Now if I were to go off of what we have seen previous to this, with the sound failure from DeepCool and their M6 audio solution, we would have never given these types of coolers another chance. While that cooler seems to have gotten rave reviews, mine sounded very poor, and even though they took it back to see what was wrong, we never got any satisfaction as to if the product just sucked or if it were actually somehow broken. It is easy to see how that sort of experience would leave a bad taste in the mouth of someone. But, the reviewer in me knows better than to let one product get you down, and that we should open our eyes and give a fair shake to the next company in line to offer us such a product again.
Even with very close ties to my Thermaltake representative, and them knowing what I wrote about the previous submission, they still sent over their own solution to this idea. Following along with the Massive series of coolers, like we addressed in the Massive 14 Squared review, there was, and here is the second new cooler with that naming. I have to say they either got a huge set of brass b@*&$ over at Thermaltake to offer it to a guy who just trashed the last one to hit the lab, or they have a much better product that they are proud of, and think there is no way we could give it the same sort of review as the M6 received.
What has brought us here today is the Massive SP from Thermaltake. The idea here is simple, offer a notebook cooler based on a 140mm LED fan, keep similar aspects of the Massive 14 Squared yet still have some individuality, add a pair of 30mm speakers to the back to raise the level of sound possible, and hopefully do it with clean, full, amplified tones that are pleasing to users.
DeepCool did not set the bar very high, so Thermaltake doesn't have to do much to impress, but I really hope that the Massive SP is well worth the time and investment of testing it. Stick around and find out how we get along with the Massive SP, and see if Thermaltake can sway our decision to pass on these sorts of devices.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
From what the chart shows us, the Massive SP is also found by the model number of CL-N003-PL14BL-A, and is designed to fit notebooks from ten inch to seventeen inch models. The cooler is 387mm wide, is 282mm from front to back, and stands 57mm in height at the back. So this is slightly wider, much deeper, and stands over twice as tall as the Massive 14 Squared we just looked at. All told, with all components inside, the plastic frame, the fan, and the steel mesh panel, the Massive SP weighs in at just under a kilogram. As for how it looks: it is nice. All black as far as the frame and mesh are concerned, has slick chromed additions as functional switches around the speakers, and when powered the 140mm fan will illuminate with blue LEDs if the switch is on to allow it.
Speaking of the fan included in this notebook cooler, they have supplied the Massive SP with one of the fans that we saw in the 14 Squared, so we know airflow should not be an issue. With specifications of a typical chassis fan these days, there will be plenty of air going to the devices with 54.11 CFM of flow. Drawing only 0.27 Amps at 5 Volts, offering 1300 RPM, this fan is capable of a static pressure level of 1.37 mmH2O. The fan can be turned off all together, and just like its slightly smaller brother, it also uses a dial speed control to vary the speed to a desired level.
Locating one of the Massive SP coolers is a bit more of a challenge. I see plenty of news articles, and I would expect these to be filling shelves any day now. What we could get for pricing is delivered from e-Bay in two listings. One of them is a tough higher and is listed over $40 with five showing as new and available. The other listing is the AeroCool store listing where they are asking $37.50.
Funny enough, this is the same price point as the M6, and where they tried to bury the audio quality in a flashy design, Thermaltake's cooler is more streamlined in design; so the audio has to be better... doesn't it? As just a cooler, I think the pricing is a tad high to win us over with performance, but if the audio is good, this Massive SP is well worth the investment.
Packaging, Accessories, and Documentation
The Massive SP is shown on a typical black background with bubbles and sound ripples in the back. There are five features listed at the bottom left corner, and in case you missed it there, there is a speaker icon at the bottom right to make sure you know this is an audio cooler.
On the back, the features from the front are re-listed in eleven languages to the left. In the middle is an airflow diagram and specifications chart, while at the right are seven images of features and components of the Massive SP.
Inside of the box, you find that the cooler is wrapped in a cellophane bag for protection, while under it is a long box to keep the front edge level with the back that has goodies in it. There is also paperwork lying at the bottom of this box.
Part of the goodies is this USB 2.0 cable. The single end is used to connect to the notebook. This leaves both of the connectors at the right to plug into the Massive SP. One powers the fan and LED; the other runs the audio portion of this cooler.
With a pair of 30mm speakers to drive, we will also need a way to connect the cooler to a source. They have provided this 3.5mm to 3.5mm stereo audio patch cable for that exact purpose.
At the bottom of the box, you find a piece of paper folded in half is an instruction sheet along with a multi-page, multi-lingual warranty book that discusses the terms and conditions of the one year warranty.
Since the bottom of the page only offers text, we are just showing the top half. At the top of this is a parts list showing all of what comes in the box. Then, all you have to do is plug in the audio cable and single USB end into the notebook. On the Massive SP, you do the same with both remaining USB connections and the other end of the 3.5mm cable. It also shows that the left chrome ring turns on the fans, while the right chrome ring will turn on the speakers.
Thermaltake Massive SP Notebook Cooler
Without the packaging obscuring the view, we can see the large area of mesh at the top surrounded with a thin edge of plastic visible, but much more of it is under the mesh as the solid frame. There is also a cut-away at the front edge to give better access to the track pads.
