Flipping around to the underside, you’ll notice an easily accessible compartment that can house a 2.5-inch hard drive or solid state drive. The little plastic door slides off very easily, granting you access to a place where a “naked” hard drive can be housed. There are no messy cables, driver installation, or any kind of pre-configuration. You’ll just need to format the drive the same way you’d have to format any external hard drive.
Once mounted and formatted, the drive will show up like any other regular external storage drive when you have the Air-Through Stash connected to your notebook. Since the drive is a standard mass storage device, it will work with both Mac and PC, but keep in mind that if you format it for Mac, your PC notebook will not be able to use it so it is best to leave it as FAT32 if you want it to serve both worlds.
For the purposes of testing, I used a standard Seagate Momentus 7200.3 320GB 2.5 inch notebook hard drive.
I ran HDTune 2.55 under WindowsXP to get some benchmark numbers. The drive produced a maximum, minimum, and average data transfer speed of 26.9MB/sec, 31.0MB/sec, and 29.0 MB/sec, respectively which is within the ballpark of other drives showing that the Air-Through Stash was not affecting the performance of the drive. The access time was clocked at 16.5ms with a burst rate of 20.8MB/sec.
On the cooling side, I tested the Asus G51Vx gaming notebook with SpeedFan 4.39. While sitting on a flat surface, I got readings of 60C on the GPU, 34C on the HDD, 35C on the temp sensor, and 38C for each of the two processor cores.
After letting it sit on the Choiix f or about 15 minutes, I ran Speedfan again. This time around, the GPU was 58C, the HDD was 34C, the temp sensor read 35C, and the two processor cores were 35C. This represents a drop of two degrees on the GPU and three degrees on the dual-core processor.
On paper, the Choiix Air-Through Stash C-HL04 Notebook Cooling Pad offers a lot of added functionality and versatility that you may not find with other notebook coolers. For people who want to get more out of their laptops, this sounds like a very sound option.
The ergonomic typing angle makes for a more comfortable experience, but you cannot adjust the height. Similarly, the single fan seems to be effective at cooling the notebook, but you cannot adjust its speed or placement to maximize it. The quality of the construction is decent, but I’d still prefer it in aluminum.
That said, the Air-Through Stash is a very convenient and well put together product. You don’t have to bother with a separate external hard drive, making for a more streamlined configuration overall with easy access to a backup medium. The USB hub is an added plus too.
- Plenty of bonus features and functions
- Easy to install 2.5″ HDD bay
- Power button for cooling fan
- Cheaper plastic construction
- No adjustable speed or placement for fan
- Minimal grip afforded to hold laptop in place
Overall Rating: 8.0/10.0
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