Mobo maker builds 'powerless' processor cooling fan

Mobo maker MSI has come up with a novel way of keeping processors cool and conserving energy at the same time: use the CPU to drive its own fan.

It's actually a new implementation of an old discovery. MSI's Air Power Cooler uses the energy inherent in the expansion of air as it warms up to drive a fan. As the CPU gets hot, it causes air in a piston to expand. That pushes out the piston rod, which turns the fan rotor, pulling air over a heatpipe-fed heatsink. The heatsing helps cool the piston, so the air inside becomes more dense, pulling the piston rod back to its original position.

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(BilliShere said @ #14)
yeah wait till the whole thing gets clogged with dust!!! it's no match for dust....pc enemy # 1

And how exactly is that any different from your normal powered cooler? If it gets "clogged by dust", it'll stop spinning just as easily as this one.

No. I would assume the piston housings would be sealed so no external air and dust can enter. The heat from the processor would heat up the air that's already inside the piston (just like there's air still inside an empty softdrink bottle with the cap on).

Actually this is an awesome product.

For every 1 watt of energy that a chip consumes, one watt of energy is released as heat and 1 watt of energy is required to cool the chip. spread over large datacenters this stupid little device could enormously cut down our carbon footprint.

its not really about can i buy this now because I’m a consumer and i have to buy stuff, its more about not acting like Neanderthals when we try to initially come up with solutions to problems.

Go MSI !

I like your emf idea, that would be cool. I also like the idea of dropping 1 cell of a special bacteria that reproduces and consumes heat and letting it spread all over your electronic devices converting heat back to electricity as its bi product. i just need to figure out how to keep it from exponentially reproducing until it takes up all of the space in the universe. I’ll get right on that.

For every 1 watt of energy that a chip consumes, one watt of energy is released as heat and 1 watt of energy is required to cool the chip.

Both of these statements are incorrect. The amount of heat energy released by the chip is the difference between the electrical energy going into the chip, and the electrical energy coming out. If the chip consumes 1W, and created 1W of heat, it would there would be no available electrical energy to communicate with the other components on the Mobo, and your computer would be dead.
For the second part, take the case off your PC, and look at the voltage and power ratings shown on the CPU fan, its probably 12V with a current rating of probably under 0.3A. That is therefore a 3.6W or less fan, multiply that by however many fans you have in your case (including power supply). Then look on the manufacturers website to find the thermal envelope of your CPU. I guarantee that your CPU alone uses far more power than all the fans in your case :P

I also wonder about the scalability of this - the pictures in the linked article show the device on the mobo chipset, and I think for the same idea to be applied to the CPU (far greater heat production than north/south bridge) would mean a much larger version would need to be installed, which raises issues of space and airflow inside the case.
Is the small amount of power it saves enough to offset its production costs - many people who look at these things say "look, it saves all this power" when in reality, it uses just as much in a more complex manufacturing process.

(dr spock said @ #9.1)
Is the small amount of power it saves enough to offset its production costs - many people who look at these things say "look, it saves all this power" when in reality, it uses just as much in a more complex manufacturing process.

It depends on how long it is in service on average, how much the cost of production of it rather than a conventional design is and how much it saves.

There are some works out there that try to convert heat into light so that heat generated by the transistors would escape in form of light rather than heat the whole unit up and escape through heat transfer at the surface.

It's a Stirling engine, and it's driven by the heat on the chip. The energy comes from the temperature difference between the chip and the surrounding environment, therefore it doesn't break the laws of thermal dynamics.

MSI's version can transfer over 70 per cent of the heat power to motive power, the company claimed, and it doesn't use a drop of electricity to drive the fan. It's not totally efficient, which is why it won't run in perpetuity, but it is kicked into motion simply by the heat generated by the chip.

what did they think, that the laws of thermodynamics didn't apply? What kind of monkey writes this articles for the reg

(XerXis said @ #4)

what did they think, that the laws of thermodynamics didn't apply? What kind of monkey writes this articles for the reg

LOL.
If it doesn't take any electricity to drive the fan, where does the heat that does drive it come from?

the CPU. wich is power by electricity and creates heat as a byproduct, so technically it's not pwoerless, it just doesn't need any power of it's own.

(HawkMan said @ #4.2)
the CPU. wich is power by electricity and creates heat as a byproduct, so technically it's not pwoerless, it just doesn't need any power of it's own.

the fan is powerless i.e. it is using no electricity from the power outlets... it just uses some by products to have it power itself...

(prince_niceguy said @ #4.3)

the fan is powerless i.e. it is using no electricity from the power outlets... it just uses some by products to have it power itself...

You just said that it is both powerless and powered in the same paragraph. If it did not use power, it would not work and because it works, it uses power, except that the power that it uses is caloric power rather than electrical power, which is the conventional thought people have when they read the term "power."

By the way, I know caloric theory is obsolete according to Wikipedia, but it was used to design heat engines and the main difference between it and modern thermodynamics is that it uses the principle of the conservation of heat whereas modern thermodynamics uses the principle of the conservation of energy. Besides, I needed to make "heat" into an adjective and there is no adjective for heat in modern terminology, so I went back a few centuries.

(Shining Arcanine said @ #4.4)

You just said that it is both powerless and powered in the same paragraph. If it did not use power, it would not work and because it works, it uses power, except that the power that it uses is caloric power rather than electrical power, which is the conventional thought people have when they read the term "power."

By the way, I know caloric theory is obsolete according to Wikipedia, but it was used to design heat engines and the main difference between it and modern thermodynamics is that it uses the principle of the conservation of heat whereas modern thermodynamics uses the principle of the conservation of energy. Besides, I needed to make "heat" into an adjective and there is no adjective for heat in modern terminology, so I went back a few centuries.

bla bla bla just admit that calling it 'powerless' is understandable to most people already, ffs.

It's not a processor fan. It's a chipset fan. So it shouldn't have to deal with as much heat as with a processor fan. The linked article even SHOWS it on a chipset, not a processor and still calls is a processor fan... :rolleyes:

Gotta love the Reg...

I guess that would be something for "green" little low-end media center barebones or such as it doesn't seem like this could really cope with high-end systems. Besides, I'd assume fans would leave the absolute least power footprint. Nonetheless it's a very smart idea to make use of "alternative energies" in our pretty little computer powerhouses.