Laptops usually come with ample cooling to keep everything running smoothly, but if you use it on your lap or play games on your portable PC, you may find the cooling solution struggle slightly. This is where a cooling pad comes into play, blowing air into the underbelly of your notebook and providing separation between your lap and the intake vents.
The NotePal X3 is Cooler Master's mainstream cooling pad, armed with a massive 200mm fan for maximum performance. While the unit itself can spin up to some audible speeds, there's a handy dial on the chassis to control the fan itself, as well as a power toggle. What makes this cooler rather impressive, in particular, is the height-adjustable stand that supports two different configurations.
The NotePal X-Slim offers a reliable cooling solution with a massive 160mm fan enclosed in a super slim profile. The blower can hit speeds of 1,500 RPM, and it's more than sturdy enough to withstand the weight of even larger gaming notebooks. The addition of a pass-through USB port ensures that connectivity isn't sacrificed, and two height settings can be selected depending on how the laptop is positioned.
Couple dual-120mm fans with temperature controls, automated speed adjustments, and you have a cooler that will react to the amount of heat being dissipated from the notebook itself. As a bonus, there's a neat multi-function display on the front of the Thermaltake Massive TM, which includes manual fan control and a lock feature. It's slightly more expensive than other options on our list but is well worth the investment.
TopMate's C302 is a budget-friendly cooling pad, rocking two capable (yet quiet) fans. It's also designed with portability in mind, coming in at just 1.1lbs, making it easy to carry around. There's very little in terms of bulk, too, allowing you to pack the cooling pad into your briefcase or bag, but TopMate still managed to include an additional USB port for hooking up accessories.
We all know RGB lighting makes all the difference, and if you have a gaming notebook with an RGB keyboard, this cooling pad from AICHESON may be the perfect match. It's not all about looks, though, as the AA3 is a sturdy surface for most laptops coming in at 1.86lbs, with a single 180mm fan to keep temperatures in check.
When three fans just aren't enough, move it on up to four. This Tree New Bee laptop cooling pad has a quad setup inside a metal platform to draw heat away from the notebook. Two USB connections are required, one for the operation of the unit itself, as well as a second for the dual-USB pass-through.
Keep it cool
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You really can't go wrong with a notebook cooling pad, no matter which one you choose. All our suggested picks here will help keep temperatures down on your laptop, allowing you to get more done in a quieter environment without any sluggish performance.
If we were to make a single choice, however, it would be the Cooler Master NotePal X3. This cooling pad has a huge 200mm fan for maximum performance, and there's a handy dial on the chassis to control the fan speed. What makes this cooler rather impressive, in particular, is the height-adjustable stand that supports two different configurations.
If you're on a tighter budget or don't wish to spend much on a cooling pad, the TopMate C302 is an excellent option with two quiet fans, a portable, lightweight design, and a few handy features.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.