I'm with you on the need/desire for more drive bays, but liquid cooling doesn't mean no fans. It does mean less fans though.
I disagree with this.... IMO water cooling can be acheived without fans... the question is would people pay the extra money for a totally silent computer and deal with the larger radiator and/or water resevoir it would require? I would... but I could see others not wanting to.http://www.popularmechanics.com/tech...3/index5.phtml
TEXT AND PHOTOS BY JONATHAN GROMER
As processors get smaller and packed with more transistors for greater speed, the problem of heat becomes a crisis. Chip temperatures are approaching the limits of existing cooling technology, and too much heat is a common killer of computers' central processors. High-power processors already generate between 40 and 70 watts of thermal energy, and much more powerful 64-bit processors will be on our desks in the immediate future. By the end of this decade, because of increasing chip speeds--and a corresponding increase in temperature--it's estimated that a square centimeter of microprocessors could generate upward of 1000°F--equivalent to the exhaust temperature of the rockets on the space shuttle. We need a new cooling solution--and soon. CoolIT Systems, a small company out of Calgary, Canada, might have just introduced the answer: a liquid-cooling system.
The CoolIT system isn't the first to use a liquid-based approach. Considerably more expensive than air-cooling systems ($200 more by average), liquid cooling has been available for years, thanks to the distinct advantage of being able to transfer much more heat away from a processor than an air-based system.
Look inside your computer and you'll find the MVP of your air-cooling system: a piece of metal designed with a lot of surface area (usually fins), coupled to your processor. This metal structure is a heat sink, usually made of copper, drawing dangerous heat away from your hot-blooded chip. A fan blows a steady stream of air onto the heat sink to cool it down, and allows it to absorb more heat from your processor. High-speed processors need high-performance fans that sometimes pump out 60-plus decibels of noise--and some systems have up to five fans.
Water, however, is 10 times more effective than copper as a coolant, making it a superior choice. Liquid cooling is also much quieter than air cooling. Although liquid cooling still requires a fan, it doesn't need one strong or loud enough to make you feel like you have a model airplane under your desk.
So with these great advantages, why can't you buy a computer with a liquid-cooling system already installed? First off, liquid-cooling systems are bulky. A radiator is used to send the heat absorbed by the water out of the box. If you don't have your radiator someplace cooler than the room's ambient temperature (like on a window sill or in a refrigerator), you'll need fans to cool it off. And radiators are big. A smaller, more portable radiator needs louder, more powerful fans. Add the fact that many liquid-cooled systems are heavy because of the volume of water needed, and the cost benefits of liquid-cooling systems just don't stack up to air-cooling systems. Not to mention that you could soak your electronics or give yourself a severe shock if you don't install the system properly.
The CoolIT system shines because it offers the strengths of a liquid-cooled system in a small and simple package. Instead of an attention-hungry radiator, the CoolIT system uses a self-contained device called a Chiller that drops water to below ambient temperatures like a refrigerator. The Chiller uses peltier cooling, a special heat sink and a fan. Peltier cooling is a thermoelectric principle whereby one direction of an electric current allows heat to be absorbed on one side of a metal device (making it cold) as heat is rejected on the opposite side (making it warm).
The small size of the Chiller allows for a portable, smaller form factor and the fan of the prototype unit we're using is relatively quiet--with a quieter prototype in development as this is being written. As for liquid cooling's weight problem, the CoolIT system requires only 140cc to 170cc of liquid and one pump to send it through the system's tubes. Best of all, you can buy a CoolIT system on a commercially available machine--boutique builder Voodoo Entertainment Systems will be offering CoolIT systems on its premium F-1 machines in fall 2003 for a price that will range between $5000 and $6000. The price may seem a little high, but it's important to remember that every 10° drop in operating temperature should double your CPU's expected useful life.
Our tests showed that the CoolIT unit kept our Voodoo F-1 system 4°F cooler inside the box than the room temperature outside while under heavy stress--unheard of with conventional air cooling. Even CoolIT's own test numbers don't reflect such high performance.
For more information on CoolIT Systems, contact Ravi Sood at Voodoo Entertainment Systems: 888-708-6636 or www.voodoopc.com.
Thick tubes of cool blue liquid connect all the components of the CoolIT system in our prototype Voodoo F-1. The black box at the top of the unit is the innovative Chiller.
The gray box with three tubes entering it houses the system's pump and voltage inverter. The metal square with two tubes on the right of the box is the heat exchanger for the CPU. The metal plate on the card below pulls heat away from the graphics-processing unit.