By Ahmet Parlak, The Netherlands
Review of the Cooler Master Notepal W1 (3 fans widescreen version)
Today?s notebooks are real desktop replacements with 7200 RPM hard drives and powerful video cards. But this brings along two well-known disadvantages: heat and noise. Following is a review of the Cooler Master Notepal W1, a custom widescreen notebook cooler, which ensures you can game without being disturbed by annoying noise or having burned palms after a LAN party!
Notepal W1 side view (view large image)
Here are the full specifications of the Cooler Master Notepal W1 that I have tested.
- Cooler Master Notepal W1 R9-NBC-AWBS
- Material: Alloy aluminium
- Dimension: 400x300x42mm
- Resting surface: 400x 230mm
- Weight: 1.56 kg (3.53 lbs)
- Fans: 3 fans
- Fan dimension: 70x70x15mm
- Fan speed: 1500 RPM 10%
- Fan airflow: 9.5 CFM 10%
- Fan life expectance: 30,000 hours (1250 days)
- Fan noise level: 21 dBA
- Air pressure: 0.63 mm H20 10%
- Current: 0.1A
- Input: 0.6W
- Bearing type: Sleeve
- Rated Voltage: 5 VDC
- USB ports: 2 ports
- USB ports: Maximum current rate 300 mA
- Price: 30 Euros / $40 USD
The box for the cooler protects the product well, it also has a lot of text and pictures with helpful information about the cooler. Ine issue is that no matter what color cooler you get you see the black colored 2 fans version of the cooler on the box. Not a big problem, but if you actually bought the 3 fan silver version it can be confusing.
The front of the box (view large image)
Back side of the box with info (view large image)
After opening the box I was amazed by the quality of this cooler, the build quality is amazing and the aluminium finish is beautiful. The cooler is pretty heavy (1.6kg / 3.53lbs) and has some sharp edges so you do not want to throw with this thing!
The cooler fresh out of its box (view large image)
After turning to see the backside of the notebook cooler you see the USB cable taped to the cooler. The length of the USB cable is 50cm (19.5in) and the style is the same aluminum look as the cooler itself. One thing you will notice right away is the quality of the 3 fans. The fans are secured with screws and are also made by Cooler Master, a quality brand, and their emblem is visible on the fans.
Out of the box (view large image)
The USB cable is 50 cm long (view large image)
A downside for European users is that they do not include a manual in different languages such as French, German, Spanish or Dutch. The only description you can find about the cooler is on the box and it’s all in English.
Using the Notebook Cooler
The notebook cooler is great to use, the ergonomic design prevents any pain in the neck and wrists (something I usually have after an hour of gaming). So the design is very effective, but can you use this cooler on your lap? And the answer is yes, you can use this cooler on your lap and it is very comfortable so long as you can take the extra 3.5lbs of weight in addition to your laptop.
Sound and cooling
*Note: all test were performed in a room at 20?° C and with an F&S Amilo M1437G (15.4?) with the following specs: Intel Centrino Sonoma 740 (1.73 GHz), 1.5 GB DDR2, 80 GB 5400 RPM from Samsung and an, X700 Mobility 128 MB. Also note that the CPU fan start working at 51?° C.
Prior to this I used the Spire Pacific Breeze cooler for a year and got used to the loud sound that thing produces. With this Cooler Master product after connecting the USB cable and starting the cooler I wondered if the cooler was even on. The sound that the cooler produces is very low and not annoying at all. After bringing the cooler to a smaller and quieter room for testing I noticed that the cooler does produce some noise, but nothing you would find annoying.
The cooling ability of the Notepal is efficient, but not very impressive. While surfing the web and writing this review the temperatures of my notebook went to 37?° C for (both HD and CPU) after 90 minutes of use. The Spire Pacific at full speed could cool better, the temperatures after 90 minutes with that cooler were 34?° C (HD and CPU). But thankfully the fans on my notebook never needed to kick in, something that my notebook usually does after 90 minutes, even when using the lowest settings for CPU and GPU.
Comparison chart of temps for the Notepal W1 compared to Spire Pacific Breeze:
|Surfing the web and typing the review||Duration||Temperature CPU (?°C)||Temperature HD (?°C)|
|Notepal W1||90 minutes||37||37|
|Spire Pacific Breeze at full speed||90 minutes||36||34|
|No cooler||90 minutes||Hovers between 50-51||40|
Temps while surfing and typing (view large image)
Temperatures while surfing and typing
While gaming the temperatures of this notebook can rise up to 60?° C for CPU and 45?° C for HD. Gaming with those temperatures is very uncomfortable and the noise from the loud fans of the notebook is pretty annoying. I have measured the temperatures while playing several games. These tests were performed after 90 minutes of surfing the web and writing a part of the review.
