Cooler Pad - Do We Really Need It?

2:13:00 AM


I bought cooler pad from Cooler Master which cost me RM150, and you simply says I don't need it? What are you, Bill Gates?
No, I'm not Bill Gates and I'm not Steve Jobs too! But I'm not doing a wild statement. Despite the facts that lots of vendors selling expensive and 'advanced' cooler pad, it didn't keep your laptop as cool as you thought. Most will only give you 1-3°C difference when equipped.

Why did it happen? Does all vendors are dumb, selling something useless?
Well, I hope not. But the blame that cooler pad didn't work well in lowering your laptop temperature isn't solely because of the cooler pad only as the design of your laptop does affect the efficiency of a cooler pad.

So, again, do I really need a cooler pad?
Actually, depends on what you want from it. The function of a cooler pad is not only lowering the temperature, there are lots more functions that you can gain from it and some of those functions are very useful.

Lets take a look on how a cooler pad works + other useful information about cooler pad:

Active Cooling
Cooling method that use fan to enhance the cooling effect. The fan either powered by USB connection to the laptop or using batteries. Most common cooler pad can be found on the market.

How should it work?
Cool air from surround is sucked by the fans inside the cooler pad and then blows toward the air intake below your laptop. This action should improves the flow of cool air into the laptop to enhance the cooling. The cool air will decrease the temperature of your main components such as hard disk, processor, and graphic processor. The hot air will be pushed through the vent at the side of your laptop.

Why it didn't work?
There are hundreds of computer company in the world, thus producing thousands of different model of laptop. Different models having different design, and that's what make most cooler failed to do it's work. Check out these laptop's vents:
Apple Macbook
HP Pavilion dv 6000t
Looking at the difference in the placement of the vents of those models, we can clearly see why most cooler pad can't work efficiently. These weakness bottleneck the cooling potential of the cooler pad tightly and make all the money you spend for a decent cooler pad seems useless. Apart from that, actually at the bottom of most laptops only consist of one intake vent, and other vents are for HDD and RAM, which exhausting hot air, not sucking cool air; something that most failed to realize.

There are companies that realize this problem and came out with new cooling technique. They start to use larger fan instead of multiple small fans so that no matter where your vents are placed, the air pushed from the fan can go into the vent. However, larger fan are slower. Slower fan = less air = less cool.

Some companies even came out with the idea of sucking hot air from the exhaust rather than pushing cool air into the laptop. This method sounds good but the reality shows otherwise. In cooling your laptop, what's matter is to make sure fresh, cool air flows through the hot components. However, this method still can help to improves the cooling effects if you already have decent cool air flows through the bottom of your laptop.

MAGIC Idea Cooling
Few months ago, Cooler Master announced their new product. This is an awesome product with brilliant idea that worth to be praised. Cooler Master NotePal U3 is a unique cooler pad that have 3 fans that can change position easily so that you can placed it to right below your vents for efficient cooling. NotePal U3 may reduce your laptop temperature by 5°C given an optimal condition. Apart from that, it can be used as a laptop carrier and to improves the viewing angle of your laptop. However, due to some weakness, this cooler pad cooling potential still not good enough. Click here for more images.

When you go to computer shops, you may find that there are some coolers that having fans that sucks air rather than blowing cool air. A few companies thought the bottom part of the laptop is solely for exhausting air, thus they design cooler pads that sucks all air from the vents, which is dangerous because that will prohibit any air from moving through the intake vents and may cause overheating. Using poorly designed cooler pad is dangerous after all.

Passive Cooling
Cooling method without using any fan. Despite the fact that some people say it is useless, a decent fanless cooler pad  may works better than some cooler pad with fans in the market.

How should it work?
The bottom of your laptop consist of exhaust vents. By absorbing the heat exhausted from the vents using suitable materials such as aluminium and distribute it evenly across all dissipation area, heat accumulation at the bottom of laptop can be prevented thus reduce the temperature of laptop.

Why it didn't work?
Differ from what most people believes, the bottom of laptop consist both intake and exhaust vents. Therefore, the laptop will need fresh, cool air from outside to moves through the intake vents. 

As the heat from the exhaust vents absorbed by the cooler pad and then distributed evenly to all of dissipate area, the area under the intake vent will also be affected. The heat will moves from the hottest area which is the exhaust, to the coldest which is intake vent, and thus increase the temperature of that area too. Therefore, rather that sucking cool air, it will suck hot air which may cause damage to your laptop.

So, what can I do to reduce the temperature of my laptop?

1. Place your laptop on a flat surface.
The major mistake of most people are placing their laptop on their bed, lap etc. without proper or any cover at all. Those kind of surface will block the vents of your laptop thus increasing the temperature which may lead to blue screen error.

2. Keep away from dusty surfaces.
The intake vents of your laptop will not only sucks air but dusts too. The effect may not noticeable immediately, but after a few months, you will realize that your laptop get hot faster and the fan spins at top speed most of the time. Dust will covers the exhaust vents thus the heat from your laptop can't be pushed outside efficiently. Therefore, avoid any kind of dusty surfaces to maintain the condition of your laptop.

3. Clean the fan.
If you notice that there are lots of dusk at your exhaust fan, your fan spins very fast even in idle, and and your laptop get hot faster than ever, it's time to service your laptop. This is not an easy task, therefore you should ask someone good at it to do it for you. The best way is to send your laptop to your nearest computer store and ask them to clean the fan.

4. Use at colder place.
The ambient temperature is one of the most important factor that affects the overall temperature of your laptop. If possible, choose place with better airflow and have lower temperature. Avoid using your laptop under direct sunlight. Of course, the best place to use your laptop is in an air-conditioned room. I wish I have my own air-conditioner.

5. Give it a rest.
Avoid using your laptop for too long. Just like us, laptop also need some rest. After 3-4 hours of usage, shut down your laptop and let it rest for around 10-15 minutes to let it cool down. After that, you are good to go.

6. Close unwanted programs.
Multitasking = 30 tabs in Google Chrome, play mp3 files using Windows Media Player, editing images in Photoshop, creating a video in Windows Movie Maker, finishing assignments using Microsoft Word, burning CDs using Nero CD Burner, downloading videos using YouTube Downloader, all that at the same time? You gotta kinding me. Every program that you open will make your RAM and processor to works more, which will cause them to generate more heats. Therefore, by opening only the programs that you really needed and closing those you didn't, you can help to lower down your laptop's temperature.

I don't care, I have lots of money & I want to buy cooler pad.
Suit yourself. If you think you want to have it, nothing is wrong. Cooler pad will only shows it's full potential when your laptop are in high temperature. For example, when comparing between using a cooler or not, you will get around 1-2°C in idle, and may get up to 5-6°C during full load. For a gamer, using a decent cooler pad might be a good idea. However, for web surfing and office task, you'll just fine without any. No matter what is your reason to buy a cooler pad, make sure you choose carefully before buying or you'll end up buying something useless that keep harming your laptop.

P/S: Are you using cooler pad? If yes, what is it and does it satisfy you?

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