Page 2 - A Closer Look, Usage
At first glance, the Cooler Master NotePal Infinite EVO is quite a unique looking notebook cooling pad. Nowadays, most cooling pads are made and designed to be what they are called -- a pad that cools. The Infinite EVO, however, is very different in that it can be classified as a "pad", but is really set apart from others, as there is a whopping hole in the upper middle of the unit. So first off, let's dive into what this hole does. One thing that has always been a small issue with coolers in the past is that they may have had clearance issues from the underside of the laptop to the top surface of the cooling pad. This could, at times, force the cooling pad to be smothered by the laptop. In the case of the Infinite EVO, with four huge rubber grips at the corners, clearance will not be an issue at all. Since the blower vents are situated a fraction of an inch lower as well (Due to the hole), this allowed Cooler Master to angle the vents to where they wanted them, as well as to add the extra spacious room. There is a small problem with this design, however. Since the hole is situated at a very specific place, the vents seem to blow only at that surface area, which, in my opinion, is a bit small; especially when trying to cool 17" screen laptops. I first had mixed feelings about the rubber feet since all laptops come with some form of vibration reduction and clearance material support on the underside. However, because of the ergonomic slanted design of the cooler, the rubber feet are not situated there to provide extra clearance, but will provide extra grip to keep large 17" laptops from sliding.
In terms of weight, the Cooler Master NotePal Infinite EVO itself is quite light. When I removed the aluminum plate, I noticed the plate itself weighed to almost half the unit, making the Infinite EVO a fairly lightweight yet durable cooling pad. The pad is approximately 410 mm x 310 mm x 17~61 mm. It is not the largest pad out there, but it is definitely not small. I would consider this pad as one that can be moved from time to time, but I would not suggest traveling with this cooler, because it can be a bit bulky.
From the above image, we have a closer perspective of the left side of the Infinite EVO. From the left, we can see the Mini USB power input, power button, power LED, fan speed controller, and a DC 5V input for those who need extra power to the three USB ports on the right side (Not included). The power button is only used to turn the fan on or off ,and does not affect the availability of the USB ports. The power LED shines a bright blue light, which is quite nice and useful for those who always turn the fans on and off. One feature that the Infinite EVO boasts is the cable management option. The small gap between the aluminum plate and the plastic bottom allows one to feed wires through it, and that is quite a nice feature.
On the right side close up, we can see the three USB 2.0 ports as aforementioned. This is always a great addition to have for any notebook, as the user does not only need to use the pad as a cooling device, but also to supply more USB ports for those who need it. Also, the wire management options that come with the unit make the USB ports more convenient and easy to work with, especially when one plugs in extra keyboards or mice. It would have been nice addition if Cooler Master made an Infinite EVO with USB 3.0, but it is not like every laptop out there has such ports anyway, so we will excuse Cooler Master this time around.
The underside of the unit is surprisingly very round. Much like the top of the Infinite EVO, the unit consists of four high quality rubber feet that will effectively reduce vibrations from the fans, as well as to add sufficient grip to the entire setup. If you like to travel with your cooling pad a lot, the Infinite EVO is fairly movable, since the bridge at the top of the unit will give you sufficient grip to hold the unit. However, the unit is quite big, and I personally would not prefer to travel with this cooling pad. From the picture above, you can barely see the intake vents of the unit. The Infinite EVO uses two 80mm fans that draws air from those two openings, and blow it through the vents lining the hole in the middle. This is quite an efficient cooling system that does not get in the way of the user, as the entire cooling process is situated behind the setup. I am personally not a fan of cooling pads that take air from the bottom, because of obvious clearance and dust issues over time.
Usually, after this part of the review, I would open up the cooling pad for you in order to get a good in-depth look at the fan array, as well as the interior design of the unit. However, due to the way the product was designed, opening the Infinite EVO was simply not an option without breaking several plastic pieces or parts. Just to give you readers some idea of the interior build quality, I will attempt to describe to you my endeavor. First off, one will need to peel the rubber feet on the top of the unit off, in order to unscrew four screws to remove the aluminum plate. Then another array of eight screws (Six large, two small) must be unscrewed in order to remove the plastic exterior. However, an additional 12-15 plastic clips are designed to keep the plastic exterior situated onto the base, even without the screws. Using the good 'ol Phillips-head screw driver, I was able to remove approximately 12 of the plastic clips. In my last struggle and attempt in opening the pad, I was faced with an unseen obstacle, which simply made me stop trying. In other words, you will most likely not be able to open the laptop cooler without breaking it. So is this un-open-able Pandora's box good? Well, not so good for reviewers that want to discover the hidden secrets. But for the average consumer, having a metal plated sturdy box with over 1000 unbreakable safeguards, the Cooler Master Infinite EVO is pretty darn robust.
The three USB 2.0 ports on the Infinite EVO are fully functioning and works quite well. I plugged in my 16GB Kingston DT101 G2 USB drive, Thermaltake Tt eSPORTS Azurues mouse, and Zalman ZM-VE200 2.5" HDD enclosure with a Western Digital Scorpio Blue 640GB inside. Everything worked except the Zalman enclosure. This is because the power requirements needed to run the enclosure and hard drive is not met with a split array, which is to be expected. Of course, if you utilized the provided 5V DC input on the pad, you would be able to use more power-heavy devices on the USB ports. Unfortunately, Cooler Master did not provide the user with the said adapter. If you look closely, you can see how I was able to wrap my mouse cord around the entire pad for wire management. The wire management space given is very impressive, and probably one of my favorite features in this product.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look, Usage
3. Testing and Conclusion