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First Look: Danamics Liquid Metal CPU Cooler

Posted on 18th Mar 2010 at 10:18 by Richard Swinburne with 41 comments

The Danamics Liquid Metal CPU cooler, officially titled the Danamics LMX Superleggera, is one of those crazy ideas we never actually thought we'd get our hands on. Kudos go to Danamics then, for actually producing a product that's both scary and awesome at the same time.

First Look: Danamics Liquid Metal CPU Cooler First Look: Damanics Liquid Metal CPU Cooler

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.

First Look: Danamics Liquid Metal CPU Cooler First Look: Damanics Liquid Metal CPU Cooler

First Look: Danamics Liquid Metal CPU Cooler First Look: Damanics Liquid Metal CPU Cooler

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.

First Look: Danamics Liquid Metal CPU Cooler First Look: Damanics Liquid Metal CPU Cooler

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.

First Look: Danamics Liquid Metal CPU Cooler First Look: Damanics Liquid Metal CPU Cooler

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.

First Look: Danamics Liquid Metal CPU Cooler First Look: Damanics Liquid Metal CPU Cooler

First Look: Danamics Liquid Metal CPU Cooler First Look: Damanics Liquid Metal CPU Cooler

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.

41 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
GFC 18th March 2010, 11:49 Quote
As much as I've seen it doesn't perform that well. Although it's a neat idea and I congratulate them for trying to innovate.
NuTech 18th March 2010, 12:02 Quote
I feel the inevitable first death-by-modding is coming closer and closer each day...
Fizzban 18th March 2010, 12:17 Quote
Liquid metal cooling sounds seriously cool, but magnets inside the PC sounds like blue screens of death
EnglishLion 18th March 2010, 12:26 Quote
I don't really want huge magnets in my case and I certainly am not fond of sodium and potassium in their elemental form anywhere nearby.

I can't see the cooler producing enough positives to counteract the potential negatives myself.
capnPedro 18th March 2010, 12:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by EnglishLion
I don't really want huge magnets in my case and I certainly am not fond of sodium and potassium in their elemental form anywhere nearby.

I take it you shun table salt and lo-salt alternatives, too?
Bindibadgi 18th March 2010, 12:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by capnPedro
I take it you shun table salt and lo-salt alternatives, too?

elemental

The addition of Chlorine is crucial to your equation. ;)
Cyberpower-UK 18th March 2010, 12:35 Quote
I had one in for testing purposes and remain unconvinced enough not to supply them yet as it did not beat our watercooling on price or performance.
EnglishLion 18th March 2010, 12:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
elemental

The addition of Chlorine is crucial to your equation. ;)

Exactly, sodium chloride and elemental sodium have very different chemical and physical properties. Equally I wouldn't really want chlorine gas flowing through pipes in my PC either. I know a burst or leak is unlikely but the consequences could be tragic and all for a degree or two of extra cooling :(
Skiddywinks 18th March 2010, 13:01 Quote
That fat-ass contact plate won't be doing it any favours.
l3v1ck 18th March 2010, 13:10 Quote
Can we get a full review with temperatures published in the mag please?
countstex 18th March 2010, 13:23 Quote
I guess if you built a full SSD system the problems of a electo magnet would not be of concern?
countstex 18th March 2010, 13:24 Quote
Not to mention, have they not missed a trick by not trying to reference Terminator in some way with it being 'liquid metal' and all?
Hugo 18th March 2010, 14:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by NuTech
I feel the inevitable first death-by-modding is coming closer and closer each day...

I can't decide if it's more likely to be Tim, Joe, Harry or Rich that will break this thing and burn down Dennis towers but I know one of them will.
Omnituens 18th March 2010, 14:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by countstex
I guess if you built a full SSD system the problems of a electo magnet would not be of concern?
I think I remember reading somewhere that SSD's are actually more suscepible to magnetic fields because they are less shielded.
NuTech 18th March 2010, 14:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HugoB
I can't decide if it's more likely to be Tim, Joe, Harry or Rich that will break this thing and burn down Dennis towers but I know one of them will.
My money is on a joint effort by Harry and Rich. The disaster will combine Harry's child-like wonder with Rich's background in chemistry.

Joe will be the sole survivor and will go on to make a video game based on the events - "Bit-tech's Burning" exclusively on Facebook.
stonedsurd 18th March 2010, 15:28 Quote
Last I heard, Danamics were pretty much the only folks that made coolers like this.

Who's this new player?
PureSilver 18th March 2010, 15:57 Quote
Wow, that looks... incredibly hazardous.

What I want to see now is basically a water-cooling setup (with rads, essentially) that's filled with this stuff. Presumably you'd need an old nuclear reactor to supply the necessary liquid-metal induction pumps but stranger things have been done in the name of modding on this site. Go go go!
rickysio 18th March 2010, 16:39 Quote
Superlegga?

