Review: It can be better
Cooler Master launched its NotePal Infinite EVO (R9-NBC-INEV-GP) notebook cooling, which is currently priced at about €30. Going by looks alone, EVO is different than any notebook cooler we’ve tested so far and the U shape may indeed have positive effect on cooling. Today we’ll see whether innovative design with two small 80mm blower-style coolers will do the job well.
Packaging lists all important features of the Infinite EVO. We learned that EVO weighs in at 1.2kg, although we thought that it’s actually much lighter. The top part is made of aluminum whereas the rest is plastics.
Inside the box, you’ll find a USB cable with mini-USB connector, which is used to power the fans.
Infinite EVO has a unique U-shape, avanguard but stylish. The EVO’s surface is made of aluminum. We’re not talking about classic brushed aluminum but rather sand-spray finishing – similar to fine sanding paper. Edges are sharp but expertly brushed to prevent cuts.
Infinite EVO supports notebooks from 12’’ to 15.4’’. Smaller notebooks will fall through the hole while 17’’ will simply look out of place, as laptop edges will exceed the device’s edges.
At first sight, the Infinite EVO seems as if it has no fans, since we're used to seeing centrally placed ones. However, Cooler Master used a hole in the centre and clever placement of fans to get rid of heat. Judging by the U shape, it’s easy to conclude that the fans are at the cooler’s thickest point. The Infinite EVO is 17mm thick in the front and 61mm in the back, which at the same time provides a nice and comfortable angle.
The EVO can be used in one’s lap as well since it has no rough edges. There are four rubber feet on the bottom to prevent sliding.
The air openings you see on the picture above are air inlets. You can see how Cooler Master handled airflow on the EVO from the picture below.
Infinite EVO is Cooler Master’s premium product designed to look and work well. On the left, you’ll find the On/Off key, RPM regulator, mini USB connector as well as an additional DC5V connector (the adapter for it isn’t included).
On the right, you’ll find a small USB hub with tree USB 2.0 ports.
The picture below shows Acer’s 5745DG 15.6’’ notebook on the NotePal Infinite EVO. You can see that the laptop’s edges slightly exceed those of the EVO. Cooler Master’s specs say that optimum size is between 12’’ and 15.4’’. We already said that a 17 incher will fit, but it will not be a very pretty sight.
So, the Infinite EVO looks modern but does it get the cooling job done? Unfortunately, we didn’t think it stood out in that respect. Cooler Master says that the unique U shape will help improve cooling by up to 20 percent, but it doesn’t say which notebook they used for testing. In fact, we didn’t manage to recreate Cooler Master’s results with our Acer 5745DG. We suppose that the Infinite EVO will work best with average size notebooks (about 13’’). Unfortunately, we had no smaller laptop at the time of our testing.
Since we measured only minimum temperature difference with and without the EVO, we tried to take our Acer’s battery out and try again. However, temperatures remained unchanged.
The following photo shows temperatures after our Prime95 ‘blend’ testing. The first screenshot is with Infinite EVO, while the second is without.
As you can see, the Infinite EVO didn’t really help much.
Noise and Inside look
Here are a couple of pictures showing the Infinite EVO’s innards.
Tearing the EVO apart in order to reach the fans is a long and complicated procedure (many hard to reach screws).
The Infinite EVO comes with two 80mm fans (B9225-14RA-2in-F1) that run from 700 to 1400RPM. Maximum RPM produces a noise of 23 dBA. While the RPM regulator may make it quieter, the fans were buzzing all the time. Needless to say, it’s not something we particularly liked and although it’s not overly loud, it’s loud enough to bother us. Since the buzzing noise can be heard from both fans, it’s clear that it’s not an isolated malfunction.
We already said that Infinite EVO is comfortable to work with from your lap. We liked the fact that air flows downwards as well, and you’ll definitely appreciate it in hot summer days. Unfortunately, as much as the futuristic look makes it attractive, it didn’t show much on the cooling field.
Good thing about the design is that cabling can be hidden inside the device. Namely, there’s a cable channel between the aluminum plate and the plastic part all the way around the device, which will definitely come in handy for cable management.
We must also add that the 10cm cable is too short to be routed through the channel to the other side of a notebook. The following picture shows that best.
We checked the user’s manual and were pretty surprised to see the cable connected they way we wanted to but couldn’t. Somebody probably saved a few cents here, unfortunately at users’ expense.
Cooler Master’s Notepal Infinite EVO is a cooling solution for 12’’-15.4’’ notebooks. As you can see, it is a charmer and we’re quite sure many will like it. It was comfortable when we used it on our lap. It has no rough edges and comes angled, which will help both with posture and ease of work.
Although it seems fanless, the EVO has two 80mm fans and a fan speed regulator. The fans are pretty loud at maximum RPM but can be made silent via the regulator. Unfortunately, once you make them quiet enough not to hear the airflow, you’ll notice a quiet but constant noise (buzzing) from the fans. Needless to say, it gets quite irritating.
In case you’ve read the testing part, you know that we used our Acer’s 15.6’’ 5745DG notebook. Unfortunately, the EVO made little difference as temperatures changed only slightly. The solution of two fans set in a U shaped case seemed pretty innovative and logical, but it turned out to be much better on paper. Infinite EVO is currently priced at about €30. Considering that its primary cooling function wasn’t what we expected, we must say that it’s a bit too much.
Still, we must stress that we’re positively surprised with Cooler Master’s frequent refreshes of its notebook accessories line. While our today’s sample wasn’t quite a world beater, the company’s tempo suggests we’ll see one sooner rather than later.