I am asking about the effectiveness of these:
And/or add-on cooling fans like these:
Should cheap ones be bought or are expensive ones are the way to go?
(I'll try not to make any specific product recommendations because this is, for one, based on my limited experience and second, against the rules?)
As far as I know, most laptops have air intake on the bottom and exhaust in the back. So it makes sense that providing a bit of elevation to the laptop so that it can suck air better (as opposed to putting it on something like a tablecloth - I initially used some "feet" here... they are pretty "cool" - I'll leave it at that)
I now use a "cheap" cooling pad (was about $25?) and it uses a 140mm fan. It helps noticeably (GPU heat was my main problem - big surprise with laptops,huh - now it is a few degrees Celsius cooler with all other things staying the same). So even a "cheap" pad can help.
Make sure you check the location of your laptop's intake fans and if you decide to get a pad, it:
a) does not block those fans (most don't as they are mesh plastic/metal)
A hard cover book can be good too, if your problems occur while use the laptop on your lap. Uses less power and is pretty cheap and light.
However, if overheating occurs when the laptop is on a hard flat surface, the book won't do any better.
I had one that looked like that cooling pad first pic. I haven't tried different types but I wouldn't necessarily go more expensive.
I found the main use of it, is that if the laptop is on a desk, it gets hot.. my laptop does anyway. I can feel the bottom of it. So i'd take that thing and it'd cool it down pretty quick and i'd feel the difference.
Usually I don't use any pad, I normally run my laptop on a wooden or glass covered desk, which helps it cool anyway, and I move it around the surface of the desk, to cool parts of it, and I put it on standby when it gets really hot. Sometimes it gets very hot particularly in summer. Now it's Autumn it's not bad. Most laptops have more cooling built in than mine though. And watch the temp of the laptop with software. always be in touch with the heat of your machine.
You'd want to hope the laptop maker didn't go cheap on the fans your laptop uses.. but for this thing, the risk is not as great if the fan in the laptop pad gadget breaks. Your laptop would still work as good as it worked without it. And you can just get another one to help prolong the life. If you think your laptop is getting too hot, feel it and you'll know, then you'll benefit from this thing.
I don't run it for long 'cos it makes a noise. Just enough to cool down the laptop though it gets hot again. But you could run it continuously. Sometimes it's far more efficient to use that thing than to put it on standby. And when it's very hot I like to deal with it fast and put it on the pad.