A while back we had the opportunity to take a look at Cooler Master's Notepal Infinite laptop cooler, unique for its ability to support up to 17" wide screen laptop, as opposed to the average 14~15.4" limit. More recently, however, Cooler Master has release a new line of cooling options, and included is the Notepal X2, the Infinite's big brother, so to speak, rivaling it as the second CM laptop cooler supporting wide screens. With a new look, new features, and new design, its time to see how the X2 stacks up in the harsh realm of notebook cooling.
Product Name: Cooler Master Notepal X2
Review Sample Provided by: Cooler Master
Review by: Adam
Pictures by: Adam
Packaging Anyone who has purchased a Cooler Master product will find no surprises here; the trademark white box with light-purple trim that opens simply to reveal only that which is necessary to package the product safely and run it. Its the kind of design that you appreciate for a number of reasons, but the one that always sticks out with notebook coolers is the ability to use the original packaging as a carrying case. The simplicity carries through to the internal packaging, sporting two Styrofoam blocks on either side to prevent shifting, a bag containing the USB connection cord, and the instruction manual.
Set-Up There are a few minor details that can cause headaches when it comes to setting up laptop coolers, one of them being the position of the USB on the cooler itself. Depending on your model, it may leave a wire running through an awkward spot, or the included cord may be just a little short to reach the port without it being too tight. Cooler Master seems to have found a happy medium, situating the ports on the cooler close to the middle of the cooler, but favoring the right-hand side. To help fit whatever situation you have, the cord for the X2 is a two-side male USB, so either one of the two included USB ports can be used, and the other obviously as an extra device port. Tested with a widescreen, and to be honest rather heavy laptop, the X2 fits just right and supports it evenly and level. The cooler is already designed as a incline, allowing for the screen-end of your notebook to elevate in order to help ergonomics. However, should you find yourself needing a bit more elevation, Cooler Master has included extendable feet, just like you'll find on most standard keyboards, to help boost the height.
Performance The first task for the X2 to carry out is improving the posture of the user. This is something that could be done with something as simple as an inclined piece of wood, but Cooler Master brings some style to the table. Elevating the keyboard and screen is an improvement with little room for error, and thankfully there's none with the X2. As a matter of fact, this cooler goes above and beyond by including the option for the user to adjust the height from tall to... well, taller. Still, its a simple addition that proves useful and just makes sense. The X2 also is the first in the Notepal line to feature an LED fan which gives off a cool blue aura. I know what you're thinking: its a laptop cooler, the fan is covered by the laptop. While this is true, and the X2 does look amazing with the LED on and uncovered, the bay it sits in is slotted, so the glow is emitted from underneath the cooler when the laptop is in use.
The main feature of the X2, however, is its ability to cool a laptop, which are known to overheat easy, especially during extended gaming sessions; after all, games are arguably the most demanding task your system will try to tackle. The question is, how much heat does the X2 reduce? I ran two tests, each for an hour, running Rthdribl, Prime95, and Crysis Wars to stress the system. The following temperatures were recorded using RealTemp: Without CMX2, Idle: GPU: 46C Core 1: 44C Core 2: 44C Load: 60.0% With CMX2, Idle: GPU: 40C Core 1: 33C Core 2: 33C Load: 61.2% Without CMX2, Stressed: GPU: 62C Core 1: 67C Core 2: 67C Load: 94.0% With CMX2, Stressed: GPU: 59C Core 1: 62C Core 2: 62C Load: 94.0% The difference is fairly drastic when in idle, a gap of six degrees in the graphics proc and a whopping eleven between the cores. Even when stressed to a load of 94%, the X2 keeps the graphics three degrees cooler and the cores five degrees cooler.
Overall The Cooler Master Notepal series have always done a great job delivering on both cooling laptops and improving the posture of their users, leaving little room for improvement. Despite that fact, Cooler Master continues to better its products, the X2 being one of example. Not only does it do a great job reducing temperatures, both in idle and under heavy loads, but it also expands to cover those widescreen notebooks (one of the few previous complaints). Plus, it excels in an area most previous thought useless by including a blue LED and a slick black facade. The one suggestion I could possibly add is throwing in a few more extra USB ports, though even with just one you're not out anything by using this cooler, except a few several degrees of warmth.