Gaming with Notepal W1
|Game||Duration||Temperature CPU (?° C)||Temperature HD (?° C)|
|Rainbow Six: Raven Shield||60 minutes||52||37|
|The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion||30 minutes||55||39|
|Unreal Tournament 2004||30 minutes||55||39|
|Without cooler (2 hour Oblivion)||1 hour||60||45|
These temperatures are good, but the Spire Pacific performs better. Playing Oblivion for hours gives you a maximum temperature of 40?° C for the hard drive with the Spire, and I reached that temperature after just 1 hour with the Notepal. Without the cooler the temperatures can rise up to 46 degrees for HD after 3 hours of gaming.
Temps after gaming (view large image)
Temperatures after gaming with Oblivion
(notice the fact that the CPU temperature drops a lot when using a cooler)
In using the Notepal W1 I noticed that the fan of my notebook started working directly after I started the game, but the fan did then go off quite quickly. The reason therefore is that the fan of my notebook pulls cold air from the cooler directly because the fan for my notebook that pulls in air is precisely above the fan of the cooler that is blowing air — this provides a perfect cooling solution.
The cooler has 3 big fans, so there is a big chance that your air intake fan will rest above a cooler fan.
Designed for 17? notebooks?
Cooler Master claims that this is the first notebook cooler in the world that is designed for 17? notebooks. Well, just take a look at the images of the F&S Amilo Xa1526 on top of the Notepal W1.
Side view of the Xa1526 on top of the Notepal (notice that the cooler is to short and that the rubber feet fall outside of the cooler) (view large image)
This is where the cooler is unstable (view large image)
As you can see the cooler is too short in depth. The rubber feet of the notebook fall outside of the notebook cooler which cause serious instability when the lid is opened. The second picture shows where the instability is, the right corner of the notebook lifts 2 cm when the lid is opened. The cooler fits perfect in width though as you can see at the picture below.
The 17? Xa1526 fits perfect width wise (view large image)
We have sold this cooler to one of our customers that owns an Fujitsu Siemens Xi1546 and the cooler caused instability while the lid was opened, even after we removed the battery. We can conclude that this cooler is not designed for today?s big 17? desktop replacements.
The Cooler Master Notepal W1 is a good notebook cooler with great build quality. The shape and style prevent any pain in the neck and wrists and it?s very comfortable to work with it and the noise production is very low.
The cooling however is not very impressive, but it at least prevents annoying fan noise while surfing the web and doing some daily tasks. I would recommend the Notepal W1 to everyone who needs additional cooling. If your notebook is overheating seriously or if you are a real overclocker, then you would want to consider a more powerful (but also a noisier) cooler like the Spire Pacific Breeze cooler.
I would not recommend this cooler to someone who searches cooling for a 17? desktop replacement. The cooler is too short in depth and causes serious instability. A 15.4? will fit much better and no instability will occur. Also keep in mind that the design can block buttons/ports on the front of your notebook. The cooler can get scratched if you do not use it gently. The fact that the notebook cooler contains just 2 UBS ports is also a major disadvantage — I would like to have seen the notebook cooler act better as a USB hub.
Note: 10/10 means that I really like or hate this feature. 1/10 means that it minor advantage/disadvantage.
- Great build quality, very sturdy (10/10)
- Aluminium design (10/10)
- Operates silent (8/10)
- 3 quality fans from Cooler Master (9/10)
- The ergonomic design really prevents pain in the neck and wrists (10/10)
- Fits great under a 15.4? notebook (9/10)
- You can always replace the fans when they stop functioning properly (8/10)
- 2 year warranty
- Cooling is mediocre (7/10)
- The cooler can get scratched (if you use it rough) (4/10)
- The cooler can scratch front panel of your notebook (8/10)
- The design blocks ports/buttons at the front (6/10)
- No fan control (8/10)
- Just 2 USB?s (9/10)
- No manual (4/10)
- No extra?s like card reader built in (4/10)
- Expensive (at least in The Netherlands) (7/10)
- Does not suit a 17? notebook (too small in depth) (10/10)
Here are some more pictures of the Notepal W1. Also notice the size difference between the Cooler Master and Spire Pacific Breeze.
Back view of Notepal W1 (view large image)
(view large image)
Fan closeup (view large image)
3 fans (view large image)
Spire fan on top of Notepal W1 (view large image)
A 15.4″ notebook fits (view large image)
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