Ionic Wind Cooling Next Step in CPU/GPU Cooling
January 4, 2007 3:44 PM
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Kronos cooling run at 8.5kilo-volts to cool a device 25 degrees Celsius - Image courtesy TheFutureofThings.com
Kronos Advanced Technologies claims that's the way we're headed
Lately, heatsinks and traditional fans have become so large that they are beginning to be obstructive and are sometimes too heavy. This is an issue on the graphics processor front in many ways, as there isn't enough room for large heatsinks,
yet GPU thermal exceeds that of high-speed CPUs
A company called
Kronos Advanced Technologies
is working on a method of
removing heat from devices such as CPUs by using ionic discharge to
create a fluid motion of air. This technology has been around for a few years and is used in products such as ionic air filters, which have no moving parts but still move volumes of air and create quite a strong breeze. The same concept is being applied to micro processor cooling.
Despite the advancement however, the volume of air moved over the CPU core is still small because the core surface area is small. Heatsinks are used to increase surface area of the hot surface, so that when air is moved over the fins, more heat can transfer to the air. The Kronos' device will attempt to remove hot air away from the processor core directly without the need for heatsinks. With this method, the velocity of air being moved needs to be extremely fast in order to compensate for the lack of surface area -- and speed is something that ionic air "movers" lack.
Right now, Kronos is still working on prototypes, which it claims are scalable from very small micro coolers to large scale sizes. Power requirements also appear to be quite steep at this point in time. One of Kronos' demonstration shows a heated area being reduced from roughly 50C to 25C using an ionic cooler, but the power supply required around 8.5kV, or 8500 volts, to stay stable.
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1/4/2007 4:07:00 PM
Yes, your wall plug (assuming you're in the US) is at about 115 - 120 V. 2.5kV = 2500, or ~24 times that.
Absolute voltage doesn't really matter necessarily, though, its voltage and current together that give you power flow. I built a small amplifier that generated about 20 kW at 20 kHz but only a few milliwatts as the power source for one of those lighting-arc-in-the bulb "plasma generators" as a college project. It ran off a standard AC plug input and sucked less juice than a 40W bulb.
I don't know why they'd consider this as an improvement solely in the absence of heat sinks. Why not use an ionic method to generate the airflow over a heat sink instead of fans? It might potentially be quieter, but the price / noise improvement might not be worthwhile....
1/4/2007 4:23:39 PM
at 20 kHz but only a
That looks like a bit of a contradiction to me. It used 20,000 Watts and "only a few milliwatts"? I'm thinking there's a typo in there somewhere.
1/4/2007 4:33:24 PM
I'm sure he meant to type kV, not kW.
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