How effective are laptop cooling pads?

Laptops, PDAs, Cell Phones, and all other tech that you carry with you.

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How effective are laptop cooling pads?

Postposted on Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:50 am

Hello,
I have Lenovo Y570 with Gt555m video, and while normally its enough to run all games on high-ish settings.
But it has cooling problems, I solved this earlier by replacing thermal paste, but after several months heat problems are back.

Basically unless I have laptop elevated soon after starting almost any game or heavy graphics soft, stuttering and slow downs occur and speedfan shows me 80c on GPU, even idle C is f-ed up 47.

wish I had spend few hundred more and got gaming lap, but anyway.
I was thinking maybe cooling pads could help? has anyone used them before?
I'm considering buying this one
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Not ... RFBU4ZODRC

thanks for any suggestions
Cheers!
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Re: How effective are laptop cooling pads?

Postposted on Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:46 am

I have no experience with cooling pads, but I can tell you that if the fan in your laptop is clogged with dust/hair, cleaning it will help a lot. Seeing as how those fans and the heatsinks are usually very small (with close spaced fins), it's likely that they're at least somewhat restricted unless you recently cleaned it out. To clean it out, I recommend turning the laptop off, use something to hold the fan in place to keep it from spinning (something like a toothpick might work) and blow it out using compressed air, both in the intake and the exhaust.

Also, see if you can undervolt your CPU (or even your GPU), a little bit less voltage can make a huge difference in heat output.
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Re: How effective are laptop cooling pads?

Postposted on Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:37 am

Firestarter wrote:I have no experience with cooling pads, but I can tell you that if the fan in your laptop is clogged with dust/hair, cleaning it will help a lot. Seeing as how those fans and the heatsinks are usually very small (with close spaced fins), it's likely that they're at least somewhat restricted unless you recently cleaned it out. To clean it out, I recommend turning the laptop off, use something to hold the fan in place to keep it from spinning (something like a toothpick might work) and blow it out using compressed air, both in the intake and the exhaust.

Also, see if you can undervolt your CPU (or even your GPU), a little bit less voltage can make a huge difference in heat output.

hmm it should be clean, I will try this suggestion thanks.
Undervolting must this be done from BIOS?
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Re: How effective are laptop cooling pads?

Postposted on Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:50 am

hellwalker wrote:Undervolting must this be done from BIOS?

If your BIOS supports it that would be great, but it's very unlikely. And for as far as I can tell by googling, there is currently no way to undervolt a Sandy Bridge based CPU using software. I guess you're fresh out of luck on that front :(
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Re: How effective are laptop cooling pads?

Postposted on Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:44 am

I've had much better luck simply propping up the back of the laptop than with using cooling pads. Giving the laptop more than the normal 2 mm or so to breath seems to help a lot, at least with my old HP, which was very badly designed thermally.

In theory the cooling pad should be much superior, but in practice the fans never seem to line up with the laptop's fan so they normally don't help very much.
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Re: How effective are laptop cooling pads?

Postposted on Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:11 pm

SuperSpy wrote:In theory the cooling pad should be much superior, but in practice the fans never seem to line up with the laptop's fan so they normally don't help very much.
I've heard a few things about "dumb" USB devices pulling too much power and burning out USB ports (such as cooling fans, though hopefully Cooler Master builds them a little smarter than that) so I'd (personally) be a little wary of using them. If you know that propping it up works, perhaps look for a passive cooler/raiser instead.

I'd also check to see if your fans are configured in BIOS to prioritize heat or sound - my old Fujitsu Tablet PC had it defaulted to where the fan practically never spun up.
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Re: How effective are laptop cooling pads?

Postposted on Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:15 pm

Variation on SuperSpy's suggestion -- go to your local hardware store and buy some self-adhesive stick-on rubber feet. Apply them to the bottom of laptop to raise the laptop up about a quarter of an inch off the surface it is sitting on. You will instantly improve the ventilation by a significant amount, and probably eliminate the need for a cooling pad.
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Re: How effective are laptop cooling pads?

Postposted on Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:34 pm

Sometimes they work, but there is no magic bullet. I knew of one instance where a forced-air cooling pad caused a friend with a high-performance laptop to experience more lockups. After some experimentation with a system thermal monitor utility, he concluded that the cooling pad was providing enough assistance to cool down the CPU and slow/stop the laptop's internal fan, which perversely caused another component to overheat due to lack of airflow in the chassis.

If you can get enough airflow by using some of the other suggestions for increasing the chassis height from the table, that's probably both the cheaper and more reliable solution.
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Re: How effective are laptop cooling pads?

Postposted on Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:55 pm

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)
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Re: How effective are laptop cooling pads?

Postposted on Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:56 pm

hellwalker wrote:Hello,
I have Lenovo Y570 with Gt555m video, and while normally its enough to run all games on high-ish settings.
But it has cooling problems, I solved this earlier by replacing thermal paste, but after several months heat problems are back.

