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Cooler Master NotePal P1 - R9-NBC-APMS-GP Cooler Master NotePal P1: Just as their PC counterparts, notebooks are getting more powerful, as well as running much warmer. If the stock cooling isn't enough, here's a solution that won't void your warranty.
Date: March 5, 2007
Manufacturer:
Written By: David Pankhurst
Price:

    Laptops have become a very popular item over the last few years, with sales growing each year.  Another thing that is growing is the performance of laptops, they have gone from one or two generation old technology to being right on the edge of technology. 

    Coolermaster is one of the larger cooling/case manufacturers, with many OEM coolers and some OEM cases they have a hold in that market, while also having a very strong presence in the retail and enthusiast sectors of the market.  We have reviewed many products from Coolermaster, from cases to heatsinks and have found most to be of very good design.

    As we mentioned that laptops have increased in performance in the last few years, a problem has continued to crop up, as it has to a lesser degree with desktops, heat generation.  With a laptop you have a very small form factor for all the devices, and you still have to worry about the heat generated by the CPU and in some cases the GPU.  While the both AMD and Intel have created low power CPU's, they still produce heat in a small area, and in many cases the computer can get very warm/hot to the touch.  Most if not all manufacturers have warned to not use a laptop on your lap, because of the burns it can produce.  So today lets look at one cooling solution for laptops.

Coolermaster Notepal P1

    So what did Coolermaster send us?  The Notepal P1 is one of their newer and smaller notebook coolers, the specs of which are .

    The box is nothing out of the ordinary with the front being a mostly open front so that you can see the cooler, with its two speaker looking fan ports.  The back of the box gives most of the information about the product as well as some pictures of various specific parts of the cooler.

    The look of the cooler is very simple, an aluminum chassis with the two 70mm fan ports.  It is not a deep unit only  about 6", so it doesn't cover the entire laptop, just the back half of the unit, where the CPU and 'GPU' are located.  The exhaust fan is on the back of the unit, with a small storage case in-between the two exhaust ports.

    We can see the side profile of the unit which has an interesting curved design, the right side of the unit is where most of the interesting items are.  Here we find the 'two' USB ports that are mentioned, though only one is actually useful, as the other one is needed to connect the included USB cable to the computer to power the cooler.  The on/off push button is also on the right side but blends in easily as the opposite side also has a similar looking cosmetic addition.

    How does this unit work in real use?  Since it doesn't take up too much room its very easy to put under the laptop and not even notice it is there.  The one very nice thing this cooler does is it raises the angle of the keyboard, making it much easier to type on the laptop keyboard than previously, as well as being seemingly more ergonomic.  Because of the design of the cooler, it shouldn't have any problem fitting most laptops from 14" and up, though the smaller ones might have the sides sticking out.

    The sound levels produced by this cooler were louder than that of my Toshiba M40-JM3 laptop with its fan running at full.

System Specifications

CPU:

Intel Pentium M 730 (Dothan Core) @ 1.6GHz-800MHz

Laptop Model: Toshiba M40-JM3
Memory: 2 * 512 MB PC2700 DDR SODIMM
Hard Drives: Seagate Momentus 5400.2 120GB 5400RPM
Video Card: nVidia GeForce Go 6600 128MB (300/600MHz)
Operating System: Windows XP Home SP2 - DirectX 9c
Cooling: Coolermaster NotePal P1 Default Cooling
'Ghetto' cooler
Drives: Matshita DVD-RAM UJ-831S - DL-DVD Writer
Software: Futuremark 3D Mark 05 - Looping Demo SpeedFan 4.29
Folding@Home 5.04 Riva Tuner 2 RC16

    We used 3D mark in a looping mode with 4X AA and 16X ansiotropic filtering and at a 800*600 resolution.  Riva Tuner RC16 was running in the background monitoring the temperature of the video card at the entire time.  Folding @ Home was also running at the same time with SpeedFan checking on the temperature of the CPU and hard drive.  The test started after the system was idle for at least one hour, and consisted of half an hour of full load and a half hour of complete idle. 

    The default cooler is the internal heatsink/fan combo.  The 'Ghetto' cooler is the default cooler with a double CD case lifting the back of the laptop up.  The ambient room temperature was kept around 23 but there could have been up to 2 of variation.  So lets see how the Coolermaster cools this system compared to the other two 'cheaper' methods.

Temperature Tests

    Lets see how the CPU temperature is with our three cooling methods.

 
Minimum CPU Temp Average CPU Temp Max CPU Temp.
Default Cooling 31 53.2 66
'Ghetto' Cooling 34 52.64 66
Coolermaster Cooler 33 53.99 68

    Looking at the numbers it seems there really isn't any difference between the three cooling methods, with the average temperature staying around the 53 mark and the maximum CPU temperature staying in the mid 60's.  Looking at the graph though we see some interesting information.  Looking at the idle cooling results, we see that the Coolermaster cools the system quicker from low to high and back in about one minute.  The 'Ghetto' cooler takes about 1 1/2 minutes to do the same, while the default cooler does it in over four minutes.

    Next lets take a look

 
Minimum GPU Temp Average GPU Temp Max GPU Temp.
Default Cooling 39 71.35 79
'Ghetto' Cooling 43 71.67 81
Coolermaster Cooler 37 70.67 83

     We see similar results to that of the CPU temperature tests, though the minimum temperature fluctuates a bit more than the other tests.  All three average temperatures are within a single degree of each other.  The Coolermaster cooler takes about three minutes to go from low to high to low, about three times longer than with the CPU cooling time.  The 'Ghetto' cooler takes four times longer than its CPU cooling time, or about six minutes.  The default cooler takes ten minutes to go through its cycle, which is only two and a half times longer than it takes to cool the CPU.  We can see from these results that there isn't too much of a difference between the three different cooling methods.

Conclusion

    We've taken a look at this product so what can we see in conclusion?

    The packaging is fairly simple but does show the product with the window on the package.  Most of the information is listed though the information is slightly wrong, as the listed 2 USB ports are not useable todether, as one is to connect to the laptop, while the other is available for actual use, thus only giving you one useable USB port on this device.  The product itself is a simple idea, and works for most laptops you find, from 14" widescreens to 17" models, though it many not cover the entire laptop or may cover too much of it.  The other nice aspect about it is that it angles the keyboard up so that it seems to provide a more ergonomic feel.

    Performance wise this device didn't set itself apart.  It is louder than the internal cooler of my Toshiba laptop, though not by a large amount.  The unit didn't display any real performance improvement over either the default cooling or a double CD case lifting the back end of the laptop.  Why this is is mostly unknown but may have something to do with the direction of the airflow.  Overall a disappointment performance wise, but then again each laptop is different so your results may vary.

    Price is one of the considerations with a product, and what I could find out as a mark.  About the middle of the price range of most laptop coolers.  Overall this cooler doesn't do much to prove its value, the only thing that it seems to cool is the bottom of the laptop, which makes it better for using the laptop as a laptop, except the cooler doesn't exactly fit on most laps.

If you have any comments, be sure to hit us up in our forums.

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