Print 91 comment(s) - last by SoCalBoomer.. on Mar 7 at 1:02 PM

MSI ECOlution Chipset Cooler  (Source: TweakTown)
MSI ECOlution chipset cooler operates on the Stirling Engine Theory

MSI has designed a new chipset cooling fan that is able to operate without electricity. MSI’s new chipset cooler, which is accordingly dubbed the “Air Power Cooler,” offers all of the benefits of a cooler with a fan without drawing any power.   

Energy efficiency of fans can make a large difference, especially in enterprise environments where hundreds of PCs are running at once.  Although passive cooling is always an option, it doesn’t offer the cooling capability of a fan.

The new MSI cooler isn’t a passive cooler but actually uses a fan to cool the chipset without using any electricity. Ironically, the fan gets its power from the very thing it’s trying to remove — thermal energy.

The system is based on a beta Stirling engine. As hot air expands in the system, it applies pressure to the central piston in the heatsink pushing it up. The piston's movement upwards rotates gears which in turn spin the fan. Thermal energy generated by the chipset is converted into kinetic energy.

The fan blows through a common looking finned radiator to disperse the Northbridge’s heat production.

MSI tells DailyTech that the system is able to convert 70% of heat power to kinetic energy. It is important to note that enough heat must be supplied to spin the fan blades. If the chipset isn’t hot enough, the entire system will not run.

MSI is working on the cooler with Taiwanese company Polo-Tech. The powerless fan is expected to make its debut on MSI’s ECOlution during CeBIT 2008.

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RE: Ingenius
By elpresidente2075 on 3/1/2008 1:28:56 AM , Rating: 5
Whatever happened to doing something just because it is awesome? A fully automated, active cooling system that requires no power, logic, or anything external to function is great.

Of course, you always have the right to not buy it...

RE: Ingenius
By StevoLincolnite on 3/1/2008 10:26:43 AM , Rating: 2
Extra Power saved in Laptops anyone? :)

RE: Ingenius
By cyyc009 on 3/1/2008 1:56:56 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly what I was thinking:) Man, I love MSI, everything they make it great. This product is destined to revolutionize the computer industry, if it can just be tweaked a little more (looks more like a prototype now).

RE: Ingenius
By Alexvrb on 3/1/2008 4:05:22 PM , Rating: 2
For a laptop? No. Too big, ambient temp (in the case) too hot, doesn't spin soon enough/fast enough.

Even for a desktop, this prototype is a cross between a cool pipedream and an oversized chipset cooler. Slap on high price, undetermined long-term reliability, and no fan-speed monitoring for good measure. (unless you want to use more electricity to externally monitor the fan :/)

Still, its a very cool concept. It just doesn't have any tangible benefits. It does make me wonder if it wouldn't be worth externally mounting a miniature girling engine and generator outside a case and routing heat via water. Pump-> waterblocks (cpu, gpu, etc)-> girling -> radiator-> reservior-> pump. Unfortunetely, once again logic kicks in and I don't think the temperature difference in the water would be significant enough (unless you're BAKING your components), and even if it was I don't think you could generate crap for electricity.

RE: Ingenius
By RjBass on 3/1/2008 8:27:41 PM , Rating: 1
Actually, your comment made me think of something one of my friends did. He was in the Heating and Cooling business and was a self proclaimed geek. He modded his case with an actual mini AC unit that pumped cold air into the case via the side panel fan hole. The only problems with the device that made it not very practical was the water it produced that had to be drained in some fashion and the fact that he needed a very high powered PSU to run it.

Aside from it's obvious drawbacks, it kept his system running very very cool. He had an overclocked Core 2 running with passive cooling. In fact the only fans he had running were the fan for the mini AC unit, the one on his graphics card and the two in his PSU.

The unit was also pretty ugly too.

RE: Ingenius
By xsilver on 3/2/2008 6:18:09 AM , Rating: 1
um if you're running an AC unit into your computer I think condensation is going to be another part of your troubles.

Also I dont think that running a core 2 passive is that much of an achievement. Im running a fanless core 2 (2.7ghz) now with a 8800gt passive as well. Only 1 92mm psu fan in my system.

RE: Ingenius
By RjBass on 3/2/2008 11:18:28 AM , Rating: 2
It was an overclocked Core 2. To get a Core 2 or any processor up on a good overclock you need good cooling. Typically passive cooling won't do the trick.

As for the condensation, he set up the AC so that the natural condensation that occurs with an AC unit drained outside of the PC. In fact the whole unit was attached to the outside of the PC case so that the inside of the case only received the cool air from the AC unit. It was a pretty remarkable mod except for the obvious problems I pointed out in the original post.

RE: Ingenius
By DragonMaster0 on 3/3/2008 7:33:55 PM , Rating: 2
um if you're running an AC unit into your computer I think condensation is going to be another part of your troubles.

Condensation happens on the coolest side (ie. not the parts)

RE: Ingenius
By AlphaVirus on 3/3/2008 12:26:04 PM , Rating: 2
I am in no heating and cooling but I tried something similar to him. I outfitted my computer with one of those "window fans". So depending on the temp in the house I could set it to 'Exhaust'(hot days) or 'Normal'(cold days) and it kept the computer cool at all times.

Like you said though, it is not very attractive. I was using 2, 8 inch fans, so you can imagine how tacky that looked.

RE: Ingenius
By masher2 on 3/1/2008 11:03:07 AM , Rating: 1
> "Whatever happened to doing something just because it is awesome?"

Sure, I agree totally. That's a great reason for an enthusiasist's PC.

But some people here are arguing this has applications for large datacenters. I don't see any corporation risking the integrity of their servers for an 'awesome' idea with no practical benefit.

RE: Ingenius
By Spartan Niner on 3/1/2008 2:10:24 PM , Rating: 5
>"Sure, I agree totally. That's a great reason for an enthusiasist's PC."

That's one hell of a enthusiastic enthusiast you have there. He even added another Si for the silicon used in his chips.

RE: Ingenius
By PlasmaBomb on 3/2/2008 8:30:06 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Ingenius
By sporr on 3/2/2008 7:45:32 AM , Rating: 2
Im just hoping this solution is a starting point, a base of which to further their idea's.

At the very least, I credit MSI for at least trying.

RE: Ingenius
By elpresidente2075 on 3/3/2008 2:20:51 PM , Rating: 1
Certainly that makes sense. But you must remember that there must be a first generation that goes before the sleek, new, better 2nd generation, and so on. Honestly, I don't expect to see practical applications of this tech within the PC arena for many years.

Fun little niche product though. I'd probably put it in my personal server to replace the tiny POS that is attached to my northbridge. Funny though, the fan probably wouldn't ever turn on.

RE: Ingenius
By SoCalBoomer on 3/7/2008 1:02:40 PM , Rating: 2
Strangely, heat pipes were just for enthusiasts a while ago - the same people who are pooh-poohing advances like this pooh-poohed heat pipes in Shuttle's designs (and others) as impractical.

Yet here we are with heat-pipes everywhere (nearly).

I can see a smaller version of this (and there aren't many moving parts - diaphragm, arm, shaft, fan. . .hmmm) going many places.

Less power demands, temperature sensitive cooling.

We all know things get smaller as development continues. . . this could easily advance and become really practical.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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