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.
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