If you're looking for a laptop cooler that will complement your sleek multimedia notebook or gaming rig, the Cooler Master Notepal X3 may be the perfect choice. Reminiscent of Alienware's iconic notebook design, the X3 features angles, vents and lights that set the mood for some serious computing.
Click to EnlargeCooler Master claims that the Notepal X3 design is inspired by jet planes, and while there may be a bit of a disconnect between engine turbines and notebook coolers, the X3 is a cool-looking accessory. Made of aluminum and plastic, this cooler feels sturdy. Its shape roughly resembles the letter X and features mood-setting blue LED lights, which can be switched on and off. However, the lights are completely covered when we placed a laptop on the cooler.
The cooler has one USB port, which replaces the one used by the cooler when plugged into your notebook. Next to the USB connector is the power port, a dial that controls the fan speed, a button that turns the fan on and a button that turns the blue light on.
Weighing 2 pounds, the Notepal X3 is easy to carry from place to place and didn't make placing a notebook on our lap any more uncomfortable. Measuring 15.75 x 12 x 2.25 inches, this cooler is on the larger side, so portability is limited. The X3 supports notebooks up to 17 inches, making this cooler suitable for most gaming notebooks. The smaller Rosewill RLCP-11002 (13.75 x 13.25 x 2 inches) only supports notebooks up to 15.6 inches, but weighs a heavier 2.6 pounds.
Click to EnlargeWe tested the Cooler Master Notepal X3 on a Dell Inspiron 15R SE by playing "Batman: Arkham City" for 15 minutes with and without the cooler. The X3 was our top performer, dropping our average notebook temperature from 88 degrees to 84.1 degrees. This was slightly cooler than the 84.3 degree average of the Rosewill RLCP-11002 and significantly cooler than the Cryo E40's 86.6 degree average.
Without a cooler, the Dell Inspiron 15R SE's hottest spots were on the bottom of the notebook, in the upper middle as well as the lower left, both of which measured 94 degrees. With the X3, the upper middle was only 81 degrees and the lower left 83 degrees. The keyboard temperature decreased slightly, measuring 91 without a cooler and 90 with the X3.
Our favorite feature on the X3 is the front vent, which helped keep our hands cool. This was fantastic when we used a trackpad or typed, as our hands remained cool and dry even as our notebook heated up.
Click to EnlargeThough not as quiet as the Rosewill RCLP-11002, which was virtually silent, the X3's fan noise is barely noticeable, a slight hum easily drowned out by the sound of the Inspiron 15R SE's own cooling fan. While the light weight of the X3 makes lap use comfortable, the fan noise increases and performance drops when placed on a soft surface. You can adjust fan speed by using a dial, which lowers the fan volume, but there weren't any times when we wanted anything less than full speed.
Click to EnlargeThe Cooler Master Notepal X3 is a high-quality, lightweight notebook cooler that will definitely keep your system chilly. Its sleek design and mood lights are a nice touch, adding to the value of a lower temperature notebook. The X3 was not only the most effective in keeping our notebook's temperature down, it kept our hands from getting sweaty, too. Although the $39.99 Notepal X3 isn't the cheapest notebook cooler, it's worth the extra money for its performance and style.