Cooler Than Water, The Liquid Metal Heat Sink

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Even in the age of green computing and lower power 45nm silicon manufacturing technologies, thermal management, specifically heat mitigation, continues to be a challenge .   Maybe you're a dyed-in-the-wool overclocker or perhaps a silent computing buff that wants things whisper-quiet. Then again, even the average "Joe Sixpack" could probably appreciate how unobtrusive a computer can be and that, as savvy HH readers know, can only be achieved through robust, elegant cooling solutions.  In that vein and out of the Kingdom of Denmark comes Danamics with the LM10, the world's first commercially available liquid metal-based CPU heatsink.  What's that you say?  Liquid metal?  Indeed liquid metal, son.  Black gold, Texas Tea... or something like that.

  


 
Courtesy:  Danamics ApS

In addition, Danamics highlights that their technology utilizes an electromagnetic pump for circulating the liquid metal (makes sense) and this also has the added benefits of having no moving parts, emitting zero noise and a claimed unlimited MTBF (mean-time between failure).  Danamics also claims the LM10 has the lowest thermal resistance of any air-cooler on the market currently.  They also claim the LM10 exceeds most water coolers on the market, all in a single, sealed unit without external reservoirs or additional components.  Finally, the power draw of the LM10 is noted to be less than 1W. 

On a side note, your first thought might be that the liquid metal substance used in this cooler is Mercury.  However, we'd suggest it's likely an amorphous liquid metal alloy like Vitreloy or similar.  We've reached out to Danamics and will advise on this if further information is available.

So let's add this up again.  Low noise, low power consumption, cools better than water, stand-alone unit -- only one question remains and one task is at hand.  How much does it cost and when will the first sample arrive at the HotHardware Labs?  Stay tuned, we'll try to answer those questions and whether or not the LM10 can live up to its claims, in the weeks ahead.  What do you think?  Does this new technology have promise?

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replied on Sun, Jul 20 2008 9:17 PM

 Im sorry but electromagnetic ? is that wise to have a powered magnet sitting on top of your cpu ?

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FlyinBrian:

 Im sorry but electromagnetic ? is that wise to have a powered magnet sitting on top of your cpu ?

I would be concerned about the effects an electromagnet might have on a hard drive!

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Dave_HH replied on Sun, Jul 20 2008 9:32 PM
Umm... interesting observations. One would hope that they thought of these issues though. :)

I'm sure the magnetic field that is generated is probably rather lower power and small since it probably doesn't take much to move a liquid.

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 and what's the wieght of that thing man. looks pretty hefty to me.

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Lev_Astov replied on Sun, Jul 20 2008 9:33 PM
I'm pretty sure hard drives are housed in magnetic shielding, i.e. metal.

I want to know what the heck they mean by "liquid metal." Mercury? I certainly hope so, but most morons would cry foul, not trusting the construction to keep it contained. I've often thought mercury would make a good coolant in a non phase changing situation, but it seems the world thinks otherwise.

The only other liquid metal cooling system I know of is on certain nuclear reactor types (I forget which), where they actually have molten metal running around in them.

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Dave_HH replied on Sun, Jul 20 2008 10:16 PM
I highly doubt it's mercury... would take a helluva lot of that to run through the pipes and it certainly isn't environmentally sound that's for sure.

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Dave_HH replied on Sun, Jul 20 2008 10:17 PM

There are lots of options apparently:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquidmetal

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Super Dave replied on Sun, Jul 20 2008 10:29 PM

I never had a reason to consider aftermarket cooling until I purchased a Pentium 4 3.0Ghz steak-cooker CPU. No wonder Intel went with a different architecture. I had to slap a Thermaltake BIG TYPHOON heatsink on it to keep it from going nuclear. Yes I would like very much to see a comparo featuring a heatsink with Terminator-style liquid-metal cooling!Yes

 

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replied on Sun, Jul 20 2008 10:30 PM

Interesting, I assumed it was just mercury. It should be fine as long as its sealed. You would have to intentionally break it to poison yourself or someone else. I am not an engineer but the way it sounds is the metal is moved thru the pipes a lot like the MagLev trains they have in places like France, Germany, Japan. It sounds Really awesome as long as no problems arise due to the magnet and even that from the looks of it is shielded.  I assume they have tested it a lot. Even so I cant wait to see it in the HH test kitchen, er lab.

