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Cellphones Technology

Fujitsu Could Help Smartphone Chips Run Cooler 51

angry tapir writes: If parts of your phone are sometimes too hot to handle, Fujitsu may have the answer: a thin heat pipe that can spread heat around mobile devices, reducing extremes of temperature. Fujitsu Laboratories created a heat pipe in the form of a loop that's less than 1mm thick. The device can transfer about 20W, about five times more heat than current thin heat pipes or thermal materials, the company said.
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Fujitsu Could Help Smartphone Chips Run Cooler

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  • And desktops. That would reduce the fans work (and their own heat!) and the ugly noise that comes out of it.
    • laptops and desktops don't have the space restrictions and hence heatpipes and many other cooling solutions are readily available and already in use.

      • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

        They DO have space restrictions, just not as severe as those in a smartphone.

        Interestingly, heatpipes in a laptop are a way to deal with the space restrictions - they allow a laptop to dissipate MUCH more heat in a smaller space.

        With smartphones, they simply had to "dissipate less heat".

        Although I question how much of a benefit this will really be. As it is, even without heatpipes, smartphone thermal throttles are usually set WELL below the CPU's junction temperature limit - the reason is that it's to prev

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          Although I question how much of a benefit this will really be. As it is, even without heatpipes, smartphone thermal throttles are usually set WELL below the CPU's junction temperature limit - the reason is that it's to prevent other components from getting too hot (like the battery). I remember talking to some Sony engineers, and IIRC, the CPU thermal throttle in most Xperia Z family units is not set to protect any of the internal components, but to protect the user's hand. Fujitsu's tricks might actually r

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16, 2015 @03:53AM (#49265301)

      Nobody uses laptops and desktops! If you do, you're a dinosaur. Please die off already. A young hipster deserves to have your job, which you're so selfishly occupying.

    • "That would reduce the fans work (and their own heat!)"

      Years ago, I bought a Shuttle barebones Pentium 4 with a heat pipe, hoping that it would be as quiet as the Mac Minis of the time. It was disappointing. It saved having separate CPU and PSU fans and it was a bit less noisy than the average beige box pc, but still very noticeable.

      A problem with heat pipes is that they are not flexible, so the motherboard, case-mounted fan, and heat pipe must match exactly. Not so suitable for do-it-yourself pc building.

      • I bought a Shuttle barebones Pentium 4 with a heat pipe, hoping that it would be as quiet as the Mac Minis of the time. It was disappointing.

        So I'm inclined to ask, what's the Mac Minis secret to be so silent?

        • Not using a Pentium 4, I guess.
          My core i5-3350p has passive cooling.

        • So I'm inclined to ask, what's the Mac Minis secret to be so silent?

          It's probably explained in some video with white background and soft piano music: "I saw my friend's PC. It was okay, but it wasn't exactly quiet. I asked myself, how could that be improved. I wanted it to be whisper quiet. I knew it was okay to ask more. And that's where the story of the new cooling system of Mac Mini begins. The iCool."

          In practice: some buzzy 40 mm radial fan with the text "O.E.M." silkscreened onto it, accompanied with thick layer of the most crusty thermal compound found in the market.

        • "Mac Minis of the time".

          Which in the P4 era (mid 2000s), would have been powered by motorola PowerPC chips as used in mac laptops.

      • Years ago, I bought a Shuttle barebones Pentium 4 with a heat pipe, hoping that it would be as quiet as the Mac Minis of the time. It was disappointing. It saved having separate CPU and PSU fans and it was a bit less noisy than the average beige box pc, but still very noticeable.

        Nah, there are other reasons to use a heat pipe. I've got a $20 cooler master cooler with three heat pipes in it, and a big upright heat sink with a big fan on it. The heat sinks carry the heat up to the big fan where it can be efficiently removed.

        I may also try a peltier cooler, I just broke down three peltier refrigerator coolers. THAT would allow me to eliminate a fan, so long as I redesign case airflow to go over the heat sink.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Plenty of phones sub-10mm today. 1mm is not an insignificant piece of the thickness budget.

  • This won't make your phone cooler; the manufacturers will just push their chips harder for the same temperature.

