What do you keep under your MacBook?

Recently I have taken part in several online discussions about MacBooks and MacBook Pros and just what to set them on.

In each discussion, various objects and surfaces have been suggested as the perfect thing to keep under a portable computer. Notice I did not call them laptops. These days Apple and most other manufacturers call them portables. They get to hot to comfortably rest them on your lap!

There were lots of suggestions for different articles to place under the computer. One gentleman suggested placing the computer directly on a wooden desk and rationalized that the desktop would act as a heat sink. Another woman said she uses her MacBook sleeve, made out of wetsuit material, to protect her legs from the heat. Another person said they use a thick coffee table book. All of these suggestions are BAD ones!…
Recently I have taken part in several online discussions about MacBooks and MacBook Pros and just what to set them on.

In each discussion, various objects and surfaces have been suggested as the perfect thing to keep under a portable computer. Notice I did not call them laptops. These days Apple and most other manufacturers call them portables. They get to hot to comfortably rest them on your lap!

There were lots of suggestions for different articles to place under the computer. One gentleman suggested placing the computer directly on a wooden desk and rationalized that the desktop would act as a heat sink. Another woman said she uses her MacBook sleeve, made out of wetsuit material, to protect her legs from the heat. Another person said they use a thick coffee table book. All of these suggestions are BAD ones!

Other contributors suggested a wide variety of laptop stands. While some of the purchased devices looked like worthy solutions, several looked almost as bad as the suggestions above. I wanted to find the definitive answer for what would make the ideal stand. I went to the best source of Apple information, the Apple web site. I found a link to the MacBook (Early 2008) User Guide. On page 56 I found this information:

Handling your MacBook Set up your MacBook on a stable work surface that allows foradequate air circulation under and around the computer. Do not operate yourMacBook on a pillow or other soft material, as the material can block the airflow vents.Never place anything over the keyboard when operating your MacBook. Never pushobjects into the ventilation openings.The bottom of your MacBook may become very warm during normal use. If yourMacBook is on your lap and gets uncomfortably warm, remove it from your lap andplace it on a stable work surface.


Notice that the first paragraph mentions “under and around.” So, the desktop is a bad idea since air cannot flow under the computer. The laptop sleeve is also a bad idea because not only does it impede air flow, but it may also block the airflow vents and the book is equally bad, once again because there is no airflow under the computer.

Why does it matter? MacBooks and MacBook Pros get very hot. Internal parts in the computers are adversely affected by excess heat. Excessive heat can cause your hard drive to prematurely fail.

In fact, one of my daughters had two hard drives that failed in her MacBook in less than two years. Unfortunately, she used the logic that the desktop would help dissipate the heat. When she stopped placing her computer directly on her desk, her problems stopped.

So what do we use in our family to keep our computers cool? I am a big fan of the RoadTools CoolPad. In fact, I buy one for every member of our family when they get a MacBook or MacBook Pro. I even keep two extra CoolPads for friends and family who visit.

I really like the CoolPad’s ability to pivot. It makes it easy to turn the computer to allow someone else to see something on your screen. I also like the extension bar that is now sold with some versions of the CoolPad. It keeps my 17” MacBook Pro very stable. The height of the unit can be changed by adding or removing risers and it is even possible to use the CoolPad “backwards for a negative keyboard tilt.

I borrowed the pictures below from the Other World Computing web site. They carry the complete range of RoadTools CoolPads in both black and white. Check them out here.




There are many other portable computer stands. Most generally cost between $25 and $30. However, I will stick with my CoolPads!

Pat

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