Cooler Master Storm SF-15 Review (Page 3 of 3)

Page 3 - Testing and Conclusion

I have tested the Cooler Master Storm SF-15 on the Lenovo Ideapad Y470 with the following specs:

- Intel Core i3-2310M @ 2.10Ghz
- 14.1” LCD @ 1366 x 768
- Seagate 500 GB 7200RPM SATA
- Nvidia GeForce GT 550M 1GB DDR3
- Samsung 2x2GB PC3-10700 @ 9-9-9-24
- Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Using Prime95 64-bit with four worker threads, I stress-tested the CPU on an average wooden desk, in comparison to when my laptop was placed on the Cooler Master Storm SF-15. I chose CPU results, because it was the easiest to measure and best reflects the practical cooling ability of the SF-15. In all three environments, the CPU temperature was measured before the test and was then given sufficient time to heat up over the course of ten minutes. There was only one power setting with the SF-15, so I tested accordingly.

The results were obtained and plotted on the line graph above with a one minute polling rate. For reference's sake, the temperature measurements from the Deepcool M6 and the Deepcool Multi Core X8 are also displayed, in addition to placing the laptop on a bare wooden table. As you can see from the graph, the SF-15 was practically matching toe-to-toe with the Multi Core X8, with only a few instances of having a lower temperature by approximately half a degree. Something I do find interesting is that the Multi Core X8 achieved these temperature readings with four, albeit smaller, fans, while the SF-15 only required a single 160mm fan. In comparison to the wooden table, the SF-15 was able to reduce five degrees Celsius on average. Of course, the Cooler Master Storm SF-15 cools mainly the bottom of the laptop and not just the processor, so please do keep that in mind as you interpret our graph. Just because the CPU temperature does not show a drastic change, it does not mean the cooler is not doing its job.

On a scale from 0.0 to 10.0 where 0.0 is pure silence, and 10.0 is the loudest, the Cooler Master SF-15 would be rated at 4.0. At APH Networks, we like to crowd ourselves around silent and unspoken rigs, and unfortunately this cooler is not that quiet. It surprises me, as there is a definite amount of audible whirring. While I do not expect the fans in the SF-15 to be totally silent, I would like them to be a tad quieter during operation. Again, because the fan is not variable in speed, there is no way to reduce the noise when the user wants a modest amount of cooling without operating it at full speed.


The Cooler Master Storm SF-15 laptop cooler is a mixed bag of tricks. On paper, it is probably everything you need in a laptop cooler with some unexpected bonuses. For one, the design considerations of cabling and rubber handles are passed down from the SF-15's older siblings. The six LED bars bring a stylish feel in the face of fierce competition. The extra USB ports are well appreciated and allow users to add more peripherals for their gaming needs. The cooler is small and portable, allowing users to move around to various LAN parties. When it comes to performance, the SF-15 is able to match and beat the competition with a single 160mm fan. However, it seems a few shortcuts were taken to get the CM Storm SF-15 down to an MSRP of only $40. Mainly, the build quality has taken a hit. From past products, I have always been a fan of the effort Cooler Master put into their products. The SF-15 also has a few design flaws. The bottom plastic is especially flimsy and makes me uncomfortable to actually move the cooler around. The rubber on the SF-15 is an extreme dust magnet, catching the smallest specks of everything and anything. Since this product is a full-black experience, users will notice this immediately. The lack of varying fan speeds is disappointing, and an adjustment knob is almost expected from Cooler Master. It is nice to see a compact laptop cooler with active cooling, but personally, I would recommend purchasing the Cooler Master Storm SF-17 instead, which includes all the goodies of the SF-15, plus the ability to hold larger gaming laptops and vary the fan speeds. These add-ons are more than worth the extra $10 you would have to shell out for the SF-17. But, if you do have a laptop closer to mine in size, then the SF-15 is something to keep in consideration.

Cooler Master provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.

APH Review Focus Summary:
7/10 means Great product with many advantages and certain insignificant drawbacks; but should be considered before purchasing.
6/10 means A product with its advantages, but drawbacks should not be ignored before purchasing.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 6.4/10
Please note that the APH Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other sites.

The Cooler Master Storm SF-15 glows brightly in the face of the challenge, but a mediocre build quality holds the SF-15 from being greater.

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Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specification
2. A Closer Look, Usage
3. Testing and Conclusion