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Kronos cooling run at 8.5kilo-volts to cool a device 25 degrees Celsius - Image courtesy
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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By jp7189 on 1/4/2007 4:29:11 PM , Rating: 2
I'm no EE, but wouldn't the high voltage generate a lot of electrical noise? Combine with it's close proximity to the CPU.. I'm thinking CPU wouldn't function.

How about a stray 8.5kv lightning bolt through the middle of the core?

RE: noise
By dagamer34 on 1/4/2007 4:40:50 PM , Rating: 2
You not being an EE shows.

P = I * V
Power = Current * Voltage.

It really doesn't matter if the current is high if the current is extremely small.

RE: noise
By shaw on 1/4/2007 4:54:20 PM , Rating: 2
Amps is proportional to voltage and inversely proportional to resistance of the human body. In the United States, mains line provides 110V which is generally non fatal for a wide range of human body resistances. If 110V was fatal then I'd be dead from sticking a bobby pin into the electrical socket when I was a kid. Obviously prolonged exposure of electricity is fatal. At 240V (such as Europe) there is much greater danger but if your hands are dry you will only get a painful shock. You might get temporarily paralysed for a week. It's rare to die from a 240V shock.

Higher voltages as presented in electric train tracks (600-1000V) will kill you.

It only takes about 12 milliamps across the chest to kill but that's only a small portion of story.

In order words I seriously doubt you'd have any major harm from this form of cooling.

RE: noise
By masher2 on 1/4/2007 5:05:13 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't work quite like this. As stated above, voltage is only relevant as long as its high enough to overcome the body's resistance. In some cases, 12V can conduct through the body, in others 250V isn't enough.

120VAC can certainly be fatal, and has killed thousands of people...though very few since home electric codes added ground wiring, GFCI circuits, and other improvements. The usual mode of death is for someone to touch a 120V conductor, which causes muscle spasm, and prevents them from releasing it. Once current is flowing, your body's resistance begins to decrease, till enough amperage exists to cause heart fibrillation, then eventual death.

The second mode in which electricity is fatal is from sheer resistive heating. Being fried to death, in other words. In this case, a 120VAC house circuit is not enough, as its typically breaker-limited to 15-30A.

RE: noise
By shaw on 1/4/2007 5:17:47 PM , Rating: 2
Blah, I didn't mean to put in that last sentence. There goes proof reading for you. Meant to say "8.5KV isn't to be taken lightly in my opinion."

RE: noise
By masher2 on 1/4/2007 5:19:33 PM , Rating: 2
You should have stuck with the was much more accurate :p

RE: noise
By jp7189 on 1/5/2007 3:11:27 PM , Rating: 2
The point of my original post wasn't to point out human health risks.. I was asking if the EMI off this thing would cause instability in the gates of a CPU core?

And additionally, if say a piece of dust went through there, the possibility of 8.5kv shorting straight to the CPU core instead of through the cooling device... causing the core to fry outright.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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