Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 25, 2012 - 05:45 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: sandia, impeller, heatsink, cooling, cooler, air bearing
A white paper by Sandia National Laboratories caught the attention of the media last year with big claims for high performance cooling. The researchers had claimed to invent a new type of heatsink based on a impeller design that was allegedly 30% more efficient at heat transfer while being smaller and quieter than traditional air coolers.
Dubbed the Sandia Cooler, the team has come up with an updated prototype that is nearly ready to come to market. Shown off in a recent video, the cooler is a small heatsink based on three relatively simple parts. A stationary disk acts as the base and area that comes into contact with the Integrated Heat Spreader (IHS) of a CPU. Then, a spinning array of curved fins resembling an impeller design is spun up by a small motor mounted in the center of the cooler.
During an industry day, they reportedly signed two license option agreements with two companies to bring the product to market in the areas of solid state lighting (LEDS, et al) and computer hardware cooling, implying that it is getting closer to a final product that it was last year.
Interestingly, the cooler uses an “hydrodynamic air bearing” such that the spinning part of the cooler is spun up to 2,000+ RPM such that the top part separates from the bottom stationary part and rides (they use the analogy of a car hydroplaning) on a very thin layer of air. (Update: as KngRider noted, there is still some friction from the motor spinning the upper part of the cooler, however.) That thin layer of air is what facilitates heat transference from the stationary part to the spinning fins. It does raise questions of efficiency, however. How a layer of air is more efficient than thermal interface material, for example. Reportedly, the air bearing is not an issue that will impact cooling performance but it is a difficult concept to grasp considering TIM and metal-to-metal contact has always been touted as the best cooling situation.
Sandia explains that cool air is drawn into the center of the impeller as heated air is forced outwards through the spinning fins, which reportedly enables efficient heat transfer. In the video, they demonstrate that it is capable of being extremely quiet (nearly silent) despite spinning at an extremely fast rate – the noise in the first part of the video is due to the prototype motor that is not covered. They claim that the final design will use a brush-less motor that will be much quieter.
It’s an intriguing design because of its simplicity and form factor. It is reportedly able to cool more efficiently than some of the best air coolers on the market, which use such techniques as heatpipes that come into direct contact with the CPU IHS, larger fin arrays, and multiple fans. Compared to those coolers, the Sandia prototype is much smaller and simpler in its construction.
The company has further released a white paper (PDF) and has an area of its website dedicated to more information on the Sandia cooler. While I cannot vet the fluid dynamics they detail, it certainly looks good on paper. I’m excited to see this come to market and whether or not it will live up to its promise of more efficient (and quiet!) cooling. It could be an important asset in cooling computer hardware in everything from desktops to server rooms. Also, it might just be the advancement that air coolers have been looking for as far as the next jump in performance – more than simply adding additional heatpipes or fins (and dealing with weight, size, and diminishing returns as a result) can do alone.
I’ll say that I’m skeptically optimistic on this one, but I do hope that it’s the real deal. What do you think of the impeller cooler? Does it appear promising?
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | April 10, 2012 - 06:03 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: graphene, cooling
Researchers at NC State University have tested the heat dissipation properties of copper-graphene. Their findings suggest that the material could be cheaper and more effective than pure copper.
Some people have gone to ridiculous lengths to cool their components. Some people flush their coolant regularly. Some people will never live down mineral oil jokes. No two computers are not on fire. Awwww.
Copper is regularly used as a method of dissipating heat as it is highly efficient when sufficiently pure. While copper is expensive, it is not expensive enough to be prohibitive for current use. Alternatives are still being explored and a researcher at NC State University believes graphene might be part of the answer.
Some people stick a bathroom suction fan out a window and run a 3” drier hose into their case.
As always, I become immediately skeptical when a team of researchers make a claim such as this. Whether or not these issues are valid have yet to be seen, but they come to mind none-the-less. The paper claims that the usage is designed for power amplifiers and laser diodes.
My first concern is with geometry. Effective cooling is achieved by exposing as much surface area between two materials as is possible for the situation. Higher heat conductance allows heat to get away much more efficiently, but the heat still needs to be removed to a reservoir of some sort, such as your room. There has not been much talk about the possibilities to then remove the heat after copper-graphene so efficiently sucks from the heat source.
