Ultimate Laptop Cooler

Okay, I know those are some pretty bold words but when you see what I am trying to accomplish, it will be clear.

Laptop Cooler Box - Standard Air Flow (x1080)

Elsewhere are vents for things like the RAM, hard drive, video processors and CPU support chipset. The battery isn’t cooled and who knows whether these vents get any measure of forced air to conduct heat away.

Normal laptop coolers are somewhat beneficial in that they will supply the fan with some air (reducing back pressure), provide a general influence of cooling to the bottom of the housing plus at least stir up the air around the vents.

My problem is that I often leave my laptop stationary and on for weeks at a time and I want to keep the components as cool as practical to extend component life.

Years ago, I had a Toshiba 5105 (and others) that had a fan utility that would keep the fan on and temperatures more constant because the fan wasn’t going through an on-and-off cycle. (Link: http://www.buzzard.me.uk/toshiba/fan.html valid as of 23 Feb 2013.)

For the past ten or so years, I have had my laptop sitting on an open box that is pressurized by a desktop computer fan.

Laptop Cooler Box - Inside (x1080)

The top is sealed with a foam tape used for weatherproofing. This controls the air flow, in my case forcing it through much of the laptop.

For vents on the edge, I trimmed the foam back to allow the excess air to pass across the vent creating a slight Bernoulli Effect. (Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernoulli’s_principle valid as of 23 Feb 2013.)

Don’t look too hard at my wiring but DO look at the fan itself. Note how the fan looks dark with little light passing through it. On the outside, I have a foam air filter placed over it to provide a measure of protection for the computer. If you don’t do this, you will find your computer gets dirty more quickly than normal because the fan IS pushing a lot of air through the computer.

Laptop Cooler Box - Air Flow (x1080)

It is important to note that I haven’t reversed any air flow. This will not work with a laptop that blows the air out the bottom of the case without building in additional forms. You must  maintain the air flow the manufacturer engineered in. This box is only supplement the air flow with a constant source of air.

My fan is a nice big 120 mm fan. Not shown here is a fan speed control. Normally I keep it at a speed where it is barely audible.

Laptop Cooler Box - Outside (x1080)

The net result is that with a 3rd generation Intel Core i7, the laptop rarely turns its fan on. Furthermore, with the reduced back pressure, it should last a long time.

My last computer was a Toshiba U305 with a Core 2 Duo processor and I never had any issues with it in the five years or so it was my main machine. This computer has a very noisy and annoying fan that was programmed to spin on-and-off in very short cycles, but when on the box, the internal fan rarely came on.

I’m guessing the old Toshiba 5105 is over ten years old as of this post and is still going strong. In fact, that computer model with the GeForce 4 chip overheating due to, I believe, the heat sink material drying out. To date, that has not been an issue either.

This concept isn’t just limited to laptops. I have a similar box for my Onkyo receiver push air from the bottom to help the natural convection designed into the unit.

Anyhow, I hope this post gave you something to consider.