iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Latest News

 « Previous Day News Archive  

IBM Technology Keeps Future Chips Cool

Researchers from IBM's Zurich labs have made significant progress in technologies to cool semiconductor chips. The scientists were inspired by the ways nature disperses liquids in tree leaves or even the human body.

With power densities of up to 100 watts per square centimeter, today's computer chips develop up to ten times more heat compared to a standard hotplate. Thus, cooling the silicon circuits becomes increasingly important. And, according to the IBM researchers, future chips may attain even higher power densities which could create surface temperatures of up to 6000 degrees Celsius if not cooled.

At the BroadGroup Power and Cooling Summit in London, IBM now presented an approach for improving the chip cooling. The so called "high thermal conductivity interface technology" allows a twofold improvement in heat removal over current methods. In a first implementation step which according to Big Blue is very close to be used in serial production, the technology aims at better thermal contact between the chip package and components used to draw the heat away including heat sinks.

The researchers developed a chip cap with a network of tree-like branched channels on its surface. The pattern is designed such that when pressure is applied, the paste used to improve thermal contact between chip package and heat sink spreads more evenly and the pressure remains uniform across the chip, compared to today's solutions. This allows the right uniformity to be obtained at half the pressure, and a ten times better heat transport through the interface, IBM says.

This design used by the IBM researchers is borrowed from biology. Systems of hierarchical channels can be found manifold in nature, like tree leaves, roots, or the human circulatory system. Theses systems can serve large volumes with little energy, the researchers found.

However, the researchers also came to the conclusion that current cooling technologies, typically using air as the medium to transport the heat off the chip, have essentially reached their limits with the current generation of electronic products. And the energy needed to cool computer systems is approaching the power used for calculations, thus almost doubling the overall power budget

"Cooling is a holistic challenge from the individual transistor to the datacenter. Powerful techniques, brought as close as possible to the chip right where the cooling is needed, will be crucial for tackling the power and cooling issues, " said Bruno Michel, manager of the Advanced Thermal Packaging research group at IBM's Zurich lab.

That's where IBM's second implementation step becomes relevant. The Zurich researchers took their concept of branched channel design even further and now are developing what they call a promising approach for water-cooling. Called direct jet impingement, it squirts water onto the back of the chip and sucks it off again in a closed system using an array of up to 50,000 micronozzles and a complicated tree-like branched return architecture.

The team has demonstrated cooling power densities of up to 370 Watts per square centimeter with water as coolant, more than six times beyond the current limits of air-cooling techniques at about 75 Watts per square centimeter. Yet, the system uses much less energy for pumping than other cooling systems do, the researcher said. However, this system is several years away from industrial use.

IBM is in close contact with several chip vendors for licensing the technology, a company spokesperson said. The first implementation step, using heat conducting paste, could be available for the next chip generation in about one year.

Source: EE Times

 « Previous Day News Archive  

Latest headlines

ASUS Launches R9 200, R7 200 Series, Matrix R9 280X Graphics Cards

Apacer Launches SATA SLC-lite SSD solutions

ADATA Introduces a Stylish External HDD HC630

Samsung Introduces New Wireless Multiroom Speakers

WD Gives Consumers a Cloud of Their Own

Write a comment below. No registration needed!

blog comments powered by Disqus

  Most Popular Reviews More    RSS  

AMD Phenom II X4 955, Phenom II X4 960T, Phenom II X6 1075T, and Intel Pentium G2120, Core i3-3220, Core i5-3330 Processors

Comparing old, cheap solutions from AMD with new, budget offerings from Intel.
February 1, 2013 · Processor Roundups

Inno3D GeForce GTX 670 iChill, Inno3D GeForce GTX 660 Ti Graphics Cards

A couple of mid-range adapters with original cooling systems.
January 30, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1

An external X-Fi solution in tests.
September 9, 2008 · Sound Cards

AMD FX-8350 Processor

The first worthwhile Piledriver CPU.
September 11, 2012 · Processors: AMD

Consumed Power, Energy Consumption: Ivy Bridge vs. Sandy Bridge

Trying out the new method.
September 18, 2012 · Processors: Intel
  Latest Reviews More    RSS  

i3DSpeed, September 2013

Retested all graphics cards with the new drivers.
Oct 18, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, August 2013

Added new benchmarks: BioShock Infinite and Metro: Last Light.
Sep 06, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, July 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 and AMD Radeon HD 7730.
Aug 05, 2013 · 3Digests

Gainward GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB Golden Sample Graphics Card

An excellent hybrid of GeForce GTX 650 Ti and GeForce GTX 660.
Jun 24, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

i3DSpeed, May 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770/780.
Jun 03, 2013 · 3Digests
  Latest News More    RSS  

Platform  ·  Video  ·  Multimedia  ·  Mobile  ·  Other  ||  About us & Privacy policy  ·  Twitter  ·  Facebook

Copyright © Byrds Research & Publishing, Ltd., 1997–2011. All rights reserved.