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Antec Notebook Cooler
By Justin Ong
Category : Casings And Coolers
Published by Jimmy Tang on Wednesday, 26th May, 2004
Rating : 4.5 out of 5 stars  


Introduction

Lesson number one. Heat is the primary nemesis of any notebooks or the likes. The reason why notebooks utilizing a high-end processor such as the Intel Pentium 4-M can operate within the claustrophobic housing of a notebook is the expensive and often elaborate cooling system designed to efficiently conduct heat away from the core of the processor.
This is necessary to prevent heat from accumulating and radiating to other heat sensitive components (such as your graphics processor and hard drive) as well. Back when processors are still running relatively cool (with some processors able to operate with just passive cooling), heat wasn't a major concern as clock speed of the processors back then were extremely low by today's standards. Current state-of-the-art processors require elaborate cooling in order to operate at its nominal clock speed.

Another method to prevent processors from overheating is what the industry termed as Thermal Throttling. This feature can be found in nearly every modern processor today. When the onboard thermal sensor detects a temperature exceeding the processor's thermal threshold, the clock speed of the processor will be lowered down to a point where its heat emission (a direct result of clock speeds) is within acceptable limit. This process is dynamic and ongoing all the time when we're using our notebooks and most people won't even feel it in effect. Without these two cooling agents, the processor may accumulate heat within the system up to a point where heat either damages the processor beyond repair or your system will simply lock up (or sometimes giving you a blue screen).

Besides thermal throttling, there are also other preventive measures such as Intel's SpeedStep or AMD's PowerNow technologies which simply reduces the processor's performance under idling conditions. Of course, these are only available in notebook-based processors. These capabilities are normally activated through the Windows operating system and it plays its part in helping to keep the system cool, though indirectly.

But even with the combined efforts of these cooling properties, not all notebooks are designed equal and for most notebooks, heat is still an issue due to the low clearance and extremely limited ventilation ports. Besides trusting and relying solely on the built-in cooling mechanism or using the notebook in an air-conditioned environment, what other forms of cooling are there available for notebooks? The answer could very well lie with the Antec Notebook Cooler.


The unit has an outline that looks like four boomerangs forged together into one entity with a cheese-grater like aluminium sheet laminated on top. According to Antec, this aluminium layer should help in conducting heat away from the chassis of the notebook to achieve better cooling – we'll find out this claim soon enough.

Front view of the Antec Notebook Cooler


No thicker than a standard No.10 stapler


Side view of the Antec Notebook Cooler

The build of the Antec Notebook cooler is extremely straightforward and fundamental in design. Two fans capable of pushing 31.6 CFM of air are placed within the hollow belly of the plastic housing and are the workhorse of the cooler. Interestingly, the entire unit can operate off the electrical power of a single USB port and with a pass-through USB cable provided, there's no need to fret that you'll lose a good USB port to the cooler, as the product itself is pretty much self-contained and self-sufficient.

A panel for you to store the only accessory needed to get the cooler working


You won't lose a good USB port to the Antec Notebook Cooler

Power is not an issue if you connect your notebook to your wall's AC power socket. The only time when battery life is a concern is when your notebook is drawing power from its battery pack with the Antec Cooler attached and running simultaneously.

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