Noctua shows off pumpless AIO liquid cooler prototype that uses evaporative cooling

Noctua pumpless AIO liquid cooler prototype
(Image credit: Future)

Noctua is a brand known for its air coolers, but it looks like the German cooling manufacturer is finally dipping its toe into alternative cooling solutions. Noctua showed off a prototype of an AIO-esque liquid cooler at Computex, built in collaboration with Calyos, that uses dual-phase thermosiphon cooling to dissipate heat from a CPU.

The prototype has three primary components: a heat spreader, tubes, and a radiator — in this case it is also known as a condenser — all filled with evaporative coolant. Heat from the CPU causes a chemical reaction within the liquid that transforms it into a hot evaporative fluid, causing it to rise to the condenser, which then cools the vapor, turning it back into a liquid. Gravity finishes the cycle by pulling the cooled-off liquid back down to the heat spreader, which is connected to the heat-generating CPU.

This design is not new: evaporative cooling has been used extensively in air coolers for decades, ironically, which is probably why Noctua ventured onto this route in the first place. However, it is a cooling solution that has yet to be mastered in the AIO liquid cooling space. Noctua built the prototype with standard form factors in mind — if you didn't know any better, you would think it was a traditional AIO liquid cooler. The radiator is 240mm in size, connected to two sleeved tubes that lead to a heat spreader that's compatible with LGA sockets. The heat spreader appears to be using repurposed installation mounts from Noctua's air coolers.

Noctua's pumpless solution has many perks. The lack of any pump means the unit itself is completely silent (save for the fans), and the unit technically has no moving parts (aside from the fans) — the same advantages air coolers have. Another advantage is the liquid itself, which should technically make this prototype perform better than Noctua's best air coolers. The only downside is that there is potential for the cooler to leak, but that is a problem that's basically nonexistent with current AIO liquid coolers.

Noctua has not provided any performance metrics for the new cooler — but that's expected, given that this is a proof of concept more than anything. Noctua announced that its prototype thermosiphon cooler is actively in the early development stage, and the company has no launch date or pricing projections at this time.

Hopefully Noctua will go through with this cooler and not scrap it before it comes to market. We would all love to see what a Noctua liquid cooler would look like, after all. The best part is that Noctua is toying with entering the AIO liquid cooler market with a completely unique product that does not use the same cooling techniques as its competitors. The only thing we can confidently predict about this product, if it makes it to store shelves, is that it will be very pricey.

Aaron Klotz
Freelance News Writer

Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.

With contributions from
  • Lucky_SLS
    Yup, expect 250 USD pricing ez.
    Reply
  • TheHerald
    Lucky_SLS said:
    Yup, expect 250 USD pricing ez.
    Well considering the new d15 is 139$, 250 for this kinda makes sense. Kinda.
    Reply
  • dwd999
    You may wish to edit the first sentence in the body of the article: Noctua is based in Austria, so its not legally German although they may speak the same language; and they only design products so they're technically not a manufacturer. They refer to their products as "Designed in Austria".
    Reply
  • husker
    Ah, Austria!

    Reply
  • thestryker
    The tech is sound and if they're working with Calyos they should be able to fast track it relatively speaking. They created that ill fated Kickstarter for the big passive case which Streacom took over and is manufacturing as the SG10. It has sounded like the big problem is manufacturing the case itself and that the passive cooling aspect has been fine.

    From what I understand the big thing for this cooler from Noctua will be getting the right amount of radiator mass and liquid flow design. This is the exact sort of cooler I'd love to have as it gives you the benefit of moving the heat away from the CPU/GPU while not having a pump to potentially break down.
    Reply
  • dwd999
    This also raises the question of what percentage of users have cases that will allow mounting horizontally in the top of the case since it depends on gravity. Those users who are limited to or prefer to mount their coolers vertically on the front or side of the case would seem to be excluded.
    Reply
  • t3t4
    Don't expect this product to hit store shelves anytime soon

    I don't expect this product to work very well let alone be in stock or sell at a competitive price! The idea is about as old as dinosaur bones now, but at least I can drive my car on those. I don't believe for a second this cooler could cool my 13900k at anything more than idle!
    Reply
  • TheHerald
    t3t4 said:
    I don't expect this product to work very well let alone be in stock or sell at a competitive price! The idea is about as old as dinosaur bones now, but at least I can drive my car on those. I don't believe for a second this cooler could cool my 13900k at anything more than idle!
    You realize that's kinda how normal air coolers works as well right? Why would they not be able to cool a 13900k?
    Reply
  • t3t4
    TheHerald said:
    You realize that's kinda how normal air coolers works as well right? Why would they not be able to cool a 13900k?
    Because of the obvious physics, well, obvious to me. No air cooler can keep a 13900k, cool, and those "hoses" are gonna be a problem. Mark my words, wait for the 3rd party test results and then it should all make sense.
    Reply
  • TheHerald
    t3t4 said:
    Because of the obvious physics, well, obvious to me. No air cooler can keep a 13900k, cool, and those "hoses" are gonna be a problem. Mark my words, wait for the 3rd party test results and then it should all make sense.
    Was cooling mine on a U12A. 41100 cbr23 score at 85c. Didn't see any issue. In gaming scenarios of course it was hovering at mid 60ies
    Reply