What, are HSF being named after Lamborghinis now?
matt... 18th March 2010, 17:14 Quote
Having made sodium potassium amalgum (NaK) in the past - this thing should be dynamite - I'm surprised that big brother is going to let this on the market as NaK is so much fun to watch as it bounces round the floor setting everything it comes into contact with on fire!

almost worth buying it just to open it up :-)
stonedsurd 18th March 2010, 17:51 Quote
Fixed, thanks
TSR2 18th March 2010, 17:52 Quote
That is insane!
How many watts does it draw, if it draws too many the heat dissipitation of the power supply for it will surely raise the ambient temperature and negate the cooling effect?
And surely it is if anything more dangerous than water cooling, at least if the water cooling loop goes when the PC's off there's a chance of something surviving.
LucusLoC 18th March 2010, 18:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by matt...
Having made sodium potassium amalgum (NaK) in the past - this thing should be dynamite - I'm surprised that big brother is going to let this on the market as NaK is so much fun to watch as it bounces round the floor setting everything it comes into contact with on fire!

almost worth buying it just to open it up :-)

i want one now. . . .

also, the magnets themselves will not be a serious issue, it is the changing magnetic field that may cause problems. i would assume it is running at a very low frequency though, so i doubt it will cause any issues. static magnetic fields only really cause problems for unshielded magnetic storage media and crt monitors. moving magnetic fields can cause issue with any electronics, but only if they induce enough current to interfere with the signal or burn out components. i doubt this thing does either.
CharlO 18th March 2010, 18:44 Quote
I wonder if I can take a few in a plane and get them to get futurama back before june. (Yep, the fact that they are coming back is a lack of respect to the joke)
dec 18th March 2010, 18:55 Quote
I think the base is that big to make sure the liquid doesnt leak out when someone tries to lap it......as im sure SOMEONE will.

Anyways I dont think ive been more terrified of a cpu cooler.
Icy EyeG 18th March 2010, 19:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Article
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.

Well I personally thing this is an understatement. Sodium and Potassium react with everything and very fast. Therefore, the sweat of your hands should be enough, not to mention that you can't touch them with bare hands (they are corrosive). Should a leak occur, it'll damage everything it touches.
And on top of this, if a fire starts you can't put it out with water, as the water will make things even worse.

Now I wonder how this thing will get to be sold to the general public.
liratheal 18th March 2010, 19:25 Quote
If I had the spare cash, I'd buy one for testing.

And to say my PC was cooled by liquid metal.
Farfalho 19th March 2010, 00:27 Quote
I only ask for a proper review, maybe some in-depth video "behind the scenes+review" and a "Oh F**ck, Jesus Christ, Holy S**t, we've burnt our employer! Well... I guess the parliament could have a taste of this" (that's for the Bill on copyright material)
deadsea 19th March 2010, 01:55 Quote
I can't see this ending well... NaK is corrosive and highly reactive and it's contained in heat pipes? Sure the company woould have thought of that.

But still, considering that even small amounts are an explosion hazard, they'll need to sell this with a mandatory safety training included or something. Maybe they could sell it in a bundle with a fire extinguisher included.
thehippoz 19th March 2010, 05:12 Quote
probably look to the performance of any of the peltier's that didn't do so well.. how is this going to be any better.. looks like cyber already tested it
Sebbo 19th March 2010, 06:16 Quote
Having seen what a small block of sodium does in water during senior chemistry, and that this has both sodium and potassium, I can't decide if I want one of these coolers or to stay as far away as possible
JrRRr 19th March 2010, 10:09 Quote
One sentence from "Back to the future" comes to mind: "You're telling me this sucker is nuclear?"
Isitari 19th March 2010, 10:23 Quote
I'd hate to write the health & safety for this if I wanted to bring it into school o.0.

I know how long it takes to write 'normal' experiment health and safety!
PingCrosby 19th March 2010, 10:39 Quote
Aaaaaah liquid metal...I love it..I have it running through my veins
Grimloon 19th March 2010, 12:09 Quote
I don't know if I'm remembering correctly (it's over 20 years back) but isn't NaK a combination with a tendency to go bang with sufficient energy input, including kinetic? If I am remembering rightly then FFS don't drop the sucker!

Delivery could be interesting too - something of a learning experience for the couriers and education that the "handle with care" label is occasionally for their own benefit!
rickysio 20th March 2010, 04:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grimloon
Delivery could be interesting too - something of a learning experience for the couriers and education that the "handle with care" label is occasionally for their own benefit!

It'd be funny to see the insurance claim.
equinox 20th March 2010, 11:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grimloon
I don't know if I'm remembering correctly (it's over 20 years back) but isn't NaK a combination with a tendency to go bang with sufficient energy input, including kinetic? If I am remembering rightly then FFS don't drop the sucker!

Delivery could be interesting too - something of a learning experience for the couriers and education that the "handle with care" label is occasionally for their own benefit!

I can see this becoming a tool for those of few scruples who don't mind losing a foot in exchange for a big insurance/lawsuit payout.
capnPedro 20th March 2010, 17:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
elemental

The addition of Chlorine is crucial to your equation. ;)
Quote:
Originally Posted by EnglishLion
Exactly, sodium chloride and elemental sodium have very different chemical and physical properties.

The difference between elements and solution alloys is an important one too.

Pure elemental Na/K are cheese-like solids, for a start.
dec 21st March 2010, 05:24 Quote
anyone else think of terminator 2 when they think of liquid metal?
docodine 21st March 2010, 06:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickysio
Superlegga?

What, are HSF being named after Lamborghinis now?

Superlegerra just means 'ultra light' in Italian, Lamborghini uses it on special lightweight versions of the cars. Dunno why they would call this beat superleggera though, given the comparison to the CM V10..
TobyG 25th March 2010, 11:34 Quote
Mmmmmm cheese
BLC 29th March 2010, 07:52 Quote
Am I the only one that was amused when he saw a cooler that contains a sodium-potassium alloy, yet is compliant with the Reduction of Hazardous Substances directive? ;) :p

I'm not quite sure I'd want this anywhere near my house, let alone my PC. Volatile liquid metals and an high-power neodynium magnets? Very cool, but you can keep it thanks - my AC Freezer 7 is good enough for now!


And yes, yes, I know RoHS doesn't cover these two particular metals, but it amused me nonetheless...
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