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Sandia Develops Amazingly Efficient CPU Cooler

By - Source: SNL | B 72 comments

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories claim to have developed, by today's standards, an insanely efficient CPU cooler fan.

The "Sandia Cooler" features curved fins and achieves 30x improvement in heat transfer over a commercial Dynatron G950 cooler that served as comparison.

The cooling performance of both devices was 0.2 degrees Celsius per Watt, but the Sandia cooler has a surface area of just 400 cm2, while the Dynatron cooler uses a whopping 12,000 cm2 due to a massive heat sink, which the Sandia Cooler does not have. The volume of the prototype cooler is about 170 cm3, compared to 2,200 cm3 of the traditional Dynatron structure.

According to the researchers, their cooler solves three key problems of CPU coolers today. The claim a several-fold reduction in boundary layer thickness, intrinsic immunity to heat sink fouling, and a "drastic reduction" in noise. What makes this solution even more interesting is that it does not use exotic materials and can be manufactured for about $10 per unit. However, the reserachers say that mass-produced coolers may be less efficient than their prototype and achieved only about a quarter of the cooling performance and about 0.05 degrees Celsius per watt, which is still more than seven times more efficient than the Dynatron solution.

There was no information on commercial availability, but the researchers said that multiple patents have been filed and that their product is currently in "alpha" status.

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Top Comments
  • 28 Hide
    southernshark , June 24, 2012 1:37 PM
    Well I don't know if it will be revolutionary, but it will certainly be evolutionary. Hopefully this will assist in the needed "downsizing" of PCs.
  • 27 Hide
    bennaye , June 24, 2012 1:44 PM
    but how does the commercial dynatron cooler compare to today's most popular coolers such as the hyper evo and noctua lineup in general?
  • 26 Hide
    eddieroolz , June 24, 2012 1:34 PM
    That looks barely larger than a hockey puck. If it can deliver such impressive cooling in reality, then it will be revolutionary for the PC cooling industry.
Other Comments
    Display all 72 comments.
  • 22 Hide
    johnners2981 , June 24, 2012 1:15 PM
    Woohoo
  • 26 Hide
    eddieroolz , June 24, 2012 1:34 PM
    That looks barely larger than a hockey puck. If it can deliver such impressive cooling in reality, then it will be revolutionary for the PC cooling industry.
  • 28 Hide
    southernshark , June 24, 2012 1:37 PM
    Well I don't know if it will be revolutionary, but it will certainly be evolutionary. Hopefully this will assist in the needed "downsizing" of PCs.
  • 27 Hide
    bennaye , June 24, 2012 1:44 PM
    but how does the commercial dynatron cooler compare to today's most popular coolers such as the hyper evo and noctua lineup in general?
  • 7 Hide
    geraldfryjr , June 24, 2012 2:09 PM
    I read about this quite some time ago.
    It will be interesting once they come out on the market with consumer product.
    It is a neat design though.

    jer :) 
  • 1 Hide
    kracker , June 24, 2012 2:37 PM
    Yay!
  • 3 Hide
    A Bad Day , June 24, 2012 2:39 PM
    How long is it going to take for a company to manufacture a supersized, such as quad-fan?
  • 9 Hide
    amdfangirl , June 24, 2012 2:41 PM
    Motor... rotating piece of metal?

    I hope this isn't going to slice my finger off.
  • 9 Hide
    Shin-san , June 24, 2012 3:19 PM
    Hopefully it wouldn't be too bad to clean out
    southernsharkWell I don't know if it will be revolutionary, but it will certainly be evolutionary. Hopefully this will assist in the needed "downsizing" of PCs.
    Especially video cards. Those things have been getting too large. Didn't someone make a card that took up 3 slot?
  • 4 Hide
    shin0bi272 , June 24, 2012 3:32 PM
    Anyone ever see that 1" motor they were showing off a few years ago? When you opened it up it had a design exactly like this. That's probably where they got it from.
  • 12 Hide
    memadmax , June 24, 2012 3:52 PM
    Heeeey...
    That looks like a heat pump to me.
  • 4 Hide
    DRosencraft , June 24, 2012 4:15 PM
    If this offers both the cooling performance and low noise it alleges, it could become a competitor with even lower-end water cooling.
  • 17 Hide
    FenrirXIII , June 24, 2012 4:15 PM
    Hey, hey douglas. Imma let chyou finish, but I just wanted to say the sandia article is the BEST EVER at 1 yr old. https://share.sandia.gov/news/resources/news_releases/cooler/
  • 0 Hide
    xtreme5 , June 24, 2012 5:07 PM
    wow, look really great.
  • -1 Hide
    kenyee , June 24, 2012 5:09 PM
    Sign me up!

    I hate it when stupid heat sinks get clogged w/ dust and don't work any more so the CPU just throttles down all the time and you wonder why it's stuttering. This looks great...no more friggin' dust in tiny little vanes...
  • 5 Hide
    husker , June 24, 2012 5:39 PM
    Okay, 2 things for critical thinkers to consider:

    1) Sandia's own diagram of the device shows it cooling a surface from 40C down to 25C. If that is what they chose as numbers for a diagram, then it is reasonable to assume that is predictive of what their real world expectations are. Perhaps the technology may not be quite so efficient when the temperatures are higher, say, that of a modern CPU which, before cooling, is going to be in the triple digits.

    2) I think that people are assuming that this device will somehow cool better than current technologies. But nowhere do they claim that. Since when is the average gamer worried about the power consumption of the CPU cooler? Most would happily accept a CPU that sucks twice the power of anything currently on the market, as long as it keeps the CPU cooler. Sandia only claims their design will cool more efficiently, i.e., at a lower cost - and perhaps only within the hinted at sweet spot of 45 degrees Celsius.
  • 6 Hide
    theuniquegamer , June 24, 2012 5:51 PM
    This kind of cooler might be helpful in those super skinny ultrabooks to give superior cooling.
  • 0 Hide
    JamesSneed , June 24, 2012 6:03 PM
    Instead of spinning the heat sink why don't they wrap a plastic shroud around it to force air through it properly. Something similar to stock GPU coolers so that it forces the air to circle around the cooler.
  • 1 Hide
    MrMakapuu , June 24, 2012 6:23 PM
    7 times better than a Dynatron G950 (they even still around)? Is that saying too much or too little? Sounds good and quiet on paper though... Gonna be a bitch figuring a way to connect it... Oh and watch your fingers!
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