Coolermaster CM Storm SF-19 Strike Force USB 3.0 Gaming Notebook Cooler Review - Testing and Final Thoughts
I've found notebook temperature testing with a notebook cooler to be difficult, since I haven't found a way to reliably control my notebook's fan speeds. What we will do is load the processor using Prime95 to 100% usage, and observe the temperatures and behavior, first without the use of the SF-19, then with it. We will use Speedfan to observe the system temperatures.
As you can see, the laptop got blazing hot, it managed to hold 86°C for awhile, before it climbed to 90+ and the computer shut itself down to prevent overheating damage. It maybe made it 5 minutes maximum, not good.
With the SF-19, it held it at about 78°C, a full 8-12 degrees cooler, and it was able to make it through Prime95 for a full hour without shutting itself off. This is the first time I've been able to complete that task on this notebook. Impressive, and a testament to its effectiveness. Despite having two 140mm fans, it is still quite quiet, and moves alot of air. I've joked (I think it was a joke) about putting skirts on it to make a hovercraft, who knows, on a rainy day I might do it just for fun.
I was amazed, despite its size how sleek and not over large it looked with my 17-inch laptop sitting on it. The lights look great, the two fans produce great airflow at a tolerable noise level, and the four USB ports and a USB 3.0 port future-proof the SF-19, and allow for any of your gaming peripherals to be quickly connected to the cooler, allowing you to move your notebook without it being tethered to your peripherals.
The similarity to Alienware design is probably no accident, as Alienware owns a large portion of the gaming notebook/desktop replacement market, and should match them beautifully. The sharp, edgy curves remind me of the SR-71, and I think it looks great. The colors, and ability to change the colors and how they display is awesome, and would be awesome at any LAN event. The LEDs are diffused nicely, so they aren't overly bright or painful to look at.
To top it all off, it does it's primary job, cooling, very well. For the first time, I've been able to run an hour session of Prime 95 without the laptop overheating and shutting itself down, and with as hot as it runs, this is no small feat. It did it with 15 degrees to spare as well, so it didn't just barely keep the notebook going, it kept it well under the "critical" range.
- Multi-color LEDs, ability to turn them off
- Great size, will fit any notebook well, although would look overkill for anything under 17 inches
- Good "traction," the anti-slip pads hold the notebook in place very well
- 4 USB 2.0 ports, 1 USB 3.0 port
- Easily change/replace/clean your fans
- Very quiet, even with both 140mm fans at full speed the sound is minimal
- Power cable is a bit short
A fantastic cooler, and anyone with a power-hungry, heat-spewing notebook could see huge gains from using the SF-19!
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