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Heat Pipes on high-end GPUs... Aren't they upside-down?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 20, 2006 6:59:54 PM

Sorry if this sounds like a stupid question, but why on earth are the vast majority of GPUs manufactured to have all the circuitry on the underside of the board? This makes no sense. Especially when you consider that many of them now incorporate heat pipes.

Now I know that the newer heat pipes have decent performance when turned sideways, and may still perform when inverted... But they by far perform the best when the heat source is on the bottom and the heat sink is on the top! The evaporated coolant needs to be able to condense at the sink and flow more or less down back to the source.

Am I totally missing the boat on how this is supposed to work? Regardless if the gain in heat performance is minimal, how hard would it be to just flip the circuitry to the other side? ATX is here to stay, folks... might as well have your components facing the right way.
October 20, 2006 7:35:29 PM

You're right, but the circuitry being on the bottom is a leftover from when computers were designed as desktops, not towers...

Supposedly it's pretty much impossible to switch the circuitry around to the top. I really don't know why, but this has been a concern for a while.
October 20, 2006 7:49:46 PM

Get a case with an upsidedown motherboard tray. Or do what I did and flip the motherboard tray to the opposite side in a Coolermaster CM Stacker.
October 20, 2006 8:20:36 PM

You can't flip the MB tray, or the heat pipes on the MB won't work. :) 
a b U Graphics card
October 20, 2006 8:31:15 PM

Quote:
You're right, but the circuitry being on the bottom is a leftover from when computers were designed as desktops, not towers...


And really if you think of the cases most 'built for use' people put heatpiped cards in they aren't towers, either traditional desktop or SFF both of which would be good for the current design.

EDIT: BTW everyone, think of BTX and reverse ATX designs that's now are most common in towers, now they face the right way.
October 23, 2006 4:10:08 PM

I'm really just curious (frustrated?) that it seems that this is kind of a major flaw in PCI and PCI-E cards in terms of heat dissipation, but no one seems to care. :? This is especially a problem because these days GPUs are outstripping CPUs as the major heat generator, while there are tons of third-party CPU sinks/coolers, but considerably fewer 'VGA' ones... and many of them are based on heatpipe technology! 8O

Is there anybody from industry out there that might be able to address the reasoning going on behind closed doors on this?
October 23, 2006 4:56:16 PM

Quote:
The evaporated coolant needs to be able to condense at the sink and flow more or less down back to the source.


That's the common logic, which is to think of the process as being gravity driven like an old-style coffee percolater. Instead, think of the process as being surface tension driven on the condensation side. If the heatpipe internal surface has sufficient wettability for the liquid, then there will be adequate transport of condensed liquid back to the hot surface to keep the vaporization process "fed".
October 23, 2006 4:56:28 PM

BTX solves a lot of those heat problems, doesn't it?

So few cases/motherboards use it. What we need is one big manufacturer to go make a high-end BTX motherboard, like DFI, Asus, Abit. That should start something.

~Ibrahim~
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
October 24, 2006 7:21:43 PM

Yeah I heard they dropped BTX, the reasonning behind BTX was to cope with Preshot heater. Apparently Intel is trying to minimize it's spending and dropping 'useless' project, BTX fell in that category...

A knowledgeable friend told me that, dont know how accurate it is, since they have'nt dropped itanium yet 8)

As far as I know(most likely many more...), only dell support BTX, because it allows them to design better/cheaper thermal solution and they have enough ressources/system sold to go anyway they want.

BTX is a pretty good idea but with cases like the P180 and others, atx does a fine job.

Planning on getting a CoolerMaster Stacker 830, if there is some BTX mobo around might give it a shot, if not, no biggie...
October 25, 2006 1:54:10 AM

Yeah, BTX was invented by Intel, right?

Shame, it sounded like a good idea..What they need is a socket for GPUs...And seperate memory slots. Probably not possible for a lot of reasons, but an idea nonetheless.

~Ibrahim~
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