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Asetek bring liquid cooling to laptops

Asetek bring liquid cooling to laptops

Asetek's new liquid cooling system promises to bring some serious overclocking potential to future gaming laptops.

Cooling specialist Asetek has announced it is moving into a previously uncharted market: liquid cooling for laptops.

Designed for high-performance desktop replacement systems, and equally at home in slim form factor all-in-one PC designs, Asetek's system packs genuine liquid cooling technology into the smallest space yet. The result, Asetek claims, is the ability to use top-rated thermal design profile (TDP) parts in laptops, and potentially even to overclock components.

The problem with traditional cooling solutions whereby the GPU and CPU are given a dedicated heatpipe-based heatsink each, the company claims, comes from the load characteristics. When the GPU is loaded, the CPU is often below full capacity; when the CPU is loaded, the GPU sits near idle. The result is that cooling potential is wasted on components that don't need it, while the hot-running parts are given only half the cooling area they could otherwise have.

That's where Asetek's liquid cooling system comes in. Running a loop which interconnects both the GPU and CPU, the cooling system offers its full capabilities to either component on demand. Coupled with the greater thermal mass of liquid compared to air and the lower thermal resistance of the liquid cooled 'cold plates' compared to traditional heat pipes, it's a system which promises to vastly improve laptop cooling.

While the key feature of Asetek's cooling system is in its performance, there are other benefits too. The company claims that by fitting multiple heat exchangers and slowing fans, the system provides equal or better cooling to traditional technologies with vastly reduced noise. Considering the jet-engine tones of many desktop replacement laptops, that's no bad thing.

In a video demonstration, the company shows off an Alienware M18x laptop fitted with Asetek's new cooling system. Featuring an Intel Core i7-2920XM processor and dual AMD Radeon HD 6990M GPUs, it's a beast - but Asetek claims the liquid cooling system means overclocking to new heights is a very real possibility.

Using the new liquid cooling system, Asetek was able to boost the peak clock speed of the Core i7 processor from 3.5GHz to 4.4GHz, while the GPUs were boosted from 680MHz to 800MHz. These speeds, Asetek claims, were simply not possible using the Alienware M18x's traditional cooling system.

Thus far, Asetek hasn't announced which original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and original design manufacturers (ODMs) will be taking on the patent-pending technology, but if it proves as efficacious as the company claims it's sure to find its way into future generations of gaming laptops.

20 Comments

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TheDodoKiller 23rd March 2012, 12:50 Quote
Hey, as soon as it's affordable, count me in.
towelie 23rd March 2012, 12:56 Quote
Woah this is insane, the price will be massive though espically if alienware are to play a part.

Interesting stuff though.
JCBeastie 23rd March 2012, 13:13 Quote
I really don't see the advantage of a liquid cooler in a laptop; chiefly because of all Aseteks touted claims can be achieved by heatpipe/vapour chamber coolers. There's no reason why a laptop CPU/GPU can't share a heatsink or series of connected sinks. Exactly the same results as the liquid system only potentially more compact, uses no extra power, has a lower chance for mechanical failure and would be lighter (less fluid involved and no pump).
ChaosDefinesOrder 23rd March 2012, 13:55 Quote
liquid inside a laptop? what could possibly go wrong?!

Than again, with the very fixed nature of laptop components you can easily have a solid, non-expiring fluid path removing almost all sources of potential leaks...
west 23rd March 2012, 15:30 Quote
JCBeastie advantage is _much_ faster liquid transfer over components along with _more_ water (the more water in the line the colder any given component will be).
The Infamous Mr D 23rd March 2012, 16:03 Quote
I'm honestly astounded this is the first time that anyone has ever spoken about liquid cooling (a great thermal dissipation technology) in a small thermally challenged consumer-orientated environment (laptops).

Seriously, this should have been done years ago!
warejon9 23rd March 2012, 16:45 Quote
That was quite a chunky laptop, and if there was a voltage increase, and extra power due to pump what is the battery life like?
mucgoo 23rd March 2012, 16:48 Quote
The main limitation is the amount of of radiators surface area and air flow over the radiators with the main advantage of desktop water cooling lying in the fact it can effectively distribute heat to a much larger radiator than pipes.
Liquid cooling will actually infringe on that constraint due to being bulkier than a normal heat pipes
Showerhead 23rd March 2012, 17:07 Quote
Wonder what effect on battery life will be.
digitaldunc 23rd March 2012, 19:24 Quote
Goes without saying that this will need to be bombproof.

