Review Xigmatek NPC-D211 Shield Notebook Cooler
For hotheads. In particular, gaming laptops have to fight against extremely high heat levels. Xigmatek has addressed the problem and presents a 19-inch notebook cooler with a large 200mm fan in the form of the NPC-D211 Shield.
Time and time again our editorial staff is confronted with laptops that exhibit striking weaknesses when it comes to cooling down the components. Directly under full load the processor and graphics card temperatures happy climb into considerably high regions, in parts even up to 100 degrees Celsius. This doesn't only lead to crashes or throttling of individual components, but also in the long term there can be negative effects on the lifespan of a laptop. If for no other reason, Xigmatek offers a large-format laptop cooler in the NPC-D211 Shield, which the internet shop Caseking.de kindly made available to us.
The 400 x 390 x 55 millimetre (W x D x H) sized and 1800g heavy Shield is provided in a rather inconspicuous black box and leaves out any kind of accessory apart from a solitary USB cable (for the power supply). Thus the customer finds neither a manual nor other additions in the packaging. These sorts of accessories are of course not necessary at all, as the use of this notebook cooler turns out to be considerably simple: just place the Shield on the appropriate surface, connect the supplied USB cable to the laptop and activate the power key on the side and you're away. As the Shield has a second USB 2.0 port, you can furthermore connect more peripherals, for example a mouse or a keyboard.
Although on the packaging there's talk of 'ultra silent' and a sound level at a maximum of 20.1 dB(A), the notebook fan didn't seem as quiet as a whisper, and at least a slight whooshing could be perceived. As Xigmatek has done without any adjustment controls, the fan speed can't adjust itself, so the Shield runs continuously at 500 RPM. Otherwise the laptop cooler made a good impression. The stable, matte-black surfaces from brushed aluminium seem very high quality, where the paintwork presented slight defects in some places and some edges turned out rather harsh (caused by the design).
Visually the customer isn't left wanting more. The 200 mm fan provides nice accents with its orange colouring. The lifespan of the fan is incidentally quoted by Xigmatek to be 30,000 hours, whilst the displacement volume should add up to 102.2 m³/h.
In order to be able to judge the cooling performance of the Xigmatek NPC-D211 Shield, we let two notebooks loose on the device. Firstly we used the 17-inch mySN MG7.c (Core i5-520M & Radeon HD 5730), then we fell back on the 18.4-inch Toshiba X500-121 (Core i7-720QM & GeForce GTS 360M). The procedure was as follows: both notebooks were fully loaded for two hours at a time with the help of the Prime and Furmark tools, logically once with and once without the Xigmatek NPC-D211 Shield.
Let's begin with the mySN MG7.c, whose graphics card warmed up to 87°C without the cooler, whilst the processor even reached 92°C. Use of the Xigmatek NPC-D211 Shield had a significant impact on the temperature situation. Whilst the temperature of the graphics card sank by 10°C (77°C), there was a difference of 11°C for the processor (81°C). On the Toshiba X500-121 similarly large differences were observed: with a maximum of 99°C the extremely hot Core i7-720QM was 'only' 90°C with the laptop cooler (-9°C). In any case the already decently cooled GeForce GTS 360M fell from 74°C to 62°C with the shield (-12°C).
Overall the temperatures decreased in our full-load test by around 10°C, which is no outstanding performance, yet all the while corresponds to a thoroughly respectable cooling performance. In some cases this can even make the difference between a stable or an unstable laptop.
One thing to note: The Xigmatek NPC-D211 should admittedly be suitable for laptops up to the 19-inch format, yet our 17.4-inch device protruded slightly over the side borders. Using the 18.4-inch laptop was even harder, as the outer case feet could only just be positioned onto the Shield.
On the whole the Xigmatek NPC-D211 Shield has made a good impression. The laptop cooler features fancy visuals as well as high-quality materials. As for the size it can indeed become a little tight with some notebooks, yet in return the Shield doesn't hog too much space on the desk. The lightly chamfered form furthermore provides optimised ergonomics. The biggest strength indeed turns out to be the convincing cooling performance; an improvement of around 10°C is impressive.
In short: If you own a hot-headed laptop and you don't take fright at an investment of around 40 Euro, you can snatch up the Xigmatek NPC-D211 Shield with a clear conscience.