    • I'm going to have to disagree with you on that. Of the people I talk to, almost all universally prioritize in the following order of their phone: Battery run-time, screen size/clarity, and performance. Notice how battery run-time is way up front, and CPU performance is in the back. That's because all new mobile phones have a CPU that's "good enough" to be GUI responsive. They're not trying to play PS4 quality games or mine for Bitcoins on the thing.

      • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

        Yeah. Lots of people rave about spec e-peen, but the truth is, even older chips are MORE than powerful enough to provide a good experience except for the niche things like hardcore gaming.

        Interestingly, for hardcore gaming, NVidia gave up on the phone form factor. The SHIELD Portable's form factor allowed it to have active cooling for the Tegra4, and the SHIELD Tablet has a phase change heat spreader (aka heatpipe) over its CPU - a predecessor to this stuff Fujitsu is working on.

        For nearly all smartphone u

    • This won't make your phone cooler; the manufacturers will just push their chips harder for the same temperature.

      "Push the chips harder" = "Empty the battery quicker".

  • In a laptop, the use of similar devices makes sense, as the heat can be transferred
    somewhere where it can be dissipated into the air. Unfortunately it's more efficient
    to transfer it to the table you have it on, so the bottom gets the heatsink which
    makes it horrible to actually put your laptop on your lap-top.

    In a smartphone, it's being held in your hand (on the back) and up to your face (on
    the front) with fingers on the sides. Where to exactly are they going to move the
    heat??? Heat exchanging is nothing

    • by Megol ( 3135005 )

      In a laptop, the use of similar devices makes sense, as the heat can be transferred
      somewhere where it can be dissipated into the air. Unfortunately it's more efficient
      to transfer it to the table you have it on, so the bottom gets the heatsink which
      makes it horrible to actually put your laptop on your lap-top.

      Can you mention one laptop that uses the bottom as a heatsink by design? Hint: there is none.
      In real notebook computers the heat is transferred using heatpipes to one or two heatsinks and then transferred to air using fan(s). The heat leakage to the casing is in most cases an unavoidable misfeature - though Apple did/do(?) use the casing as a heatsink in order to avoid spinning up the fans.

      In a smartphone, it's being held in your hand (on the back) and up to your face (on
      the front) with fingers on the sides. Where to exactly are they going to move the
      heat??? Heat exchanging is nothing new, but the ability to remove heat requires
      the device interact with a cooler medium to transfer that heat. Normally that's
      your palm, or the air, or both.

      So... I ask again... transfer the heat to where?

      E

      The (metal) casing. The power consumption in a phone is much lower than a notebook computer so it is a valid design.
      Rem

      • by gavron ( 1300111 )

        It depends what you mean by "by design" is :)

        Air is a great insulator, but poor conductor of heat.

        My familiarity is with generatios of Dell laptops that exchange more heat through the bottom of the case they do they through venting to the air. Their support system even ensures you tell them if you're using your laptop "on a solid hard surface".

        FYI 100C is higher than most hardware's failure point.

        I know you want links. I'm off to bed. Google is that way --> Lazy is that way ---, and links are found

    • by N!k0N ( 883435 )
      Presumably the entire expanse (limited though it is) of the back of said phone. I know with mine (GS4), it tends to get hot centered at the CPU, and to a lesser degree, the battery. However, the rest of the case is generally cool. So a heat pipe putting the heat "over there" (and thus, equalizing the temperature across the entirety of the unit) wouldn't be the end of the world.
    • So... I ask again... transfer the heat to where?

      If the case is a solid piece of milled billet aluminum, it serves as the heat-sink as well; dual purpose. Because of the great thermal conductivity that is aluminum, the phone would actually be cooler.

      I've actually had my iPhone prompt me that the temperature was too hot and needed to be cooled down. Physically holding it in my hand and pressed to my face felt no hotter than having it exposed to direct sunlight. Ok, so not that hot, but it wasn't blistering ei

  • I seriously doubt this is going to have applications in people's smart phones. The limiting factor to pretty much all mobile performance issues is battery capacity, and being able to put more power through a certain mm^2 of silicon isn't going to help if you can't supply that power in the first place. This looks like a PR stunt by a component maker. These sorts of efficient heat pipes certainly have their place in many types of electronics products, most certainly in laptops and maybe even the next line of

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