Do I need a cooling pad for my high-end laptop?
Answer: Laptops are designed to be used on your lap. While you might feel your laptop heat up when the processor approaches 100% usage, the heat should not become unbearable. If it does, something could be wrong with your laptop's processor, battery, or temperature monitor. You should not need a cooling pad for your laptop.
So if you don't need a cooling pad, why do manufacturers make them? Because cooling pads can increase performance.
Since laptops are designed to not overheat, the processor may never reach its full processing potential. A cooling pad, which has built-in fans, can help reduce the laptop's temperature, giving the processor more room to run. It may result in faster performance.
The key word is "may." Laptops are finely-calibrated to run as fast as possible without overheating. Many laptops will not benefit from a cooling pad. The most likely laptops to benefit from external cooling are high-end and gaming laptops. These machines can achieve performance close to a desktop computer by using the same CPUs and GPUs found in desktop PCs. They are often larger, heavier, and louder than typical laptops.
There is no guarantee that a cooling pad will boost your laptop's performance. Even if it does help, the performance increase may not be noticeable. However, if you want to squeeze the fastest performance possible out of your portable PC, a cooling pad might be the way to do it. =)