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Is My Notebook PC Running Too Hot? Laptop Computer Cooling on a Budget

Updated on May 19, 2010
Zalman Notebook Cooler ZM-NC1000
Zalman Notebook Cooler ZM-NC1000

The Heat Problem With Laptop Computers

Notebook computers are notorious for having problems with overheating.  My Macbook Pro, for example, frequently gets hot enough inside to fry an egg (over 80 degrees Celsius)!  You see, when your CPU and GPU are busy crunching data, they are also producing a small inferno's worth of heat.  You may notice your laptop computer get hot when running processor intensive tasks like Photoshop, video editing, and video games.  The good news is that there are low cost laptop coolers available to help mitigate this heat.

Some Cheap Notebook Cooling Devices

Low Cost Laptop Coolers - Features to Look For When Buying a Notebook Cooler

There are tons of laptop and notebook cooling devices on the market.  To help you decide on which laptop cooler is right for you, I will go explain the different features.

Fan Diameter and RPM

The larger a fans diameter and the higher the RPM (rotations per minute) the more airflow the fan will push.  Higher RPMs come at a cost, however.  The faster fans tend to be noisy and are reminiscent of a vacuum cleaner.  You don't want your notebook cooler sounding like a 747, so it's best to choose a laptop cooler with large fans and a relatively low RPM.  2000 RPM is generally quiet enough.

Some of the more expensive notebook coolers, such as the Zalman Notebook Cooler ZM-NC 1000 feature variable fan speed, which can be adjusted by the turn of a dial.  I personally use the Zalman for my Macbook Pro when I'm gaming with it.

Ball-bearing or Sleave-bearing Fans

The fans in your notebook cooler are typically either ball-bearing or sleave-bearing.  Your cheaper laptop cooling devices will have sleave-bearing fans which are louder and have lower life expectancy than ball-bearing fans. The fans could also potentially be fluid-bearing or magnetic-bearing, but its highly unlikely as these fans are quite expensive.  They do provide nearly silent performance and high life expectancy, however, so if you see a laptop cooler that advertises these types of fans, go for it if the price is right!

Power Source

Notebook coolers are typically powered either by AC Adapter or USB.  Most low cost laptop coolers are powered by USB, meaning they run off the laptops power.  This can drain a battery if your laptop is not plugged in, and it takes up a USB slot.  USB powered notebook coolers can be convenient if a wall plugin is not available, however.

Some laptop coolers also come with a built in USB hub, which makes the USB slot limit a nonissue.

Where to Buy a Cheap Laptop Cooler

Notebook coolers are becoming a common sight in electronics stores nowadays, as laptops begin to run hotter and hotter.  You can find them in brick and mortar stores such as Walmart and Best Buy, but it is usually cheaper to purchase your laptop cooler online.

Some online stores that sell low cost laptop coolers are...


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      Justyna 2 years ago

      I also never write while at the beach, for me it is usually too hot and I'd raethr be in the water. A hammock is only comfortable for a little while for me, I get restless.I'm a fan of tables. I usually travel by plane so don't get to work on tables in trains, but when I'm in my apartment I enjoy sitting at my desk and writing for as long as I can. When we lived in Chiang Mai last year I loved looking out the balcony doors to the views of the mountains and the sunsets. Very inspiring! Wherever I write though I have to be comfortable or I'd raethr wait, so I definitely need a desk of some sort!

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      mrcheaplaptops 8 years ago

      I really need it thank you very much.