|CM Storm Strike Force SF-19 Laptop Cooler|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Notebook | Compact PC|
|Written by Dan Ferguson|
|Wednesday, 02 February 2011|
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Closer Look: SF-19 Laptop Cooler
CM Storm does a good job of providing products geared for gamers. I know that gaming puts serious heat on a laptop, often making a cooler a necessity. Along with movie watchers, gamers prefer a larger screen for better resolution and accuracy. Both applications tend to put an elevated stress on the CPU and GPU for long, uninterrupted sessions. This is the exact situation for generating heat. In addition, larger laptops probably have more components, or often more powerful components. Also, the ratio of surface area to volume is much smaller on a bigger laptop.
Basically what I'm saying is that I would anticipate a greater need for cooling on the larger platforms than on the smaller ones. But this seems to be an exact contradiction to the product offerings I see for the bulk of laptop coolers. Props to CM Storm for offering a bigger cooler for bigger laptops. And when I took it out of the box, that was my first impression...it's big. It's like the HAF X for laptops! Big and powerful.
The Strike Force SF-19 measures 19" across by 14 inches on the side. It's shaped like a big wedge; thicker in the back and thinner towards the front. This gives any laptop placed on top a strong tilt forward. I suppose this is a compromise for the lack of tilt or height adjustment. This large height and width give the SF-19 a very large surface area...which means more cooling area. The top is very sturdy, covered with a strong wire mesh.
The backside has a square grid of larger diameter holes which serve as the air intake. The back and the rest of the structural body is made from ABS plastic. The ABS is an affordable plastic that provides structural strength but sacrifices on weight. All told, the SF-19 weighs in at four and a half pounds. That's more than a netbook and almost as much as lighter laptops. But remember, it's meant for "Luggables" which typically weigh in over 15 pounds. If you're already sporting around that much size and weight you might not notice an extra four pounds.
Also seen on the backside is a natural handle outlined in a reinforced, anti-slip rubber. The handle is natural to use and also very sturdy. The same rubber is used in several places on the laptop to provide protection from bumps, cable management, and gripping surfaces to support the laptop.
Like Cooler Master's previous laptop cooler (the Notepal) the SF-19 is laid out in a slight "X" pattern. Okay, it's actually more like an "H", but the layout is still similar. The top and bottom of the "H" is outlined by large rubber pads which hold the laptop up off the metal mesh surface. In the Notepal these channels proved marginally effective, so it's interesting to see Cooler Master try again. I like the look of the this new model SGA-6000-KKYF1, mostly because I know the workmanship and materials are of high quality. The actual lines of the product don't impress me much, but I wouldn't say the thing's ugly.
The laptop shown here is an MSI Megabook L725 which measures 15.6 x 10.9 x 1.4 inches. You can see how the entire laptop sits entirely on the cooling surface with nothing hanging over the edge. So in truth, a 19" laptop will still have some portion not resting above the primary cooling surface. At least it won't grossly hang over the edges and entirely hide the cooler. It's hard to tell in this picture, but the clearance beneath the laptop is less than a quarter of an inch. Based on past reviews this is not a very large gap. The last thing I'll point out is the parts of the cooling surface which jut out beyond the edges of the laptop. There is a small section towards the front on each side, and a small corner on each side towards the front. These will be important later on.