I used to have an HP that had the hard drive located under my wrist (next to the trackpad) like most laptops. While using the laptop keyboard, that area would get so warm it would make my wrist sweat....uncomfortable. I ended up buying this Zalman cooler
and it was a night and day difference. It had adjustable fan speed which was nice because the fans were too noisy for me at full speed. Here's another Zalman alternative
if you're interested. I really liked my Zalman. Ended up giving it to a friend when I didn't need it anymore and it's still going strong.
My brother has the CM Notepal X2 and it works for him. I've also owned/used the U2
and have a Notepal Ergo Stand
at work. I would say all are acceptable in terms of quality and performance for their respective prices and intended uses. I am a little dissapointed in the noise level of the Ergo Stand especially for the price but the height adjustability was a critical feature to get my lapop screen up to eye level. (I'm using an external keyboard there obviously) Luckily that unit also has adustable fan speed control so I was able to turn the fan speed down to nearly inaudible levels while still providing acceptable cooling.
I also agree that simply keeping the heatsink free of dust and propped up can help greatly. IMO, laptop coolers are only really needed when hard drive temps are a user comfort problem or if the CPU cooler isn't able to keep the machine cool enough on its own. (this happens)
Main: i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-M, Asus GTX660 TOP, 120 GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 8GB 1600MHz G.Skill @1.25V, Silverstone PS07B
HTPC: A8-5600K, MSI FM2-A75IA-E53, 4TB Samsung SSHD, 8GB 1866MHz G.Skill, Hand-Built Wood Case