The cooling pad is usually made of plastic and contains one or more fans. It may be a single unit, or it may flip open to cover the bottom of the laptop computer. It is designed to allow more airflow thru the laptop computer.
Laptop and netbook computers have the same basic parts in them as desktop computers, but in a much smaller space. This limits the amount of airflow and causes heat to build up in the laptop computer. Heat damages the parts and also makes the computer run slower. If you have ever set a laptop on your lap, you know how they generate heat. Setting the laptop computer on your lap, the bed, sofa or rug also cuts the air circulation, as the air openings are usually on the bottom of the laptop, and the clothing or carpet or spread will block these openings.
The cooling pad does two purposes. First, it sets the laptop computer above the flexible surface and allows better air circulation. Air circulation is how we cool the computer. Second, the cooling pads have fans that force more air to circulate through the computer, which makes it cooler and run better.
The fans run off the USB cable that connects the cooling pad to the computer. The energy use is very minimal, but the more efficient running of the computer uses less energy.
You can buy cooling units at any place that sells laptop computers, and they generally range in price from $20-$60. I strongly urge all laptop users to get a cooling unit.
Send your questions to Dwight Watt at email@example.com. He teaches at a technical college in northwest Georgia and does consulting work for businesses and individuals. His website is dwightwatt.com.