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Carbon nanotubes promise heatsink breakthrough

Chillier than copper.

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Computer cooling supplier OCZ has announced plans to use carbon nanotube technology in its processor heatsink product, HydroJet.

The company claims the advance provides more cooling than copper technology for the same heat input.

The HydroJet is a self-contained liquid cooler that cools a hot-running CPU chip more efficiently than air cooling. CPU chip heat is first taken up by water which is then circulated past a carbon nanotube contact base which takes up the heat from the water and acts as a heatsink. This two-stage process takes more heat off a hot CPU chip than air cooling does.

Carbon nanotubes are a form of carbon, graphene, known as an allotrope, that is made in sheets one or two atoms thick and then rolled into wire-like tubes which are just nanometres in diameter. This material has better thermal conduction characteristics than copper, the usual heatsink material, as it conducts more heat away from a source object in the same temperature environment.

Curiously, the nanotube material only conducts heat in one direction, along the axis of the tube, unlike copper. This does not matter in a CPU cooling application.

The HydroJet product was designed to make it practicable for users to obtain liquid cooling for high-end hot CPU chips.

OCZ gained the technology through its acquisition of PC Power & Cooling in May this year. At the time OCZ CEO Ryan Petersen, said: "We believe that collectively OCZ and PC Power & Cooling will build on our combined heritage to revolutionise high-end computing." Such enthusiasm is understandable if high-tech carbon nanotube technology was in play for that fairly mundane aspect of computing technology; cooling.

No pricing and availability information was published.



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