Metal is the most conducive material for transferring heat, and in terms of computers and heat dissipation, metal (either copper or aluminum) is most commonly used (e.g. heatsinks). However, Vantec has made the decision to manufacturer the LapCool 3 entirely out of plastic; it includes absolutely no metal (beyond the electrical components in the fans). The reasoning behind this is simple—to cut down on the weight, as this is an expected additional burden in terms of the mobility and weight of the notebook setup.
Plastic is often subject to easily breaking and warping in more common situations, unlike metal, but despite this the construction quality is quite sturdy. The sample version of this LapCool did have a broken piece internally when it arrived, allowing me to pry open the side in a way that would not normally be allowed. I am only guessing that this delicate connection internally is prone to breaking quite easily. The positive outcome is that it is not a noticeable defect in anyway and the cooler works as proficiently.
The cooler is very slim and is designed with one side completely open for air intake. Unfortunately the side with the opening is the back end of the cooler which is the same area where a majority of all notebooks exhaust air. This will end up circulating warm air back through the fans in some enclosed situations and decrease the cooling performance. In comparison to the original LapCool that I use, the cut outs are on the side with the expectation that air will be drawn from the side where it is cooler and not from the rear where warm air is being exhaust. The LapCool 3 has changed from that original design and may prove to be problematic in terms of its actual performance.
This newer version of the LapCool includes newer fans with improved electronics and technology to provide additional airflow at slower speeds and less noise. In comparison to the original LapCool, it does cool equally as well, if not better. The design decision to create a slimmer and lighter notebook cooler did not cut the performance. The noise level in considerably quieter compared to even the lowest setting of the original LapCool.
In terms of performance, the mobility and size of the LapCool 3 makes up for the high speeds and louder operation of the original LapCool and even provides comparable cooling. The only concern of the performance is with the air intake being towards the rear where hot air is being exhaust from the notebook.
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