My second concern is with the second layer of indium-graphene. While it seems as though the amount of indium required is quite small -- just a single layer between the heat source and the copper-graphene -- we do not really know for certain how that relates to real world applications. Indium is still a very rare element which is heavily mined for touch screen devices. It might prove to be cheap, but there is only so much of it. Would we also be able to reclaim the Indium later, or will it end up in a landfill?
These concerns are probably quite minor but it is generally good practice to not get too excited when you see a research paper. Two points if you see any of the following: Nano, Graphene or Carbon Nanotubes, Lasers, and anything related to High-Frequency.
Subject: Mobile | January 12, 2012 - 04:50 PM | Matt Smith
Tagged: Overclocked, origin, laptop, desktop, cooling, CES
Origin is one of the big names in the boutique custom PC business, and this CES the company is once again striving to prove why it deserves such credentials. I stopped by the company’s suite and saw something cool, something practical, and something jaw-dropping.
Let’s save the best for first: Origin showed a Genesis system powered by a phase change cooling system built into the case. As a result of this system, the company is able to deliver cooling at temperatures nearing -40 degrees Celsius. The system also draws so much power that they could only run one at once – running both the phase change systems in the suite could be more than the room can handle.
With the processor’s thermals taken care of, Origin is able to overclock up to two core of the Core i7 3960X to 5.7 GHz, while the rest can be clocked up to 5.3 GHz. This is well above the base speed of 3.3 GHz and in the realm of speeds you’d expect to see in competitions.
The rest of the system is also technically impressive. Four 3GB GTX580s running in SLI are shoved in next to 12GB of RAM and two Corsair SSDs in RAID0. This impressive hardware allows the system to post a score of 6,613 in PCMark 7 and 23,014 in 3DMark 11 (with the video cards overclocked to 950 MHz).
What I found most interesting about the system, however, was Origin’s extreme attention to detail. They implemented a red-white-black theme that is conveyed not only by the motherboard and the video card but also the cooling tubes, heatsinks and even the numerous PCIe power cables sending juice to the GTX580s. Nothing was overlooked, and the result is a system that is sure to make any hardcore geek salivate.
Pricing is not available yet for this high-end configuration. Availability is expected to be around February or March.
Origin also has their cool new laptop designs on display. Like most boutique PC companies, the laptop chassis used by Origin is a generic design (by Clevo, I believe). However, the new Origin EON15-S and EON17-S will be using custom lid panels with a look that is somewhat reminiscent of muscle car’s hood.
The glossy prototype versions shown by Origin looked a bit cheap, but the company says the final product version will be matte. If so, these could be some sharp looking systems. Of course, the internals are as quick as ever – the EON17-S shown features a Core i7-2960XM overclocked to 4.5 GHz.
The company’s last announcement doesn’t involve a system, but rather a practial feature for customers - support. Origin is now offering free 24/7 lifetime support for its customers. This is retroactive, so previous customers now qualify for this assistance. Better still, the support is entirely US based. You won’t have to worry about your concerns being lost in translation. It is refreshing to encounter a company that is adding customer service and support rather than stripping it away.
PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 10, 2012 - 08:43 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nano-itx, heatsink, e-350, cooling, cooler master, CES, APU
At CES today we saw what at first resembles a Cooler Master V6 CPU heastink and fan combo. The processor cooler features a red 120mm fan housed in a black shroud which is then attached to the heatsink itself. The heatsink is a tower design with six copper heatpipes attached to a copper CPU block. The heatpipes then lead into a tower of aluminum fins to dissipate heat.
On the back of the unit; however, there's a little something extra in the form of a nano-itx motherboard and AMD E-350 APU based on the Brazos platform. The computer is self contained and provides a number of connectivity options. For more information on the Brazos platform and E-350 APU, see our preview and review articles. A quick run down of the E-350 specifications; however, is below.
- Two Bobcat CPU cores at 1.6 GHz
- A Radeon HD 6310 GPU with 80 processing cores running at 500 MHz
- A TDP of 18 watts
- DirectX 11 Graphics and DDR3 Memory Support
The bottom of the rear of the CPU cooler is the location of the nano-ITX motherboard's rear IO panel. The motherboard features Wi-Fi, HDMI, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, VGA(?), and e-SATA(?) connections.
