Cooling A Laptop: 17 Things You Should Know

One of the biggest problems people encounter with laptops is keeping them cool. 

Manufacturers have also tried their best to develop new ways of keeping laptops cool and preventing overheating.

In this article, we’ll answer many questions about how cooling works, and what other steps you can take to improve the cooling mechanism of your laptop.

Do All Laptops Have Cooling Fans?

Not all laptops have cooling fans. As hardware gets faster and smaller, many manufacturers are making their laptops more compact with passive cooling systems that don’t need spinning fans. 

These fanless laptops also have the benefit of being perfectly quiet.

Most of them feature newer form factors that only support solid-state drives and lower-power hardware. While they’ll handle your day-to-day activities with ease, they’re not built for demanding tasks like video editing, programming, or gaming.

Many laptops still have cooling fans, however. Gaming laptops, because of their demanding hardware features, still require cooling fans and heat sinks to keep them from failing. 

Also, many standard laptops still need cooling fans to keep them from overheating and shutting down.

Can Laptops Work Without A Cooling Fan?

Only laptops designed without cooling fans can work without them. These laptops are modern, and they use form factors that support passive cooling. 

However, your ordinary laptop will work without a spinning fan for only short periods. Thereafter, it will overheat and this may cause damage to other components of your computer. 

Your motherboard and battery may get damaged, and your computer will shut down abruptly.

Do External Cooling Fans Work For Laptops?

External cooling fans can work for laptops, but it depends on the laptop and the external fan itself. 

Many external fans will successfully reduce the external and internal temperature of your laptop which may lead to an increase in performance, albeit marginal most times.

Cooling fans work extremely well, especially for gaming laptops. A cooling pad will give your computer an increase in gaming performance.

Your laptop will increase its frame rate which leads to smoother gameplay across your favorite game titles.

Another nifty benefit these fans have is that they’re quite noiseless. They’ll produce barely noticeable ambient noise that’s just loud enough to be heard but not loud enough to cause a distraction.

Some external fan models allow you to adjust fan speeds so it may run a lot quieter.

How Long Do Laptop Cooling Pads Last?

Your cooling pad will last you for years, depending on how you use it. Its longevity will also depend on its construction. 

Poorly constructed cooling pads won’t last long. With careful handling, you can use your cooling pad for up to 8 hours a day and still expect a reasonable lifespan out of it. 

Do Bigger Laptops Have Better Cooling?

Bigger laptops have better cooling systems than smaller laptops. Typically, larger laptops have more components that have high power consumption and produce more heat.

Therefore, manufacturers will create more space for heat sinks and heat pipes on thicker chassis to dissipate more heat. They’ll also add more effective fans to keep the laptop cool.

This, however, does not mean that bigger or thicker laptops will run cooler than small ones. It only means that bigger laptops need better cooling systems to run at optimal levels.

What Is Thermal Cooling In Laptops?

Thermal cooling involves removing excess heat produced by laptop components to keep them within optimum operating temperature. 

Fans and heat sinks are the primary methods many laptop manufacturers use to keep them cool. That’s why your laptop fan constantly ejects hot air.

The CPU is the most common component that needs thermal cooling. Processors will also reduce their clock speed or voltage consumption as soon as temperatures exceed a specified limit.

Do Cooling Pads Work For Gaming Laptops? 

Cooling pads work well for gaming laptops. First, cooling pads reduce both external and internal temperatures, which leads to better performance when playing games. 

Many gaming laptops already have excellent cooling systems, so depending on your laptop brand, performance increase may be marginal.

Better cooling from cooling pads may also lead to increased frame rates when playing AAA titles, and you may notice an increase in response time. 

If your gaming laptop has a poor cooling system or ineffective fans or heat sinks, a cooling pad will do you plenty of good. It will also come in handy in case your fans fail or get damaged.

Do Laptop Cooling Pads Work For MacBook Pro?

A cooling pad will work for MacBook Pro, but you don’t need one. Your MacBook has powerful fans and an aluminum case design that can handle heating problems. 

Your MacBook dissipates heat from itself using its aluminum casing and hidden vents on the chassis. Normally, this cooling system suffices to keep your MacBook Pro running. You’ll often feel the heat because aluminum is an excellent heat conductor.

However, many MacBook Pros use Intel CPUs which heat fast when performing intensive tasks. If your mac has a GPU, this problem may be doubly worse. 

This may cause the casing of your mac to become uncomfortably hot. It may even make typing problematic. Here, a cooling pad may come in handy.

Can Laptops Have Liquid Cooling?

