Spent a fair amount of time "giggling" cooler mats on the web today and found there are quite a few available from a variety of manufacturers.
Many of the "fan type" (ie Targus) use a USB port on the computer for power. With the dirth of USB ports on models such as the 1710, grabbing a port should'nt be to much of an issue. In fact some offered additional USB ports built into their housing for computers that have only a few. One even offered a PC card reader in the side of its chassis as well (since the 1710 doesn't have one, this may be worthwhile to look at).
Some had AC backup as well which would be fine for at home I suppose.
Their were some critical factors to investigate, I found:
First and foremost, size.
Since this forum deals principally with 17 inchers, I recommend folks pay close attention to the size of the 'mat' they find offered. If the clams' feet don't fit firmly on the surface, there would be very little benefit offered and possibility of slippage could be catastrophic.
Some were adjustable, via sliding fan panels that close up to offer additional portability (fitting in your travel case) and open up to meet the footprint of your clam.
Secondly, construction material.
Many were plastic ($15.00 to $25.00) while others were aluminum ($25.00 to $80.00). Some a combination of both. Very few reviewers faulted the plastic ones for their material, but the cheaper ones were noted for everything from noisy fans to sloppy USB cable connections (one even found the need to use a rubber band to keep the cable connected to the computer!).
Third and most important, fan placement.
Many of the models had fans that would suck air from beneath the clam and exhaust it out the back of the base. Obviously if your clams' fans are trying to suck air from beneath, this develops a conflict and could actually make the clam run HOTTER.
Others models had fans that would blow air onto the base of the clam which in theory provides additional air for the clams' fans to suck in (along with additional dust, cat hair, smoke etc...).
One model even had reversable fans to either suck OR blow, as user saw fit.
All the fan models had power switches to select on or off (one even allowed you to vary the fan speed as well) and LED lights to indicate on.
Now for the most interesting model.
It's called the XPAD and is simply a very well constructed piece of high grade plastic with raised surfaces in the corners with rubber on them and a comfortable, thick bottom of heavy grade foam to facillitate placement on your lap.
It has no fans but the very broad raised corners provide additional clearance for your clams' fans to draw air in on their own (if bottom sucking type, which most seem to be).
it's apparently quite light but sturdy and is advertised to accomodate 17" diplay sized clams.
Prices ranged from $19.00 on Amazon.com(on sale) to $24.00 on the manufacturers' site.
note- other than the manufacturers' site, Amazon (U.S.A.) was the ONLY retailer of this product.
I read many reviews of this product and though it seemed ideal for 15 inchers, some 17 inch users stated that the raised surfaces on which the clam sits actually covered the bottom fan intakes of the machine. This of course defeats the purpose.
Now I have a question to ask of owners of the 1710.
I don't receive mine until next week so I subject myself to your knowledge.
I noticed that the 1710 advertizes that the air intakes are on the side and the air exhausts are on the back however reading some comprehensive reviews of the clam which showed detailed pictures of all surfaces, I noticed fan grills on the bottom of the clam as well.
Do the fans suck air from the bottom of the 1710 as well as the sides?
If so, then the XPAD would prove unsuitable, if not, I think it would be ideal for a stable base when you are using the clam on other than a table/desk (ie on chesterfield or in bed).
In conclusion, there are at least 2 dozen models out there to review.
Some are quite interesting and unique, some are cheap and I think of short life span.
The whole fan suck/blow dilemma has now raised more questions for me than answers.
On a selfish note, I pricipally need to focus on my soon to arrive 1710. I think the side mounted air intakes are genius and long overdue on ALL clams.
Such a placement essentially makes the whole cooler mat fan scenario moot however if those grills on the bottom of the machine also suck in air then I must determine what model best meets my needs.
I originally considered providing links to a variety of sites for you folks but it's Christmas Eve and I still have to go play Santa Claus before bedtime so I will just suggest you Google Laptop Coolers and visit the many sites this search provides.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hope the love of friends and family provides you all the joy that sometimes we forget to take into our hearts. Life is too short, enjoy yourself tomorrow!