An Awesome Albeit Obvious Cooling Solution - Cheap!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by groove-agent, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. groove-agent macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    #1
    Hey all,

    I stumbled across a cooling solution that seems to work well. The irony is in it's simplicity

    As I'm sure you are all aware, excessive heat shortens the life of your computer. Cooling is the key. I play occasional video games, and do a lot of audio/video editing routinely. My laptop is my work horse for pleasure and business. On the business side of things, it's my breadwinner. I have to take care of it.

    For years, I've been intermittently trying different cooling pads, and laptop stands with unsatisfactory results. Even the Targus Coolmat, designed for the MBP, only kept the unit a few degrees cooler. I thought my expectations were too high as my goal was to keep the laptop so cool that the fan did not spin up, or hardly at all. Since I could not accomplish this, i'd cap the fps at 30 or run games with the 9400 chip. This worked fine except it seemed like a waste to pay for the processing power only to not use it.

    Noticing how hot my desk got while gaming (I could feel the heat by touching the underside of the desk), I first decided to raise the laptop off the desk and expose it to as much air as possible. I found a cheap $10 stand which was scissor-like with four supports on each leg. Almost all of the laptop is suspended in the air except for the four small contact points. It is off the table 1/2 cm in the front, and about 5 cm in the back where most of the heat is. Simple.

    The second part to the equation is to help dissipate the air that's heating up underneath the laptop. The problem with notepad lap coolers is that they intake warm air from around the laptop, then blow it up flat against the surface of the bottom in a perpendicular, non-aerodynamic way. Secondly, the fans are often too small, and are underpowered via USB voltage. We need something more powerful.

    When it is hot outside, we similarly use fans to cool our living spaces. If we take a fan, put it in the same room and have it blow towards us it provides marginal cooling. If we put that fan in the window and blow the cooler air in, it's much more efficient. However, if we open the front door and back door, and the air is blown front to back, it works incredibly well.

    What we need to do is to create something like an air tunnel. Find a quiet AC powered desktop fan and place it on the side of your desk so that it blows cool air from one side of your laptop out the other side (left to right or vice versa). I had a quiet column house fan which is working for me at the moment. Not only does this wind-tunnel method efficiently remove the heat from underneath the laptop, but also the heat on top of the laptop between the screen and the keyboard. Nice!

    Ever since I set this up, my laptop fan has hardly come on, even while running games at max FPS using the 9600 chip.

    Hopefully someone finds this useful.
     

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  2. AngryApple macrumors 6502

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  3. groove-agent thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 13, 2006
    #4
  4. groove-agent thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 13, 2006
    #5
    I got it from London Drugs in Canada. I haven't found it anywhere else online yet. Here is a better picture of it. It even folds up for portability which is cool.
     

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  5. shambo macrumors 6502a

    shambo

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    Apr 4, 2009
    #6
    Bit ironic your signature considering we can all see your window in the reflection. :eek:
     
  6. WilliamG macrumors 604

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    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #7
    I bought that exact device several years ago at Best Buy in the US. I used it for my XPS M1710.
     
  7. airplaneman macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #8
    Heh, what I did was take some foam blocks I had lying around and use them to prop up my MBP. Cost me $0 :D
     
  8. airplaneman macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 8, 2009
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    USA
    #9
    It would not have been an issue if the picture was taken straight on. The light source has to be directly overhead or behind to cause a glare.
     
  9. zw-gator macrumors 6502a

    zw-gator

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    Canada
  10. ddeadserious macrumors 6502a

    ddeadserious

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    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Plymouth, MI
    #11
    I made this, then I sold it because I stopped using my MBP at my desk because I like the trackpad 100x better than a mouse.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  11. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #12
    -Heat does not degrade the lifetime of your machine's components appreciably in the time that you'll be using it.

    -Why buy a cooling stand without a fan? Just get two pads of post-it notes and raise the back corners on them.
     
  12. groove-agent thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 13, 2006
    #13
    When my SR 17" died I had no choice but to go out and buy a 15". I had a major business presentation to do and couldn't rely on my 17" anymore. I had no choice but to buy a glossbook pro. However, I was planning on paying for the Techrestore service to change it to a matte screen. At this point, I might just dump my mirrorbook pro and buy a matte option but I can't decide if I absolutely need the expresscard slot and the SATA 3.0.
     
