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According to Wikipedia "heat build-up in notebooks is reduced by 15 to 20 percent, when a laptop is situated at an angle compared to a laptop in a horizontal position". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laptop_cooler

I use an external monitor and keyboard, so it doesn't matter if the laptop is in a horizontal position and it seems a very simple way to improve cooling. My only concern is the hard drive, but probably it doesn't care if it's not completely horizontal.

Have you tried improved cooling with this technique? Did it help?

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The hard drive certainly doesn't care if its not completely horizontal. Think HDD-based iPods and vertical external drives. The only thing it cares about are shocks, especially during activity. Laptop on boat at sea during big storm? No problem! (just keep it from falling and away from water) –  mtone Jan 27 '10 at 21:23
    
Thanks, it's good to know. –  Tom Jan 28 '10 at 6:17

4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I personally have a little book that I rest it on right at the back.

It does make it cooler as it allows for better airflow - however, it was far from critical/dangerous in the first place.

I personally do this because it is easier to type when the keyboard is at angle.

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What makes the difference is the increased space between the fans on the bottom of the laptop and the surface below it. Usually most people angle the laptop by propping something under the back end which would increase the gap. But if you only angle it by changing the angle of the surface it's sitting on, but the space between the fans and the surface doesn't increase, then you won't see any improvement in cooling.

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I have a couple of laptops that run very warm. I generally do this and it does seem to reduce the time and amount that the fans run. However whenever possible I use active cooling because I found several really cheap usb coolers on Ebay, shipped for $10-$12. For this price I get a laptop that when I turn it off is actually cool to the touch, and this isn't just around the fan but the whole case and battery is cool.

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Yes it does help, but... I still prefer a stand with integrated fan.

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