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Old 07-12-2011, 12:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Spinning heat sink could lead to faster computers

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A redesigned heat exchanger could speed up your home computer, while reducing fan noise and energy use.

Air-cooled heat exchangers haven't changed much in 40 years, says Jeff Koplow, a researcher at Sandia National Laboratories. A disk absorbs heat from a computer's processor and transfers it to a row of attached metal fins. A fan stirs up the air around the heat sink. But only about five per cent of that energy provides a cooling effect. Why? A pesky layer of stagnant air clings to the fins, insulating them like a blanket. Spinning the fan faster helps, but it also makes computers intolerably noisy.

These limitations impact processing speed. Chips can run faster, but the fans can't cool them fast enough to prevent overheating.



(Image: Jeff Koplow)

In this new design, dubbed the "Sandia Cooler," the fan is the heat sink. Bands of metal blades rotate above the heat source atop a thin cushion of air. Centrifugal forces roil that air to facilitate heat transfer. They also compress the layer of stagnant air against the blades, reducing that insulating effect. Cool outside air pushes away dust as it flows through the center of the spiral and out the sides.

Koplow, who designed the cooler, is working with others to mass-produce these quiet fans cost-effectively. If they become widely adopted, he estimates total US electricity consumption could drop by about seven per cent.

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Old 07-12-2011, 02:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spinning heat sink could lead to faster computers

I wonder if this would increase the size of home computers again, or if it's small like the current fans?
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Old 07-31-2011, 03:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spinning heat sink could lead to faster computers

So has anyone seen these anywhere yet? and that's pretty impressive it could reduce overall energy usage by 7%
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spinning heat sink could lead to faster computers

They're largely in the experimental and prototype stages at the moment. There probably won't be any on the market (at least, the consumer rather than enterprise market).
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:17 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spinning heat sink could lead to faster computers

Click the link. From there they have a link to the design .pdf
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:22 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spinning heat sink could lead to faster computers

lol, from the Abstract:
Quote:
Successful
development of this technology is also expected to have far reaching impact in the IT sector from the standpointpoint of
solving the “Thermal Brick Wall” problem (which currently limits CPU clocks speeds to ~ 3 GHz)
Oh yes, definitely limited to 3GHz! Though I guess it might be talking about enterprise equipment, where I presume it's much harder to reach higher speeds.
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