An oft-heard complaint about notebooks is that they can be very warm when running, as in literally hot. Now if you think about it, that is not a surprise considering the amount of components that notebook manufacturers fit into that small form factor. Something has got to give and in designing notebooks, manufacturers have to settle for less than ideal cooling solutions and setups.
Short of taking drastic measures such as undervolting (which can be tedious), one can always invest in a notebook cooler, such as the Evercool Zodiac Snow White notebook cooling pad we have here.
Unpacking the Zodiac Snow White from its tidily packaged box, we found the all-white notebook cooler to be cold to touch. This is because it is all aluminum, which incidentally, is a good thermal conductor. By employing an all-aluminum pad, Evercool claims that heat dissipation can be increased by as much as 20% as opposed to an all-plastic pad. The Zodiac Snow White was designed to function best with 14.1-inch notebooks, although we found that it'll take 15-inchers without a hitch too.
The next thing we noticed were the zodiac designs on the pad. Frankly, we rather prefer the pad to be plain because the whole zodiac theme, we felt, was somewhat cheesy.
Moving on, we found the on/off switch along with the two USB ports. The Zodiac Snow White is powered thru USB, so of the two USB ports provided, one of them will be used to power the cooler itself. .
The Zodiac Snow White is powered by twin fans, which are located dead centre, and so should work well with all notebooks, regardless of its internal configurations. Sadly, the speed of the fans cannot be adjusted, which, according to specifications, run at 1500RPM. At this speed, they are quiet and we reckon the Zodiac Snow White could perhaps do with faster spinning fans without raising the noise levels.
There are many articles suggesting the futility of using a notebook cooler, but our tests suggest that the Zodiac Snow White does work. Using a 15" Macbook Pro as our test subject, we had it transcode two 700MB DVD-rips simultaneously to fully load its twin cores. At 100% load, the twin cores recorded a peak operating temperature of 67 degrees Celsius. Turning the Zodiac Snow White notebook cooling pad on, we managed to reduce it to a more manageable 60 degrees Celsius, which is rather significant. Of course, such returns vary with the notebook in question since the internal configurations can differ greatly.
By default, the fans are positioned such that they act as exhausts, drawing warm air away from the base of the notebook. However, these fans are configurable, and you can switch the direction of air flow simply by unscrewing the fan enclosure at the back and flipping them around.
At the end of the day, the Zodiac Snow White notebook cooling pad does what is expected of a notebook cooling pad - and that is to cool the notebook down. But at US$30 (S$44), it is admittedly a little on the expensive side. At that price, we'd expect a few extra USB ports thrown in and more importantly, a slider to adjust fan speeds. Still, if you have a notebook that desperately needs some cooling assistance, you can't go wrong with the Zodiac Snow White notebook cooling pad.