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Silent Power seeks funds for copper foam cooled PC

Silent Power seeks funds for copper foam cooled PC

The Silent Power PC uses an innovative design with copper foam on the upper surface to passively cool an Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GTX 760 GPU, but is it anything more than a pipe-dream?

German start-up Silent Power has announced a high-end PC design that uses a novel copper-based foam for cooling, promising top-tier performance in a silent and compact chassis.

The three-man team - Stefan Klaussner, Michaela Leimberger and Holger Ficht - is looking for €45,000 in crowd funding to bring the Silent Power to life. Based on a small form-factor design, the Silent Power boasts an Intel Core i7-4785T processor, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 760 graphics chip, and a choice of 8GB or 16GB of RAM and 500GB or 1TB solid-state storage. The machine itself uses a novel design that places the CPU and GPU on the top surface of the case, while the motherboard, RAM and storage are located at the bottom.

The reason for this is the Silent Power's innovative cooling system: a stack of copper foam on the top of the system. Designed for fully passive cooling despite the high-end components inside, the metal foam is claimed to offer a 500-fold increase in surface area over traditional fin-based heatsink designs. Combined with the microcirculation of air throughout the foam, the passive cooling system is claimed to be extremely efficient with the outside surface never rising above 50 degrees Celsius in normal use.

The Silent Power has other tricks up its sleeve, too: a sensor at the front of the chassis is said to detect the direction of movement of large objects within two metres. The team suggests it could be used to wake the system from sleep when you approach, or lock it against intrusion when you leave your desk.

There are questions regarding the team's ability to deliver on its promise, however. Although it provides images of a thin layer of copper foam on its official website, the only images that exist of the system itself are obvious renders. Further, the team is asking for a mere €45,000 to get the design off the ground despite the customised nature of its internals - something that took the far larger Apple a considerable time and a far greater amount of money to achieve in its latest Mac Pro design with its central 'thermal core' cooling system.

Most concerning of all, however, is that the company is managing its crowd-funding campaign itself following its removal from Indiegogo on two separate occasions. Although the team claims that its removal was 'without warning and justification,' the project would appear to have raised a few red flags and we'd advise caution for anyone considering pledging some cash.

Pre-orders for the Silent Power start at €699 (around £558), with the team promising to refund all pledges minus applicable transaction fees if the €45,000 goal is not reached. Buyers are also given a 60-day return policy, but there's no mention visible on the site of what rights they will have should the team run into production problems with their innovative design.

13 Comments

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GeorgeK 1st July 2014, 12:23 Quote
"minus applicable transaction fees" is suitably vague...
Gareth Halfacree 1st July 2014, 12:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeK
"minus applicable transaction fees" is suitably vague...
They basically mean you'll lose the PayPal fee - otherwise they'd be on the hook for a big chunk of change if they fall just short of their goal.
mclean007 1st July 2014, 13:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
They basically mean you'll lose the PayPal fee - otherwise they'd be on the hook for a big chunk of change if they fall just short of their goal.
I thought the way these things worked was you made a pledge, then if the target was hit it was automatically charged to your paypal/credit card; if the target wasn't met then you wouldn't pay anything. In that case, why would there be transaction fees? Seems a bit cheeky if anyone is skimming a margin on a failed and refunded pledge, and it would definitely discourage me from crowd-funding anything if that's the way it worked.
fix-the-spade 1st July 2014, 14:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclean007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
They basically mean you'll lose the PayPal fee - otherwise they'd be on the hook for a big chunk of change if they fall just short of their goal.
I thought the way these things worked was you made a pledge, then if the target was hit it was automatically charged to your paypal/credit card; if the target wasn't met then you wouldn't pay anything.

That's how it works on Kickstarter and the other 'official' crowd funding sites, if you're pledging onto a project's own website then it's very much a free for all, be careful.
mi1ez 1st July 2014, 22:07 Quote
Quote:
The Silent Power has other tricks up its sleeve, too: a sensor at the front of the chassis is said to detect the direction of movement of large objects within two metres. The team suggests it could be used to wake the system from sleep when you approach, or lock it against intrusion when you leave your desk.

If it can only detect large objects, how is it going to "protect against intrusion" when you're not at your desk?
Gareth Halfacree 1st July 2014, 23:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mi1ez
If it can only detect large objects, how is it going to "protect against intrusion" when you're not at your desk?
By locking the desktop when you walk away. How else would it work? You can get software that does the same thing when your phone leaves Bluetooth range.
Teelzebub 2nd July 2014, 00:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
By locking the desktop when you walk away. How else would it work? You can get software that does the same thing when your phone leaves Bluetooth range.

So if locks the system as you walk away does it unlock when you return? Because that could be anyone while you're away
Gareth Halfacree 2nd July 2014, 07:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teelzebub
So if locks the system as you walk away does it unlock when you return? Because that could be anyone while you're away
No. Why would it do that? You approach your desk in the morning, the sensor sees you and wakes the system from sleep to a password lock screen. You leave your desk to get lunch, the sensor sees you and returns the system to sleep, or the password lock screen. Have you ever worked in an office? Every time you leave your desk, you hit Super+L to lock the system. This automates that process, just like the Bluetooth proximity example above.

Understand now?

EDIT: Although there *are* variants of the Bluetooth trick that *can* unlock the system as well as lock it, by exploiting the pairing between the phone and the desktop. The sensor can't duplicate that trick, obviously - just the locking part.
John_T 2nd July 2014, 10:16 Quote
I like the idea in theory, but I can't see it being practical.

For a start, isn't copper foam quite soft and malleable? I could see the thing gradually becoming covered in indentations from the slightest touches and knocks. Not that that would matter too much, because it would surely become an ugly grey colour over time as it fills up with dust anyway - how on earth would you keep it properly clean? I doubt even vacuuming it would be enough to keep it looking nice.

The thing looks more like a theoretical wish-list than a proper business project...
Impatience 2nd July 2014, 10:24 Quote
Maybe they could cover it in a... No that wouldn't work, because then it wouldn't get the air to cool it!
Teelzebub 2nd July 2014, 13:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
No. Why would it do that? You approach your desk in the morning, the sensor sees you and wakes the system from sleep to a password lock screen. You leave your desk to get lunch, the sensor sees you and returns the system to sleep, or the password lock screen. Have you ever worked in an office? Every time you leave your desk, you hit Super+L to lock the system. This automates that process, just like the Bluetooth proximity example above.

Understand now?

EDIT: Although there *are* variants of the Bluetooth trick that *can* unlock the system as well as lock it, by exploiting the pairing between the phone and the desktop. The sensor can't duplicate that trick, obviously - just the locking part.

Right so still need passwords, Oh no thank god never worked in an office can't imagine a worse fate than that :|
blackworx 3rd July 2014, 08:46 Quote
More to the point, block scripts on the website and their fancy heading font disgracefully fails back to Comic Sans. Kill it with fire.
Anfield 3rd July 2014, 22:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackworx
More to the point, block scripts on the website and their fancy heading font disgracefully fails back to Comic Sans. Kill it with fire.

While I'm aware that hating Comic Sans is the cool thing to do on the internet I'd be far more concerned about the fact that every other PC Cooling Revolution in the last 10 years or so has turned out to either be fake, only work in lab conditions or be prohibitively expensive rather than the choice of font.
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