Help me keep my 17 inch laptop cool
August 18, 2006 11:39 AM   Subscribe

So I have just taken delivery of my nice shiny and enormous new 17" laptop and I want to find someway of keeping it cool on my lap etc. so I'm looking for ideas. [more inside]

Myy old laptop is a 12" tablet PC which tends to get very hot after using it for a while so I have a great little laptop cooler with 2 fans in it which the laptop sits on and it keeps the thing cool as a cucumber and very comfortable to have on my lap.

I want to find the same thing for this new behemoth, sadly I've been trawling the internet for an equivalent of what I have now and I've not found anything so my question is what would you me-fites recommend?

A key point here being that the one I have now base and the keys and top side of the base of the laptop cool, it also doesn't expose the fans so I have no fear of catching my trousers in them etc. when its on my lap.

Also does anyone have one of the various lap desks - the iLap or the Lapinator etc. that raise the laptop at an angle to allow cooling underneath. Do these actually cool the laptop properly or would I really be better off with a fan-based system like I have for my old laptop.
posted by empedia to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This one is just passive insulation, but the dimensions seem right. Gizmodo covered it's smaller brother at some point this week.

I just let my macbook have its warm way with my thighs..
posted by cowbellemoo at 12:16 PM on August 18, 2006

This Coolpad used to be mentioned a lot in Mac circles. Not used it personally, though.
posted by chrismear at 12:33 PM on August 18, 2006

Get RMClock

Then run the CPU at the slowest usable clock speed or use the dynamic throttle. It should keep cool enough to have it in your lap. You can also try decreasing the CPU voltage as long as it stays stable. It should also extend your battery life.
posted by robofunk at 12:34 PM on August 18, 2006

I have the iLap for my 12 inch Powerbook. I bought this for several reasons:

1) Aluminum does a great job of dissipating heat.
2) It has two comfortable pads for both wrist and "lap".
3) The angle is very comfortable to work with on your lap OR on your desk (which means that I don't have to buy a separate mouse and keyboard), which to me is a huge plus.
4) It looks seamless with my aluminum PB finish.

What don't I like about it?

1) Expensive.
2) If you had the tools, you could probably build something similar by yourself.
3) No fans.

I would definitely buy it again, but based on how I use the laptop. I rarely use it on my lap and when I do, it's very comfortable. I like it most because it fits on my desk and I safe desk space by not having a separate keyboard (even though I do use one on occasion).
posted by SeizeTheDay at 2:02 PM on August 18, 2006

Oh, right...forgot to mention probably the most important thing. Yes, the iLap does a great job of keeping the laptop cool, but something I noticed that seems very important: the room temperature must be under 75 degrees F, I can't be running too many intensive processes. If either of these two conditions are broken, the fans will come on. (Of course, I'm running a 1.33 12 inch PB, YMMV)
posted by SeizeTheDay at 2:05 PM on August 18, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the comments so far,

The iLap looks very nice and they do a big one.

SeizeTheDay do you find the top of the laptop is also noticeably cooler when you use it - i.e. the area around the trackpad for example as that is important to me as well.

The lapinator doesn't seem to keep the rest of the laptop cool just prevents your legs from getting warm so that one is probably not going to work for me.

The Coolpad might be good but I don't think it comes in a big enough size.

Anyone use a Lapworks laptop desk - seems interesting but no idea how well it works - more details here.

Anyone know of any fan assisted coolers which are big enough as that is what I know works?

Thanks and keep the comments coming.
posted by empedia at 2:10 PM on August 18, 2006

I've never had any problems with my wrists when the fans were on, but that could be more a reflection of the laptop than the cooling abilities of the iLap. My fans kick on at 120 degrees F and the temperature never rises about 145 F, which is usually when I'm running VirtualPC or watching a movie. Again, my computer is pretty outdated, so YMMV. Whenever I'm heavily using the wrist rests, it's usually to write something in Word or work on a project in Excel or Powerpoint, so my fans rarely kick on (which is why I've never had discomfort). I can't speak for more intensive applications.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 2:22 PM on August 18, 2006

I use a Lapworks desk and it's fine. Get a USB-powered cooling pad and set it under the laptop but on top of the Lapworks desk (if you're going to use the Lapworks desk.)

The price of a good cooling pad is more than worth it. I had to send my desktop-replacement laptop in for service 3 times (under warranty, thankfully) due to components melting inside. Once I got a $30 Targus cooling pad, I never had that problem again.
posted by IndigoRain at 10:51 PM on August 18, 2006

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