Life Of Navin

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IBM Tries 'Water-Cooling' Chips

Cooling processors has, for long, been one of the toughest things for chip-manufacturers to do. After all, the processor core temperature determines the efficiency of the processor and as Intel says, " the processor is the heart of the computer". However recent studies have shown that even constant cooling with the most abundant liquid on Earth's surface can provide excellent cooling. Now, researchers at IBM have said that a network of tiny pipes of water could be used to cool next-generation PC chips.

A prototype device layered with thousands of hair width cooling arteries was unveiled and certainly seems promising.

Many researchers believe that water cooling could be a solution to the increasing amount of heat pumped out by chips as they become smaller and more densely packed with components, as the industry tries to keep up with Moore's law.

The technology was demonstrated in IBM's 3D chips, where circuits are stacked one on top of the other to increase transistor density (i.e. saving space) while also reducing the distance data has to travel , thus enhancing performance.Conventional cooling techniques such as fans and heat sinks do not work as well with the 3D technology, particularly as heat has to be drawn away from between the individual chips.

Heat, which is the by-product of the movement of electrons through the tiny wires connecting the millions of components on a modern processor, is seen as one of the major hurdles of producing ever smaller and quicker chips.

As more and more components are packed on to chips(the Intel Atom has 47 million of them) the problems become worse.

Another promising cooling method was shown in 2007, when US researchers built tiny wind engines that created a breeze made up of ions, to cool computer chips.

To get around this, researchers piped water through sealed tubes just 50 microns in diameter, between individual layers.Water is much more efficient than air at absorbing heat and so even with tiny amounts of liquid flowing through the system the researchers saw a significant effect.The idea of pumping liquids around computers is not entirely new. Even early mainframe computers had water pumped around them.

In 2003, Stanford University's company Cooligy showed off its Active Micro-Channel Cooling (AMC) technology which allowed fluids to circulate through hundreds of tiny channels on the upper surface of a chip.The technology was used in some versions of Apple's Power Mac G5 , released in 2004.

IBM has said its water-cooling technology could be in products within five years. As an ardent gamer, who's seen three of his graphics cards almost literally blown up down to over- overclocking, which I blame on the lack of good cooling, I just hope that the guys at Big Blue get their act right, and successfully create properly cooled chips.




Finally after all these years, here's to the beginning of what was there, what is there and hopefully what will remain!! So here are my thoughts & words -Online!!

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