Iconically Ionic


It's a rarity for cooling-related news to really catch any kind of net buzz, but there's been a little bit of a breakthrough in the ol' world of sub-zero cpu temperatures. The news centers on a little piece of technology called "ionic cooling" -- yes, just like those fans you see on the infomercials. Yes, I thought that was bunk science too. But apparently, researchers at Purdue have managed to use ionic cooling as part of a CPU cooling scheme, ultimately increasing the heat-transfer coefficient to nearly 250 percent. In layman's terms, that's a lot of cold.

So how does ionic cooling work ? A connected device slaps two electrodes near each other, giving one a positive charge and the other a negative charge. As we all learned in fifth-grade science and twelfth-grade relationships, opposites attract. The negative electrons emitted by the electrode chug their merry way towards the positively charged electrode. Somewhere in the middle, the negative electrons collide with air molecules. Positively charged ions are created and are quickly repelled by the positively charged electrode. Finishing the circle of life, said ions become attracted to the negatively charged electrode. This whole mess of a system creates breeze, which cools thy CPU.

If the general concept sounds familiar to you, well, that's because it's been done . And not just with CPUs; industrious geeks have cobbled together their own ionic cooling solutions for computer cases in general. Our first example isn't the most elegant of solutions -- the guy basically jury-rigged a Sharper Image-style ionic fan into a case. But it's certainly stylish compared to the rest of what's out there, including our favorite, the "looks like you taped a CD spindle cover to the back of your case" cooler .

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