Thermaltake iXoft Fanless Notebook Cooler Review

Laptops these days are getting a lot more powerful, and along with that power comes a lot of heat. Some laptops obviously get hotter than others, and my MacBook Pro would be nearing the top of that list. When it?s running hard it can get very hot on the bottom, which is why the term ?notebook? was coined. At full (or even medium) load, my MacBook Pro is definitely not a laptop.

Thermaltake, the guys that make computer cases and cooling products, have come to the rescue with a new product that puts your notebook back on your lap, without the associated burns and discomfort.

The Thermaltake iXoft is a semi-rigid pad that you place your notebook on, then sit it one whatever surface you want, whether it be a desktop or your lap. It feels as though it is filled with some kind of granules which absord this heat, which Thermaltake calls HeatShift. According to the Thermaltake website it is filled with Sodium Sulfate Decahydrate Na2SO4.10H2O. Now I have no idea what that is, but basically it distributes (or “shifts”) the heat evenly across the surface of the pad instead of it being concentrated in one area.

The main usage scenario I can see this pad in is when using your laptop on your lap to reduce the heat coming through to your legs. I?ve often found it uncomfortable to work with my laptop on my lap simply because it got too hot. The problem was my laptops were either too powerful, too compact, or a combination of both. With my new MacBook Pro it definitely is very powerful, and while the Core 2 Duo is thermally efficient, in the slim MBP case it is hard to keep cool. Add to that the silence that the MBP normally runs at because the fans do not spin very fast to keep the machine as quiet as possible. Therefore the bottom of it gets quite warm very quickly, and while I wouldn?t say it is hot under normal circumstances, it is too warm for extended use.

That?s where the iXoft comes in. with my MBP on the iXoft I can?t feel any heat at all coming through to my legs. I can have it on my lap for hours (especially with the BatteryGeek external battery, review coming soon) and it barely gets luke-warm. The soft base also feels quite comfortable for extended periods.

The iXoft can also be folded in half to fit better in a bag. For me it fit perfectly in my Roadwired Skooba in the pocket above my MBP without being folded.


The only problem I had is with the slippery surface of the iXoft. It doesn?t grip the tiny rubber feet on my MBP, which are about 4mm wide and only 1mm deep, and with the flat metal base of the MBP it has a tendancy to slide around if the pad is tilted at all. This makes it useless for me on the train, as when I tried to use it I almost dropped the MBP more than once. I can?t really blame Thermaltake for this though as most laptops have much larger and taller rubber feet and don?t have this problem. My dad tried his Dell XPS M1210, a 12? Widescreen laptop which is quite toasty, with the iXoft and it didn?t slide around at all.

I am very happy with the Thermaltake iXoft. I use it all the time at home when I am sitting on the lounge, and it is so much nicer than the bare laptop on my legs. With the hot climate here in a Australia for most of the year, you don?t want to add more heat, and the iXoft serves to virtually eliminate it. I would highly recommend it to anyone who uses their laptop on their lap for more than a short period.

UPDATE: MacBook Pro Temperatures

Under my normal usage (CPU utilisation at 30% or lower) my MBP sitting on my desk hovers around a temperature of 54C, going up or down 2 degrees. One the iXoft it hovers around 50C, with the same 2 degree fluctuation.
MSRP: $24.95
What I Like: Works great!! Makes using a laptop on my lap a much more comfortable experience.
What Needs Improvement: Slippery surface needs some decent feet on the laptop to keep from sliding around (or onto the floor).

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About the Author

Mitchell Oke
Mitchell is a video producer and director working with Australia's leading motoring news sites and car companies. He's always on the go with a camera in hand. With a Bachelor of Creative Technology (Digital Video Production), Mitchell's worked for News Limited, and as a freelancer for many years.

2 Comments on "Thermaltake iXoft Fanless Notebook Cooler Review"

  1. Tyler Puckett | May 6, 2007 at 12:08 pm |

    Could you run a program like CoreDuoTemp and give us temperatures of your laptop?

    A BIG concern with passive “coolers” like these is that they actually insulate heat into your laptop, causing it to overheat, possibly dangerously.

    I’d really like some temperature tests before I seriously consider purchasing one for my PowerBook. Thanks!

  2. I will do some measured testing and add it to the review. I haven’t seem any temperature rises using the iXoft, if anything the temperature dropped. When running with little load my MBP typically idles at around 54C. Will do some tests with it sitting on my desk then sitting on the iXoft and update the review.

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