Print 18 comment(s) - last by Khato.. on Dec 13 at 2:03 PM

Fanless solution is only 4 mm tall

Component makers have toyed with novel cooler designs like solid-state fans and Stirling engines, but such designs have thus far not been widely adopted in the mobile space.  As a result there's a major tradeoff between form factors and processing power.  

While battery life is one aspect that forces mobile devices to adopt less powerful CPUs, another major issue is that fan-based coolers are too bulky to be useful, but passive coolers/heat spreaders are only able to suck up a little bit of excess heat.  Apple, Inc. (AAPL) and other PC manufacturers have at times suffered overheating issues with their laptops and tablets.

General Electric Comp. (GE) believes it's come up to a novel solution to the competition between cooling, power, and form factor, unveiling a cooler based on jet-engine technology that both is compact and uses precious little power.

The new technology is titled Dual Piezoelectric Cooling Jets (DCJ) and appears to be a more advanced version of the aforementioned solid-state fans, employing "micro-fluidic bellows that provide high-velocity jets of air to cool electronic components."

GE claims the new device is simple to manufacture, and has no moving parts, making it less failure prone than traditional fans.  It's a mere 4 millimeters tall -- 50 percent slimmer than traditional fans -- and consumes less than half the power of a traditional fan with comparable airflow.

Piezoelectric cooler
GE's piezoelectric cooler is slender and low power.

Peter de Bock, lead Electronics Cooling Researcher at GE Global Research claims the technology is primed for use in designs like ultrabooks, hybrid laptops, and tablets, commenting, "DCJ was developed as an innovative way to dramatically reduce the amount of pressure losses and loading characteristics in aircraft engines and power generation in gas and wind turbines.  Over the past 18 months we have addressed many challenges adapting this technology in areas of acoustics, vibration, and power consumption such that the DCJ can now be considered as an optimal cooling solution for ultra-thin consumer electronics products."

Chris Giovanniello, VP Microelectronics & Thermal Business Development at GE Licensing concurs, adding, "With new tablet and netbook roadmaps moving to platforms measuring less than 6mm high, it is clear that consumers are demanding thinner and more powerful electronic devices.  GE’s patented DCJ technology not only frees up precious space for system designers, but it consumes significantly less power, allowing as much as 30 minutes of extra battery life. Best of all, DCJ can be made so quiet that users won’t even know it’s running."

The new solid-state cooler sounds intriguing, but it remains to be seen if OEMs will bite.  GE thinks they will and is pushing forward with commercialization, shopping the technology around to OEMs for use in 2013 or 2014 devices.

Source: GE

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RE: Awesome
By FITCamaro on 12/12/2012 4:59:49 PM , Rating: 3
Apple so desperately needs this in their MacBook Pros its not even funny. This thing gets so freakin hot its ridiculous.

RE: Awesome
By ritualm on 12/12/2012 6:02:46 PM , Rating: 2
Both the older MBPs and current MBAs have cooling silts along its display hinge, which in turn is directly above its keyboard, so it already doesn't have a lot of surface area for adequate cooling. But you know Apple will never sell a laptop if it cannot make it look sexy and high-end in the first place.

Apple's response to all these hoopla: You're cooling it wrong.

RE: Awesome
By Guspaz on 12/12/2012 7:18:36 PM , Rating: 2
The current MBA doesn't seem to suffer from any cooling issues. Mine never gets particularly hot. But then, it's a ULV with a cooling fan and a completely metal chassis as a heatsink. Some vendors get away with fanless ULV products, so it's not surprising that it doesn't have cooling issues.

I can't comment on their higher-power notebooks, however. They may have cooling issues, for all I know. All I can say conclusively is that the current MBA does not.

"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

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