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Laptops need Air!

Laptop ventilation is extremely important to the health and well being of your laptop.

Ever think your laptop is heating up too much? Do you, like most others, use your laptop on your knee? If so, the laptop is likely not getting essential laptop ventilation. This can lead to expensive hardware problems for the laptop and even health problems for you.

Q. Why does a laptop get hot?

A. Laptops are precision pieces of equipment. Just imagine that a bunch of very clever engineers had to design a way of cramming all the equipment of a desktop PC into the tiny space of a laptop body. When the laptop is on, the CPU is generating heat, just like your desktop PC. The difference is that the removal of this heat has to be handled differently.

What happens in laptop ventilation is that the heat gets channelled away from the CPU using a copper metal structure to a series of copper fins.  Copper is an excellent conductor of heat. A laptop generally has an air intake on its underside. Air is sucked in and blown past the hot copper fins, and out the back or side of the laptop.

The harder the laptop is working, the more heat will be generated by the CPU, so the air blown out will be hotter. If you use you laptop on your knee, or on a soft surface, there is a high chance that you are blocking the air intake underneath the laptop. Without cool outside air to suck in, the laptop can’t remove enough of the heat quickly enough, so heat builds up in the laptop body.

In extreme cases, the laptop will get so hot that it will shut itself down, as a safety precaution. It does this so that it does not damage the internal components due to overheating.

Overheating can also occur if your heatsink (copper fins) becomes blocked with fluff or dust. In this case you will need to take your laptop to a laptop repair shop to have it cleaned out.  Or check out this post to see how to clear out dust from your laptop yourself.

Q. What can I do to avoid overheating?

A. Ideally, we would all use our laptops on a desk – but this takes away some of the advantage and fun of using a laptop. A simple solution is to use your laptop on a lap tray to assist with laptop ventilation – you know those things you use when you eat in front of the TV?


Image of the Belkin CushdeskPerhaps treat yourself to something like this:

The Belkin CushDesk.

Available in Black and Pink, this laptop tray provides a hard surface for your laptop but a soft underside for your lap.

The “CushDesk” helps to keep the heat of your laptop base safely away from your lap and knees, while still providing a sturdy work surface to set the laptop on while you are sitting down.

The anti-slip strip keeps your laptop from sliding down too close to your body.


Logitech N120Or, for the more high tech option, maybe try something like this:

The Logitech N120 Laptop Cooling Knee Pad with Fan

This laptop cooler sits on your lap and has a small built in fan, powered by USB from your laptop, to provide a steady stream of cooling air to the base of your laptop.

Very thin, especially at the front, so it doesn’t impact on your typing position at all.


In conclusion – Try to avoid using your laptop on soft surfaces and make sure it gets plenty of air!


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  1. Pingback: Getting the best out of your laptop battery | Computer Repair Tips

  2. I need a waterproof laptop that can breathe air underwater through chamber and weighted properly and also able to adapt devices to it through these air chambers.

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