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[Smithsonian] A New System for Cooling Down Computers Could Revolutionize the Pace of Innovation

Oct 17, 2014
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The cooling technology has the potential to become a key part of power converters ranging from small devices to electric cars. The converter Matioli's team created pushed out more than three times the power of a typical laptop charger but was the size of a USB stick. He compares it to the evolution of a computer that once filled a room and now fits into a pocket. “We could start imagining the same thing for power electronics in applications that go all the way from power supplies to electric vehicles to solar inverters for solar panels and anything related to energy,” Matioli says. “So that opens a lot of possibilities.”

I was reading this article, and I was wondering if someone more technical could tell me is this the future for gaming cpu/gpu? What do you think?
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Oct 17, 2014
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Yea, its the same idea, just a new date for the epiphany news zomg!

I just re-read the article, and it says that this research has been building upon since the 90's, but that there has been a recent advancement by Matioli and his team, building upon even more breakthroughs that occurred in 2015... so it seems to be there is progress being made, which is not the same as saying its the same thing being rehashed... did you read the article? I'm guessing you and @dragontamer5788 did not...
Apr 24, 2020
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Is this this same breakthrough?

No. But the same idea. Everyone knows that fluids transfer heat very effectively. Its the basis for liquid-cooling in some high-end PCs and some supercomputers after all.

The idea to make a micro-scale version applied to SI-chips occurs to pretty much every chip designer. These chip designs are physical after all: they're all just piles of metal, silicon, and doping agents applied in layers that just so happen to make a transistor (in most cases). If you simply reshape the metal in another shape, it becomes a channel for fluids to travel in. This has been known for a long time.


I in particular, went to a university which was trying to use this idea to make "MEMS", literally gears that make true mechanical machines out of this silicon process.


Here are pictures of MEMS-gears, next to a dust-mite for size comparison. Using silicon / copper at microscopic scales has its own set of issues: I never really specialized in MEMS so I don't know the full details. But this entire field is constantly evolving and getting better.

MEMS are used in the accelerometer in your phone. Ever wonder how your phone knows which direction gravity is in? Which direction you're pointing your phone at? Yeah, tiny little MEMS that turn switches on/off. Its rather simple really. (Do you have a comb? Bang a comb against your hands. Notice: the teeth of the comb only vibrate along one axis. This is the fundamental attribute used by MEMS based accelerometers, which can be used to detect which direction a device moves by sensing the vibration of comb-like teeth). I also hear MEMS are being used in LCD screens and whatnot.

I don't know if "channel that holds water" counts as a MEMS, but its the same basic idea: to create a simple machine that accomplishes some mundane task at microscopic scales. (even if this "machine" is simply "hold water in this micro-pipe"),
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A few things I noticed....

If the header image is what the article is about, size matters most here.
They are on a tiny scale atm, not saying it cannot be expanded, but for now, it is what it is.

I do have issue with some of the figures. They say 60% improvement over air, which is an impressive statement, but then they expand and say this "new" idea is 50Xs better.... You see where I am going.

Essentially they took direct die cooling as we all know it, took a tiny direct die processor, lasered some channels for micro-flow, pulled the baseplate off the block, and made a sammich.

Cool concept.... Good luck with it though as by that article everything is proprietary, as they make the chip and the cooler. I'd guess others have to wait for the patent time to expire before something like this took off, or maybe corporate espionage could get this out of the tight grip of those making it.