As your computer gets older, just like with people, it needs a bit more air as it goes through the difficult middle years to avoid overheating and flustered spells where it doesn't feel like it can do very much.
The idea of the Startech USB powered notebook cooler fan is to aid your laptop computer in remaining cool when it needs it most.
The cooler fan doesn't look amazing but it isn't supposed to, it is there to do a job, it is black with air flow directions on the round control, it looks a bit naff being honest and doesn't immediately make you think of a cool product. It is 1 inch x 3 inches x 2.5 inches and weighs under 100g, it is plastic and feels a bit weak and flimsy. The item is powered by USB which can be somewhat self serving as if your laptop runs out of juice through overheating you can't use the fan to help repair the situation.
The item comes with a clip to attach the fan to your laptop and the aforementioned USB connector.
This has a 5 DC input voltage and runs at 3000-3800 Rpm, it isn't noisy and all power is self generating via the USB, therefore it has as I suggested before a dilemma in that if your laptop passes out due to overheating, your fan won't work either.
The sleek black finish of this little fan is ruined by the obtrusive arrow markings all over it, the USB power would be a much better idea if this item wasn't designed to ensure your laptop doesn't overheat, the clips used to attach to your laptop don't grip properly, therefore you have to make your own alternative form of attachment which isn't ideal and the fan itself is underwhelming, quiet, unobtrusive but has made little difference to the regular problems I have with the laptop overheating.
In my view I should have saved and paid more for something which really would be effective, as this cost me £18.99 from Amazon but lacks the power to really do as much as I expected, the fact I can't fit it to my laptop just exacerbates the situation and it looks naff too, overall this was way below my expectations and hasn't left me with a great impression of the Startech brand or laptop fans in general.
I have to say that my HP laptop has been an absolute gem, it has gone through so much and (touch wood) it is still going strong after 4 years of pretty solid use.
About a year and a half ago I started to realize that my computer was getting hotter than usual and I just didn't remember it being this hot, so I started looking into getting a cooling fan to help prolong the life of the computer, as my computer is basically my life.
When I saw this cooling fan online it really appealed to me because of the plug and play system and I never read anything bad about this little fan.
The StarTech External Notebook CPU Cooling Fan is all black in colour with the measurements being 2.5 inches x 3 inches x 1 inch, so it is quite a small fan and weighing at only 64 grams makes it a light weight fan that can travel with me very conveniently and no hassle.
The main body of the fan is a very deep black colour with parts being white, with a very thin cable that is retractable saving you the problem of tucking the extra wire, with the other end of this cable being a usb connection and a little LED light flashes when it is connected.
The fan is actually designed to connect to the cooling fan part of the laptop to add to the cooling fan that is already working like crazy on keeping my laptop cool.
When you plug in the usb part of the fan it works straight away, there is no waiting for software to upload or any of that, and it just starts the fan with no problems. For such a little device it is a little noisy on a little fans point of view, you just wouldn't expect this much noise from this size of a fan.
This is a duo speed fan with the fan having the capability to change directions
For all the techs' out there who really want to know some details here they are:
5 volt DC power
air flow rate of 1.24-1.64
fan speed between 3000-3800 rpm
Noise being between 24-26dba
The problem is the connectors on the side of the little fan are not strong enough, or, the fan is too heavy for the clips to stay on securely; the two side connectors practically do nothing. It's pointless.
Another thing I realized after purchasing this product was that I bought a fan to cool down my laptop so it can operate with more efficiency but if I have to plug in my fan into the laptop then I am working the computer harder to try and cool it down, so in truth I am actually doing nothing.
I thought maybe the problem was that it was maybe designed specifically for Mac laptops and the clips would fit more securely on them, but it does state in the manuals that it can fit on PC's and Mac's alike, so then I came to the conclusion that this product was designed poorly.
You can buy this from:
Amazon for £15.37
Dell for £10.94
Misco for £15.99
I would not recommend this to anyone because in my opinion it does not do the job at all, I saw this at a car boot sale and it was still in its casing, the guy told me he had a few spare so he wanted to get rid of them (likely story) so it never actually cost me that much at all, but even to pay £10 is too much for this, if I were you I would hunt around for a better fan, one that actually does a sufficient job of keeping your fan cool and if you have to pay that bit more then do it, other wise your going to need a new computer and that's a whole lot more money.
All those people that own a laptop, especially one that is a few years old, will know how warm the CPU can get, sometimes, depending on the airflow restrictions, actually getting so hot as to slow your system down to a crawl or even bring it to a complete stop. This heat is taken form the CPU in order to give your PC a chance of living just that little bit longer.
