Cooler Master's Notepal lineup offers notebook cooling solutions for just about every shape, size, form, and function. The Notepal I300 compiles simple design and operation with a hint of gamer-esque lighting in a sturdy and lightweight package.
NotePal I300, a lightweight and simple laptop cooling pad for the NotePal families, NotePal I300 is the ideal companion from 7" to 17" laptops. The ultra slim and lightweight design is made for easy carrying and easy storage. The fully meshed surface plus 160mm silent fan provides excellent cooling performance. Two height settings for ergonomic operation.
Courtesy of Cooler Master
|Material||Plastics, Metal Mesh, Rubber|
|Weight||0.8 kg / 1.8 lbs|
370 x 270 x 36 - 54mm
(14.6 x 10.6 x 1.4 - 2.1 inch)
|Fan Dimensions (W/H/D)||160 x 160 x 15 mm fan x1|
|Fan Speed||700 - 1400 RPM ± 15%|
|Fan Speed Adjustment||Fan speed dial|
|Fan Airflow||35 - 70 CFM|
|Fan Noise Level (dBA)||16 - 21 dBA|
|Power||USB 5V DC|
|Power Consumption||1.1 - 1.9W|
|Compatibility||Supports up to 17" laptops|
|Courtesy of Cooler Master|
The Notepal I300 has a very clean and tidy appearance. The bottom is made from a single piece, with the top consisting of a single piece of mesh, and the two halves come together seamlessly. The chassis is mostly hollow apart from the single 160mm fan. The bottom is also very simple, with two folding feet which allow for additional tilt, three rubber feet on the front which provide surface traction, and the fan vent located toward the back in the center of the cooler. With the feet down, the shape of the cooler provides a bit of subtle tilt.
Underneath the very clean upper mesh surface is the clear-bladed 160mm fan. LEDs add a splash of illumination, but they're shieleded enough that they're not annoyingly bright like many blue LEDs can be. The lights create a nice splash of light on the tabletop under your notebook, and is probably well-suited for gamers and will accommodate up to 17-inch laptops. The USB cable is relatively long, and protrudes out of the rear venting. The end includes a pass-through so you don't lose a USB port to keep your notebook cool. We're a little surprised to see the lack of any cable organization on the I300 since it's been a staple on the other Notepal products we've tested. The Notepal I300 is meant to be a very affordable notebook solution so it's hard to expect all of the little luxuries of its more expensive brethren.
The Notepal I300's portability is about as good as any cooler which accommodates 17-inch laptops. The overall simplicity throughout has lead to a lightweight and relatively low-profile design which packs neatly into laptop backpacks and messenger bags. 15-17-inch laptops look at home and are well-proportioned for the Notepal I300, and even smaller laptops don't look overdone on the larger cooler.
The first thing you'll notice is the blue glow of the I300, which we mentioned before isn't overly bright as blue LEDs often can be. Acoustically it's very good. The blade design is a familiar one we've seen on many Cooler Master case fans, and the large 160mm diameter means the fan doesn't have to operate at a very high RPM to produce adequate airflow, with a max rotational speed of a relatively low 1400RPM. Cooler Master has stresses simplicity throughout the design, and as such we're not surprised to see the absense of any additional USB ports, fan speed adjustment, or LED toggle. An LED toggle would be great for those who plant to use this in the bedroom, but the lights really are well-diffused and aren't that bright, even in a dark room.
Testing notebook coolers can be a bit tricky, as we have yet to find a reliable fan speed controller for our Dell XPS laptop (readers, throw us a comment if you know of something we can use!). Fan speeds on notebooks often work like this: a load is applied and temperature goes up, then the fan kicks up a bunch and cools the CPU back down, so the fan speeds relaxes, then the temps go up, and that cycle tends to oscillate during temperature testing. As a result, we've been better off monitoring the fan activity of the notebook, which has its own benefits. If the fan in your notebook (which is highly integrated and difficult/expensive to replace) isn't working as hard, it's a fairly safe bet you should see some lifetime improvement from it. Our old torture-test notebook has since succumbed to a graphics card failure, and so we'll observe fan speed behavior in different usage environments.
With the fan speed at its highest setting, the Notepal X3 is still pleasantly quiet, more quiet than the notebook fan when under full load. We noticed that during normal usage consisting of browsing, music and video playback, as well as other light tasks, the fan remained in essentially the idle state, which was great to see.
During gaming and benchmark runs, we saw the fan oscillating between 75-90%, and only occasionally spiking at 100%. In the absence of the cooler, it runs at full speed constantly and at slightly higher overall temperatures. Usability benefits were also seen, as the surface of the notebook was much cooler, and the locations where my palms rest often get very warm to the touch were noticeably cooler. The open mesh surface allows for airflow to permeate to all corners of the notebook, so although the airflow is focused near the back-center, the rest will see improved airflow and cooling as well.
Overall, the I300 has a pleasantly simple design which has several follow-on benefits. First, the thin and lightweight design packs away into bags easily, and is one of the most portable 17-inch notebook coolers we've come across. The design simplicity also makes it look really good. The top mesh first snugly and seamlessly into the bottom, and provides a large cooling surface which promotes cooling along the entire surface of your notebook. The 160mm fan is pleasantly quiet, with only a slight hum detected underneath your notebook.
Cooler Master's only deviation from pure simplicity is the inclusion of four diffused blue LEDs which cause the transparent fan to glow, and it actually looks pretty nice. We've said a couple time how the lights aren't the harsh blue LEDs you may know from many "gamer" products, and aren't even particularly bright in a dark room. The lights splash a little light on the table or desktop, but we think the inclusions of a simple LED toggle would have been nice.