Is your laptop cool only on the outside?

When I ask people what they look for in a laptop, they usually list portability, screen size, processor speed, memory. But one thing I rarely hear is that the laptop should not overheat.

Now I know you’re thinking - that’s not really a surprise. The cooling tech isn’t exactly a visible feature. That’s a shame because without good cooling and venting a laptop is probably not as well put together on the inside as it is on the outside. You can have the latest laptop, but if it overheats it simply isn’t going run well or last long enough.

Today’s laptops allow you to work almost anywhere. They’re always on and are great for productivity and for personal entertainment, but have you thought about what might be happening to it on the inside?

Smaller and thinner means there’s less room for air to circulate inside the laptop. If you put it down on the couch or some other soft surface, there’s a decent chance the vents will be obstructed and it will overheat.

The perils of overheating

Overheating can cause serious problems. It can damage many of the key internal components, including the processor, battery, and hard drive. In fact, running at high temperatures for long periods of time can lead to drive failure and even permanent data loss. Hard drive failure rates increase between 20% and 30% for every 10 degrees above recommended operating temperatures, while operating a drive below the recommended temperatures can actually extend the drive’s life. This is what created the need for aftermarket cooling pads that laptops need to be placed on.

So what should you know about the cooling technology in a laptop?

Having vents on the sides of the case is a must. If the vents are at the back or bottom, they are more likely to become obstructed when placed on a couch or bed and cause overheating.

On the inside, a laptop should have more than one heat pipe- preferably copper. Single heat pipes create hot spots on the laptop. You can often feel these spots when working, which is why many brands actually have burn warnings on the bottom of their laptops! Multiple heat pipes efficiently transfer heat away from the processor and dissipate the hot air inside.

Secondly, multiple exhaust vents are better. More vents make it less likely that air flow will be obstructed, causing dangerous overheating.

ThinkPads have both side vents and multiple heat pipes and exhausts, resulting in cooling that is a lot better. ThinkPads also use secondary diagonal vents on the bottom,  that improve airflow and reduce dependency on the primary vents.  You’re probably thinking that this means more dust. You’re right. But where does all that dust go? ThinkPad heat pipes are anti-static which keeps dust from building up and clogging the vents.

A better fan, owl-wing style

At the heart of any cooling system is a fan. Lenovo ThinkPad cooling systems use a unique ‘owl wing’ fan design to improve air flow inside the laptop. Inspired by the wings of owls which are silent and effective, the fan blades have a notched shape that enables them to move more air at lower revolutions per minute (RPMs). This keeps noise and battery drain to a minimum.

The latest seventh generation of owl wing technology is ThinkPad’s best yet. Fan blades have increased from 37 to 47 and the  blades are purposefully spaced to reduce noise. This gives the current generation of ThinkPads 28% better air flow than previous generations – which already had industry-leading cooling.

See it in action:

There’s a lot more to a good laptop than just looks. You could spend a fortune on your next buy … but if doesn’t run cool, have you really got your money’s worth?