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Cooler Master NotePal X3 17-Inch Notebook Cooler Review

notepal-x3

Cooler Master offers an array of laptop cooling solutions ranging from those focusing on style or portability to every day computing to heavy gaming.  Their Notepal lineup covers it all, and the Notepal X3 uses a 200mm fan to give it great overall cooling capability, and the edgy gamer-centric shapes are retained from previous Notepal X-series coolers.

 

Cooler Master's Take

Designed to transcend the typical issues that plague laptop coolers, NotePal X3 utilizes a massive 200mm fan, metal mesh base, and a dial wheel fan speed controller all in conjunction with one another to most effectively cool laptops up to 17”. In addition, a light breeze is directed towards your hands to keep them cool when working or playing under pressure.

An integrated USB hub provides extra connections to give you the choice to add more peripherals and drives. Cooling enthusiasts with a need for a little flair will be overwhelmed by the performance of the NotePal X3 and the allure its blue LED.

Features

Aerodynamic Design Provides Maximum Cooling

Aerodynamic design airflow gets rid of performance reducing heat and enhances cooling performance by up to 20% when compared to no cooling pad.

 

Latop Stays Cool and Looks Cool

Quiet yet powerful 200 mm fan with neon a blue LED helps circulate excess heat from your laptop. Adjustable fan speed gives you the best balance between silence and performance.

 

No More Sweaty Hands

Front vent provides a smooth breeze keeping your hands cool and dry.

 

Get Rid Of Back and Neck Pain

NotePal X3 is ergonomically design for a better viewing and typing angle, allowing you to work or play on your laptop for prolonged periods without straining your neck, back and wrist. Great at home or in the office.

 

Specifications

Model R9-NBC-NPX3-GP
Color Black
Material Plastics, Metal mesh, Rubber
Weight 0.9 kg, 1.98 lbs
Dimension 400 x 310 x 51~71mm
Fan Dimension 200 x 200 x 20mm fan
Fan Speed 500 ~ 850(+-15%) R.P.M.
Fan Speed Adjustment Fan speed dial
Fan Airflow 65 ~ 76.5 CFM
Fan Noise Level (dB-A) 16 ~ 23 dBA
Power USB 5V DC
USB USB 2.0/1.1 x1,
Mini-USB x1 (For power input)
Power consumption 0.22 ~ 0.28A,
1.1 ~ 1.4W
Compatibility Support ups to 17" laptops
Warranty 1 year
UPC Code 884102014765

 

Specs, Stats, and Description courtesy of Coolermaster's Website.

 

Packaging

Notepal X3 BoxNotePal X3 Box Back

The packaging is fairly standard for Cooler Master's coolers.  A predominantly white box with purple accents details the core features and specifications of the Notepal X3.  The components in the box are packaged neatly and securely, so no concerns there.  Included in the box is a simple multilingual user's guide, and the USB power cable.


Design

bwd  Set 1/2  fwd

The Notepal X3 certainly has gamer appeal, as the huge 200mm fan with blue LEDs is complimented by a clean black mesh surface, an edgy profile, and small blue accents on the upper and lower edges.  Cooler Master's logo neatly adorns the center of the cooler in a silver color.

 


Moving onto the edges, we see that the Notepal X3 has a relatively bulky profile.  The basic shape is intended to provide a slight tilt, which benefits ergonomics, as well as providing adequate clearance for the large 200mm fan.  Looking closer at the left side, we see the LED power button, the fan power button, a fan speed dial, the mini-USB power input, and a single USB 2.0 port to prevent you from losing a port when using the cooler.  I'm happy to see the ability to toggle the LED, as there are several instances when they could be seen to be more of an annoyance than a feature.  Although you'll see in the image below that Cooler Master has deliberately placed plastic "shields" which prevent the LEDs from lighting up the entire room, and instead subtly illuminate the clear fan blades.

 


I'm also a huge fan of 200mm fans in laptop coolers, as long as they aren't intended to be used in some portable fasion.  The reason is that laptops are more "intimate" than a desktop.  They're front and center, no more than a few feet from you, so you can't really hide a noisy computer or peripheral like you can a desktop.  A 200mm fan allows you to move more (or an equivalent amount of) air than a 140mm fan or smaller.  Lower RPM means you're doing less to push the air, and the air you move is accelerated to a slower speed.  Slower airspeeds mean lower noise, without compromising on the amount of air you're moving, which is the critical factor.  The fan speed dial also means you'll be able to dial the fan down to a faintly-audible 500rpm and 16dB while still provide an adequate whisp of air.

 


The "corners" of the X-profile consist of feet which elevate the cooler to allow for air intake.  Small tabs may also be rotated out of the feet to provide for another tilt setting for your notebook.  Rubber feet keep the Notepal X3 firmly on you desk or other surface.  The bottom is vented underneath the fan, and a front vent provides a light breeze which passes (mostly) between your hands.  As someone who hasn't found the need for personal cooling while using my computer, it doesn't remarkably enthrall me, but I'm sure there are some out there who will appreciate the detail nonetheless.  The bottom also features posts for cable management, and clips which stow the USB cables for storage or transport.

 

Testing

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.

 

Cooler Master Notepal X3 Blue LED

 

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 (front fan to the rescue?).


Final Thoughts

Overall, the cooling performance of the Notepal X3 should be more than adequate for a wide variety of high performance laptops.  If you really need more than what a 200mm fan offers you, Cooler Master also has their high-end SF-19 cooler available as well.  The styling adds a bit of personality to a relatively simple accessory, and the blue LEDs and accents add a splash of color to it as well.  The mesh top is sturdy and airy, and the LED and fan switches are in a convenient location on the left side.  We would like to see more than a single USB 2.0 port on the side, but it's nice to at least not lose a port when using the cooler.

 

Cooler Master Notepal X3 

 

The little details which add moreso to Cooler Master's offering are the cable management posts and clips on the underside, the ability for an additional tilt setting, and venting of some of the airflow out front intended to keep your palms and wrists cool and sweat-free.  Ther overall build quality is quite good, as there is little creak or flex, and all of the components fit together cleanly.  The ability to accommodate 17-inch laptops with gamer styling at a reasonable $39.99 price tage rounds out the package.

 

Pros:

  • 200mm fan provides quiet operation and good airflow
  • Gamer-pleasing color scheme (and ability to toggle LED and fan)
  • Solid construction

Cons:

  • Relatively bulky
  • Only one USB 2.0 port

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