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.