Tagged With heat management

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Chill mats -- notebook stands or rests with a built-in USB-powered fan to keep your machine cool -- can be handy if your laptop tends to run on the warm side, especially in the summer months. But making them work with a PC that's constantly on the move can be more of a challenge.

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With proper (that is, hideous) summer temperatures swamping most of the country, it seems timely to remind the Lifehacker community of some of the useful techniques you can use to make sure your beloved PC isn't a victim of heatstroke. Beyond keeping your working environment cool and ensuring decent airflow, there are more specific steps you can take. For laptop users,

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Last week's discussion of chill mats for laptops prompted some excited discussion and raised some interesting ideas. One emailer suggested using two books for a cheap improvised alternative; another suggested mats were entirely unnecessary, which I suspect means they've never visited central Australia in the summer. But just how much difference do they make? Reader Carl did some testing of his own and got some interesting results, as he explains in an email.

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You can tell that summer's rapidly approaching when accessories vendors start pushing "chill mats" -- laptop stands with built-in USB-powered fans designed to help air circulate and stop your machine overheating (the pictured one is a new Mac-specific model from Targus). While overheating can definitely be an issue, I've always found chill mats more hassle than they're worth. For one thing, they put the keyboard at the wrong angle for my liking; for another, they're too bulky to throw in my laptop carry bag. So my preferred methodology has been just keeping the home office as cool as feasible, but it's entirely possible that I'm missing out. If you're a chill mat fan -- or have another strategy for ensuring your laptop doesn't go into meltdown -- share your experiences in the comments.