Processors On The Rocks: Asetek's VapoChill

Andre Sloth Eriksen And His Dream

More than three years ago, without being aware of Kryotech's parallel-existence, Andre Sloth Eriksen decided to follow his vision and founded the company 'asetek ' in Denmark. At this time he had been a trainee at the Danish refrigeration unit manufacturer 'Danfoss ' and his idea was to produce a professional ultra-cooling solution for microprocessors that would enable it to run at clock speeds far beyond its specifications. Together with some die-hard cooling experts he started to develop asetek's "VapoChill " line of products. Unlike his future US-competitor, asetek's cooling solution was supposed to be small, light, quiet, easy to install and as versatile and independent as possible, but yet cost-effective. Today, asetek Inc. has become a full grown business, with R&D, Sales and Production departments, it is closely cooperating with leading cooling companies like Danfoss Denmark and Danfoss Germany and ready to supply the world with its well-designed and mature high-tech processor cooling solutions.

Two days ago Asetek announced its new VapoChill For Socket Processors and that, ladies and gentlemen, is what this article is actually about.

Sub-Zero Cooling In Theory

You know me long enough to remember that I just can't shake my past as a doctor in a university hospital, who used to teach medical students. For that reason I won't get into VapoChill's details until I had the chance to explain the basic technology behind it. The impatient of you might be satisfied with the ultra-short version, which goes "sub-zero processor cooling is based on the same technology as the freezer that hosts all your frozen pizzas".

I see that some of you are still interested, so get ready for some minimal thermo dynamics, your favorite in physics class.

Freon - The Thermal Carrier

First of all we need a medium that is able to transport the heat away from the processor. In case of a normal fan/heat sink solution this would be the surrounding air. Sub-zero cooling requires a closed system, which is using a specific coolant, also known as 'freon'. Freon has a bit of a bad name, because former versions of it, as used in old refrigerators, freezers and air conditionings used to be destructive to the ozone layer.

The coolant found in today's fridges, freezers, air conditionings and VapoChill is 'green', which doesn't exactly mean that you should fertilize your plants with it, but at least it won't kill them or you if there should ever be a leak. I've breathed the stuff once too and besides the fact that it might have made me do this lousy website job, it didn't have too many bad effects on me. At room temperature the coolant is typically in gas-phase. Within a cooling unit it is constantly changing between fluid and gas condition, doing the job of - yes, you've guessed it - the actual cooling.

Cooling Through Evaporation

When a medium changes its aggregate condition from liquid to gaseous it actually 'consumes' energy. The best example that everyone knows is sweating. The sweat glands put some moisture on your skin and as it evaporates you get the cooling effect. Different fluids can 'transport heat' at certain temperatures more or less effectively. Splashing some alcohol (don't use that expensive scotch, please) on your skin will make you realize that it cools a lot better than water. It simply evaporates quicker.