A side view of the Cooler Master heatsink is available below.
It's certainly a new idea, and it will definitely hit home for people that don't need or want to run their power hungry main desktop all the time. Because the system is self contained it does present some usability issues. Mainly that you will need to have a KVM or VNC connection to control it and the inside of the computer case is going to become a lot more crowded with cables. Further, it would be a pain to have to open up the main desktop system just to plug in a flash drive or cable. On the other hand, it'd make for a nice media or file server and would not require the desktop be on 24/7 without needing yet another box crowding my desk so I'd give it a shot. (The inside of my computer case is already a mess of wires so what do I have to lose?)
What are your thoughts on this somewhat strange CPU cooler?
PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 7, 2011 - 05:49 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: cpu, Intel, core i7, 2700K, cooling
An aspiring overclocker and Coolaler forum go-er "u48802109" got his/her hands on an engineering sample and set out to see just how far he could push the upcoming Intel Core i7 2700K processor using air cooling. In an exciting result, the overclocker was able to achieve a stable 5 GHz overclock on the 2700K with a 100 MHz bus speed and 50x multiplier. Even more amazing are the voltage and temperature results (keeping in mind that we don't know the particular HSF being used) of the overclock. Specifically, they were able to hit 5 GHz with 1.384 V and hit a maximum temperature of 65 C.
A zoomed in look at the CPU-Z readout.
While air cooling may not be able to support going to much higher frequencies, water cooling could certainly open up even more headroom in the chip. Also, keeping in mind that these are engineering samples, it will be interesting to see where the Core i7 2700K falls once it starts rolling out to consumers. If these results hold out, it does seem like it may just be worth it to pay a few extra bucks and eschew the 2600K for new builds. What are your thoughts, are these results encouraging to you? You can see the full overclocking results here.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 6, 2011 - 04:39 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: water cooler, liquid cooling, hsf, h70, h40, corsair, cooling
Corsair has released two new sealed loop water coolers dubbed the Corsair H40 and H70 Core that are aimed at budget builds and enthusiasts who prefer to provide their own fans. These new models, like their predecessors, are compatible with both AMD and Intel sockets and will have mounting hardware, the cooler itself, and a illustrated quick start guide that the company claims will be helpful during setup. As the coolers use a somewhat odd mounting ring system, photo illustrations can indeed be helpful (as I learned when setting up my own H70).
The new budget H40 water cooler
The H40 is Corsair’s new budget sealed loop water cooler, replacing the H50 as the company’s entry level cooler. It features an aluminum radiator able to accommodate up to two 120mm fans (one 2000rpm 120mm fan is included). The radiator connects to the water block via flexible black tubing, and the cold plate is also composed of aluminum (versus the H70’s copper base plate). It includes mounting hardware to support all the latest AMD and Intel sockets up to AMD’s FM1 and Intel’s socket 1155.
The H70 Core (or CORE if you prefer Corsair’s all caps nomenclature) is a retooled H70 water cooling product that eschews the fans in favor of a slightly cheaper retail price. Further, by selling the H70 without fans, enthusiasts are able to purchase (or reuse) their own fans. The H70 CORE water cooler itself is the same as the previous 70, and features a 38mm thick aluminum radiator connected by sealed flexible tubing with a copper cold plate. The radiator can accommodate two 120mm fans and the device is compatible with both Intel and AMD CPU (Processor) sockets.
The H70 without bundled fans is a sealed water cooler that many enthusiasts have been asking Corsair for for a long time, and it’s good to see the company responding to requests. The H40 may well be a decent option for a quiet, low power HTPC. The H40 carries and MSRP of $59 USD while the H70 CORE has an MSRP of $89 USD. The H70 with bundled fans retails for around $95 USD, so it will be interesting to see where the H70 CORE will fan in retail and whether it will provide a good value. Both sealed loop water coolers will be available worldwide later this month.
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 5, 2011 - 12:49 AM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: silent, Passive, HD 6770, cooling, asus, amd
Something nice was dropped off at the house today, and I thought I would share.
