooling pad

Since the lady was actually talking me out of buying the most expensive notebook cooler I saw, I chose to buy the aluminum cooling pad from another place, not to mention a 14-inch screen protector which only they seemed to have. Others had 15-inch and 17-inch ones only. And I even got a free memory card reader for my purchase! They called it buena mano.

Amateur benchmarking

The readings from Everest indicated the CPU was at 29 while the GPU and the hard disk were both 44 degrees.

After connecting the cooler, the GPU temperature went up to as high as 52 degrees! Was there any logic for that? Several times I just left the laptop alone and watched TV in the living room with no graphics-heavy programs on, unless you count Firefox!

Right now it’s 45 degrees. It’s been going up and down erratically. I predict that if I performed a thoroughly scientific statistical analysis with something like ANOVA, I would not be able to conclude either way.

The verdict?

I’ve read about notebook cooling pads that definitely lower the temperature and definitely prevent rebooting due to overheating. I’d say mine isn’t that effective though. Should I have gotten the Antec? Should I have gone to the notebook clinic for a checkup? Perhaps.

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