First Look: Danamics Liquid Metal CPU Cooler
Posted on 18th Mar 2010 at 10:18 by Richard Swinburne with 41 comments
For those who don't know the significance of this cooler the clue is in the name: liquid metal. Those metal pipes are not your standard wick/gas heatpipes, they are full of a sodium-potassium metal alloy (mixture) that is liquid at room temperature and forced around the tubes with a hardcore electromagnetic pump. Metal has a much higher specific heat capacity than a vapour change liquid, and when forced around rather than letting convection take its course, it acts more like a water-cooled setup.
Despite having no moving parts, to generate sufficient magnetic force to move the liquid metal it requires a 48V input to power the Neodymium magnet, so Danamics has included a converter box that sits in a free 3.5" bay.
That's both awesomely cool but seriously scary. We can't help but be concerned about putting high power magnets in PCs. As a rule of thumb, it's never really been a good idea, however those concerns are overshadowed by the sheer weight and size of this cooler - which is akin to something like the Cooler Master V10. At the end of the day, it's still full of metal in those nickel plated copper tubes.
Perhaps the biggest eye-opener is the safety card we get with it. For the love of god don't break the bloody thing! It's not like spilling mercury everywhere, but it's highly flammable should you have an accident near water. On the up-side though, it's a completely enclosed piece of kit and copper tubing doesn't generally break unless you throw it down the stairs and technically it's safer than water cooling.
As for the heatsink itself, it's a pretty standard heatpipe-and-fin setup with two fans: one push, one pull. Danamics says it doesn't necessarily provide the fans, but it can do. We'd advice getting your own, since the plastic ones seen here feel cheap for what you're paying.
The base is nice and smooth, and the heatpipes are soldered in but not all the way as you can see. We've generally found that direct heatpipe contact works better, however shaving down the copper is not an option here considering what the pipes contain. We'll have to see whether the heat capacity of the metal is greater than the contact area trade-off.
Ultimately Danamics needs to sell the thing and make money, so will it be worth buying? Is liquid metal running through the veins of our PCs, the future? Drop us a comment with your thoughts.