I've now fully converted my post-production setup to laptop-based systems. The future is moving towards greater mobility and flexibility and the two mobile Avid workstations I'm using currently has more power and functionality than any desktop system I ever used in the past. However, with summer temperatures shooting into the high twenties/mid thirties, uber powerful mobile workstations begin to show one weakness - internal heat buildup. The past two weeks were scorching hot and I realised that I had to do something or face the prospect of losing some seriously expensive hardware somewhere down the line.

Cooler Master is known for making computer chassis, power supplies and CPU fans so when my local supplier delivered a Cooler Master NotePal cooling pad I was sceptical. Unlike other cooler pads the NotePal has three variable speed fans powered from the laptop's USB port.

Above: The cooling pad has three detachable fans that can be arranged in any configuration to cool the hottest spots at the bottom of a laptop such as the CPU and HDD bays. The speed can be adjusted by a side switch. And yes, they run dead quiet!

I'm amazed by the results - after just a few minutes the laptop was running a lot cooler. Even the little HP Mini netbook that I use for email and admin, which runs furiously hot at times, was running a lot cooler after just a few minutes on the cooling pad. I love the simplicity of the whole setup.

Problem solved. Two more ordered.