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Creative Xmod and Logitech Cooling Pad N100

I have two peripherals that I always connect to my MacBook Pro at home.  I make really good use out of them so decided to share them with you guys.

My typical set up.

The first is the Creative Xmod. This came out in 2006 so it was discontinued ages ago but you can easily pick one up at Amazon. Its old age is not all bad, the list price of $85 has come down to about $40 on the web.

So what does this thing do? Well, it's simply an external sound card with a twist. The Xmod restores and remasters sounds that are "squished" during the digitalization and compression of music/video files. Creative claims that it creates a "cleaner, richer sound that surpasses the original audio CD." It's easy to be skeptical but believe me, it sounds pretty spectacular.

There are 2 technologies in the Xmod. X-Fi Crystalizer and X-Fi CMSS-3D. You can adjust the intensity of these filters for turn them off individually as you chose. 

You can connect it directly to you laptop via USB or the audio-in jack. For the latter, you connect it to AC (I use an extra Apple USB power adapter) and the audio source with an audio cable. 

The Xmod is pretty compact too, and with a USB power adapter, can be quite portable.

The second device is the Logitech Cooling Pad N100. The MacBook Pro's ultra minimal design has one drawback - it can get quite hot when you are running resource hungry applications. It has always been uncomfortable putting palms on this hot aluminum slate, so I decided to pick one of these up.

The N100 is pretty much made just for the 15" MacBook Pro.

The cooling pad has 1 fan, powered by USB. You may think a single fan isn't powerful enough, but it works remarkably well.

Note: If you are getting a cooling pad for a MacBook Pro, get one with a fan located at the top edge, like the N100. This is really where the Mac gets really hot. I had initially purchased the Microsoft Cooling Base, but returned it because of the central location of the fan.

Air intake. The fan is audible in a dead silent room but is virtually silent otherwise.

Air is channeled down, cooling the entire bottom surface.

The bottom.

The N100 also has a nice cable organizer. Notice that the cable can be fed in 4 directions, depending on the location of USB ports on your laptop.