NZXT Cryo LX Notebook Cooler Review
Reviewed by: Propane
Reviewed on: February 23, 2008
The laptops these days keep getting smaller and smaller and the components inside them get more and more powerful. While the components in the laptop are getting more efficient as the years pass, they still generate a lot of heat and when they are confined to such a small space, the heat really builds up, which is bad for the components and can be uncomfortable for the user as well. Only small fans help the laptop by itself expel the hot air out of the casing. People have noticed this heat issue and have been designing products to assist your laptop cool itself down. Over the years these have become more advanced and feature rich.
The NZXT Cryo LX is one such laptop cooling device. This laptop cooler has three 120mm fans housed in it, more than some computers have, and is tilted upwards to make the keyboard more comfortable to type on than if it were flat on your desk. As a bonus feature, there are some USB ports on the back. USB is used for a lot of today's electronics and it always seems like there just aren't enough ports. With the Cryo LX, you can plug in up to four additional USB devices, as long as they don't pull too much power. Join me now as I take an in depth look at the NZXT Cryo LX.
The packaging that the NZXT Cryo LX comes in is pretty slick. The top of the box sports a nice abstract graphic as well as a picture of the silver version of the product. On the back are some product specifications as well as more pictures of the product, including a picture of the black one. As you can see, there is a plastic handle, which is nice if you choose to carry around your laptop cooler with you.
When you open the box up, you see the Cryo LX encased in a plastic bag and protected with two Styrofoam ends. Pulling out the rather heavy cooler and taking off the packaging leaves you with the beautiful Cryo LX with the bottom part folded in. As you can see, there are two rubber strips that run down the cooler which help the laptop from sliding off of it.
Seeing the bottom side of the cooler is as easy as flipping it over. When the Cryo LX is in the folded position, the top of very bottom part can be seen (you'll see what I mean in the upcoming pictures). You can also barely see the fans through a mesh metal material.
Let's unfold this cooler and see what it looks like when it's ready to be used!
While the NZXT Cryo LX Notebook Cooler might look very nice in its folded up form, it isn't very useful. Unfolding it makes the cooler have a nice slant that comes just about even with the desk and provides a soft rubber wristpad. Also, if you have a larger laptop, this can help support it. These pictures also show the location of the fans pretty well. As you can see, there are three 120mm fans spaces across the entire surface of the Cryo LX. This should provide pretty good airflow to cool down the laptop. Another benefit of having 120mm fans is that they should not be too noisy or high pitched, but we will get into this more in the testing section.
Looking at the back of the cooler reveals the several different ports that power the cooler and provide the USB hub ability of the cooler. The farthest left USB port is used to connect to the computer while the other four USB ports can be used to plug in your USB accessories. The DC power connector seems like it might be used with a wall plug and a power inverter brick (like most laptops use as well as other electronics that use DC power). However, the way that the Cryo LX works is that you use a provided cable that goes from USB to the DC connector. This pulls a lot of power, however, and might not work with every laptop.
Now that we know what the NZXT Cryo LX looks like, let's take a look at the official specifications!
Installation of the NZXT Cryo LX Laptop Cooler is very simple and if you can set down your laptop on a table, you are already halfway there. All you have to do is make sure that the Cryo LX is in its unfolded position, and then put it on the table. Next, put your laptop on it and make sure that it is steady, which it should be unless you have an outrageously large laptop. Finally, if you want to take advantage of the active cooling from the fans or the USB hub, be sure to plug in both included cables to the back of the Cryo LX and the laptop itself. After that, you should be set with a cooler and more comfortable laptop using experience. As a final warning, you should probably make sure that your laptop has powered USB ports. The three fans pull a lot of power and, with no external power coming in, the laptop will be providing all of it. If you plug in everything correctly and the fans still don't spin up, try another USB port on your laptop, and if it still doesn't work, you are probably out of luck.