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nelsoncp21 replied on Sun, Jul 20 2008 10:46 PM

 So is it possible for the liquid metal to leak? if so I would imagine the damage would be far greater then watecooling since most fluid is non conductive.

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AjayD replied on Mon, Jul 21 2008 1:08 AM
This appears to be a promising design. I look forward to HH getting their hands on a sample. I would love to see how it performs against top of the line air and water cooling alternatives.

 

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as long as you dont ingest the mercury it should be fine. in the old days in england kids used to play with the stuff.

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mfe5003 replied on Mon, Jul 21 2008 7:36 AM
I'm pretty sure there are ways to shield magnetic fields (I don't have my physics books at work to convince myself but if you Google it there are some companies that sell materials). Also I'm sure that was the first thing anyone thought of when the idea was mentioned, so I'm sure they have a way of keeping everything safe, but I would like to know it.
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looks promissing... slap a fan on it and just hink what i could do.... an nice low Db fan...

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RyuGTX replied on Mon, Jul 21 2008 3:42 PM

Sounds interesting...

I don't know much about science. But I would assume the other part of the equation to success is how the heatsink gets rid of the heat effectively. It is good to efficiently take the heat away from the CPU. But if you can't transfer that heat from the fins of the heatsink into the air, the whole thing is just going to slowly warm up until it hits a stable temperature. So if this idea really does work, the traditional part of the heatsink (the fins) are going to hold it back. Right?

Though I sound pessimistic, I'm looking forward to it. I love reading about new tech and ways to get cool temps.

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replied on Mon, Jul 21 2008 4:01 PM
Hey Superdave maybe you can weld a flat top skilled on top of that old p4. That way you can cook fajitas and surf the web ? win/win
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SqUiD267 replied on Mon, Jul 21 2008 6:55 PM

I really want this. I wanna knwo when its coming out. I'll update if I get any news.

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rapid1 replied on Mon, Jul 21 2008 11:42 PM
doubt it's mercury and for the magnetics it's probably a very low amp magnet that shifts top to bottom or side to side on a socketed internally polished and coated tube pulling the liquid alloy from one side and shifting the magnet to the other side to keep it flowing once its moving in a definite direction I imagine it takes a very minor force to keep it so
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3DtoHD replied on Tue, Jul 22 2008 12:13 AM

Intersting technology first devoloped in 2003 for commercial & becoming available for consumers!

 

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ice91785 replied on Tue, Jul 22 2008 11:15 AM

When I get a mobo for my rig I would be interested in putting together a silent (my first) PC......Perhaps this little (haha) guy could be my corner piece hmm?

 

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nECrO1967 replied on Tue, Jul 22 2008 11:47 AM

If this works as advertized it would be great if they could move this to GPU's. With one for the CPU and GPU you could make a whisper quiet HTPC.

To the guy who talked about strapping a fan to it I ask why? Not to mention the fact that I don't see any mounts for one the thing is meant to run without one. That was the point. 0 Db.

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make it cool even better than it currently does and then you can OC the chip more. I was not talking about a loud fan but something like a 120mm fan that is around 8dB or less. that would be nice and quite and will cool more efficently...

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RyuGTX replied on Tue, Jul 22 2008 4:13 PM

nECrO1967:

If this works as advertized it would be great if they could move this to GPU's. With one for the CPU and GPU you could make a whisper quiet HTPC.

To the guy who talked about strapping a fan to it I ask why? Not to mention the fact that I don't see any mounts for one the thing is meant to run without one. That was the point. 0 Db.

 

They could use fan wire clips to hook into the middle side of the fins like on the Thermalright Ultra-120.

http://www.thermalright.com/new_a_page/product_page/cpu/u120ex/installation_cpu_cooler_u120ex.html

 

 

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News:
out of the Kingdom of Denmark comes Danamics with the LM10, the world's first commercially available liquid metal-based CPU heatsink. 

I found an old article about liquid metal cooling on the internet, so apparently this isn't really all that new. Take a look at THIS.

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rapid1 replied on Wed, Jul 23 2008 1:20 PM
Thanks for the link super dave can't wait to get more info on this woot no reservoir or refills and works better than water but whats the release info on this thing will I have to wait till I get my 12 core cpu or what and if they adapt it for graphics or even a board cooler like the DRMOS ASUS passive board coolers will be awesome
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RyuGTX replied on Wed, Jul 23 2008 2:05 PM

Lots of good info in that link. Thanks!

 

It isn't new, and that is why that had to add "first commercially available" to their statement. hehe

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Super Dave replied on Thu, Aug 14 2008 11:33 PM

FlyinBrian:
Hey Superdave maybe you can weld a flat top skilled on top of that old p4. That way you can cook fajitas and surf the web ? win/win
 

Just what I need...more midnight snacks! I'm trying to lose some weight here, Brian.

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louthebug replied on Fri, Jan 15 2010 1:12 PM

Well folks. the liquid metal in question is mixture of SODIUM and POTASIUM.

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Wow, that's so sick I want one!

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realneil replied on Sun, Jan 24 2010 12:35 PM

This never became available for sale in the US. In England it's going for £174.99 = $282.21 american dollars. European review sites say it's the very best high performance cooler they've ever tested. For $282 it should wash the clothes and take out the trash too.

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Soupstyle replied on Sun, Jan 24 2010 5:51 PM

NaK (Sodium Potassium alloy) is highly reactive with air or water and must be handled with special precautions. Quantities as small as one gram can be a fire or explosion risk. One notable use is as the coolant in experimental fast neutron nuclear reactors (i.e. Reactors that convert uranium into plutonium).

The safety issues is probably what kept this from making it to the US. A small leak and you'd have a liquid that forms a yellow potassium superoxide coating and may ignite. This superoxide reacts explosively with organics.

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That would stand to reason. Metal has a much higher heat conductivity than water does. One reason why if you vacated the boiling water out of your frying pan, it would cool a lot quicker than the water. Sodium and Potassium are also very reactive to water.

The $282.21 isn't too bad at all, considering the high performance Koolance cooling system costs a little more. However, I don't know what kind of hazards you'd run into by installing a metal cooling system. As Soupstyle mentioned, perhaps this is one reason it's not being sold in the US as yet.

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rapid1 replied on Tue, Jan 26 2010 1:56 AM

I have actually done some checking into this thing. It looks like a very promising cooling technology for sure. I have never heard anything about it on availability though. I even tried to contact the company once. I don't recall hearing anything back though.

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rapid1 replied on Thu, Jan 28 2010 2:55 PM

I would like to use one of these and see what I could do with it. The technology looks very promising. However; looks can definitely be deceiving. So I would like to get it on a capable system and see how far I could push it and it keep the temperature stable at least.

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rapid1 replied on Sun, Jan 31 2010 2:38 AM

What I wanna know is when can I actually get one.

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rapid1 replied on Sun, Jan 31 2010 5:44 PM

Wow realneil that's a price dang a high or mid high end video card or a CPU

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Soupstyle replied on Sun, Jan 31 2010 5:50 PM

I really think that these would only be useful on high OC's or supercomputers, that being said, the NaK is way more dangerous than LN2 or LHe. I can't see the government allowing it to be imported.

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Inspector replied on Sun, Jan 31 2010 6:04 PM

don't see why you would need something like this...

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