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REVIEW #1

Research start date: July 9, 2006
Released Review October 17, 2006

How to Cool Off
Your Portable Computer.
PowerBook/Lap Top or Mobile Unit.

Fan cools off computer

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Priced in Canadian Dollars
At time of review
Targus Notebook Chill Mat
$40.00


Photo by Targus


How Laptops Are Cooled

On average mobile computers are on eight hours per day and run like new for about three to five years. Within five year many mobile laptops out date themselves in hardware and especially software. Because of their limited size any heat generated with in the computer is potentially lethal. To cool mobile computers tiny fans are used within to cool them. However, we know that the cpu graphic board give off a lot of heat and in a mobile computer fans are sometimes replaced by using a heat sink. Even when fans are used their size will not cool adequately. Depending on the computers' design heat will decrease the life of the unit. Not all computers are equal.

How Laptops Are Cooled
1.
Some mobile computers have at least two fans venting towards the bottom sometimes. If the computer is placed on a table this type of venting system is limited by the height space under the computer. Venting from the bottom is limited by the height of the feet used to raise the computer off the surface. Place it on your lap if you dare and you might block a vent or fan.

2. Some mobile computer use fans that vent from the side of the unit. Side venting is less likely to be obstructed or blocked.

3. Some fans vent through speaker grills, on top a long side the key board.

Most mobile computers heat up from the bottom area closest towards the LCD screen where the CPU is normally found. The faster the speend of the CPU is or how hard it is working to let you play your favorite game. The hotter the CPU will present its self. The hotter the computers components are in side, the shorter the life of the mobile computer will be.

It was not until I bought a G4 PowerBook from an Apple reseller, did I learn how hot laptops get. Included with Apples operating Tiger (10.4) was a software program called a widget. Widgets are independent programs which do simple tasks. Much like a clock which tells current time. The widget that cames free with Tiger are little programs which run independant from the operating system. One of many free widgets shows you internal heat in Celsius or Fahrenheit. After seeing how hot the G4 got, I went out and bought an infrared temperature reader to verify what I was reading from the widget. I took readings from the top alumin side near the back closes to the monitor. Sure enough and darn close to the wedgit reading confirmed how hot this computer really got using amost any software.

At the time of purchase the Apples PowerBook G4 was running Apples Panther (10.3) operating software. Two fans helped to cool the internal parts. These two fans are controlled by a sensor which occasionally ran the two fans. In Apples Tiger (10.4) operating system the two fans were on almost always. During monitoring in Tiger, fans came on when temperatures reached 150 degrees Fahrenheit or 60 degrees Celsius. Confirmed by the infrared reader.

Why are mobile computers called lap tops? Laptops get hot enough to seriously burn skin if left on your lap to long. More and more mobile computers are not using the term laptops because of the intense heat. Manufactures may include with their specs what operating range the cpu works best at. Manufactures know that the computer will be running much hotter. Many mobile computers use tiny fans which can not keep up with demands to cool the computer with in the range given. Manufactures agree on an average guide to follow is that the computer should not exceed 60 % over the temperature range or exceed 60 to 65 Celsius that is about 150 Fahrenheit degrees. When computers get extremely hot they can function different from the normal. Sensors with in the computer will shut the CPU down. If sensors fail the extreme heat inside of the computer can cause a fire. After learning about how hot mobile computers can get I looked around for ways to cool the ones I have.

I tested four products that can be used with any mobile computer. Most products claim to be able to drop temperatures by a few degrees. At most computer cooling devices slow down the steady climb of heat. Some coolers helped enough to cause computer fan not to go on as often. There are other products that I was unable to find during this review and may add at a later date.

Two of these products can be bought at most computer stores. The next two are of my own design. I used a infrared reader by FlashPoint to measure how hot the plastic unit got and how hot the cpu got with and with out some form of cooling device.

Models Tested
I looked at many computer stores which carried the ibreeze $39.95. or the Targus Notebook Chill Mat $39.95 or on sale sometimes for $35.95. Some computer chain stores do not carry them at all. I found two models the ibreese and the Targus NoteBook Chill Mat, to tested. I also came up with my own design which presently works much better than the store bought ones. In one design I used a five inch, single two speed fan that needed to be plugged into a house hold current. The second design is based on my own theories and construction.

