does the future hold for PC noise?
The bad news and the good news:
The never ending quest for more performance out of computer systems
invariably results in hotter components that require more and more cooling
which whether done by fans or water pumps increases the noise generated.
The good news is that boffins at chip manufacturers are constantly looking
at new ways of designing chips to consume less power and generate less
There are a lot of interesting ideas and concepts being tested. One
of them involves “nano-lightning” i.e. the production of an air flow
along the surface of the heat sink by ionising and pumping air molecules
using minute electric currents. Electrodes containing carbon nanotubes
have a tiny charge applied to them resulting in electrons being knocked
off air molecules and the consequent positively charged ions being
attracted towards a negatively charged electrode …taking heat with them.
This flow of ions is then controlled to move the heat away from the
surface of the heat sink. Viola, no fans. But this, and other innovations,
are still in the testing stage and have a long way to go before reaching
The researchers will eventually develop systems for
transferring heat out of PCs without using any noisy equipment like fans
and pumps. In fact, here’s hoping they develop ways of increasing PC
speed using techniques that don’t involve the creation of heat in the
first place. That, together with advances in solid state technologies
involving storage devices with no moving parts, should make for some
pretty silent computing in the future. But till then we hope this article
article was first posted on April 27, 2004. Note
the copyright notice at the bottom of the page. We
do actively prosecute content thieves.