Cooler Master Notepal U Stand Review

Propane - 2011-08-07 20:13:54 in Cooling
Category: Cooling
Reviewed by: Propane   
Reviewed on: August 22, 2011
Price: 39.99

Introduction:

Most people these days are buying laptops to handle their home computing needs. Their added mobility and small size are very appealing and have driven people away from being tied down to using a desktop PC. With this trend, more and more people are looking for solutions to help keep their laptops cool, and one of the leading companies making products to fill this need is Cooler Master. One of its newer offerings in this area is the Notepal U Stand. This aluminum cooler is unique in that it allows the laptop base to be tilted at various heights to provide a level of customization that most coolers don’t provide. It will be exciting to see how well the U Stand holds up compared to other coolers. So far the Notepal series from Cooler Master has done pretty well. The U3 got a Gold award from us a year ago, so I have high hopes for the U Stand!

 

Closer Look:

The packaging that the U Stand comes in is very similar to other Cooler Master products — just a plain cardboard box that’s pretty easy to open. The front shows a picture of the cooler and has a small picture of how to set the cooler up correctly, while the back has a listing of all the features and specifications of the device itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opening the box reveals the cooler tucked neatly inside with some protective Styrofoam keeping it safe. Underneath the cooler is a box which contains the removable fans as well as a USB to Mini-USB cable, which is used to provide power to the fans.

 

Closer Look:

The cooler itself looks very similar to the U3 which makes sense because they are both part of the Notepal series. The base of the cooler is a black-painted aluminum surface with lots of holes drilled in it to facilitate air flow. Cooler Master’s name is printed in stylish letters near the front of the cooler in between two legs that can flip open to act as a support to keep the laptop from sliding off when the cooler is in an elevated position.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Along the right side of the cooler is the main panel with all the connections. This panel includes 3 USB ports which can be used as a hub, a Mini-USB port that sends data to the hub ports and power from the laptop to power the fan, a power switch, and an unused DC power connection.

 

 

The fans are pretty unique in that you don’t have to have them attached to the laptop cooler. They snap into the holes in the cooler base and can be moved around easily. They have a small power connection that plugs in near the control panel and doesn’t feel too solid, but considering it’s not something that will be unplugged often it isn’t a deal breaker.

 

 

 

The underside of the cooler doesn’t have a whole lot of action besides the stand, which is what allows the cooler to be used in an elevated position. There are four different heights which you can raise the cooler to, and a fifth slot in the very back if you don’t want the cooler to have any elevation.

 

 

 

The laptop that I’ll be using later to test the cooler is my MacBook Pro, which fits comfortably on the cooler, but only allows me to use the first elevation setting without having the screen on my laptop tilted downwards.

 

Specifications:

Color: Black
Material: Aluminum, plastics, rubber
Weight: 1.4 kg / 3.3 lbs
Dimension (W/D/H): 400 x 310 x 55.5~217 mm / 15.7" x 12.2" x 8.54"
Fan Dimension: 100 x 100 x 15 mm fan x2
Fan Speed: 1200 R.P.M. ±15%
Fan Airflow: 70 CFM
Fan Noise: 21 dBA
Power: USB 5v DC
Current Consumption: 0.36 A
Power Consumption: 1.8 W
USB: USB 2.0/1.1 x3 / Mini-USB x1 (For Power Input)
Compatibility: Supports all 17" laptops

 

Features:

 

 

 

Akk information courtesy of CoolerMaster @ http://www.coolermaster.com/product.php?product_id=6733

Testing:

I tested the Cooler Master NotePal U Stand the same way as all the other coolers that I have tested, which are listed below. While the U Stand has movable fans, I placed them in the middle of the cooler since there isn't a lot of room to move them around anyways. I also set the cooler on it's first elevation level, since that is similar to how it would have to be used with a MacBook Pro in normal use. I then let my laptop run in an idle state, running a temperature monitoring application (iStat Pro). This allowed me to get both my CPU and GPU temperatures. I then repeated the test with the cooler and with the laptop straight on my desk. To get load temperatures, I chose to run Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword, which stresses the hardware of my Macbook Pro, causing them to generate heat. Again, this was repeated on the cooler and on the desk. While the results I got are specific to this laptop, similar results should be found with most other laptops.

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Coolers:

 

The graphs below show that the U Stand held its own against the majority of other coolers. I believe this has partly to do with the fact that it's elevated, which allows for greater air flow.

 

 

Lower numbers are better.

While the U Stand didn't preform as well as some of the other offerings, it still had a somewhat significant effect on temperatures.

Conclusion:

I've tested a lot of coolers while I've been here at Overclockers Club, and this is definitely one of the good ones. While it doesn't have the same cooling power as some of the more powerful ones, it has a lot of features that make it worth using. For instance, the USB hub turns my MacBook Pro's 2 USB ports into 4, and the ability to tilt the cooler means I can really customize how I want it to look. Also, the ability to move the fans around can allow you to get the cooler air exactly where it needs to go to help cool your specific laptop more efficiently. Finally, it's nice when the fans are so quiet (as these are) because you aren't constantly distracted by the hum that some of the lager fans can cause. Overall, I think the U Stand is a great cooler that is worth buying.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: