Here's the spec:
356(W) x 295(D) x 44(H) mm
15" Notebook/ Laptops
1x 200x200x20mm fan
The cooler features a very open design made possible through the use of ALUMINIUM rather than plastic. The body is made completely from minimum 4mm thick aluminium making it much much stronger than any plastic cooler you might find as well as being perfect for opening up underneath the notebook to provide more airflow both passively and with the fan.
Front and centred you will find the only piece of branding on this product, the Silverstone logo. Personally I think to continue on with the simplistic design it would actually have looked pretty cool with just the snowflake but I can't complain given how little branding there is. It is also important to note that there is a lip as shown in the photo (Below, Right) that will help with keeping some notebooks from sliding. This is almost unnoticeable from most angles and it actually only became apparent to me by feeling it.
Moving down the sides of the cooler we find some very interesting 'channels' that work well for cable management and for routing cables under and around the cooler making it possible to actually have it set up and a little station to host all your power and display cables for when you want to run your laptop/notebook as a desktop style system.
The photo to the right shows where you connect the usb cable to plug in the fan for power. This may be the single biggest let down for me about the product. What would have been better is placing the usb connector in the inside under the lip that you can see in the photo. Then if the user wants to run it passively it doesn't ruin the looks and if they DO want to use the fan, the main bulk of the usb connector is covered under the cooler and doesn't stick out the back.
The fan is clear making it less noticeable through the mesh but is still somewhat of an eyesore in comparison to the rest of the product.
I much prefer the cooler with the fan removed as it really detracts from the classy look of the aluminium.
The fan is removed via 6 screws, 4 at the fan and then another 2 for the power connector. I must note that the threads on the cooler strip extremely easy and I stripped one while reattaching the fan.
4 rubber feet are also included, covering the screws that attach the side pieces. The rubber used here is of the same high standards as the aluminium.
This performance does have its downsides though with the fan being noticeable when on and only runs at a single speed. I did also notice that when up close you can here a slight clicking within the fan motor too however after about 30 seconds of the fan being on it seemed to blend into the background very well as the fan produces more of a low hum that anything.
That being said it IS exactly that. A piece of shaped metal that doesn't really bring anything new to the table. While some coolers will feature height adjustments and fan speed controls this does none of those and the fan is still quite loud making me presume the fan is an older model as Silverstone's newer fans such as the AP123 are some of the best on the market.
While simplicity may have been the goal, simplicity can be achieved while providing a little more on the feature side and Silverstone are more than capable of combining the two as they have proved time and time again. Receiving 16 out of 20 then would seem mad for us to say but it's really not. Looking at the market as a whole I have personally used coolers that haven't helped a single bit, used ones that have the cheapest plastic, and actually used ones that have heated the notebook up even more. This notebook cooler does its job and it does it well. It features 4mm thick aluminium all round and so far hasn't let me down once. It's available in two colours as well with the black paint job being extremely well done even when taking into account the tricky design.
Therefore the NB04 receives our SILVER award with 16/20 and our next step for the NB04 would be to see Silverstone incorporate it into their new LITE movement with the removal of the fan and the release of the NB04-Lite version at a cheaper price tag.