Very niche market, but +1 to Asetek for innovation, if it works as the video states.
themassau 23rd March 2012, 20:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Showerhead
Wonder what effect on battery life will be.

if it is a low power pump then the battery life will shorten in idle situations but it might stay the same when it is at load because the chips will run cooler and run more efficient. don't forget forget that lcd screen use the most battery power.
Dave Lister 23rd March 2012, 20:50 Quote
I still have a clevo d900t (non functional) and the insides look very similar to that apart from the pump of course. Oh, if any one needs any parts for a d900t pm me, the thing is just sitting around gathering dust.
rodeltt 23rd March 2012, 21:55 Quote
The thought of a water cooled laptop horrifies me. It might be fine when new but a year or two on its just something else to go wrong, imagine a water leak on the motherboard - terminal! Plus what effects would air travel and the pressurization changes have in promoting a water leak.
JCBeastie 23rd March 2012, 23:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by west
JCBeastie advantage is _much_ faster liquid transfer over components along with _more_ water (the more water in the line the colder any given component will be).

You are ultimately limited by the heat exchanger, and since this solution doesn't offer any more surface area compared to a traditional heatsink I fail to see the improvement. Heatpipe coolers have proven to be very efficient, since essentially they work under the same phase-change principles as say; a fridge. Liquid coolers have an advantage that they can transport heat to a larger radiator than you could sit on top of say, a CPU, hence greater cooling ability.

All this soloution adds is bulk and greater chance of failure. I'm not convinced.
rogerrabbits 25th March 2012, 10:52 Quote
I wonder if they will have some way to top up the liquid.
Picarro 25th March 2012, 11:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerrabbits
I wonder if they will have some way to top up the liquid.

There shouldn't be a need. It's the same principle as with the Corsair H series. It is a hermetically sealed environment so if you actually need to fill it up you have a bigger problem since it will be leaking somewhere!
leslie 25th March 2012, 11:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Infamous Mr D
I'm honestly astounded this is the first time that anyone has ever spoken about liquid cooling (a great thermal dissipation technology) in a small thermally challenged consumer-orientated environment (laptops).

Seriously, this should have been done years ago!

It has been done a few times before but never got very far. I beleive Lenovo tried it once, as did someone else.
rogerrabbits 25th March 2012, 22:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Picarro
There shouldn't be a need. It's the same principle as with the Corsair H series. It is a hermetically sealed environment so if you actually need to fill it up you have a bigger problem since it will be leaking somewhere!

Ahh nice. It would be good to start getting laptops that dont cook peoples testicles for a change :P Not that I would ever buy one, way too expensive for me. Maybe if I win the lotto some day.
PingCrosby 27th March 2012, 09:30 Quote
Our local pub has liquid cooling, has had it for years.
west 27th March 2012, 12:08 Quote
@JCBeastie
heat pipes have operational temperature limits, too hot or too cold and they wont work (although for a laptop too hot or too cold might not be a problem, depending on how well the heat pipe was designed). These limits are usually within 20degC for laptops and the like.

heat pipes which are too long can be limited by their wick's ability to transport water.
a heat pipe assembly as long as the water cooling loop pictured above would need a fairly advanced (i.e. expensive) wick (I'm not saying it would be more expensive than water cooling).

assuming the cooling system is overloaded heat pipes fail much more dramatically than water loops. when a heat pipe's heat carrying material cannot find a place cool enough to condense your basically cooling with straight copper or whatever the pipe is made of (that's usually very bad).
When a water cooling loop is overloaded the water is able to absorb an impressive amount of heat (depending on how much water is in the loop) before it boils or causes the PC to shut off.

So while heat pipes win in terms of maintenance, general cost, whatever..
water wins in terms of temperature range and loop length (also longer loops enable better radiator positioning, and with better positioning comes potential for bigger radiators).

oh and also with water loops you don't have to be as careful about where your radiators are relative to multiple components.

also a major advantage to water cooling a laptop is that it is just plain cool.
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