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How well does a laptop cooling pad work? We Amazon'd one ourselves to find out

How well does a laptop cooling pad work? We Amazon'd one ourselves to find out
How well does a laptop cooling pad work? We Amazon'd one ourselves to find out
Temperatures will definitely go down, but we want to find out by just how much and if the increase in fan noise would be worth the trade-off. With 4.5 stars and over 11,000 reviews on Amazon, we have our expectations set quite high.
Allen Ngo 👁, 🇩🇪

There are probably hundreds of different laptop cooling pads in the market, but most of them work the same way by housing at least one large fan under a flat mesh to cool the laptop from underneath. We purchased the current number one seller on Amazon, the Havit HV-F2056, to see how much of a difference it can really make.

Our chosen test unit is the CUKUSA MSI GP65 10SFK for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the chassis has more ventilation grilles on the bottom panel when compared to most other laptop designs meaning that it should benefit more from cooling pads. Secondly, the powerful Core i7-10750H CPU and GeForce RTX 2070 Max-P GPU in the laptop will run very warm when gaming and so any external help would definitely be appreciated.

The 15.6-inch MSI GP65 gaming laptop with 10th gen Intel Core i7 and GeForce RTX 2070 was selected for this test
The 15.6-inch MSI GP65 gaming laptop with 10th gen Intel Core i7 and GeForce RTX 2070 was selected for this test
The bottom panel of the GP65 has more air intake holes than most other gaming laptops to make it the perfect test subject for a cooling pad (Image source: CUKUSA)
The bottom panel of the GP65 has more air intake holes than most other gaming laptops to make it the perfect test subject for a cooling pad (Image source: CUKUSA)

For the test, we would run Witcher 3 for over an hour on High Performance mode without the Havit cooler pad as a control. Then, we would attach the cooler pad and wait another half an hour before taking our second round of temperature and fan noise measurements. The results are recorded in the table below:

 Average CPU Temperature (C) Average GPU Temperature (C) Surface Hot Spot (C) Fan Noise (dB(A)) 
Running Witcher 3 w/o Cooler Pad 9276 44 53.9 
Running Witcher 3 w/ Cooler Pad80 70 40 59.2 

CPU and GPU temperatures improve by 12 C and 6 C, respectively, with slightly lower surface temperatures on the keyboard as well. We find these results to be respectable considering that you don't need to disassemble the laptop or risk voiding the warranty by reapplying any thermal paste.

The drawback, however, is a noticeable increase in fan noise from 53.9 dB(A) to almost 60 dB(A). The good news is that the louder fan noise isn't as bad as it seems since the fans are significantly larger than your typical laptop fan for lower-pitched fan noise overall. Our microphone shows a frequency of about 150 Hz from the cooler pad whereas the fans inside the MSI laptop peak at around 3k Hz.

In short, a cooler pad could be worth the investment if you plan on gaming or running high processing loads for hours on end. Results will certainly vary especially for laptops with smaller air intake grilles on the bottom. The Asus Zephyrus G14 and G15, for example, are notorious for their small ventilation grilles on their bottom chassis.

Witcher 3 system stats without the cooling pad (control)
Witcher 3 system stats without the cooling pad (control)
Witcher 3 system stats with the cooling pad attached
Witcher 3 system stats with the cooling pad attached
Surface temperature when running Witcher 3 without cooling pad (control)
Surface temperature when running Witcher 3 without cooling pad (control)
Surface temperature when running Witcher 3 with cooling pad
Surface temperature when running Witcher 3 with cooling pad
System when running Witcher 3 without cooling pad
System when running Witcher 3 without cooling pad
System when running Witcher 3 with cooling pad. System is lifted at an angle so the rear exhaust is not seen
System when running Witcher 3 with cooling pad. System is lifted at an angle so the rear exhaust is not seen
Red: System idle. Orange: Witcher 3 load without cooling pad. Green: Witcher 3 load with cooling pad
Red: System idle. Orange: Witcher 3 load without cooling pad. Green: Witcher 3 load with cooling pad
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 05 > How well does a laptop cooling pad work? We Amazon'd one ourselves to find out
Allen Ngo, 2020-05- 7 (Update: 2020-05- 7)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.