Cooligy, a Stanford University spin-off company, has announced a new processor-cooling technology called Active Micro-Channel Cooling that was developed in the university’s engineering department in cooperation with Apple, Intel, AMD and DARPA, according to
According to information at the Cooligy Web site, the new technology can “effectively cool the next breed of powerful, hot microprocessors destined for the next generation of workstations, servers and high-end” personal computers.
The microprocessors will not only produce higher overall temperatures but also create one or more concentrated hot-spots of particularly high heat on the chip, the company says. These hot spots, typically found above areas where the most amount of work is performed on the chip, must be kept to within a specified temperature to ensure high-performance and reliability.
“Traditional means of cooling these chips, such as heat sinks, fan sinks and heat pipes, require a large mass of metal to passively absorb and spread the heat to air-cooled fins,” Cooligy explains. “These passive technologies cannot effectively cool the hot-spots produced in next-generation microprocessors. The new [Active Micro-Channel Cooling] system absorbs and dissipates heat from the chip’s hot spots. It collects heat using a thin layer of micro-machined silicon that sits on top of the microprocessor. “
A dense area of Micro-Channels etched into the silicon purportedly enables fluid to circulate through the heat collector and efficiently absorb and take away heat. A tiny solid-state Electro-Kinetic pump circulates fluid through the cooling system and to a “heat radiator,” which transfers the heat to air. The solution makes no noise and has no moving parts, Cooligy says. The company claims that, in tests, the solution has proven effective to cool hotspots of up to 1,000 watts per square centimeter.
“Although some form of fluid cooling has existed for the most sophisticated computer systems during the past four decades, none have provided the precision, reliability or cost effectiveness needed to cool the hot spots of the next generation of microprocessors,” Cooligy says.
Macworld UK reports that: “The method was successfully modelled and prototyped in cooperation with Intel, AMD, Apple, and DARPA. The Intel test produced the highest performance Intel had ever seen from any cooling technology,”
Cooligy says it will begin shipping “qualifying systems” to computer manufacturers later this year.