The successful construction of all machinery depends on the perfection of the tools employed; and whoever is a master in the arts of tool-making possesses the key to the construction of all machines... The contrivance and construction of tools must therefore ever stand at the head of the industrial arts. (Charles Babbage)
A while back I mentioned buying this Antec Notebook Cooler. I didn't do
a review on it because I hadn't used it long enough and it's the kind of thing
you do want to use for a bit before forming an opinion. I bought it because
it seemed to me that my MacBook Pro runs uncomfortably hot - sometimes I
have it in my lap and it's quite uncomfortable. I was worried about it
sitting on my desk because if I moved it, even the desk surface where it
had sat seemed too warm.
This Antec unit is an aluminum base with perforated holes that a fan
drives air through.
Soft feet elevate the notebook about a half inch above the unit.
This thing draws fan power from a USB connector. That runs a fan, and
when I first got it I was impressed by how whisper quiet it was. Well,
about a month later it started making loud noises at startup. It does
quiet down after a while, but it can be pretty annoying while it lasts.
MacBook Pro's come with internal temperature sensors. Apple doesn't
provide anything to read them, but iSlayer's iStat Pro Widget does. I don't like Widgets,
so would have preferred to use their iStat menus, but that did not work for me at all: it
installs the System Preferences Panel but any attempt to actually
activate anything as a menu bar item fails. Oh well, a Widget is
better than nothing. I donated $9.00 for this freeware download - I
would have given them more if the iStat menus had worked..
Anyway - I tested this unit three different ways. In the snapshots
shown below I have turned off most of iStat Pro's features and am showing only
temperature and fan speed. For all measurements, I left the system
unattended for thirty minutes running a sudo "ls -lR /" to keep the CPU and disk busy.
This is the system simply sitting flat on a wood desktop.
On Antec with Fan
This is sitting on the Antec unit with the Antec fan running.
On Antec without Fan
This is with the Antec fan shut off. The computer now just has the half
inch air space between it and the Antec's aluminum plate.
It's easy to see that the major difference here is how fast the MacBook's
fans have to run to keep the CPU cool. Without the Antec's fan, the MacBook
fans run faster, and they run faster still when the Macbook simply sits on
the wooden desk. The fans run at half those speeds or less when the Antec fan
is run, and CPU temperature is 12 degrees Fahrenheit cooler.
It seems very plain that the Antec CPU Cooler really does cool the unit and
require less work from the MacBook's internal fans.
Under more typical conditions of me working, the CPU A temperature reaches 187 degrees
Fahrenheit and the fans run at 3500 RPM with the Antec. With the Antec
fan off, the temperature stays about the same, but the fans jump to
4500 RPM or so.