Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cooler Master SF-19 Strike Force Notebook Cooler Review


Is your notebook crashing during long gaming sessions? Is your laptop so hot to the touch that you're scared it's going to burn up? Does it seem to have too few vents under it to keep it cool? Then you may be in need of a serious notebook cooler. You're not alone. Hot laptops (sometimes WAY too hot) are a real concern and something to be taken seriously when using a notebook (laptop) for extended periods of time, especially gaming.

I present to you, what could be considered by many, the king of notebook coolers; the CoolerMaster Strike Force SF-19 Notebook Cooler. This looks and feels like the "HUMVEE" of notebook coolers. Let's see if you can walk the walk.



Features:
  • Mammoth cooling surface
    SF-19 is constructed with an enormous heat-dissipating surface plain, made capable to endure critical temperatures from all laptop sizes, it is the state-of-the-art laptop cooler for all 19" gaming laptops and beyond.
  • 4 ports of USB 3.0
    4 advanced UBS 3.0 ports - supports the next generation of gaming laptops.
  • Structurally enhanced mesh surfacing
    Cold-forged polygon mesh surface plains allows maximum air flow from high rotating fans, structured to efficiently normalize thermal formations, effectively cooling and alleviating tough spot-thermal build ups.
  • Swift carrying handle
    Built for mobility, the SF-19’s swift-carrying Handle is build with an intuitive design and sturdy construction, made for quick LAN-party relocation and fast mobilization. The SF-19 is stealth and ambitious.
  • Anti-slip rubber cable slot
    Reinforce with premium anti-slip rubbers, the SF-19 safely secures all laptop in place even under rigorous gaming. The rubberized areas also protect the SF-19 from damages, adding shock absorbing fortification to protect the hardware under transport. In addition to the anti-slip features it also act as a cable management system, assorting various types of cables for your laptop and peripherals.
  • 2 removable 140mm S shaped blade fans
    SF-19 is equipped considerably with 2 turbine fans, fully customizable and positioned to dissipate heat from the heat source directly. S shaped blade facilitates and exhale more cold air, providing unprecedented airflow.
  • Multi-light shader
    Multi-light shader displays 7 changeable led colors, personalized with breathing effect, formulating the ultimate customization and ambiences for your favorite gaming rig.
Specifications: 

What's Included:










The size of the box alone for this cooler is intimidating. It's humungous. It's strong, secure and laden with graphics and information about the SF-19.


A Closer Look:










As you can see from the pictures, CoolerMaster missed the mark by NOT naming this the HUMVEE of notebook coolers. It really is a beast. Long time followers of VH know that I've reviewed a ton of notebook coolers over the past few years and this one is by far the beefiest, and just might be the best one yet. 
The giant handle is soft and grippy and serves multiple purposes besides as a handle, like also as some extra footing. Dual 140mm fans that are controllable is massive cooling for sure. Fans of this size move a ton of air even when they're barely moving, and barely moving means barely audible and that's what many people want; silence.

Installation:










Unfortunately the SF-19 suffers from what every other large notebook cooler suffers from; need-to-be-plugged-into-the-wall-itus. This seriously limits your possibilities for placement an usage. This is to be expected however considering the massive cooling and the USB 3.0 hub onboard the unit. Not to mention the extra lighting and controls. 
Otherwise powering up was as easy and hitting the on/off button to little fanfare. The large fans are virtually silent with only the sound of air moving. There are buttons to turn the lighting effects on/off, cycle the multi-shader effect of the lighting, and also a rheostat to control the speed of the fans from off to high.

Performance:




I recently traded in my trusty 17" HP DV9500T (3 years old now) for a new 17" HP DV7T SE, which runs much cooler and more efficient than the old one. So I can't say I personally would need a cooler as powerful as this one anymore. However I know for a fact that the high end gaming notebooks and many older notebooks like my last one that are still running perfectly fine, but hotter than hell and could really benefit from some cool airflow running through their guts.

After 30 minutes of testing this cooler on my notebook, while gaming on the notebook at the same time in an attempt to stress the components and heat it up, the bottom of my notebook was literally cold to the touch. Again, this notebook isn't the hotbox of some notebooks, but realistically they all get hot when stressed. Some more than others. This cooler didn't even break a sweat on the the DV7T.

I don't have any USB 3.0 products right now to accurately test the USB 3.0 ports on the SF-19. You can also wrap the USB cable around the back or the unit if you'd like to use a USB port from the opposite side of your notebook. There is some cord retention/organization built into the back of the unit. They pretty much thought of everything.

Conclusion:

The CoolerMaster SF-19 is one helluva notebook cooler. I wouldn't even have had to power it up for more than 5 mins to realize that I would trust this to run the highest of high end (and hot) gaming notebooks on the market, without exception. Twin massive 140mm fans move tons of air and are very quiet doing it. It's too bad the gaming community didn't have coolers this good 5+ years ago when they REALLY needed it. There would have been a lot fewer failed (ie. melted) gaming laptops out there.







If you're in the market for a high end cooler to take the heat out of your ridiculously hot notebook, and you don't need portability, then look no further. This is the notebook cooler that eats other notebook coolers for breakfast.
Although this cooler is a bit hard to find at the time of this review, it appears you can find it on Amazon.com right now for $79. That price is inline with what you get in this instance.

I'd like to send out a big thanks to CoolerMaster for allowing me to gives you guys a closer look at the Strike Force SF-19 Notebook Cooler.