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Intel Patents Fan Speed Control to Cool CPUs

By - Source: USPTO | B 31 comments

Intel has been granted a patent which ties cooling fan speed to CPU leakage power.

The document, originally filed in September 2008 and approved by the USPTO on March 27, 2012, describes a process to calculate the fan speed that will decrease platform power the most.

The patent specifically refers to CPUs that operate in a low temperature state with a fan running at low speed. According to Intel, the power used to operate a fan can be offset by saved processor power. The process to determine the perfect fan speed would include

-  measuring the processor power and the fan power when it is initially determined that the processor is operating in a low temperature state prior to any fan speed adjustments
- calculating the system power prior to any fan speed adjustments
- increasing the fan speed
- measuring the processor power and the fan power for the increased fan speed
- calculating the system power for the increased fan speed
- dynamically adjusting the fan speed based on changes to the system power
- measuring the processor power and the fan power for the dynamically adjusted fan speed
- calculating the system power for the dynamically adjusted fan speed
- selecting the preferred speed when the system power is determined to be substantially at lowest value

It is interesting to note that this patent highlights a scenario in which a fan is not just used to bring the temperature of a CPU down from a certain exceeded threshold, but is leveraged as an almost-always-on option to reduce the power consumption of a CPU platform. The idea obviously refers especially to the problem of leakage power that can be reduced by containing the CPU temperature.

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  • 19 Hide
    Goldengoose , March 30, 2012 2:12 PM
    crisan_tiberiulmao, how can u pattent this? so, now if i want to control a fan to cool a CPU i have to pay intel a fee? lame..


    I think the difference is this will focus on saving power and changing based on power going to CPU as well as tempreture. slight difference in just changing based on current tempreture. Means it can combat incomming heat increases.
  • 13 Hide
    willard , March 30, 2012 2:36 PM
    crisan_tiberiulmao, how can u pattent this? so, now if i want to control a fan to cool a CPU i have to pay intel a fee? lame..

    I guess your righteous indignation prevented you from actually reading the article. Because if you had, you'd have seen that Intel isn't patenting controlling fan speed, it's patenting calculating the optimal power usage split between a fan and CPU to produce the lowest temperatures possible in low voltage, low fan speed chips.

    I think I need to stop expecting posters on Tom's to use their brains when the word "patent" shows up in an article.
Other Comments
  • 2 Hide
    crisan_tiberiu , March 30, 2012 2:09 PM
    lmao, how can u pattent this? so, now if i want to control a fan to cool a CPU i have to pay intel a fee? lame..
  • 9 Hide
    Goldengoose , March 30, 2012 2:11 PM
    Can't see any negatives to this in all honesty.

    Anyone heard anything more about the fan that will rotate backwards at full speed for a few seconds to clear dust? Has it been implemented into the commercial field yet?
  • -7 Hide
    DjEaZy , March 30, 2012 2:12 PM
    ... wat'tha'funck? Need to hurry up and patent breathing... o'snap... intel already did it...
  • 19 Hide
    Goldengoose , March 30, 2012 2:12 PM
    crisan_tiberiulmao, how can u pattent this? so, now if i want to control a fan to cool a CPU i have to pay intel a fee? lame..


    I think the difference is this will focus on saving power and changing based on power going to CPU as well as tempreture. slight difference in just changing based on current tempreture. Means it can combat incomming heat increases.
  • 9 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , March 30, 2012 2:15 PM
    I am inclined to agree with goldengoose.
  • -6 Hide
    vir_cotto , March 30, 2012 2:15 PM
    They are protecting themselves from Apple.
  • 7 Hide
    gilbertfh , March 30, 2012 2:23 PM
    This isn't exactly rocket science.
  • 13 Hide
    willard , March 30, 2012 2:36 PM
    crisan_tiberiulmao, how can u pattent this? so, now if i want to control a fan to cool a CPU i have to pay intel a fee? lame..

    I guess your righteous indignation prevented you from actually reading the article. Because if you had, you'd have seen that Intel isn't patenting controlling fan speed, it's patenting calculating the optimal power usage split between a fan and CPU to produce the lowest temperatures possible in low voltage, low fan speed chips.

