Next-Gen CPU Cooler Uses Bubbles

Noise Limit Inc. said that its "next generation" CPU cooler appeared this week at the SEMI-THERM 21 trade show, revealing that CPUs don't really need fans to keep their cool, but actually prefer bubbles. We like bubbles too.

This past weekend, Tom's Hardware threw up a great article entitled "Big, Bad, Cooling Systems," sporting thirty-three images of the craziest cooling solutions we could uncover. The gallery showed just how creative PC enthusiasts can be, rigging up dozens of tubes to cool every component, or doing it the easy way by dumping everything in a fish tank and filling it up with mineral oil (sans the fish, of course). Granted one or two featured setups used bubbles as an effect (or so it seemed), Noise Limit's "next generation" Silentflux cooling system would have been ideal for this feature. Its setup is admittedly less-than-spectacular in a visual sense, however the idea behind its creation is unique to say the least: use bubbles to cool the CPU.

According to the company, the Silentflux system--dubbed as a passive pro "no fan required" high performance cooler--went on display this week at the SEMI-THERM 25 trade show held in San Jose, California.  However, in a press release distributed yesterday, Noise Limit said that its Silentflux system utilizes bubble pump technology, removing the cooling fan completely with the aid of a high efficiency condenser. An evaporator (boiling) chamber collects the heat generated by the CPU, thus causing gas bubbles that, in turn, create a pump effect. The heat thus moves through the closed loop tubing via a hot liquid into a highly efficient condenser/radiator (fin area). Gas is then condensed and returned to the evaporator chamber. Hopefully all those gas bubbles and hot liquids won't create an explosive effect, especially after eating a night's worth of spicy food.

Noise Limit said that the Silentflux design is still patent pending, and that end-users can accommodate the Silentflux for any situation, whether they want to capture heat from dual CPUs, or from a CPU and a GPU in a gaming rig. “Noise Limit’s cooling system products are intrinsically engineered to achieve a new low noise threshold, but the design also offers greater flexibility in footprint design for various computing-based applications including media centers, all-in-one PC, servers, and high-end gaming products,” said Bob Senior, executive vice president at Noise Limit.

Granted a boiling chamber planted within the PC seems a little risky--if not dangerous, Noise Limit assures consumers that the Silentflux system is extremely reliable, extremely predictable, and is insensitive to temperature, vibration, and shock. The company even claims that the system will not leak. When compared to heat pipes, the Silentflux provides up to 50 percent less thermal resistance because it is an ultra-low pressure-drop system; this allows for very low fan velocities at the radiator end of the system.

"In typical operation, the cooling action will be functioning but the product will seem quiet to the product user," the company said. "Bubble pump technology is not only efficient in capturing and transferring heat, it is silent, too. And it works to temperatures as low as -40C."

By using simple physics principles, Noise Limit has created a unique way to remove heat from the CPU without the need for noisy cooling fans. And because the Silentflux offers unlimited design options and scalability, this "next generation" cooling system may actually be the way to go for PC enthusiasts and PC gamers alike. The Silentflux is not only easy on the ears, but is 100 percent recyclable, uses low power, and is extremely cost-effective.

"The team has made great strides by lowering noise reduction in a solution that has great performance and high reliability," said AMD.

  • IronRyan21
    Sounds too good to be true. Will we see this anytime soon to the average consumer?
  • hellwig
    Thermo-dynamics was never my thing, but how do they get the compression back into liquid state to be efficient? You refridgerator works on much the same premise as this device, take a cooling agent, allow it to expand, taking in energy from the air inside your fridge, then expell that heat through a radiator on the back. The only problem is, your fridge needs a powered compressor to get the coolant back into a liquid phase.

    In theory, if your CPU ran hot enough, this thing would just shut-down, right?
  • scarpa
    Yeah when can we buy such a cooling system?
  • Looks fairly promising, but I'm interested to know how competitive the pricing will be. If they put it at under $275 for a GPU & CPU solution it should be a great deal!
  • bigbluecheese
    It appears that they're running some sort of liquid in a low pressure situation so that it doesn't take much energy to evaporate the liquid and then the environment doesn't have to take away too much energy to get the gas to re-condense. They may just be able to get away with it because they use a liquid with a small heat of vaporization. For that reason, I doubt the concerns of leaking because I'd bet that the liquid is a non-conducting hydrocarbon.

    I think you're right that if your CPU ran hot enough this thing wouldn't work as well. If your CPU transfers too much energy to the liquid, how is it going to condense and release all of its energy to the environment? Either there's a trade secret there or its a serious concern.
  • pharge
    "your CPU ran hot enough this thing wouldn't work as well."

    It is easy... we just need to keep our room "refrigerated"...;)
  • hurbt
    Phase change coolers are nothing new. It's an interesting solution in a PC, and if AMD is recommending them, they're probably not "too good to be true." Every cooling solution has limitations... you wouldn't OC your new i7 to 6ghz with just a fan and a heat sink...

    If I could slap one of these on my 4850, I would... damn it's loud at 60% fan speed!!!
  • LuxZg
    Seems like an evolution of their previous CPU cooler. They've just made it work more like a closed-looped liquid cooling system this time, so you can cool several components with a single large radiator.

    Since they claim it's simple, I would also like them to follow up with the appropriate price. 250$ suggested is too much for me personaly. Good air cooler for CPU is 40$, good air cooler for VGA is another 40$ (with fans!).. so this thing should be priced at or below 80$. If it costs 250$ it has to provide temperatures that are much lower than those achieved by good high-end air coolers of today.

    So I'm just hoping for a 100$ price.. But it will need a manufacturer to make it real. So far they've failed with manufacturing and marketing their CPU variant, even though it was announced similary as this system.
  • warezme
    4850 at 60% loud? Try two 295's at full scream..., wicked fast but loud as heck, fortunately thats with manual settings and surpisingly under auto mode those fans never kick up. The cards seem to run fine at 85C without spooling its own fans up? I still don't know what the threshold is for the fans to auto increase where I can hear them.
  • StupidRabbit
    We like bubbles too.

    I bet you do :D..