Air and water-based cooling solutions for your CPU or GPU might seem “good enough”, but in reality, they’re usually quite inefficient. The reason boils down to the fact that A) these coolers don’t actually generate cooling properties (like freon in a refrigerator) and B) there’s a limit to how well they can expel warm air without sounding like a jet engine. Sandia National Laboratories has a solution to the latter issue with a moving heatsink based on an impeller design.
According to Sandia, a current bottleneck of heat transfer is the boundary of dead air (boundary layer) that sits around the fins of any CPU cooler, one that thins dramatically in an area where there’s rapid movement, such as on an aircraft wing while airborne. The idea with the Sandia Cooler is to thin the boundary layer as much as possible while also expelling warm air fast – almost instantly.
The design seems rather simple. There’s a motor, a plate and the cooler itself. In operation, the cooler spins at 2000 RPM, lifting slightly off of the base. At this speed, air is gathered and pushed away immediately, and it’s being said that motor aside, the cooler is extremely quiet. At the same time, because of its speed and design, this cooler doesn’t suffer the flaw of all consumer models: dust build-up.
There’s of course one other caveat – the fact that a metal object in your PC would be spinning at 2000 RPM. Undoubtedly this would do some damage to a finger, so we’d imagine there’d be some sort of guard planned. Of course, coming up with a guard that’s both equally efficient and safe might be a little difficult.
What do you guys think? Could you picture this in your own PC?