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The Cooler Master CM Storm SF-17 Review

Summer is here and as gamers know, we need to make a special effort to cool down our rigs – particularly large desktop replacements that tend to generate the highest amounts of heat.  Uncontrolled summertime heat will bring the temperature of your laptop to levels that could be dangerous for the system components of your rig.  Most laptop coolers are designed for lighter and slimmer systems, meaning that those with large gaming laptops or desktop replacements often get the short end of the stick.  Smaller and flimsier laptop coolers tend to break and crack under the sheer weight of large laptops – which is where the Cooler Master CM Storm SF-17 comes in.

      

Key Features:

  • Single 180 mm fan
  • Fan speed dial with ON/OFF function
  • 4 height adjustments
  • 4-port USB 2.0 hub
  • Grooved sides for cable routing
  • Rubber handle and padding
  • Laptop retention tabs to hold up laptop at higher angles
  • Supports laptops up to 19”

Design

The Cooler Master CM Storm SF-17’s box came with simple contents: the SF-17 cooler, a USB cable, and a user guide that informs you of the cooler’s features, specifications, and 2-year warranty.  The SF-17 is a mammoth cooling pad made out of hard plastic and rubber padding for a very cool, rigid appearance to maximize the battle station experience.  The cooler offers ergonomic benefits with 4 different heights that can be changed by popping open the back and adjusting a metal bar to prop into any of the given 4 slots, and rubber pads and fold-out tabs that keep your laptop in place at elevated heights.

  

Along both sides of the cooler are spots that serve as cable management to hold down loose wires that get in the way.  On the right side, there is a 4-port USB 2.0 hub, a micro USB port, a fan speed dial, and an ON/OFF button for bright red LEDs that flare out in the front.  Within the cooling pad is one 180 mm centered fan to do all the hard work of bringing in cool air to lower the laptop temperature.

      

Performance

Our test machine was a 17.3” 7.5lb Toshiba Qosmio X775 with an Intel Core i5-2410M and GeForce GTX 560M.  Playing a 30 minute game of League of Legends while testing the fan both on and off yielded the following results:

Without fan, before gaming:Without fan, while gaming:With fan, while gaming:
Maximum Temp:

41° C

100° C

88° C

Minimum Temp:

51° C

66° C

58° C

Remained At:

41° C

87° C

62° C

The results were measured while the laptop was placed on a table, before immediately placing it on top of and connecting it to the cooling pad.  Based on the results, having the fan on had cut down the stabilized CPU temperatures by about 30% versus not having the fan on at all, which caused the temperatures to float between the high-80s and low-90s.

Once the SF-17 was plugged in, the fan was on and ready to go with no need to adjust the speed dial.  While playing with the cooler for a while before setting up to perform the test, the cooling pad remained quiet enough to not remember it was on until you unplugged it and watched the fan slow down.

While connecting the SF-17, the laptop looked as if it would engulf the laptop cooler when placed on top, which made us believe that the cooler would not be able to hold itself up.  However, we were pleasantly surprised to find that not only did the SF-17 manage to handle the nearly-8lb machine, but remained strong and sturdy even when taking advantage of its multi-height capability.

Conclusion

Overall, the SF-17 revealed itself to be an excellent product.  Because the SF-17 was designed for handling gaming laptops, owners of bulky rigs weighing several pounds won’t need to worry about a risk of collapse or damage.  The laptop cooler brought on a powerful but silent fan that brought the CPU down from the high 80s to the low 60s – a perfectly acceptable temperature for an active gaming laptop.

The SF-17 has a very impressive and aesthetically-appealing design that showcased practically in its edgy design to create hidden grooves that offered cable management, rubber padded edges designed for stability, and a hidden slots to adjust laptop height for maximum ergonomic and visual benefits to match any gaming setup.  The Cooler Master CM SF-17 is a combat-ready tool necessary for any hardcore gamer for the ultimate virtual reality experience.

Pros:Cons:
  • 4-port USB 2.0 hub
  • Able to customize height to meet ergonomic needs
  • Fan remained very silent during test
  • Grooved sides help manage cables
  • Remained sturdy despite bulky laptop
  • Rubber padding and fold-out tabs keep laptop held up in desired position and height
  • Not very portable – large and inconvenient to move around

 

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