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Taiwan Component Makers Want Heatpipes in Smartphones

By - Source: DigiTimes | B 12 comments

Eventually, heatpipes will become the norm.

Unnamed sources stated on Tuesday that Taiwan-based thermal module makers are hoping that smartphone vendors follow Sony Mobile's lead and use heatpipes in their smartphones. Sony Mobile has a heatpipe in its Xperia Z2, as does Japan-based vendor NEC, which used heatpipes in the Media X06E in 2013.

"Heat pipes are hollow metal pipes filled with a liquid coolant that moves heat by evaporating and condensing in an endless cycle," Cooler Master explains. "A heatpipe can be considered a passive heat pump, moving heat as a result of the laws of physics."

According to the sources, Samsung Electronics and Lenovo began experimenting with heatpipes after NEC's phone went retail. Yet despite their interest, Samsung and Lenovo have yet to implement heatpipes into their smartphone designs.

In the desktop PC market, the typical heatpipe will range from 1 mm to 2 mm in diameter. Heatpipes that are used in Ultrabook-style form factors measure 1 to 1.2 mm, whereas heatpipes used in tablets measure 0.8 mm in diameter. Those that can be used in smartphones have a diameter of 0.6 mm and are now available for volume production.

Digitimes reports that Japan-based Furukawa Electric and Fujikura as well as Taiwan-based Chaun Choung Technology, TaiSol Electronics, Auras Technology, Asia Vital Components and Yeh-Chiang Technology have developed and made ready heatpipe solutions for smartphones.

Sources claim that the heat-dissipation effects of heatpipes are better than using graphite carbon fiber sheets, which are currently used in most smartphones on the market. Still, do we really need heatpipes in smartphones? Aren't the graphite sheets enough to protect our delicate digits? As smartphone processors (SoCs) grow in cores, so may the heat, leading to a better way to keep the components cool.

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Top Comments
  • 16 Hide
    liveforcars , April 15, 2014 11:32 AM
    What does the photo have to do with this?
  • 11 Hide
    ddpruitt , April 15, 2014 11:49 AM
    Instead making a phone with a more powerful chip whose power I won't use and can burn a hole in my pocket, how about you give the same power for less heat and better battery life?
Other Comments
  • 16 Hide
    liveforcars , April 15, 2014 11:32 AM
    What does the photo have to do with this?
  • Display all 19 comments.
  • 1 Hide
    Shankovich , April 15, 2014 11:33 AM
    Don't see why. Not many phone chips make enough heat to make the pipes feasible. I can see the advantage but I mean what's the gain? No chips get hot enough to cause significant leakage. Heat pipes would allow more powerful chips, but then you'll kill the battery before lunch. A lot more R&D needs to go into the battery tech first, not cooling and screen resolution.
  • 9 Hide
    anthony8989 , April 15, 2014 11:42 AM
    Quote:
    In the desktop PC market, the typical heatpipe will range from 1 mm to 2 mm in diameter.


    Don't think I've seen any 1 mm - 2 mm heat pipes in the desktop PC market. Usually CPU and GPU heat pipes are 5-10 mm in diameter.
  • 11 Hide
    ddpruitt , April 15, 2014 11:49 AM
    Instead making a phone with a more powerful chip whose power I won't use and can burn a hole in my pocket, how about you give the same power for less heat and better battery life?
  • 7 Hide
    David Dewis , April 15, 2014 11:54 AM
    Quote:
    What does the photo have to do with this?


    that was my first thought
  • 0 Hide
    firefoxx04 , April 15, 2014 12:20 PM
    Now that I have a data plan worth using, my phone batter last me 9 hours. That's enough sometimes but other times it's a major pain. Give me a 3000mah battery before beefing up my already plenty fast phone. Thanks.
  • 0 Hide
    derekullo , April 15, 2014 12:59 PM
    Zombie holding a cell phone ^
  • 0 Hide
    ekagori , April 15, 2014 3:43 PM
    What will they think of next? Adding a Hyper EVO (Mini Mobile Edition) to cool the SoC? lol
  • 1 Hide
    MaxTesla , April 15, 2014 4:12 PM
    Quote:
    What does the photo have to do with this?


    The phone gets so hot that it explodes and blows your face away

    DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
  • 0 Hide
    ewok93 , April 15, 2014 6:06 PM
    Maybe better cooling will allow for a better battery in the future, but I agree adding cooling will only allow for a more powerful phone, meaning higher power draw, because that's really all the heat is, power. Although, I have a Nexus 5, and it gets hot and has huge throttling issues, so a better cooling system would help. I think that better cooling will help a lot of phones, but if it exceeds the phone's heat output, they'll just increase the power usage, making the battery life even shorter. You can't upgrade the cooling without upgrading the battery, basically.
  • -1 Hide
    Jaroslav Jandek , April 16, 2014 12:49 AM
    Sure, this would improve the throttling issues current phones have - I've seen Snapdragon 800 doing worse than S600 that in turn was doing worse than S400 in overall performance due to throttling (kids messing with the phones - playing games, etc.).
    The end result would be more powerful SoCs and the same throttling issues as before and even more pathetic battery life.

    Also, the heatpipes would just spread all the heat generated by the SoC to a larger area, therefore making the whole phone hot - not to mention more expensive. For a PC, that is fine, but for a phone that you hold in your hands, that's undesirable (at least for me).
  • 0 Hide
    rwinches , April 16, 2014 4:35 AM
    What a bunch of nimrods, completely thrown into a tizzy by a picture.
    And so many stupid/ignorant statements about Socs not getting hot.

    I can't wait for these to be more widely used in tablets so overclocking won't fry your chip, maybe coupled with an electronic piezo fan.

    The number of smartphones with longer talk times is growing rapidly.
  • 0 Hide
    piropeople13 , April 17, 2014 9:01 AM
    Why is that picture with the zombie at all relevant. I wanted to send this article to my dad because he is interested in these things but now I can't because that picture will gross him out.
  • 0 Hide
    rwinches , April 17, 2014 7:08 PM
    ^^^ So cut & paste is too difficult?
    It's a one page blurb, up your skill set.
  • 0 Hide
    danwat1234 , April 24, 2014 8:20 AM
    The heatpipe would be useful if the SOC could clock up when plugged in. Then the phone could do a lot more BOINC (distributed computing) work when plugged in or use more sophisticated software without bogging down. But I think it's use is limited because without heatpipes they can still design a phone where the chassis is the heatsink. With a heatpipe the only real advantage would happen if there was active air flow I think.
  • 1 Hide
    fil1p , May 9, 2014 8:59 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    In the desktop PC market, the typical heatpipe will range from 1 mm to 2 mm in diameter.


    Don't think I've seen any 1 mm - 2 mm heat pipes in the desktop PC market. Usually CPU and GPU heat pipes are 5-10 mm in diameter.


    True, and while they do exist in smaller sizes they are not typically used due to their higher cost. In general the more compact heatpipe designs are more expensive to manufacture.
  • 0 Hide
    Eihcal , May 11, 2014 6:21 PM
    When is the gtx 780ti coming to my ipod? Cmon future...
  • 0 Hide
    Master467 , May 12, 2014 6:39 AM
    Set up a mini steam turbine in there, and have the heat produced by the SoC running make more power to run the SoC. Obviously this won't be 100% of your energy back, but still.

    And the first one to make a .6mm steam turbine charge a phone will be a damn billionaire.
  • 0 Hide
    ewok93 , May 12, 2014 6:45 AM
    Turbines take up space, and are heavy. If somebody can do that without making it a brick, I would be impressed.