General Question

jordym84's avatar

Can you recommend a good, external laptop fan?

Asked by jordym84 (4742points) January 10th, 2014

When I turned on my laptop a little earlier today, it kindly informed me that my cooling fan has stopped working. The laptop itself is still in great condition as I’ve only had it for about two, going-on-three, years and I don’t use it heavily (only for web browsing, really). My roommate’s tech-savvy brother said it’d be more economical to replace the laptop than to have the fan fixed. Another friend then suggested an external fan.

Would that be a suitable long-term option? If so, can you recommend a good one? If not, what might be a better alternative, short of getting a new laptop?

Bonus: If I do decide to replace my laptop, what’s a good option that would fall within my $300—$400 budget?

Thank you! Looking forward to your answers. :)

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11 Answers

SQUEEKY2's avatar

You can get cooling pads for around $15 to $55 ,start by looking at WalMart and Target.

glacial's avatar

If your budget for a new laptop is $300–400, you should call around to see what you can get a new fan installed for. I had one replaced at a fraction of that.

Be aware that external fans can be a hazard to your laptop – if they’re not positioned correctly, they can fool the heat sensor into thinking it’s not as hot as it really is, and prevent a shutdown on overheating – which is what you want it to do when it’s overheating. That doesn’t mean don’t use one – just know what you’re doing.

jerv's avatar

First off, at that age, lithium-ion batteries have generally lost a considerable portion of their life. If you never unplug your laptop, that isn’t an issue (aside from defeating the whole purpose of having a laptop instead of a desktop) but otherwise, plan on dropping ~$100-ish on a new battery if you want to keep that laptop.

Second, external fans can’t really make up for a dead internal fan for roughly the same reason that turning on the exhaust fan in my bathroom won’t clear smoke out of the kitchen; the source of airflow is far from where it needs to be, and has too many turns to make to get there. The best they can really do with a dead fan is not fool the system into thinking it’s cooler and causing a meltdown as @glacial points out.

Accordingly, I would say that replacing the internal fan is more viable, though if all you really do is surf the net, you may be able to replace your laptop with a tablet for cheaper.

You won’t find any laptops under $400 list price, though you may find one on sale. Any recommendations for a cheaper laptop that anyone gives here will likely be invalid in a short time, so unless you plan on buying one in the next week or so, it’d probably be pointless to recommend anything unless you up your limit to $500. Low-end laptops tend to have MSRPs starting around $450 for the base models, at least for Windows. If you don’t mind switching to a Chrome OS, you can pick up a Chromebooks for $199

whitenoise's avatar

Just guessing… It was HP?

In honesty…. Salvage your data and or get the laptop fixed. An external fan sint going to be able to replace the internal one.

whitenoise's avatar

Sorry… Was typing while you were….

jerv's avatar

@whitenoise No worries :D

AskZilla's avatar

I haven’t found the cooling pads to be powerful enough. I went out and bought one of those $9 clip fans and put it on the side of my laptop attached to my fan pad. That seems to do the trick

jerv's avatar

@AskZilla For browsing maybe, but the instant you do something CPU-intensive or GPU instensive, you’ll likely run into issues.

Virus scans and installing Windows updates tend to peg the CPU while video playback hits the GPU, and any sort of gaming (even something like Bejeweled) is right out.

ISmart's avatar

iWave.. affordable and last long

AskZilla's avatar

@jerv so in other words computers are purposely sold underpowered so they will break :/

jerv's avatar

@AskZilla Laptops are purposely sold underpowered in order to not melt. The amp draw of desktop-level components requires more heat dissipation ability than laptops have. There’s also the matter of battery life; my video card alone could suck a laptop battery dead in mere minutes. Even then, laptops are generally running as fast as their tiny heatsinks allow.

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