Notebooks these days are doing anything but getting cooler. Processors, memory, video cards are all getting faster and hotter. Normally this is not a problem, but with recent studies advising against having a laptop on your lap if you plan to continue the family name it may be a good idea to add some extra cooling to the situation. Really though what can you do to your laptop that wont require you to rip it apart and void that warranty. It just is not cool to duct tape a 120mm fan to the bottom of your laptop. A better solution must exist.
The Titan Serina is one very good looking solution to this heat problem. You're probably saying, “I have already seen those laptop pads before, what's new?” Well to be honest, just a bit. Not only has Titan packaged a very slick looking laptop cooler, but also a 3 port USB 2.0 hub, a Rheobus and a card reader, all in one tight little aluminum pad. So let's take a closer look.
Outline Dimension 264 x 325 x 27 mm
Fan Dimension 60 x 60 x 10 mm
Rated Voltage 5V DC
Power Current 0.3 A
Rated Consumption 1.5 W
Rated Speed 1900 ~ 2400 ± 10%RPM
Airflow 35.07 CFM
Static Pressure 1.08 mm H2O
Noise Level < 26 dBA
No. of Pole 4 Pole
Bearing Type Sleeve / One Ball / Two Ball / Z -AXIS
Life Time 25,000 / 35,000 / 50,000 / 60,000 Hours
Titan have packed the Serina in their standard style. A large picture of a mystical girl is on the front with the cooling pad's specifications on the rear. Inside the box is the aluminum cooling pad, a perfectly short USB cable, and a separate power supply for when you have a plug available.
The pad itself as mentioned before is made of aluminum. Being aluminum the Serina should act as a large heatsink which will give it an edge over a plastic pad. It features three 60mm fans which should help in the cooling department. Most of the face of the Serina is a grill, providing the most airflow possible. Shown in the second picture is a close up of the fan. They are fairly small, but in my testing they were quiet as well.
On the right hand side of the Serina we find the main amount of controls. Starting from the left we have the auxiliary power port and the USB port to hook the Serina up to your notebook. Next to this we have 3 USB 2.0 ports, a dial to control the fan speed, and a toggle switch to turn the fans off. On the left side of the Serina we have the optional card reader. Titan calls this an all in one card reader, and it is capable of handling most popular memory sticks. The last picture shows one of the two vents which are on both sides of the Serina. These vents serve as the air inputs for two lower fans.
The top of the Serina is also a grill which serves as the air input for the top fan. Thickness wise the Serina will raise the backside of your notebook by about an inch. Also note that the Serina is angled slightly, so for those who love a perfectly flat keyboard this may be an annoyance. On the backside of the cooling pad is a sticker listing the specs.
Installation of the Serina is extremely simple. You simply place your laptop on the pad and plug in the included USB cable to an available port. You are basically done. As mentioned before, the Serina does introduce a bit of angle into your notebook, but it is nothing extreme. The notebook used for testing is a 15" screen model, and that is about the max the Serina will handle. Anything larger and you will have overhang on the sides, which will make it harder to access the USB hub and the card reader.
The Titan Serina was tested using my HP NC8000 notebook which is outfitted with a Pentium M 1.6GHz, 512MB RAM, and a 40GB hard drive. Temperatures were obtained using MBM5 after the system had idled for at least 20 minutes and after full load of at least 20 minutes. Shown below are the results in Celsius.
|Case Full Load
|CPU Full Load
As you can see, the difference the Serina makes is not all to great. With only a 1 degree difference in temperatures between stock and cooled it makes you wonder the advantages. Although it did not show up in the temperatures, the base of the laptop was cooler to the touch, so if anything it is helping to cool the laptop's case. So for those that grab a hot laptop from the desk and plop it on your lap it may be a good thing.
Titan have created a pretty good package in the Serina. Sticking a USB hub, memory card reader and a couple of fans into a small aluminum pad is a pretty good idea. It is the perfect solution for those with a small amount of desk space. Why spread your devices around your desk when you can put them in a compact package under you notebook. And it is a well built pad. Built from aluminum, the Serina can take a beating and look sharp will doing it. So from a looks department the Serina is a great product.
Now on the not so great side is performance. On paper adding a cooler to your notebook is going to be a good idea but it does not really come through in the real world. Try as you might, the design of the cooling system of a notebook does not really gain much from cooling the bottom. This shows by the lack luster performance the Serina showed. One degree difference between stock and cooled is not that great. This is not fault specifically to the Serina, but to all the notebook pads on the market. So the jury is still out on whether or not notebook pads are a good investment. It will probably come down to the extra features packaged with the cooler. Now because the Serina not only includes the cooler but a USB hub and a card reader, it may be useful to you.
Pros: Looks cool, USB hub, card reader, quiet
Cons: Makes little difference in temperatures
Bottom Line: If you are looking at adding a USB hub and a card reader to your notebook then take a peak at the Serina, because it will add a bit of cooling along with it. Other than that reason, there really isn't much advantage to the Serina or any notebook cooler for that matter.
If you have any comments, be sure to hit us up in our forums.