Review: CoolerMaster NotePal I300 Laptop Cooler


CoolerMaster’s single-fan layout with the I300 might sound like a downgrade on paper compared to something like the dual-fan ERGO 360 that we reviewed last week. But there’s a reason - silence. While smaller, faster rotating fans are used to get more air flow into a small space, larger fans generally come pretty close to pushing the same amount of air at far slower RPMs resulting in that silence many computer users crave.

In the IP300, CoolerMaster went with a single 160mm, 700-1400 RPM variable speed fan rated at 35 ~ 70 CFM. The result in our testing is a cooler that runs quieter (than the ERGO 360) and manages to cool to the same degree.

To really get the heat flowing we fired up Left 4 Dead 2 once again and maxed out setting son our Retina MacBook Pro. Even at full speed (1400 RPMs), the larger fan within the I300 was more pleasant to “deal with” as the sound it emitted was a much lower frequency than the ERGO 360′s two, smaller and higher pitched fans. In our particular case, the I300′s sound signature actually blended in decently with the redesigned fans inside the Retina MacBook Pro. Temperature-wise we typically about a 10-15 degrees (Celsius) reduction in temperature over using no cooler whatsoever - more or less identical to the ERGO 360.

*It’s worth pointing out that using a “normal” plastic/non-aluminum bottomed laptop saw temperature reductions of “only” 5-8 degrees Celsius. We attribute this to basic physics - aluminum’s fantastic ability to transfer heat to another metal when in contact with it, as was the case with our MacBook Pro.

We’ll be honest. Even though the point of larger fans is to run slower and quieter, we were hoping to squeeze a bit more cooling power from it’s rotating blades of furry. But even though it merely matched the ERGO 360, we’re still pleased with the additional cooling power it did provide.

Verdict

Overall, the NotePal I300 is a good cooler for a large chunk of laptops. The lack of any rubber stops or pieces to keep laptops with slippery undersides positioned, however, is a make it or break it situation. That said, if you have a laptop such as the MacBook Pro we predominantly used during the review, you’re going to want to think long and hard if keeping the I300 at its lowest setting is something you can live with. If it is, for $24.95 it’s the better buy.

Laptop sliding issues aside, we like the all-mesh appearance of the I300 over the ERGO 360′s slotted design more, and appreciate the lower levels of sound coming from the I300. Although, like the ERGO 360, we wish CoolerMaster provided some sort of method to manually control fan speed. Finally, the LED fan won’t be for everyone. But if you can live with it (and despite adding nothing to performance), we liked the glow it added to the underside of our laptop.

More: CoolerMaster - NotePal I300

Gadgetsteria’s Rating: 7/10

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