Basically unless I have laptop elevated soon after starting almost any game or heavy graphics soft, stuttering and slow downs occur and speedfan shows me 80c on GPU, even idle C is f-ed up 47.

wish I had spend few hundred more and got gaming lap, but anyway.
I was thinking maybe cooling pads could help? has anyone used them before?
I'm considering buying this one
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Not ... RFBU4ZODRC

thanks for any suggestions
Cheers!

i had an old laptop that used to over heat and all I needed to do was put part of its cord under a foot to prop it up a little more (feet were too short).
I would say that any extra cooling is effective... does not always need to be much. My dad has a fanless mesh stand that took care of his issues.
you can always get a cheap $10 one and if it helps buy a quality quiet one.
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Re: How effective are laptop cooling pads?

Postposted on Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:08 pm

I've had 3 or 4 laptops to work on that overheated, and all of them had fine ventilation systems that the heat sink fins were overrun with lint and dust. My wife has a Z570 and it's very easy to pull out the heat sink there, so if your Y570 is similar, it might only take 5-10 minutes to check it out.

I've done the rubber foot thing for a laptop that the rubber feet disappeared, and it also seemed to help temperatures quite a bit.
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Re: How effective are laptop cooling pads?

Postposted on Sun Jan 20, 2013 12:03 am

hey thanks for suggestions!

Keeping laptop elevated makes it better, but a little more extra kick would be nice.
I liked zalman option, but I'll be buying from amazon, cooler master seems to have more price cuts here.

I found this option, with adjustable Fans perhaps this is better option?
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Not ... ook+Cooler
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Re: How effective are laptop cooling pads?

Postposted on Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:11 am

Another +1 for cleaning your fans and heatsinks.

Especially if you have cats, dogs, birds, or humans in your workspace. Or if you ARE a cat, dog, bird, or human.

Back in the 486 days, I had a desktop system that was suddenly beginning to freeze. This was back during the Windows 95 days, and I never got any messages, but I began to suspect that the cause may have been a thermal shutdown/lockup. So I opened the case and saw that the CPU heatsink was clogged solid with refuse. It looked like a nest!

After a few minutes with canned-air and a vacuum nozzle, I had it all cleaned out. And there were no more mysterious "hot freezes" after that.

At that time, it was just me and a cockatiel living in the space. Cockatiels are small birds, but they are little dander factories, rivaling even the hairiest cats, dogs, and people!
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Re: How effective are laptop cooling pads?

Postposted on Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:35 pm

Alas we, miniature space hamsters are no exception to dusting problems.
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Re: How effective are laptop cooling pads?

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:46 am

I agree with all of the above. Cleaning dust out of your machine can help, and certainly rubber feet can be the simplest and cheapest solution. That said cooling pads, in my experience, work extremely well. Many of them are however total junk. My personal favorite over the years has been Logitech's N700 which is like a $70 investment (there are cheaper models that might be all you need). The N700 has a really comfortable contoured/padded bottom that makes it great to actually use on your lap, and it has USB speakers built in that are really quite good (substantially better than most any laptop speakers and very loud).
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Re: How effective are laptop cooling pads?

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:57 pm

I'm more comfortable with lower priced buy, as there are mixed result about how effective pad will be.
I'm thinking of buying the Cooler Master notepal U2, which is basically raised metal platform with attachable coolers. at basic level it should serve to raise laptop enough for natural airflow to help bring down temps, + since its piece of metal mostly, less chance of breaking if I drop it by accident.
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Not ... CCS6O4HKWY

I'm not sure how accurate info was, but i also read warning about some laptops sucking in cool air from the bottom rather then blowing out hot air. in which case Pad actually has negative effect on heat reduction. I can feel slight breeze from bottom of the laptop, but main noticeable outtake of air happens from the left side, that got me little worried, I will try smoke test in the morning. (another reason I'm leaning towards notepal x2, I can remove or potentially reverse fans)

Zalman cooler also had great reviews, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6834989181

I will post results when I get cooling pad :D
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Re: How effective are laptop cooling pads?

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:01 pm

Pretty much every laptop I've seen seems to suck air in from the bottom and exhaust it out the side.
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Re: How effective are laptop cooling pads?

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:23 pm

just brew it! wrote:Pretty much every laptop I've seen seems to suck air in from the bottom and exhaust it out the side.

Yeah, hence why coolers blow air up at the bottom of the laptop. It cools components like the hard drive and RAM that don't have active cooling as well as giving a boost to the intake of the laptop cooling fan. I don't see what the problem is with that.
You don't want to blow air at the exhaust vent (almost always on the side, sometimes out the back) since this would "technically" cause the hot air to stay inside the laptop. I've never seen a cooler with the ability to do that....and for good reason.
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Re: How effective are laptop cooling pads?

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:42 pm

An option that usually works with multiple benefits is an extended battery.

On many models the bulkier battery raises the back of the laptop giving you:

  • Better ventilation underneath by the intake fans
  • Longer battery life
  • A more comfortable keyboard angle

If you don't fancy forking out the cash for these benefits, two stick-on rubber pads will provide two of those benefits for under a dollar.
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Re: How effective are laptop cooling pads?

Postposted on Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:14 am

first few days with Cooler Master notepal U2 and I can see 5~6c drop in both idle temps and heavy temp.
lot more from when laptop was just plain sitting on table.

Fans are noiseless (at least pad fans, laptops hurricane when full powered.), and I like simple laptop stand function.
Lets see how it performs in longer/heavier use.
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