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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Vantec LapCool 3 and Macbook Review

Update 18 Feb 2010: I still have this, and the fans are still silent. I lost a rubber foot or two, but I used the stick on kind you can buy at Home Depot. They raise the laptop a little higher, but I haven't lost one of those yet in over a year, including shoving it in and out of a laptop bag.

Here's a brief history of how this works to cool my Macbook while playing an MP4. Fan RPM, temp, time into the video, and cpu usage.

With cooler running:
3200 rpm
13 mins in
35-45 cpu

With cooler not running and laptop sitting on my shirt covered tummy (while I watch the show of course. In theory the heat should get distributed by my body a little. This is definitely a real world test.)
4450 rpm
23 mins in
40-45 cpu

Back on the cooler and running:
3100 rpm
40 mins in
55-60 cpu

Machine is a Macbook Core 2 Duo 1.83 ghz. Definitely this makes a difference. Tip: slide the Macbook as far to the right as you can, so the fans are closer to the left side of the Macbook where the heat is generated.

I got mine for $7.99 at a Fry's sale. Definitely worth $8 and change.

I need to try it with my wife's ZE4100 HP Laptop. 1.7Ghz Pentium 4 and the fan runs a LOT. I bet the thermal compound in it has gotten old. WLYK if and when I try that, but for $8 you can't really go wrong.

This is probably more effective on a Macbook than perhaps some other laptops that draw air through the bottom. This cooler sucks air from the bottom and sides and exhausts out the back. So, if that's contrary to the airflow on your unit, you would be working against your laptop's fans. Whether it would be a net gain would be a big '?'. Something to consider, so you might buy it locally to try.

You can use this on your lap of course. It is slim enough to do so and the rubber feet grip the laptop so it doesn't slide around. I also use it when I'm using my Macbook at a desk. Great for World of Warcraft which pushes the CPU and graphics in busy areas. Burning a DVD or anything that uses the CPU heavily will see a similar benefit.

The fans are pretty quiet. The inverter on my Macbook makes more noise. Kitty says so.

The only problem I had is if I plugged it into a USB hub and the hub wasn't plugged into the Macbook, the fans wouldn't run. I suppose this is to automatically power the fans down if the laptop isn't on.

It's a buy, especially if it's cheap.


Rob said...

Update: Kept my wife's ZE4100 (Pentium 4 1.7 ghz) fan from running at all under light use vs. it nearly ALWAYS running before.

This works!

I added self adhesive feet as the ones that hold the laptop up over the fans had fallen out. $1.55 for 12 at Home Depot.

Suzanne said...

Since I'm reading your blog backwards from today, I have one thing to say about the cat - he's lazy. Oh wait, another thing - he's always in the same position.

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