Typically, actively cooled notebook coolers cosist of multiple small fans. As we all know, small fans are louder than larger fans when they're moving the same volume of air. So when I had seen the Vantec LapCool 4 with it's large 160MM fan, I was excited thinking I had come across an active notebook cooler that is quiet as well.
First things first... I can not find this product on Vantec's US or Taiwan website. I can find a LapCool4, but it's a folding laptop cooler with a pair of smaller cooling fans.
With the help of forum members I found that this product, specifically called the LPC-402, is not sold in the U.S. by Vantec and is only available in Europe and the middle East. It is sold in the United States by Tripp-Lite with an MSRP of $29.95. Using Froogle, I found this unit for as little as $15. $20 was the typical sell price.
From the top of the unit, you can see the large grill for the fan. Hot air is supposed to be sucked in through this grill and is exhausted out of the back. You can see the two "bumps" at the back of the unit that helps to prop up the notebook enough to allow decent airflow.
On the bottom we can see the power lead going to the hub of the fan. Eight rubber feat prevent the LapCool from sliding around the desk.
Here is a shot of the back of the LapCool. This is where the heat is exhausted. To the far left you can see the jack for the USB DC adapter.
Here's a shot of the front of the LapCool with my Acer TravelMate 4400 sitting on top of it. Believe it or not, the LapCool does not prop the notebook up to an uncomfortable level. It only took a few minutes to get used to the higher elevation of the notebook and the angle the two "bumps" in the back created was quite comfortable.
Here's the rear of my TravelMate sitting on the LapCool.
Above is the USB to +5VDC adapter that is used to power the LapCool's fan.
Unlike some active notebook coolers, including many of Vantec's models, this unit doesn't feature a USB hub or a USB pass-through. Fortunately for me, a TravelMate 4400 has four USB ports as well as firewire and Bluetooth, so I'm not too borthered by this, but I also know that there are a few notebooks out there with a limited number of USB ports.
With the notebook sitting directly on the wood desk running both Everest and Prime95, CPU temperatures shot up to 81°C after two hours.
I then placed my notebook on top of the Vantec LapCool4, plugged in the fan and ran for another two hours. Temperatures dropped to 73°C, which is good (anything is better than 81°C) but still not as good as the Thermaltake iXoft's temperature drop from 82°C to 65°C.
While the Vantec was running, I didn't feel much airflow. This made me wonder how effective the fan actually was. So I removed the LapCool and ran the notebook sitting directly on the desk for a few minutes waiting for temperatures to shoot back up to 81°C. I then placed the Vantec LapCool back underneath the notebook but DID NOT plug the USB power back in.
Much to my surprise, the notebook's CPU temperatures still dropped to 73°C. The exact same temperature the CPU dropped to when the fan was running. Hmm..... Well... what's the point of that?
Apparently the notebook runs significantly cooler simply from being lifted up off the desk as much as the LapCool4. That sort of goes without saying, but I thought the fan would be able to provide SOME additional cooling.
Ok... Let's take this thing out from underneath the notebook and fire up the burn-in programs to get those temperatures back up. Meanwhile, I'm going to mod this bad boy a bit....
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