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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It is silent...
1/5/2007 4:04:33 AM
The main reason I would want to use one of these is that it is totally silent, much preferable to an annoying fan.
As an aside, negatively charged air (like ocean breezes or after the rain) generally make people feel better, while positively charged air often makes people feel worse (e.g. dry inland "Santa Anna" winds). I think most air ionizers put out -ions, but maybe some put out +ions and make people feel sick.
RE: It is silent...
1/5/2007 6:38:09 AM
You have it backwards.
"With this method, the velocity of air being moved needs to be extremely fast"
Any way you look at it, that's going to create turbulence. A fan is example enough, you can use a tiny fan to move X amount of air faster with more turbulence (which is louder) or a far larger fan.
If you find all fans annoying, you simply haven't ever used a cooling system set up well. Air cooling does not have to be loud, even moderate in noise level. You merely have to select a product that isn't designed to be cheap rather than efficient (and use very low RPM fan), though it would still tend to be cheaper than this ionic cooling which is likely to end up more of a novelty than a reasonable solution. Remember- it is not some new discovery to move air like this, the humble heatsink and fan are used because they are the best solution presently possible.
Best doesn't mean "highest performing" for those geeks who somehow think in abstract terms that cooler = better, when in reality the goal is just to keep a part cool enough at price point low enough to be attractive to sell in sufficient volume.
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