Laptops can have liquid cooling systems, but this feature is extremely rare. It would also lead to at least four problems:

  • Adding liquid cooling systems to laptops would force them to become huge and bulky. Heavy laptops are inconvenient, and no one would want to carry them around
  • Many laptops don’t require liquid cooling because they don’t heat to dangerous levels.
  • Another major problem you may face with liquid cooling is leaks. Water cooling systems with leaks can particularly cause short circuits and rusting on your laptop’s motherboard. This causes damage to internal components, many of which are expensive to replace or repair.
  • Liquid cooling systems would also make laptops needlessly expensive. From designing unique cooling pipes and heat sinks to ensuring an efficient flow of coolants throughout your laptop would make it cost more. Also, purchasing and replacing coolants would increase the cost of maintenance.

Does The Laptop Cooling Pad Drain The Battery?

Unlike what you’d expect, cooling pads consume little power and therefore, won’t drain your battery. 

Most of the power coming from your laptop goes straight to the fans on your cooling pad. The amount of power needed to run the cooling pad is marginal, and therefore, your laptop will only experience a minor increase in heat production.

You can expect a 2-10% increase in normal battery consumption as you use a cooling pad. 

However, your cooling pad will significantly reduce the amount of heat your CPU produces, and this means that you may end up not using extra power at all. You may even save some battery power.

How Much Power Does A Laptop Cooling Pad Use?

Your average cooling pad will use anywhere between 0.25 to 0.5A or 1.2 to 2.4W

This power requirement does not exceed the power consumption of your USB port. Therefore, your cooling pad will discharge your laptop at roughly 2 Watts per hour, which is pretty low.

Depending on the quality of your battery, you may lose about 15-20 minutes of battery power with a cooling pad.

Do Laptop Cooling Vacuums Work?

Cooling vacuums do an excellent job of cooling laptops, and they may even work better than many cooling pads in the market.

Vacuum fans work by sucking out extra heat from the side vent of your laptop. When coupled with a heat sink, they’ll perform efficiently, cooling your laptop faster.

Vacuum fans are smaller and lighter than cooling pads and are more efficient. Many users claim that a cooling vacuum can cool your laptop to about 5 degrees Celsius lower than a cooling pad. 

For all their trouble though, they’re awkward placements. Using them may hinder your flexibility as they hang to the side of your laptop.

Are Vacuum Coolers For Laptops Safe?

Vacuum coolers are safe. They only assist your internal fan to perform its cooling tasks more efficiently by dissipating as much heat as possible from your CPU

They’re easy to attach and remove, and you only use them when you need them. They don’t need installation or use special software, and they consume minor amounts of power. Unless you handle them poorly, they’ll not damage your hardware.

Does A Laptop Stand Help With Cooling?

While that’s not their only purpose, laptop stands improve cooling by increasing the surface area of your laptop exposed to ventilation. 

This increases the amount of heat dissipated from the laptop into the environment, leading to a cooler laptop. 

How Can I Cool My Laptop With Ice?

While you can cool your laptop with an ice pack by setting it right below your computer, I strongly advise against it.

Because ice is significantly cooler than the air around your computer, it will cause condensation to occur. 

Your fans will blow moisture into your laptop and this will cause damage to essential components inside your laptop.

Instead, I recommend you purchase a cooling pad or a vacuum cooler in case you need extra help in keeping your device cool. 

You can also replace your fan or clean your ventilation ports to get rid of fine dust particles that reduce the efficiency of your fans. Another good idea would be to elevate your laptop with a stand to increase ventilation.

Do Laptop Cooling Pads Really Make A Difference?

Cooling pads can make a difference, in three unique cases:

If you’re Using an Older Laptop

A cooling pad will help you cool your old laptop, especially one which shuts down or restarts often because of overheating. It will help you etch out a few more minutes or hours of usability from your device.

However, if your old laptop keeps running hot, replace or repair its fan. Also, have it cleaned because dust is often the culprit.

For Comfort

If you like to use your laptop on your bed or sofa, you’ll notice your laptop heats up fast. This often happens,even for laptops that normally stay cool.

You can use a cooling pad to keep your laptop temperatures low whenever you need to kick back and relax. This way, you can binge on your favorite movies without worrying about a noisy fan or a hot laptop.

When You Push the Limits of a device

Overclocking your device often causes it to heat up. This also happens whenever you add peripheral devices like eGPUs or VR headsets to your laptop.

Using a cooling pad to keep your laptop within optimum temperatures during such occasions makes a big difference.

Can Laptop Cooling Fans Improve Performance?

By keeping the temperature of your laptop down, cooling fans help the components of your computer work at optimal levels. However, this will not improve the performance of your laptop. 

You may notice marginal performance increases when your laptop runs cool, but they’ll not be enough to help your device perform harder tasks than it already can.

Instead, your laptop needs fans to keep it from failing because of overheating. Fans also help prevent heat damage to essential components on your computer, helping it last longer and perform tasks for extended periods.

Final Thoughts

Keeping your laptop cool is easy to do, and using cooling fans, cooling vacuum and laptop stands can help you achieve that.

However, always make sure that your laptop fan works. If not, repair or replace it. Always use other cooling options as secondary options to your laptop fan.