|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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Testing & Results
Power Consumption: To measure the power drawn by the laptop cooler it was plugged into the wall using the AC adapter and operated in the various modes. For each mode the current, wattage and apparent power were measured using a Kill-A-Watt Model P4400. This test differs from previous laptop coolers since the power is taken directly from the wall instead of from the laptop. Despite this difference the numbers can still be directly compared.
Cooling Effectiveness: In order to get laptop temperatures the laptop was turned on and allowed to reach a steady temperature without the laptop cooler. Internal temperature readings of the hard drive and both CPU cores were taken using SpeedFan. Surface temperatures were taken using an Exetech 42505 IR thermometer. The laptop cooler was then attached and run for 5 minutes. Internal and external temperatures were again recorded.
First, I'll tell you what I was expecting so you can understand my frame of reference. Two 140 mm fans at 2600 RPM is basically what I use to cool my desktop. All the previous coolers I've reviewed used laptop power and didn't consume much power. They were also physically smaller. Basically I was expecting the SF-19 to blow the competition out of the water. Well, this was true in a sense for power.
The SF-19 used waaaaaay more power than any of the other coolers. It is also the only one that relied on a separate AC adapter. What I don't know is how much is due to the AC adapter or whether the AC adapter was mandatory due to the power draw. So the AC Adapter and cooler while off leeched 3 watts of power from my wall. So doing nothing it consumed more power than the other coolers. Even at low it sucked 2 more amps. At full speed the thing vampired 12 watts of power. It was loud. Really loud. This kinda made me excited because I knew that power was being used for some uber cooling. Right? Maybe?
Okay, perhaps not uber cooling, but still respectable. with the fan at maximum, lap-vibrating output the internal temps were cooled 7 degrees over a 38 degree gradient; about 18% reduction. Remember, when looking at cooling you can't go solely on operating temperature because external factors like room temperature play a big role. For reference, the Notepal X2 had 11% reduction over the gradient while the Antec 200 and Thermaltake Massive had over 20% reduction. So the SF-19 is in the big leagues, but not a leader.
The thermal maps above are the final comparison for cooling performance. The image on the left shows external temperatures before using the Strike Force SF-19 and the image on the right shows temperatures after five minutes of cooling on high. The hot spots had some decent reduction but were not eliminated. The top middle to right portion still maintained some temperature. The best cooled areas appear to be at the bottom edge.