Laptops don't just toast your gonads

On Tuesday, we reported that new research by the State University of New York had found scrotal temperature in study participants using laptops on their laps increases by up to 2.5° C, a level deemed "unsafe" by study team leader, urologist Yelim Sheynkin.

However, according to a Logitech-commissioned study by Wakefield Research that was released this week, the problem of too-hot notebooks evidently transcends that particular ticklish issue, and has become a much more general nuisance to laptop users of both genders, with nearly half of respondents (47 per cent) reporting that they've been obliged to temporarily quit using their laptop because the heat generated became unbearable, and a solid majority (62 per cent) agreeing with the proposition that the bottom of their laptop gets so hot that they could fry an egg on it.

No doubt in the majority of cases that would be a factual exaggeration, but many laptop computers these days do get awfully hot. Wakefield Research chronicles some desperate solutions people have tried in defenceo their nether regions, including pillows (27 per cent), towels (19 per cent) and magazines (15 per cent), none of which adequately addresses the problem.

Apple has attempted to work around the heat problem in the new MacBook Air models partly by using relatively slow-clocked Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs teamed with fast Solid State data storage drives, which are standard in all second revision MacBook Airs, evidently with considerable success according to a meta-sampling of reviews.

Other World Computer blogger Grant notes that if you put a stock 1.4GHz MacBook Air up against a stock 2.66GHz MacBook Pro 13-incher, you'll find that the SSD-equipped Air can write a 500MB file up to 1.2x faster than the 5200 RPM HDD MacBook Pro, notwithstanding a 1.26GHz processor speed difference in the MacBook Pro's favour.

Grant says that what makes the MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro example particularly interesting is that Apple seems to be leveraging SSDs as a way to improve performance while keeping processor speed, and, as a result, heat generated — down.

Logitech suggests using a lap desk product like the company's Portable Lapdesk N315, Speaker Lapdesk N700 or Speaker Lapdesk N550 or as a foil against excessive laptop heat, the latter two of which can also deliver full stereo sound, so you can listen to tunes as you try not to babrbeque yourself.