Passive, eh? HD 6770? Sure enough...
How long has it been since I last saw a passive midrange video card? Well, I would guess it would be in 2007 with the Gigabyte 8600 GTS Silent Pipe.
Don't worry, I have permission from the owner of that site to use this picture.
Subject: Processors | August 15, 2011 - 10:45 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: sandy bridge-e, Intel, hsf, cooling
We reported a few days ago that AMD is considering bunding a sealed loop water cooling solution with it's high end FX processors. In an interesting development, VR-Zone today stated that Intel will not be including any cooler at all with it's Sandy Bridge-E parts.
Specifically, Intel will not be bundling any processor cooler with its Core i7 Sandy Bridge-E 3820, 3930, or 3960X CPUs. These processors are rated at a 130 watt TDP; however, VR-Zone reports that the processors may in fact be drawing as much as 180 watts at stock speeds. This massive jump in power compared to previous models, if true, would make Intel's move to not include a cooler a good thing, as enthusiasts will almost certainly want a quality third part air cooler at least, and a proper water loop if any overclocking is involved. Enthusiasts especially have always opted to use an aftermarket cooler instead of the included Intel one as they have been notoriously noisy and mediocre in the performance department. While they are decent for stock speeds, overclockers have always demanded more than the Intel coolers could provide.
The situation is made all the more interested when paired against AMD's announcement; Intel has opted to not include any heatsink at all while AMD has opted to ratchet up the cooling performance with a sealed water loop. Personally, I find the two companies' reactions- because they are almost direct opposite solutions- very intersting and telling about the company mindset. Which solution do you like more, would you like the chip makers to ratchet up their stock cooling performance, or do you prefer the hands-off approach where they allow you to grab the cooler of your choice by not bundling anything in the processor box? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credit: Tim Verry. Used With Permission.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 21, 2011 - 08:05 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: water cooling, hsf, h80, corsair, cooling
We talked about the Corsair H80 (and H100) all in one water coolers in a previous post as they were announced a few months ago; however, it seems that they are finally out in the wild and ready for review. Neoseeker has the review ball today and has posted a concise five page review of the device. Forunately, from their testing it seems to stack up well compared to its predecessors, though the review does note that the fan noise can become rather loud.
"...the H80 also includes the same easy to use mounting system as the H60. This was one of the aspects we liked the most about the H60, so we are more than pleased to see it return with this new unit. The low-profile block and 120mm radiator will allow the Corsair H80 to fit into nearly any chassis, with the only exceptions being some of the smaller HTPC cases."
You can read more about the sealed loop water cooler here.
And in other case and cooling news:
- Thermaltake Frio OCK Review @ Motherboards.org
- Thermaltake A30 Armor Case Review @ Motherboards.org
- Evercool Transformer 4 HSF Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Corsair Hydro H80 Review @ eTeknix
- SilverStone Raven RV03 @ Anandtech
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 11, 2011 - 01:35 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: water cooling, PCCooler OC3, hsf, cooling
PCCooler OC3, a company not widely known of outside of China due to limited worldwide distribution, had its fair showing at Computex 2011 where the company showed off a new CPU cooler.
The new W120 cooler at first glance appears to be another modern tower style air cooler; however, it has a feature that the other cooler lack. Namely, the W120 supports both air and water cooling. When used as an air cooler, the W120 acts as one would expect, and a 120mm fan moves air across aluminum fins that are connected via (six) heat pipes to a copper base plate that transfers heat away from the processor.
When hooked into an existing water cooling loop; however, the tower cooler acts as a water block as well as assisting in dispersing heat via the fins and 120mm fan. The company claims that when the cooler is used in this fashion, it is capable of dissipating up to 500 watts of power-- much more than any current CPU can deliver even when heavily overclocked.
It’s certainly an interesting design, and if the company’s claim hold merit, this cooler is likely to be popular among overclockers if the price is right. Unfortunately, enthusiasts in the US are not likely to see this any time soon. You can see more pictures of the cooler; however, over at EXPreview.
Image copyright 2011 EXPreview. Used under fair usage guidelines for purposes of commentary and reporting.