The steel mesh is open with large honeycomb shaped holes to allow better airflow from the fan. To add grip to the notebook, rubber pads are applied to the front edge along with the logo and Thermaltake name being applied to the plastic.
Looking at the Massive SP from the left, you see the only angle of this cooler offered, and it is near 15 degrees from horizontal. What is thin in the front widens out at the back, and then curves around a chrome ring and cross bar.
Getting much closer, you can now see the left channel's 30mm driver behind the chrome. The design of the chrome ring also allows it to be used on this side for the on and off switch of the fan, and the further up you go with the turn, more power is added to the fan to attain its maximum speed.
Along the back, it is completely curved from the top edge to where it meets the lower section, and keeps curving around to the bottom. Thermaltake also added their name here inside of an indented area.
The right side of the Massive SP would usually show off the new height with the feet flipped out on most coolers, but with this design, there aren't any adjustments; this is the only and final ride height.
Moving in closer to the SP, we can clearly see the pair of USB 2.0 ports for power, a single 3.5mm audio jack, and an LED power button. Now to power lights and sound, you need to use both ports. If you need only one, the other does free up for use with another device.
The chrome ring on this side also protects the 30mm right channel driver, but this time is also acts as the on and off switch for the external audio. The nice thing here is when someone walks in, a simple twist of the dial mutes the system, instead of clicking away in the sound menu.
That curve we saw at the back is functional, as it opens up the sides of the cooler quite a bit to allow a fair amount of airflow to be drawn in. Where the 140mm fan is installed, the frame is squared off only there to keep the fan unimpeded and free to deliver over 50 CFM of airflow.
To keep the Massive SP in one place on just about any surface, it uses four similar sized rubber feet like this one. In our testing, you had to either lift or push with quite a bit of force to get the Massive SP to move around, it seems to "stick" pretty well.
Inside the Massive SP and Setup
After opening up the Massive SP, we can see the same fan that was used in the 142. With only one fan in play, and a tighter surround designed into the plastic, they were even able to raise the static pressure level a bit to help make up for the removal of a fan in lieu of room for speakers.
At the top left corner are the gears for the fan controller that is connected to the PCB power board for both channels. With foam wrapped around it, there is an almost sealed tube housing the 30mm driver to offer more depth to what low-end is produced, and it should get rid of high-end nastiness.
The right side also offers the same sized tube that houses the right channels 30mm driver. The gears here take the Chrome switches moment and flick on the power for the speakers connected to the PCB just below the speaker.
On this PCB, the LED switch is at the top with the audio jack next, and then there are two USB 2.0 ports finishing the right side. On the left there is the trio of wires that power the fan speed controller. Then there is a connector for the fan, power for the audio, and that is followed with two-pin clips for the speakers.
To power the audio, fan, and the LED, the connection from the notebook to the Massive SP should match what is on the right of the cooler. As with the 142 though, the blue LED is nice now, but with a laptop on the cooler, the LEDs are likely not to be seen unless the room is completely dark.
As we let Pandora play through the Lenovo to the Massive SP, we snapped this shot of the pair. There is a bit more room for seventeen inch laptops, and also a lot of wiring that we slid under the cooler, allowing for the need to connect on the left of a notebook if needed too.
The Massive SP looks sleek, and the chrome rings and handles give this cooler a touch of class as well. Covering the basic aspects of being a notebook cooler, we were a bit disappointed in the lack of height adjustment, but much like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, it seems this one is just right. Not too flat, and not too tall for everyday users; plus it stays resting on the four rubber pads, keeping it in place better than the Massive 142. There is an audible hum from the fan at maximum speeds; however, at that speed, the Massive SP was still able to offer three degrees improvement over running the Lenovo without it. The switches have a stiff feel to them, so it is not likely they will move when not intended to, and as a whole, everything works as intended. The only downfall I see is that you will lose a USB port when using the Massive SP for both cooling and audio benefits.
On the audio front: holy cow does this beat the pants off the M6. Right out of the box on initial testing I could tell we were in for something much better. Right out of the box, we turned the levels up all the way on the laptop and turned on the audio switch for the Massive SP. Here we were give clean highs without the feeling of the driver being in such a tiny enclosure, nothing like the tin cans we got from DeepCool. Mid's are also there and clean, but bass tones are less heard in any pronounced way, but it can actually be felt through the Massive SP's frame, and even into the laptop on top. This is also accomplished with no audible rattles from the design.
Also, when using the Massive SP for audio, there is a distinct increase in the sound level over the Realtek HD Audio I get out of the speakers of the laptop, on the order of 10dB. At this point I am really glad I gave notebook coolers containing an audio solution another chance, Thermaltake showed me that while not the "boomin' system," they deliver good audio, and the Massive SP is something I will enjoy using for some time to come.
In the end, not only do we get a really good solution for just cooling the laptop, we also get a cooler that will enhance movie watching, listening to streaming audio, or making sure roommates can hear what is being said in the YouTube video. This way you can set the laptop on the table, keep it cool, and watch movies with friends without having to tangle everyone up in patch cables for multiple sets of headphones either.
While I am still waiting for a design of this nature to point the speakers at the user, with what can be heard and felt sounding clean and enjoyable to listen to, Thermaltake gets my recommendation for this design. With the pricing set to $37.50, it is not only reasonable, it is a great price for what the Massive SP brought to the table.