Custom Heatsinks? You guys want em?

Hi guys-

I’m trying to gauge interest in an idea I had. I’m currently a female mechanical engineering PHD student (yes, we exist) with a very strong background in heat transfer. So here’s the pitch- I know from my male friends that they put a lot of stock into what kind of heat sink they use on their CPU’s. They seemed to think that there would be an interest in custom built heat sinks for their computers, getting original designs specific to their cases/airflow setups that would give them optimal performance. Further- they didn’t always know what they were buying as far as materials go. Obviously copper is idea, but they said that they’d frequently get aluminum painted as copper! As a gal who’s done a lot of research into heat transfer, and with a machining background, I figured maybe I could help them out- so I did!

I began by measuring the case dimensions and creating a model of the innards of the case, including some large cards/bulks of wiring they had. I estimated the airflow between a single inlet fan and two outlet fans, then came up with a custom heatsink design (# fins, dimensions, heat pipe diameters, etc) assuming a single fan mounted to the heat sink. The computer model showed great results in cooling! The only problem here is that they wanted to try making the heat sink mostly out of copper, which can be costly.

The point here is that I feel as though I can use my specialties to possibly come up with custom cooling solutions for computer enthusiasts. You’d give me some case dimensions, a picture of the insides, some processor/powersupply/video card data (heat generators), and I’d return to you a custom built heat sink (aluminum or copper, depending on $) along with a guide of how to set your inlet/outlet fans for ideal cooling.

Is this something you guys would be interested in? I have no idea in costs- I’d assume it would be somewhat steep because of the machining/copper material costs, maybe $100-200?

11 answers Last reply
More about custom heatsinks guys
  1. This is a very interesting idea & concept. A little price for my taste but I do look forward to seeing some of these designs in place & their performance results.
  2. Oh yeah, I would love one! I have an Apevia X-Navigator Full tower (discontinued) but still advertised on the web-site. Doesn't Aluminum dissipate heat the fastest? Steep for me, but a very good idea. I would save for one if they show that they have a significant cooling presence.
  3. Honestly, the idea is a great one. However, its going to come down to the price and performance of this solution.

    You can get a great new/used CPU watercooling loop for $150-$200, so your running a tight line there.

    What I really could see selling, are custom GPU heatsinks. A decent GPU waterblock will run you atleast $50-$60, and the rest will easily chew up $150 just for a single card. If you made a custom heatsink for a video card, with proper cooling to all the necessary components unlike those horrible universal coolers, you could do pretty well.

    Also, making a single heatsink for multiple GPUs would be an interesting idea. I read an article about how that would be very efficient, but there are too many variables to market it. However, that's not a problem for custom solutions.

    I hope your asking this on other forums too, because this forum isn't really the audience your going for, the enthusiast. Tom's is for more level headed and budget minded people than what I consider an enthusiast. Maybe try or Xstremesystems.
  4. Interesting, someone with a crazy idea who actually has the means to pull it off. Most cases share similar properties, locations of fans, locations of optical drive bays, etc, so it might be interesting if you could come up with something that would be something like a Prolimatech Megahalems without weighing a ton in the simulations, if you could it might be marketable to a reasonable range of people, depending on the school you are at you may have a reasonably large market there, i know at my school you would probably have a few hundred people who were interesting in a high end custom heatsink.
  5. Hmmm, crazy enough. It just might work. Haha, watch out for some competition though, RealRedRaider is another forum where they sell custom waterblocks (kind of the same concept, but for water cooler).
  6. Here. PM me. I have been doing some work in designing CPU water blocks for the past 2 years or so and I think I have a few ideas you can try. They won't directly apply to air heat sinks, but I will tell you some things that I'm currently looking in to. There are a few things manufactures haven't really tried to do yet.

    I mainly do my work via CFD. Here is one of my first block designs (yes, based on very old CPU block design) in turbulent testing:

    Simulating a GTZ based design:

    Obviously, I'm not a Physics major (CS major lol) but I try.
  7. Shadow, when you start your own heatsink company. Get ready to send me something like Innovation Cooling. XD
  8. ^ The problem is $$$. The current designs I'm working on can't be CNCed with out paying over $6k.... not to mention that some designs, although they work extremely well can't actually be machined with the current available tech, sure some of the CNCs at JPL,etc can probably do it, but I don't have access to them (And yes, I have tried to get access to them via some one I know @Northrop/JPL, and they said no). Quite annoying. So for now, everything is based on CFD sims.
  9. Oh darn, when you do start your company. Remember good 'ol Shinobi.
  10. 1) Will a custom design work significantly better than a stock design? If so, then there will be a market. If not, no sale. I suggest a good benchmark of a prototype to see.
    2) As a different idea, I just noticed how cold my canned air got when I was using it. Could that principle work for a cpu cooler? Have a air compressor outside of the case, and an expansion unit on the cpu?
  11. Canned air isnt actually compressed air, its liquid with a low vapor point so its not really the going from compressed to standard air pressure thats causing the temperature drop its the amount of energy needed to vaporize the liquid that causes it to cool down, there are phase change coolers that do this and can bring CPU temps well below zero but you run the risk of condensation causing issues. It would still be possible to do with high pressure air and reducing its pressure but it will be much less efficient than changing the phase of the coolant.
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