Laptops are more present today than even just 5 years ago. The increased need for portability in both work and personal environments is helping to push the trend. Today's laptops are nothing like they used to be. Today's versions are faster and lighter - packing more and more performance into every unit. The downfall to all that performance is heat. Heat is not only bad for the hardware but with the case of a laptop, it can be downright uncomfortable in some circumstances. Enter NZXT and their new Cryo E40 laptop cooler. Read more...
If you've ever actually used your laptop as it's name implies - on your lap - then you've found out how warm and sometimes even hot the underside of it can get at times. Laptop coolers come in many variations and materials - fanless, powered, plastic, steel and even bamboo laptop stand are all over the place these days. The intent of the laptop cooler it to help supply fresh air to the underside of the laptop thereby decreasing the unit's temperatures. NZXT is no stranger to laptop coolers as they've had the Cryo S and Cryo LX coolers in the past. the newest member of the Cryo family is the E40. Let's take a look and see if it does all that it claims to do or if it's just full of hot air.
The front of the Cryo E40's box is simple yet elegant. No flashy colors here. Instead you get a nice white box with subtle design styling cues. There's a picture of the cooler on the front flap and 4 small boxes with some basic info on what's inside. As you can see the Cryo E40 is designed for laptops up to 15" wide.
The rear of the box is filled with more features and specifications as well as several close-up pictures of the cooler itself.
Opening the flap on the front of the box you'll be greeted with specifications in 7 different languages.
Open the top flap of the box and you'll see stylized holes for viewing the cooler inside the box.
Once that flap is opened you get to the cooler itself. The cooler comes wrapped in plastic with an open-cell foam block on each end to prevent damage.
Once you remove the cooler you'll find the included setup and usage instructions also in multiple languages.
A Closer Look at the NZXT Cryo E40
Once you've removed the cooler from it's foam end caps and plastic wrap you finally get to see how nice this unit really is. The top deck is steel with a pair of horizontally mounted rubber dampers upon which the laptop will sit.
The top deck is removed with just a slight tug. All that holds it to the base are the 8 small round silver magnets you see in the picture above. NZXT has also chosen to wrap each of the 80mm fans in bubble wrap to prevent damage to the blades in transit.
The fans included with the cooler are 80mm diameter with a thickness of 10mm and are each equipped with 11 blades for maximum airflow and minimum noise. NZXT does not supply RPM, voltage or airflow ratings for the fans but seeing how they're powered from the USB port means they're 5V units. You'll also notice the 4 round black magnets on each fan. These are what hold the fan to the top mesh vent. They're wired together and terminated at a standard USB connector for power.
Here you can see that they really give you almost infinite ways in which to arrange the fans. Being magnetic has a few advantages. First they're easy to move around to fit almost ANY laptop's vent configuration and second it makes changing the fan's placement a quick and tool-free process. The only problem I found here was that the magnets holding the fans to the mesh could be a slight bit stronger. I noticed the fans popping off the steel mesh almost every time I lifted it off the base. However NZXT makes note of the strength of the included magnets saying "Special low-powered magnetic clasp design, engineered to be safe around any piece of technology." It's good to see that NZXT thinks of even the simplest of things when designing their products. This isn't a huge deal for a cooler that will mostly be set-it-and-forget-it for the typical user. Another downside to the magnetic attachment is that if you travel with your laptop cooler frequently the fans can easily move from their positions requiring you to re-position them when you're ready to use it. Not a deal breaker in any shape or form but something to keep in mind.
Another nice feature is that they've designed the base in such a way that you can run the USB cable out the left or right side to accommodate your specific laptop.
This angle shows the 4º angle the Cryo gives your laptop. NZXT claims this angled stance is to give a more comfortable experience while using your laptop. The cooler allows for 10mm of airspace under the body and an additional 3mm of space between the mesh and the bottom of your laptop. The feet are also rubber-tipped for a vibration free experience.
Testing the NZXT Cryo E40
The laptop we used for testing is an HP Pavilion DV6-6B47DX running Windows 7 Home with all updates installed at the time of testing. The software used for testing was OCCT version 4.2.0.
Tests were run using OCCT 4.2.0. Tests were run for 1 hour with a 1 minute before and 5 minute after idle period. The laptop was plugged in for all tests and allowed to sit idle for 30 minutes prior to each test running. Room temperature during the tests was maintained at 25ºC, Temperatures were measured at the exhaust outlet on the left side of the laptop, on the base of the laptop at its hottest point and also internally with the built-in OCCT hardware monitor. For the initial test the laptop was placed on a wooden table with a cloth covering. For the second test the cooler was placed on the same surface with the laptop on top. The fans were arranged to blow directly into the vent areas on the bottom of the laptop.
As you can see the cooler did make a difference in overall temps with the most noticeable difference in the temperature of the bottom of the laptop. The air coming out of the exhaust dropped by 2ºC and the average CPU temp dropped by 3.5ºC. The maximum exhaust temp peaked at only 1ºC less until the CPU fan kicked into high gear and started pulling in all the fresh cool air supplied by the Cryo E40. See the pictures below for the OCCT graphs from the runs.
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
The NZXT Cryo E40 is a well designed cooler for your 15" or under notebook. It's simple design makes it super easy to setup and use and it's customizability options give you the ability to set it up to perfectly suit your needs. The cooler is sturdy and doesn't feel cheap at all. The fans are audible but hardly anything you'll cringe over. The 80x10mm fans on the Cryo E40 provide ample airflow to help keep your laptop or notebook cool even under extreme circumstances. The only downfall I have with the unit is that the fan magnets are just a tad too weak. If your cooler will sit in one spot it's nothing to worry about. However if you travel with your cooler frequently be prepared to reset the fan positions often. The NZXT Cryo E40 is available at the NZXT Armory Store and Newegg for $28 at the time of this writing. $28 for a laptop cooler that performs well is awesome. Definitely put this on your list if you're in the market for a laptop/notebook cooler/stand.
This product was provided free of charge by its manufacturer for the purpose of review.