The Antec Notebook Cooler 200 is a high performance notebook cooling stand designed to keep the fastest gaming notebooks running cool even under heavy stress. Offering a 200mm fan, solid construction for the largest notebooks, and cool blue LED lighting, this notebook stand is aimed to be one of the best. In this review we find out how well it works under the most demanding situations, with a Gateway P-7811 FX gaming notebook with a NVIDIA 9800M GTS graphics card running at full load.
Antec Notebook Cooler 200 Specifications:
Design and Construction
Build quality of the Antec Notebook Cooler 200 is excellent, built to easily hold the largest notebooks on the market. The frame is made from plastic and even with a heavy load of a 17” gaming notebook the stand doesn’t flinch one bit. A strong press with quite a bit of upper body weight barely tweaks the stand. The materials used to make the top surface, including clear plastic, metal inlays, and a mesh grill for the fan, hold up well but show some scuffing if you have dirty notebook feet.
The design of the Notebook Cooler 200 is twofold: it will sit happily on any desk surface while at the same time remain comfortable enough to place on your lap. The frame is black, supporting a top tray made up of black plastic, clear plastic, and mirror finish sections that act as pads for your notebook feet. The fan assembly has a large metal mesh covering the fan blades, keeping your fingers from getting stubbed by plastic spinning upwards of 600RPM. Inside the fan itself, Antec includes 4 blue LEDs to illuminate the fan blades while they spin. I am not always a fan of flashy lights on notebooks, but thankfully these are optional and can be switched off.
The main purpose of this cooling pad besides looking awesome sitting on your desk is to, as the name implies, cool your laptop. Most notebooks can handle higher temperatures very well in day to day use from the factory, but when you push the notebook through hours of gaming, the stock cooling system can’t keep up. This is where a cooler comes into play, providing a steady stream of cool air below the notebook, as well as moving the hot air away from the notebook. Most coolers work in two ways: by elevating the notebook so hot air doesn’t remained trapped beneath and by forcing cooler air around the computer.
To test the cooling pad I used the 17” Gateway P-7811 FX gaming notebook, with Rthdribl running at full screen resolution to stress the GPU and wPrime calculating Pi to 1024m digits to stress the entire system for 25-30 minutes. I would then record the ending temperature of the GPU as well as areas around the notebook keyboard. Between each test was a resting period of 20 minutes with the notebook in power saver mode and the cooling fan on high to bring the notebook down to baseline starting temperatures. The test included 4 parts:
The fourth test was added to find out of the notebook was operating hotter or cooler since the start of the test.
This picture shows the normal temperatures from our review of this notebook under mild gaming.
In the first test the notebook performed very well, with internal GPU temperatures peaking at 76C. The notebook surface warmed up considerably compared to what we saw during our review, but most games don’t peg both the GPU and CPU for almost half an hour.
With the fans turned off but the notebook still sitting on the stand, GPU temperatures still peaked around 76C, but most parts around the keyboard increased in temperature.
With the notebook off the cooling stand and sitting on a desk surface with plenty of side ventilation space, GPU temperatures soared to 93C under load. Plastic around the keyboard increased in temperature yet again and the exhaust vent peaked at an astonishing 160F!
To make sure the notebook wasn’t gradually increasing in temperature throughout the test, I put the notebook back on the stand with the fan on high and ran the same 25-30 minute test. GPU temperatures were back in the previously observed 75-76C range, and the surfaces surrounding the keyboard also dropped down very close to the original readings. System exhaust temperatures were also down, now putting out only 125-130F.
Comfort on lap
While the Antec cooling pad is designed to operate on both a desk surface and a users lap, I did not find the lap mode to be very comfortable. The added weight of the stand plus the notebook was very awkward, compounded by the higher center of gravity on the stand. The increased cooling between my legs from the 200mm fan was odd to say the least. While I guess you can do it, I think that most users of this cooling stand will opt for a desk-only solution.
The Antec Notebook Cooler 200 cooling system did show a big improvement in both internal and external temperatures with our Gateway test-rig. Some of these gains could be linked to the increased airflow from the oversized 200mm fan, but the primary change came from just elevating the notebook. Tipping the scales at close to 90 bucks MSRP this notebook stand it is one of the more expensive models we have reviewed. Buyers should probably ask themselves if the steep price is worth it, when even DVD cases stacked beneath the notebook will probably decrease system temperatures a significant amount. Overall the Antec notebook cooler has great build quality and a solid design, but the steep price tag can make the purchase hard to swallow.
Pricing and Availability
The Antec Notebook Cooler 200 is priced at $89.95 and is available at many retail stores. For more information visit the Antec website.
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