Computer Models Tested
I used a G3 with a 400 MHz single cpu in a plastic casing and running Apples OS 9.1. The second computer is the G4 with a 1.5 GHz single cpu in a metal casing and running Apples OS 10.4. To assist in accurate Temperature readings I used an infrared reader by FlashPoint.

Software
I used Norton AntiVirus software to check computer for viruses over a length of time. The software worked the computers CPU and hard drive continuos for a least one hour. When no cooling devices were used, both computers ran hot. The G4 ran hot enough to have fans work consently. The G3 was measured in two places. Over the metal case which protects the CPU. Temputes ran between 70 to 90 range and a fan beside the CPU heat sink never came on during this test. According to design the G4 ran about sixteen times fast than the G3. The faster the CPU runs the more heat is produced

IBreeze

These Photo are by iBreeze
 

These Photo are by iBreeze

IBreeze
-Back View

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Power Switch on or off
USB cable connections
Extra USB Port


 

The First Model: iBreeze

Store bought units are designed to work with many different computer models. The ibreese is basically designed for Apples ibook line of laptops. It is about the size of the twelve inches ibook and can be used with the 14 inch ibook as well. The computer is placed on top of the ibreese. The bottom of the computer is cooled by two fans horizontally mounted towards the top side of the computer. Two 60 millimeter fans are fastened to a clear plastic. The clear plastic is on an angle which lifts the computers monitor up about an extra inch. I found at time of purchase that the clear plastic was scratched and showed up grease finger prints.

What I liked about the ibreeze was that it tilted the computer about 15 degrees. The back being higher than the front. Two small 60 mm fans blow cool air towards the unit. Powered by connecting to a USB 1.1 or 2.0 port from the computer or a powered hub. The ibreeze mentions on the packaging to lower temperatures by a few degrees.

I found that the G4 eventually had to use the internal fans. One reason I felt for this was the size of fan used. A 60 millimeter size instead of the more common 80 millimeter. Remember that the ibreeze was originally designed for the Apples iBook series which ran a slower CPU.

Specifications: Model: iBreeze
 Color: Clear
 Exterior Dimensions:
 Width: 10.9 inches (fits 12, 15, and 17 inch ibook or PowerBook
 Depth: 9.5 inches
 Height 2.25 inches at the rear
 Connection: USB 2 port Works with Version 1.1 also
 Technical:
 Air Flow: 28 CFM (cubic feet per minute)
 Cooling typically between 5 to 15 Degrees difference
 PC Power: USB: 5 V, 500 mA Current 130mA
 Power: 5 V
 Warranty : 1 Year Limited Warranty
 Weight: 685g
 Recommended for smaller mobile computers

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The Second Model: Targus NoteBook Chill Mat
 Store bought units are designed to work with many different computer models. The Cool Mate is basically designed for Apples ibook line of laptops. It is about the size of the twelve inch ibook and can be used with the 14 inch ibook as well. The computers bottom is cooled by two fans horizontally mounted at the top side of the computer. The stand that mounts two 60 mm fans is made of clear plastic. Which over time scratches and leaves lots of figure prints. What I liked about this cooling unit was that it tilted the computer about 15 degrees. The back being higher than the front. Two small 60 mm fans blow cool air towards the unit. All store bought units were powered by connecting to a USB 1.1 or 2.0 port from the computer or a powered hub. None of the store bought units made no claim that they would cool the unit to manufacture operation range. Both mention a few degrees cool at best, which is better than 60 or 65 F by the manufacture.

Specifications: Model: Targus NoteBook Chill Mat
 Color Silver
 Exterior Dimensions: 11.75" x 9" x 0.8" (29.85 x 22.86 x 2.03 cm)
 Connection: USB port
 Technical:
 Air Flow: 28 CFM (cubic feet per minute)
 Speed: 1500 RPM
 PC Power: USB: 5 V, 500 mA
 Power: 1.05 W
 Warranty : 1 Year Limited Warranty
 Weight: 685g
 

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