A few weeks ago we posted a review of a notebook cooler by NZXT, and now we have a review for another notebook cooling device – the Arctic NC notebook cooler.
Right off the bat, you can see that the design is vastly different from the NZXT Cryo E40. Not only is the Arctic NC smaller and lighter, the airflow dynamics are completely different. Unlike most docking station/cooler combos which position the fans directly below the bottom of your notebook, the Arctic NC’s fans are actually outside of the perimeter of your laptop. The two fans on the Arctic NC direct airflow below your notebook, which is leaned upward at an angle against two rubber grips to allow for airflow space. Basically, the Arctic NC functions as a dynamic version of the AViiQ Portable Laptop Stand, which we reviewed over 18 months ago. Additionally, at barely over a pound in weight, this cooler is extremely portable for people who travel frequently.
In order to test the cooling capabilities of the Arctic NC, I used the RightMark CPU Clock Utility program. I throttled my laptop (which is running an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, each at 1.60 Ghz processing speed) to 100% to really crank out as much performance (and heat) as possible. I then monitored the temperature of “CPU0″ at start up and at the end of my day, either while using the Arctic NC cooler at maximum fan RPM or with no cooling device and leaving my laptop flat on my granite desk.
As you can see in the image gallery below, the start up temperatures were very similar (34 vs. 35.4 degrees Celsius). However, at the end of the day, the CPU0 temperature was significantly lower while using the Arctic NC cooler compared to no cooling device (47.4 vs. 59.6 degrees Celsius). This comes out to a difference of 12.2 degrees Celsius cooler while using the Arctic NC cooler, which is extremely close to Arctic’s own testing measurements showing a 12.5 degrees Celsius improvement.
The most important thing of a notebook cooler is to, well, cool your notebook. Seems simple enough, and the Arctic NC performs very well in this regard. However, there are some issues with the cooler that I have. First, even though Arctic says the NC is good for notebooks up to 19″, I must strongly disagree. My Dell Vostro 1500 laptop is pretty big and heavy, and this makes shifting my laptop (plus Arctic NC cooler underneath) extremely frustrating. Simply put, every time I slide my laptop closer to me, it falls off the rubber grips. I constantly have to check and recheck to make sure my laptop is appropriately placed on the grips, because unless it’s near perfect, it will slide off at the slightest bit of movement. This is extremely annoying.
Another issue I have with the Arctic NC is the USB cable, which is directed straight into whatever surface may be in front of you (a wall, a cubicle divider, etc.). If your desk is organized in a way that has your notebook backed up against the wall, then your USB cable is in for some unfavorable contortions to get it situated. Continued use in this manner could cause the USB cable to fray, which may start to cause power problems for the cooler.
All in all, the Arctic NC notebook cooler is a solid device that performs very nicely at keeping your notebook cool. However, I would recommend it only for small- to medium-sized notebooks, given the above problems. A redesign to make better rubber grippers could be the minor adjustment needed to make it a good cooler for notebooks of all sizes.