Laptop Overheating: A Problem for the Masses
The Sad truth:
Everyone either has experienced or know someone who has had a notebook that loved to burn a hole on the top of their favorite jeans, desk or any place it might find itself resting. We all know notebooks love to heat up, all those components in a small confined place…I mean, What cant go wrong? The worse part is after years and years of companies trying to burn a hole in our wallets with solutions, there have been maybe a few that actually work(and even at that, its usually a minimal amount). Notebook coolers simply don’t work as well as we want them to, that goes for consumers and producers. It seems like such a simple problem to fix, and yet despite our best efforts notebooks still seem to heat up through unsafe temperatures. In the next few paragraphs, I will try to explain my personal experiences in what I view as the problems, how we tried to fix it (and usually failed), and the best solutions. Please buckle up for this fantastical journey about a topic that seems to frustrate the youngest gamers to our eldest relative that hasn’t the slightest clue at what might be wrong with this “devil-contraption.”
What’s really the problem? Is there one at all?
Firstly, you need to ask yourself if notebook you have actually has a problem. ALL notebooks will be warm to the touch, it’s just going to happen, no matter what you do. The real question is,” Does your laptop overheat?” Most laptops, especially gaming powerhouses, will get hot but it doesn’t really pose a problem to your system. Unless the entire system is starting to have GPU/memory problems or literally melting in your lap, don’t worry about it! The main thing is to just make sure it is able to circulate the air properly. Notebook manufactures are very intelligent about their design, and most commercial laptops don’t actually have an overheating problem.
Now that we have separated those with a problem, and those who are just worrying too much, we can hone in on the actual problem. The laptop has many components that can reach above 70 degrees Celsius , and much higher in certain situations. All these parts are placed close together because lets face it…it’s a laptop. All laptops have a fan, but one miserable 120mm fan does little to nothing to help a new gaming laptop running Crysis on very high. So basically, we have a bunch of components all generating heat in a small area, resulting in a melted pile of plastic or aluminum on your bed or desk. Surprisingly there is a simple solution that is universal to all notebooks that all manufacturers know and designed their products accordingly. If the suspense is killing you, feel free to skip to the last paragraph with our personal solution that has always worked with any notebook we have owned or tested. Otherwise, the next paragraph talks about our best attempts at cooling our notebooks with sometimes overpriced solutions.
Our best attempts
Now don’t get us wrong there have been notebook coolers/mats that have been effective, but never the perfect solution to a vast majority of notebooks. Now, I’m not going to name any specific models (unless they want to help a brother out ;D ) mainly because you can Google search each of these names and find exactly what I’m talking about but Antec, NZXT, and Zalman are all big names in the fight to reduce notebook overheating. While all three of these have had effective products in fighting laptop heat, they aren’t practical for all notebooks, and sometimes cost a pretty penny. If you are some rich *insult here* that cleans himself with hundred dollar bills then feel free to waste as much cash as you like on a laptop cooler, but most of us want to conserve our money. More power to you if you can find a solution that’s fast and money is not an issue. Now if you like most of us and are some poor college student or just tight with your money because of the economy I urge you to read this last paragraph which explains an extremely cheap and efficient way to keep your laptop cooler!
What really works
Okay, before you find out what really works we want you to know that the following is based on our personal experience as a frequent user of notebooks and reviewing many different cooling solutions. So please don’t hunt us down, if you disagree, just leave a comment!
Alright here it is: Have you ever heard the phrase, “The simplest solution is usually the best.”? Well in the case of notebook cooling this is exactly right. Notebooks are all about circulating clean air and pushing away that hot air. It is very similar to how our bodies work. We breath in oxygen and exhale CO2, if we kept inhaling CO2, our bodies would start suffering due to lack of that fresh clean air we need. Laptops suck in cool, clean air and blow out a stream of hot air. If they sit there and keep inhaling that old used air they start having trouble just as if we would.
So here’s the simple and cheap solution to a nice clean and definitely cooler machine:
Make sure whenever your notebook intake air vent(s) are not blocked or slowed in any way. I suggest propping it up on anything you might have while it sits on your desk is a good solution to enlarge its space to intake air. If the notebook is flat down on a desk or laying on bed sheets, obviously it will have a hard time getting that nice clean air it needs. A fast solution is to put it on a baking-rack that you would place cookies on to cool. The space between the desk and the notebook is more than enough to help circulate air! There you have it, a $5 backing insert rack which will probably work better than a $30 to $50 dollar solution. If you are a DIY’er you can even stick on two to four adhesive backed rubber pads to keep the laptop and rack in place while it is being used.
Now this is one thing that many people don’t think to do and it can help a great deal. On occasion, like maybe every few months, buy a can of compressed air from your local computer store (they are only a few bucks) and blow out all the dust from inside your notebook. Be sure to blow it Into the intake, and only when its off to minimize any problems that might occur. Also, when using compressed air always hold the can straight up. Clean electronics are happy electronics, so anytime you feel the laptop may be dusty, blow a good amount into the intake in all corners and make sure its good and clean. To know how often to do it, just dust down your desk at the same time. When the desk is dusty, chances are your laptop is too.
I hope anyone who reads this will try out our methods and we really hope they get the results they wanted for the amount of effort you have to put in. IF this works for you feel free to send a link to this page to all your friends so we can cure this world of hot, dirty laptops!