  13. groove-agent thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #14

    I disagree. Heat will degrade the lifetime of your machine depending on how hot it gets and for how long.

    Why buy a cooling stand without a fan? Answer: for the reasons I gave above. Shooting a fan perpendicular to the machine is not as efficient plus usb cooling fans are not as powerful.

    In a bind I've tried using notebooks etc to prop up the machine. However, the laptop has a tendency to slip off and thus jarring the hard drive. Not good.
     
  14. groove-agent thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Wow, you're the first person I've heard of that prefers the trackpad! All the power to you though! :)
     
  15. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #16
    Standard SMT components will last decades even when exposed to constantly high temperatures. Obviously if your processor melts itself that significantly decreases its life, but if that's the case you're doing something wrong to begin with. A 4-8 degree C reduction in temperature (which is about all you get without an internal cooling system) is adding years onto a life expectancy already measured in decades.

    In conclusion, if you're looking to use your machine past 2050 then by all means buy a cooling pad.
     
  16. BlizzardBomb macrumors 68030

    BlizzardBomb

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    Jun 15, 2005
    Location:
    England
    #17
    Agreed. The main unreliable parts in computers are normally the Hard Drive and Optical Drive because they contain moving parts. Cooling does not play a very big role in overall system life.
     
  17. zw-gator macrumors 6502a

    zw-gator

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    Canada
    #18
    I don't use my stand for cooling as much as I do for protection against spills
     
  18. airplaneman macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Well, now you're hearing from a second person. It's better for everything except gaming (which I don't do much of).:)
     
  19. S-Man macrumors regular

    S-Man

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    Feb 1, 2009
    Location:
    Houston
    #20
    I had some plastic capsules that hold your daily dose of pills and used three of them to create about 2" of space between desk and bottom surface. The fans still scream when I play TF2 in Bootcamp.
     
  20. ki2594 macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Carmel, IN.
    #21
    lol yeah i'll turn my wireless usb mouse on but i still tend to use my trackpad, the gestures and everything and the fact that its so smooth just make it more..."enjoyable" so to speak to use.

    anyways, good idea here. I have a griffin elevator from when i used my external display, but i moved the display out during school for more room for books, so i'll put the MBP on the griffin anytime i know its gonna heat up, and then just crank on the fan IF thats really needed.
     
  21. groove-agent thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 13, 2006
    #22
    You're missing the fan part of the equation. Didn't you read my incredibly verbose post above? ;)

    Get yourself a desktop fan and point it at one side of your laptop so the air blows out the other side.
     
  22. jfyrfytr25 macrumors 6502a

    jfyrfytr25

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2008
    #23
    it is a moot point. as they have stated before, the components on the boards are capable of withstanding high heat for years. the heat that is generated under normal operating conditions have no bearing on the life span. now if you put your machine in a bag and leave it in sleep mode and the machine wakes up for some reason. then it can get unusually hot. extended heat of that type will cook parts. imparticular the CPU.

    normally a person uses a laptop for no longer than 5-6 years, if that. by then technology is so far along we upgrade. anything you do to prolong or decrease the life will not be noticed until far after that period. take your fan down and enjoy the machine. if you need cooling to save your lap or desk, then by all means. just dont think you must to make your machine last longer.
     
  23. S-Man macrumors regular

    S-Man

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    Feb 1, 2009
    Location:
    Houston
    #24
    Or you could set the thing on a giant bag of ice.
    What condensation? :rolleyes:

    Srsly though, if you could make a flat sheet of aluminum with lots of fins, much like a heatsink, then have cpu fans on either sides sucking and/or blowing said fins, you might create something people would pay for...wait, what?
     
  24. adamk77 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2008
    #25
    I use two 3.5 inch floppies stacked on top of one another, then place them under the laptop on each side. It creates a gap just shy of an inch.

    I have a fan blowing air from the side like the OP. It really does bring the temperature a great deal.

    I'm running on my 9600GT and the temperature is 52 C. If I dont do this, it's close to 65-70 C.
     

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