As laptop technology evolves each year and faster processors and graphics cards are being introduced, thermal management becomes more difficult for manufacturers. There is only so much thermal management one can do with that small amount of space within a laptop’s body. As innovations surface, developers continue to push boundaries with laptops, making them thinner and faster.
The unveiling of the new Nvidia 3000 series graphics card lineup and Ryzen 4000 series chips has made it even more challenging. Everyone can expect them to show up on laptops sometimes next year. A stronger graphics card equals a stronger power draw, which means more heat. This is a problem as thermals will skyrocket with all those components.
As laptops become a more viable option for gamers to find their time being spent winning games with frames, managing temperatures has become a higher hurdle than before. Heat pipes, heatsinks, and built-in fans can only do so much against power-hungry processors and graphics cards.
Laptop Cooling Pads
Fortunately, there are third party accessories in the market that exist to help dissipate heat and help avoid thermal throttling as that is the least incident we want to happen. Laptop cooling pad technology has evolved from the standard ways of pointing an external fan towards your laptop.
These are USB-powered accessories that come in square or rectangular shapes depending on the laptop’s size being cooled. There are a variety of fans used for cooling pads, and it can range from 110mm to 240mm depending on the design, and most, if not all, have a “push” configuration to provide an updraft of air towards the laptop.
There is and will be a cooling pad for your budget somewhere on this list, and every bit of help in fighting against thermal throttling will come a long way as every degree being shaved off from temperatures will preserve the longevity of your gaming machine.
Tecknet Laptop Cooling Pad
The cheapest and arguably the simplest looking cooling pad on this list is the contender from Tecknet. There is not much to say about Tecknet but it gets the job done if you only want the most basic amenity, which is cold air being pushed towards your laptop’s underside.
The Tecknet cooling pad is best for those who don’t want to spend more than $20 for something that won’t be seen 99% of the time. It supports 12-16 inch laptops and has dual USB-powered 110m fans for moderate airflow.
Thermaltake Massive 14
Moving up in our list is the Massive 14 from Thermaltake, a relatively reputable Taiwanese company that makes computer cases, power supplies, and other peripherals. This cooling pad has two USB-powered 140mm fans that ramp up to 1200rpm to get better airflow towards your laptop.
The Massive 14 is not massive by any means, but it can support up to 17-inch laptops with its ergonomic design. Three height adjustments with a hexagonal mesh design allow this pad to be more versatile than most options at this price range. Sporting a tag of only $24, this is a steal for those looking for an alternative to their primitive fan setups at home.
Aicheson 5 Fans Laptop Cooling Pad
The Aicheson is another viable option for people looking around for a pad at this price range. The company prides itself on designing the most adjustable laptop cooling pad with multiple height adjustments for every setup type. It allows for 2.4 up to 4.8 inches of height and 7.5 to 21.5 degrees of angle placement. An anti-slip silicone pad is added to prevent laptops from falling off.
This cooling pad supports up to 17.3-inch laptops with ergonomic and metal finishes to aid in heat dissipation. The Aicheson also has a switch to turn on the LEDs and the fans and can reach speeds up to 1500rpm, meeting most expectations for a cooling pad.
If those features weren’t enough for you, the Aicheson cooling pad also has a hook that can support up to 100 pounds by removing any chances for your laptop to fall off. This cooling pad comes in only at $24, and this is best for those who prefer working on a table to get the most security and stability.
Otimo Laptop Cooling Pad
The Otimo laptop cooling pad is an external accessory that is simple, gets the job done, and you don’t have to pay a pretty penny for it. At $30, you get five quiet USB-powered fans, a USB port hub, adjustable height, and angle stand, and a 12-17 inch laptop compatibility. This option is appealing for those still looking for something a little more premium in the budget range.
Targus Chill Mat
The chill mat from Targus is a hybrid of a USB hub and a cooling pad as it has expansive capabilities of being hooked up to other peripherals. A sleek and hidden fan configuration makes this the right choice for those who want to bring it outside the house without it screaming “gamer” all over. The Targus Chill Mat has a lovely price tag of $36 for the features it has.
Thermaltake Massive TM Aluminum Panel
Moving up into the premium category is another one from the “Massive” lineup of Thermaltake and is certainly not an understatement with this cooling pad. The Aluminum backplate of this pad and dual 120mm fans allow for excellent heat dissipation. There are also built-in sensors to inform you if your laptop needs more cooling.
The Massive TM includes a digital temperature reader and a lock button, making this pad a premium device meant for those who don’t mind spending extra.
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It will cost you around $41, which isn’t cheap for a cooling pad but is justified when you think about the features it has.
Whatever budget you have for choosing a laptop cooling pad, deciding of looking for a way to provide thermal management to your investment isn’t wrong by any means. Laptops were always doomed to have heat problems, but with the innovation of third-party accessories like this, that issue can slowly be resolved as technology evolves.