    I think I need to stop expecting posters on Tom's to use their brains when the word "patent" shows up in an article.
  • 5 Hide
    CaedenV , March 30, 2012 2:41 PM
    So now that they are getting out CPUs that hardly need a fan (even my i7 stays plenty cool unless under a heavy load at low fan settings, and even then the dinky stock cooler was adequate... though I still replaced it) they are finally getting to the point where there is really intelligent fan control. Where was this tech back in the days of the P3 and P4 CPUs where even the entry level offerings could cook you a nice breakfast and warm the water for your shower in the morning?

    At any rate, Goose is right, it is basing the fan speed on usage, and then calculating if it takes less power to let the fan stay at idle, or to crank it up to prevent leakage, which is quite different than saying 'at temp X set fan at RPM Y' which is how we currently do things.
  • -7 Hide
    xenol , March 30, 2012 3:01 PM
    I did this for my solo senior project. In fact, everyone had to. How is this patentable?

    Okay, so maybe not in the same manner as Intel, but still.
  • 5 Hide
    willard , March 30, 2012 3:25 PM
    xenolI did this for my solo senior project. In fact, everyone had to. How is this patentable?Okay, so maybe not in the same manner as Intel, but still.

    I'm going to guess your senior project was nothing but a simple fan speed controller based on temperature. That's not at all what Intel patented. They patented calculating optimal power draw based on predicting the power draw and temperature of the chip and fan together to minimize things like current leak and result in the lowest possible temperature and power use.

    I really doubt you did anything remotely similar to that.
  • -6 Hide
    zzz_b , March 30, 2012 3:30 PM
    Next someone will patent the hole in macaroni :-D
  • 8 Hide
    drumsrule786 , March 30, 2012 3:43 PM
    goldengooseCan't see any negatives to this in all honesty.Anyone heard anything more about the fan that will rotate backwards at full speed for a few seconds to clear dust? Has it been implemented into the commercial field yet?


    If I remember correctly MSI did this on a few of their graphics cards
  • -3 Hide
    nurgletheunclean , March 30, 2012 3:59 PM
    Yay, another crazy patent to sue over! There can never be too many of these.
  • -8 Hide
    Tab54o , March 30, 2012 4:18 PM
    This is some horseshit. Speed control has been used FOREVER.
  • -7 Hide
    Tab54o , March 30, 2012 4:19 PM
    I dont get how you can take an idea that's already widely used and then apply it to something else and patent that. This is even worse because its been done on cpus way before 2008.
  • -5 Hide
    maxinexus , March 30, 2012 4:22 PM
    I should patent my bowel moment sequence. My way uses the least pushing
  • -5 Hide
    freggo , March 30, 2012 4:41 PM
    It's a neat piece of engineering, but patent... a bit thin I think.
    I'd call it common engineering sense.
  • 5 Hide
    rantoc , March 30, 2012 4:41 PM
    Who don't understand that this is more about pre-emtive cooling control to keep the cpu temperatures more stable (IE spin up the fan already before the heat starts to accumilate in the cpu or spin it down slightly when the needs drop even when the temp is slightly elevated). Its like predicting your car will need additional cooling when it starts to draw additional gas
    rather than start when it raises a certain temperature threshold).

    It have NOTHING to do with patenting the normal active heat fan controllers that reacts to heat AFTER its have raised. Its a new idea and unless someone done it before - This is a new approach to tackle the problem, if you understand the underlaying mechanics of it i'm sure you agree. Its not like patenting round corners of the layout of a menu and the like.
  • 0 Hide
    willard , March 30, 2012 5:09 PM
    rantocThis is a new approach to tackle the problem, if you understand the underlaying mechanics of it i'm sure you agree. Its not like patenting round corners of the layout of a menu and the like.

    Good luck getting anybody on Tom's to say anything other than "ZOMG CORPORATIONS AND PATENTS ARE EVIL AND STUPID I SHOULD PATENT X LOL".

    My opinion of the users on Tom's drops steadily every day. 99% of them just want to whine about corporate America, prices and how it's like, totally unfair that they can't afford bleeding edge technology on their allowance. I'm not really sure why I post here anymore.
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