Anyway, if you are one of those people who does own an aged laptop and you feel the heat of a thousand dragon breaths blasting out of the side, then don't panic, there are many alternatives to stripping down your PC and installing a fresh new fan, heatsink and thermal gel.
Those alternatives are in fact external fan systems which, allegedly, keep your PC that little bit cooler during high performance times.
Some of these 'fans' are a blessing but can be a little expensive, whilst some others simply 'do the job' at a fraction of the cost, and it is the latter that I am going to tell you abut today.
This particular modal, which for the life of me I can not remember actually buying but as I found it in my office desk I must have done at some point, is a rather neat looking external fan from the makers at Star tech.
** Firstly, as I always like to do, let us look at the specifications of this particular modal...
* Black plastic body
* Duo speed fan
* USB power supply
* 25mm high by 80mm long and 62mm wide
* 64 grams in weight.
* Changeable fan direction
* Universal clip for attaching to most laptops
* Retractable USB cable
** The truly technical specs... (information found on box and leaflet)
* Noise level of between 24 and 26 dBa (yes indeed??)
* Air flow rate of between 1.24- 1.64
* Fan speed of between 3000-3800 rpm
* 5 volt DC power
* LED light flashing when on
** MY OPINION...
Well, as I said earlier, I simply don't remember buying this and I can't remember why it was shoved to the back of the top draw in my office, but, after using it for a while, I soon realised why.
It can be seen as quite deceiving, looking somewhat cool, if you forgive the pun, with its funky styled black casing and white markings. And how it works is such a simple idea with the body of the fan itself having two little catches on either side which are designed to attach to the fan housing on your laptop.
But sadly, as many people on a night out in a dark and dodgy nightclub well know, looks can be deceptive as this little device is about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike and as sturdy as a bowl of orange flavoured jelly sat on top of a boiling kettle.
The little catches that help connect this to the fan outlet on your PC are, shall we say, flimsy, (and that's putting it lightly). They do slide into the gaps but if you move just a little the unit simply falls out. I'm guessing this is due to the weight of the entire unit compared to the tiny little clips.
You can support the fan with a block of some kind but the your laptop becomes a desk top really doesn't it?, thus defeating the idea of mobility.
If it does stay in place, and that's a big if, then it does manage to keep the CPU a little cooler as it drags the heat from the area. Although, as this is powered via a USB port on your PC, your CPU is actually working a little bit harder in order to power this device in the first place so, technically, you could say that this device is simply taking away the heat that it has created, (if you know what I mean).
When it is in position and not flopped onto your desk, the fan may be a little noisy, but nothing too excessive, so you don't have to shout to your mate sitting next to you in order for your voice to be heard.
The actual fan rotates 180° to allow you to direct any heat where ever you want, but it is not powerful enough to blast it away from the actual PC area, even with the two speeds it offers.
The retractable USB cable is long enough to fit most laptops, even those where the fan is on the other side from the USB port, (extension cable can be bought separately in the unfortunate event of a short fall).
For the record...
I did a few simple tests, using such programs as 'Speedfan', just to check the heating situation, and the results that I found made me realise that in fact this 'cooling' fan did manage to take some heat away, keeping my CPU in the 'green', but, due to the power it needed to work, my CPU heat was soon back in the 'red', and that's how it went on, like a yoyo on hot and cool.
And yes, when I ran the same sort of tests without the fan fitted, my CPU did go into the 'red' and took a little while longer to drop a few degrees, but it stayed in the 'green' for longer too as the fan wasn't begging for that bit of power to work.
As I said, it does look the part, being a good size and designed to fit most laptops, but, for me, that's where the positives stop, (apart from the retractable USB cable maybe), as it probably creates more CPU heat that it extracts.
I just wish I could remember where and when I got this so I could remember what on earth possessed me to buy it. Or did one of my kids get it me for my Birthday? Or for Christmas? Maybe I should ask them and risk upsetting one of them. Or maybe I should just shove it back into my draw and wait for one of them to ask me about it.
Anyway, as I can't remember how much I paid for this I did a quick search around and found that it can be bought for around £15.00, which, for me, is... and I'm being polite here ... a little over priced for this particular item.
** PLEASE NOTE...
If you are finding that your CPU is badly over heating for no apparent reason then I do recommend a good clean of the insides, using compressed air in a can and a lot of patience. Then, if a clean didn't help, you could always replace the internal fan with a newer modal and refresh the thermal gel on the heatsink, (this will work wonders for older systems and is a lot easier than it sounds)