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Jan
21
2013

The Latest in Laptop Cooling Technology

Running any high-performance system at very high temperatures for too long can lead to decreased performance and shorter equipment life span. Enthusiasts and gamers are always battling against lowering their system temperatures as it allows them to overclock their system while minimizing the risks of damage from prolonged, excessive heat. Since cooling is such an important role, gamers have always felt more comfortable purchasing a desktop versus a laptop due to better cooling solutions, however, with the latest new developments in laptop cooling technology, there are now many more options than people think. There are always going to be a lot more options for controlling CPU and GPU temperatures with a desktop, however, laptops are not too far behind and in the next few years, we’ll definitely see the gap between the two get smaller and smaller.

Traditional Methods

Laptops are notoriously tricky to keep cool because they are naturally designed to be as thin as possible with very little room for anything but crucial components. The most common designs involve individual heat pipes and heat sinks to cool components separately. This style of cooling works well for basic computing tasks, but when you really start to push your graphics card or CPU, traditional cooling solutions can’t keep up.

Traditional methods leave lot of lost potential. For example, if you have one heat sink and heat pipe connected to the GPU and then another to the CPU, you may not be cooling your system as effectively as possible. Since the GPU and the CPU are rarely taxed at the same time, at least one of these setups will be underutilized. In other words, there’s a lot of unused cooling potential in your laptop that can’t be shifted around.

New Liquid Cooling

The latest developments in laptop cooling technology are based around liquid cooling systems. Liquid has always been a popular choice for gamers because it is more thermally efficient than regular air based systems. It hasn’t been a practical option for laptops though, because there simply wasn’t enough room to house that kind of equipment.

Asetek is developing slim form factor liquid cooling technology that will work in gaming laptops and all-in-one PCs. This design uses the greater thermal mass of the liquid to eliminate heat spikes, extract heat from the CPU and GPU, and balance out a lot of that cooling potential.

In other words, by spreading out the responsibility and using a more effective medium, this type of system can help minimize the risk of overheating so you can go ahead and overclock your gaming laptop to run even the most intensive tasks.

Other Options

Liquid cooling a laptop is not exactly a common option yet, but there are still some other things you can do. Cooling pads, for example, are often discussed but their benefits seem a little more anecdotal than anything else. A lot of people swear by them, and there have been a number of tests that seem to show they can reduce temperatures by improving airflow.

Both passive and active cooling pads are also improving as technology advances, and you can find some great models if you are concerned about the internal temperature of your laptop. It’s probably not a good idea to rely on them for an overclocked system, but if you are concerned about an older model that gets a lot hotter than it once did, they may not be a bad choice.

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