As mobile computing has become a standard part of daily life the laptops people use on the move have tended to split into two categories. The first is ultra-portable systems which offer a light chassis with long battery life and on the other end of the spectrum we have performance systems. Machines for those who require a significant CPU while out and about, or for enthusiasts and gamers who want as few compromises as possible when away from their home.
Generally the higher performance mobile systems have a significant power requirement and in order to satisfy this many manufacturers bundle a 100w+ PSU, often referred to as a "power brick" due to the size and weight of the unit. It doesn’t have to be like that though and one company looking to offer a desirable alternative to the standard "brick" that we receive with powerful mobile systems is Cooler Master with their Universal Laptop Charger range.
Packaging and Bundle
Cooler Master packages their 120w version of the Universal Laptop Charger in a plastic container which allows us to see the device in full. Listed on the front are some compatible brands and on the back we find detailed information on the PSU as well as a helpful diagram of its possible uses. Inside we receive a plug appropriate for our country, short multi-language instruction sheet and a good quality travel pouch. (Cooler Master also provide a 2-year warranty on this device.)
The 120w Universal Laptop Charger measuring 65x21x156mm is shown above and in the first image we can see three key features. The first is the cable connector that outputs power to our laptop. The second is a pair of USB ports (1A and 2A) to charge devices such as phones, media players and tablets and the third is an LED on the top. This lights up green when powering a laptop and red when USB devices are connected.
On the base we find a product information sticker and this tells us a bit about the PSU with the main specifications being 100-240v AC compatibility, 50-60Hz input, 18-20v DC/19VDC 5.79A and 4.75-5.25Vdc/5V 2A operation. Added to this we have up to 90% efficiency and protection circuits which include over power, over temperature, over current and short circuit.
The Cooler Master 120w adapter arrives with 10 different tips which give it compatibility with a wide range of laptops from companies such as Acer, ASUS, HP, Compaq, BenQ, IBM, Lenovo, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Gateway, NEC, MSI, Sony, Dell and Samsung. To use these we simply remove them from the holder, slot onto our cable and attach that to the PSU and laptop, a very simple and quick task.
The ports on this device will of course allow us to take fewer chargers on the road with us and Cooler Master state that the USB ports on the Universal Laptop Charger will provide more power than a PC, charging devices faster but that is not the only benefit, another is size. Shown above is a comparison of our existing 120w notebook adapter as supplied with MSI’s gaming laptop range. Essentially the Cooler Master model is half the size and significantly lighter too.
Cooler Master 120w
To test the PSU we took a high performance gaming laptop, the MSI GX660R which features two hard drives, 8GB of memory, Radeon 5800 Series DX11 GPU and an Intel Core i5 CPU and recorded the statistics at load and idle. For load this meant running both the CPU and GPU at 100% load at the same time.
It is common for laptop manufacturers when dealing with gaming systems to really push the PSUs as they realise that 100% load on a CPU and GPU is not likely to occur often and for this reason as the results show the MSI charger peaks at 21w over its rating. Cooler Master’s higher efficiency design manages to knock 6w off this, peaking at 135w proving that it too can maintain a high performance laptop. Even more impressive though is the temperature reading where the MSI hits 38°C whereas the Cooler Master unit is barely warm to the touch at 31°C.
With their "Universal Laptop Charger" Cooler Master give us the option of buying a unit which has several benefits over the generic model we receive with many systems. It is smaller, lighter, more efficient, cooler, more flexible and offers additional functionality in the form of USB device charging. Add to this that it uses less power to run the same laptop and we have an exceptional product which will enhance most consumers mobile experience.