Thermaltake NBcool T500 and T2000 USB Notebook Coolers
Author: Frank Stroupe
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 12-12-2007
Provided by: Thermaltake

My wife recently purchased a notebook. As I sat there setting it up, I tried to remember the last time I used one. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t remember using one since I was in the US Army, which I left in 1991. Which means that the last time I did, they were called “laptops”, and the nicest one I used had a 286 processor and a 40 meg hard drive. You could buy nicer programs already installed on ROMs, and this Zenith would hold five of them. Another one I used had a 20 meg hard drive, and was in this steel case that made it weigh at least 10 pounds.

Anyway, as I played with my wife’s new computer, I finally realized why they changed the description to “notebook” from “laptop”. As I was sitting there with it on my lap, I realized that my leg was covering the fan intake and it was getting pretty warm. A lap is the last place that these things should be used, unless it is pretty cold out and you need a little warmth. At least you wouldn’t be freezing your… uhh… you get the idea.

I looked at the little 2” intake hole, then looked at the bed, the carpet, the dining table (which has a tablecloth with some brocading on it), the sofa, all over the house. I found very few spots that I might use it without some kind of interference with the fan intake.

So what do you do, besides carrying around a piece of plywood to ensure you have a hard smooth surface to set the notebook on? The guys over at Thermaltake have a solution in their USB powered Nbcool line of notebook coolers. Today we’re going to take a look at the T500 and T2000 models of that line.

First, we’ll take a look at the T2000. All of the Nbcool line comes in this hanging/standing blisterpack. It is sealed at the top, but if you’re careful and just cut away the sealing, the packaging can be reused; it closes with the “round peg in square hole” fasteners.

The T2000 is made of shiny black polystyrene, with red vents on the side, right in line with Thermaltake’s black and red color scheme. It is very light, weighing in at just over a pound. It’s 13” x 7”, and is just over an inch thick at the widest part. It should fit in most notebook carry cases and definitely in any notebook backpack.

Inside are a pair of 70mm x 10mm fans running at +5v. Turning at that slow speed, they are sipping from your power supply, and they actually shouldn’t shorten your battery life that much. They are at about 1200rpm, with a noise level rating of 18dBA. In other words, silent.

The design of the cooler keeps your notebook slightly above the fan ducts, and the way that the ducts are positioned, air should blow over most of the bottom surface of the computer. The bottom vents are in a recess which should keep them fairly clear, but the vents on the sides of the cooler will take care of venting should the bottom vents get obstructed.

The only hardware that comes with the T2000 is the USB power cable. Surprisingly, the cable has an inline I/O switch, I really wouldn’t have expected that.

Using the T2000 is very simple, just set the notebook on top, plug the USB cable into the cooler and notebook, and it starts quietly keeping your rig cool. It does keep your rig at an angle to the desk surface, and I found it very comfortable, more comfortable than having the notebook directly on the desk.

You can feel the air moving around the bottom of the notebook, but you can't hear it at all, and after about an hour, though the top of the case was rather warm, the bottom was very cool. Within minutes of removing the computer from the cooler, the base of the notebook was as warm as the top.

I spent a fair amount of time using the cooler with only the battery. Though it really depended what I was doing, i.e., surfing vs playing 3D games, the cooler increased battery usage somewhere between 10% and 15%. Less than I had expected to tell the truth. This was a new battery, so you may have a different experience.

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