Zither Notebook Cooler Author: faceless105 -- Posted: 2008-03-17
When we look at mobile computing, one issue that comes up fairly frequently is cooling. Due to the design of notebook computers in general, they aren't designed for cooling. The compact design calls for specific air channels that are typically very slim. The failure of a fan or a blocked airway can result in overheated notebook, which can in a number of cases cause permanent damage. This is why today I'm happy to be reviewing the Zither Notebook Cooler by Evercool.
The first thing I notice when I look at this notebook cooler is that it is noticeable smaller then a lot of other coolers. While I'll admit I like the larger coolers because they just look more impressive, the bulk of coolers out there use enough parts that the size can easily be cut in half. With a smaller cooler, it will only prop up the back half of your notebook. This design I think actually makes the Zither a better mobile device. I know when you are setting up your laptop for class or a meeting, you want it to be as quick as possible, and if all you do is quickly slip this under the laptop, then mission achieved.
Additionally with the smaller design it is much more convenient to carry around. This is something that may just ultimately come down to, "how much extra room does your laptop case have", but I'm willing to bet, a lot more people can fit the smaller model into their bag then the larger one.
The Zither has a bit of a unique design that I'd like to comment on before I start the first hand experience. What makes it hard to find an effective notebook cooler is finding one with fan positions that roughly match your own. With that said I'd wager a guess that posted results vary widely between reviews because of that same fact. A cool feature about the Zither is that it doesn't have specific cooling zones; it has a general cooling area, allowing it to effectively cool a wider area.
Now for the first hand experience...
The Zither comes with a very handy USB zip chord. Being a mobile device it's nice to not have a tangle of cables being drug behind me.
Another notable feature is the lighting. Admittedly this doesn't affect the cooling potential at all, but it does add for a cool looking effect, and is a very common practice in the majority of coolers today, whether it's for a desktop or notebook.
So far the most difficult part of reviewing this cooler has been removing the packaging, lol. It takes seconds to have up and running, just slide it under your notebook, plug it in, and turn it on.
To test the cooler we ran a baseline by running the notebook at room temperature. To take the temperature we used the speedfan software. The first temperate was recorded with low-idle usage. This achieved by just surfing the web and checking email, nothing demanding at all. The second was done by running folding@home with the settings maxed. This loaded the CPU which is the primary heat source on a notebook. We did each of these for a full 20 minutes before taking our baseline temperatures. We then gave the notebook a couple hours of down time to be 100% the temperatures would be unskewed while using the Zither. Once we plugged in the Zither we repeated the same procedures.
The Zither has a good degree of cooling ability due to its unique design and would be a great buy for any notebook. Especially with more recent notebooks that are designed to run with lower heat output, you'd see a much stronger cooling effect. In addition to that, the size of the cooler as well as the retractable cable make it much more of a travel sized item, so this is a useful cooler to have with you wherever you go.
*overall size comparison to a full size notebook cooler
Finally, one thing I always like to talk about is having hardware that looks great as well. The Zither has a cool black look to it that lights up as well. If you like your hardware to look cool on top of running great, this cooler really won't let you down.
I'd like to thank Evercool for giving me the opportunity to review their Zither notebook cooler. I'm really impressed with this cooler. It passes our cooling tests, and is a great candidate for mobile usage as well. If anyone is in the market for a notebook cooler, I'd recommend checking out the Zither.
This review did cover a lot, if anyone has any questions about the heat testing or any other questions feel free to ask :)