Cooler Master NotePal I100 Laptop Cooling Pad Review

 Somehow while the modern technology is supposed to improve in every aspect, the most powerful newer notebooks are significantly warmer than the older ones, despite new cooling designs and techniques. As a result, if you want to keep your equipment happy humming for longer periods of time, improve their reliability and extend their life, you will usually need extra cooling, and judging by the number of laptop cooling pads popping up on the market lately, they are quite popular. One of the newest addition in this category is the last Cooler Master NotePal I100 Laptop Cooling Pad (model no R9-NBC-I1HK-GP), an ultra-slim and lightweight USB powered cooling pad with a low price that should catch your attention, that was released today. Cooler Master was nice enough to send us a unit for review, so read along and see how it performs in the real world.

1. NotePal I100 Unboxing

The box contains the NotePal I100 Cooling Pad and a short manual.

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2. NotePal I100 Design

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NotePal I100 is a very slim at 23mm (less than 1 inch) and attractive platform with a mesh like surface. Inside you’ll find a 140mm fan performing virtually silent. The fan is USB powered and includes a USB pass-trough so it won’t cannibalize your precious ports. At 0.22A the power consumption is way below the standard USB 0.5A capabilities.

The Pad provides two height levels and can accommodate up to 15.4″ laptops per manufactures specifications. I was able to use a 16″ widescreen laptop with no significant issues though.

 

3. NotePal I100 Technical Specifications

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Model R9-NBC-I1HK-GP (Black), R9-NBC-I1HB-GP (Blue)
R9-NBC-I1HG-GP (Green), R9-NBC-I1HO-GP (Orange)
R9-NBC-I1HP-GP (Pink), R9-NBC-I1HR-GP (Red), R9-NBC-I1HW-GP (White)
Color Black
Material Metal Mesh, Plastic
Weight 0.68 kg / 1.5 lbs
Dimension (W / H / D) 350 x 250 x 23~39mm
Fan Dimension (W / H / D) 140 x 140 x 15mm
Fan Speed 1200 rpm+/-15%
Fan Speed Adjustment Single speed
Fan Airflow 38 CFM
Fan Noise Level (dB-A) 21 dB(A)
Power USB (DC 5V)
USB USB 2.0/1.1 x1
Power Consumption 1.1 W
Compatibility Support up to 15.4” laptops

4. Testing

To test the NotePal I100 cooling capabilities, we were using a good old  HP HDX16 notebook based on Core 2 Duo T9400 that runs usually hot enough you NEED to cool it down somehow. I have ordered a new DELL XPS 17 notebook featuring a Core i7 CPU, yet to receive, but I’ll update the review numbers in the following weeks after I receive that beast.

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As in our previous tests, the methodology is quite standardized. Before measuring the actual temperature with and without the cooler stand, we turned off the notebook for four hours, allowing enough time for it to cool down to the room temperature. The room temperature was set at 74F for all the tests. The software used is the Open Hardware Monitor, which displays the temperatures as measured by the internal sensors for CPU, GPU and the hard drive. The temperatures were measured while idle, under light load while surfing the web, while playing a 1080p video (Blu-ray movie) and while playing Diablo 3 (yep, I still play it occasionally), so basically under four very popular usage scenarios today.

4.1 Cooling

As for my previous cooler pad reviews, we note that the temperatures with or without cooling pad while idle or under light load are very close, because the notebook’s native cooling system performs quite well in these conditions. The story significantly changes while the load increases, and this is exactly when having a cooling pad comes really handy. Notice the significant temperature differences while playing Blu-ray or while playing a rather demanding game.

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Note: A while back we reviewed another CoolerMaster product, NotePal ErgoStand. To check how I100 stands against ErgoStand performance, check our ErgoStand review.

4.2 Ergonomics

The main point when considering the ergonomics would be the noise level. NotePal i100 features a single 140 mm fan spinning at 1200 rpm and I am happy to report that the fan is virtually silent. The last thing that we need is yet another noise maker in our office while we work, so the very low noise level is excellent news. There is no speed control, but there is no real need in my opinion.

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5. Conclusion

There are few products that impress us with their pure simplicity, attention to detail and overall functionality and Cooler Master’s NotePal I100 is one of them. Powered by a high efficiency and virtually silent fan, available in a large number of attractive colors and sold for a budget price of $19.99 (MSRP), NotePal I100 is a mandatory investment in your laptop/notebook reliability. Highly recommended.

You can buy it from Amazon for $19.99 with no taxes and free shipping in most of continental US. Most colors are in stock as well.

5.1 Pros

  • excellent cooling capability on a budget
  • available in enough colors for almost every taste
  • very silent
  • slim, only 23mm thick
  • USB powered and at 0.22A, significantly under any USB port power capability

5.2 Cons

  • I wish it would accommodate larger notebooks

6. Gallery

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