PC cooling design seems to have been stationary for years, with only minor tweaks to the same tried and trusted designs emerging. Thus a heatsink design from, say, 10 years ago may be indistinguishable from a new one. However, a Belgian thermal engineering software firm called Diabatix wants to change the status quo, and has recently found a synergistic partner, Amnovis, a manufacturer which specializes in copper 3D printing. Some early fruits of this partnership were recently shared in a webinar, and they are good. It is claimed that the new collaboratively designed and produced heatsinks deliver “22% better CPU cooling.”
Diabatix’s signature software product is an application called ColdStream. A cloud-native platform that supports the entire cooling design process, “from thermal analysis to thermal design.” From an electronics product profile ColdStream can predict temperatures, automatically indicate the correct size and shape of standard heatsink. ColdStream can go further and generate an optimal custom heatsink based on the science of computational fluid dynamics (CFD), the application of AI, and knowledge of 250+ thermal materials. The generative designs are typically organic looking, and nothing like a traditional heatsink which feature a regular symmetrical array of fins or pins.
It is all well and good having these optimized designs, but what about manufacturing? Most people will be aware that for short run production, which is popular for a specialized design, 3D printing is a great asset. For thermal conductivity, copper remains an optimal choice when weighing up price / cooling performance. Amnovis recognized this strength, and is already established in the copper 3D printing business. Now it has added Diabatix ColdStream designs to its portfolio.
The signature offering of Amnovis is to use its proprietary copper powders and a patented production method to deliver “unprecedented thermal, electrical and mechanical properties for complex-shaped heat and electrical conduction components.” Copper products as thin as 200 microns and with gaps as fine as 250 microns are within the capabilities of Amnovis’ patented processes.
The collaborative 3D Printed custom heatsink, designed by Diabatix and produced by Amnovis, is currently undergoing independent performance validation by the University of Leuven, Belgium. Test figures are expected to become available in Spring next year. Meanwhile, those looking for greater technical depth regarding this partnership, and to check out a simulation based comparison of a generative design vs a reference design heatsink, can check out the webinar and / or download a whitepaper available from the Diabatix website.
If you are a Raspberry Pi aficionado, you might also be interested to read about Diabatix’s application its tech to making an optimal Pi heatsink.