Laptop peripherals is a multi-billion dollar industry, and laptop cooler is just one product under a huge umbrella that generates billions of dollars a year. I’m pretty sure you have seen different sizes, shapes, styles and configurations of lap desks with cooling fans. Some of them come with tons of bells and whistles, while simply come with futuristic look, targeting the laptop gamers’ demography. All of which however, aim to do one thing – to supposedly keep your laptop from overheating, if not from frying itself. But who really needs laptop coolers? Does your laptop really need cooling help when it already comes with its own built-in fans? Know more about laptop cooling pads in this entry from Dual Monitors Guide.
HAVIT HV-F2056 15.6"-17" Laptop Cooler Cooling Pad (image from Amazon)
Before we dive in to details about laptop coolers, let’s first take a closer look of our portable computers. We should all know that laptops today are far different beasts from their brethren ten years ago. Back then, we see laptops more likely suited for traveling businessmen, if not for hackers in movies, while our desktop is our primary computer. They were bulky, heavy, slow, and usually comes with hardware that are simply not optimized for portability.
Fast forward today, mobile computing has really taken over. Everyone has a laptop, even our 13-year old nieces and nephews. They look sleek, and definitely faster and more powerful than ever. The best part about them is they get even more and more affordable each year.
However, in their quest to become even smaller, lighter and more powerful, it’s easy to understand why some technical difficulties arise. The biggest complain among them is heat.
How many times have you used your computer for gaming, video editing or other intense applications that it literally becomes too hot handle, forcing you to turn off your computer and let it cool down instead?
The reason for this is pretty obvious: high end CPUs and GPUs that many manufacturers use in their laptops create a fair amount of heat, and unlike desktops where CPUs are cased inside a tower with plenty of fans and ventilations, laptops com in a slim and portable casing where manufacturers cram everything inside. Obviously, they can’t put a big fan and better ventilation.
Some laptop models now come with bigger fans, but even then, they can be quite noisy, which is a huge no-no for some people.
So what’s the simplest solution? Well, this is where the benefits of a notebook cooler gets into the picture; these tools come in different sizes and shapes, and they all promise on thing – to fix that pesky heat for a relatively affordable price point.
To put it simply, a notebook cooler is a raised platform where you can place your laptop on. They come with built-in fans, some come with LED lights to look cool and temperature sensors for obvious reasons. Most of laptop coolers are USB powered, meaning it comes with a USB cable where you need to plug into your laptop to power up the fans. Some come with a built-in battery, to help save laptop’s power.
These laptop peripherals range from as cheap as $35 up to $160. The popular ones are around $50. Fancy LED lights aside, do you really need a laptop cooler? Does it really work, or is it just a placebo piece of tech? Let’s find out.
How Your Laptop Cools Itself
Again, let’s take a closer look at our laptops. If you can see, it comes with plenty of ventilations; from the sides, and back. Most laptops have fans that sucks air in from the outside, sending air to the heating components, like the CPU and GPU through a heat-sink, before expelling the hot air outside.
Gaming laptops on the other hand, takes the cooling process to another level; G series from MSI and ROG series from Asus both use separate fans and heat sinks for each component.
Where You Use Your Laptop
Where you use your laptop is the second most important thing to consider. If you use it on a soft cushioned surface like your bed or carpet, that means the bottom is blocked, negating the laptop’s ability to ventilate.
If you flip your laptop over, you will notice the rubber feet at the bottom. These feet serve two things: it provides stability and elevate the machine to allow air circulation underneath. Obviously, when you use it on top of a hard flat surface, it’s fine. However, the vents get blocked when you use your computer on soft surface, like your bed or any surface with cloth.
Following this simple logic, we can get by simply putting our laptop on a hard flat surface, right?
The Job of Laptop Coolers
That’s what laptop coolers try to do – you place them between your laptop and whatever surface you wish to put it on, allowing better air circulation underneath. Also, it comes with fans that blow air, helping your laptop’s built-in fans to cool the interior, at least on paper.
Points of Concern
Dangers of Overheating
Of course, most laptops come with good fan and cooling system that keeps its core temperature manageable. However, in many cases, these built-in cooling system are only enough to keep the computer running. They can’t keep the temperature down, and that’s a big discomfort especially when you place your laptop on your lap, or when you’re typing or any tasks that requires you to always place on your hands your laptop.
Overheating is indeed, dangerous for electronic devices, not just for laptops. Many people around the world complained about overheating issues with their laptops. Aside from the scorching heat, the second most obvious sign of overheating is unexplained shutdowns, and you wouldn’t want that inconvenience in the middle of your work, or when having an online meeting with important people.
Other signs of overheating include run-time errors, memory dump errors, and even the BSOD or blue screen of death.
Also, even the best cooling system can’t do anything when you’re using the computer under the scorching heat of the sun.
Laptop overheating is a well-known issue, and last thing we want is risk serious damage to our precious computer. Though more and more models are now being equipped with better cooling system and stronger fans, some people just can’t live with its trade off of noisy operation. In some cases, using your laptop on a flat hard surface can be enough to dissipate heat. But that’s not what we want for our laptops, right? We use our laptops for their portability, which is why bring it with us and use it even on the go; on the plane, train, etc. If you want to cover all you bases, then a laptop cooler won’t hurt.
Looking for laptop coolers? Check out our cooling pad reviews here, or better yet, check our rundown for best cooling pads here.
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