- Built with thick aluminum with sturdy construction
- Brushed Aluminum finish
- Rubber finish lifts the notebook up to allow less heat pockets and better airflow
- Cools your notebook with three adjustable large 120mm fans
- Four USB ports for your media, storage, and input devices
- Ability to power devices such as external hard drives.
- Folding design for easy storage and transportation
- Support for power notebooks with 15", 17" and 19" wide screens
- Dimensions (W x D): 16.6" x 11.6"
To test the NZXT Cryo LX Notebook Cooler, I simply placed my laptop on the cooler to test the cooler and used the laptop on my desk as a control. I then let the laptop do nothing but run a temperature monitor to find the temperature of both my CPU and GPU cores. This was repeated on the cooler and on the desk. To get load temperatures, I chose to run World of Warcraft which has always made my laptop run very hot as it stresses not only the CPU, but the GPU as well. Again, this was repeated on the cooler and the desk.
- Apple MacBook Pro 15" Generation 3
- 2.2Ghz Core 2 Duo
- nVidia GeForce8600M
- 2GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SO-DIMM SDRAM
- 120Gb SATA Hard Drive (5400 RPM)
- AirPort Extreme 802.11 a/b/g/draft-n
- 8x Slot Loading Super Drive
These first results show the idle temperature of both the CPU and GPU when the laptop is on the notebook cooler and when it is on the desk.
In this chart, lower is better. As can be seen, running the laptop on the Cryo LX when it is not in use lowers the temperatures by about 2 degrees Celsius. This is a pretty good drop in temperature for a laptop and every little bit helps.
Again, lower values are better, and again, temperatures are lowered for both the CPU and GPU. Here, the benefit is greater for the GPU but this is probably dependent on how your laptop is designed and the location of each of the components.
The NZXT Cryo LX is not only about lowering temperatures though, it is also about comfort. The inclined keyboard made it more comfortable to type for extended periods of time and just feels better. This can be a matter of preference though and if you are the kind of person who likes flat keyboards, you will probably not like the inclined laptop as much.
As a final note that I noticed while testing, not every laptop will be able to take full advantage of the Cryo LX cooler. This has to do with how much power the cooler pulls. For instance, my MacBook Pro can only pull 500mA of power for my two USB ports, and when I plugged in the cooler for both power and USB hub purposes, I received a warning that too much power was being pulled and that my USB ports would be shut down to protect them. I was able to perform this testing by plugging the cooler into my desktop for power which proved to be able to provide the necessary current. If you do decide to get this cooler, it would be worth making sure that your laptop has at least one powered USB port on it that can run these fans.
The NZXT Cryo LX Notebook Cooler is really much more than just a device to cool down your notebook. It is also a device that expands the number of USB ports your laptop has, improves the ergonomics of the keyboard, and, of course, cools down the components that make your laptop run. The cooler also can fold up and be taken on the road if you use your laptop at more places than just your home or where you work. Having three 120mm fans allows for a large amount of air to be pushed past your laptop while keeping the noise quiet and low pitched. However, there is a downside to having the three fans: they pull a lot of current. They pull so much current, in fact, that some laptops, like my MacBook Pro just can't run it. If your laptop does have the ability to provide enough power or you can find an alternative way to provide power to the cooler (like plugging the DC power into a desktop computer), the cooling benefits can be substantial. Overall, this is a very nice, sturdy, high performing laptop cooler. However, the fact that it cannot be used with some laptops (due to its power requirements) is a pretty large blemish, but one that can be gotten around with some creative thinking. All in all, the NZXT Cryo LX Notebook Cooler is a very good product that will help cool your laptop, make working on it more comfortable, and can provide several additional USB ports that can be used for just about anything.
- Cools laptop several degrees Celsius
- Has a powered four port USB hub
- Makes typing and using the laptop more comfortable
- Can fit up to a 17" widescreen laptop
- Sturdy construction that uses 3mm thick aluminum
- Ability to fold and be taken on the road
- Some laptops might not be able to provide enough power to the fans