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On Chip Peltier Cooling

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Tagged As: Technology

Before the days of commodity multi-core, high clock speed processors it was necessary for computer enthusiasts to overclock their systems to squeeze all the performance possible out of the hardware. This practice led to incredible processor heat, especially with the necessary voltage increases, which spawned a niche industry of cooling technology specialists with products including exotic heatsinks, peltiers and water-cooling.

Water-cooling technologies have become much simpler and are becoming increasingly common with hardcore gamers, while peltier thermo-electric cooling (TEC) has remained an enigma despite it's theoretical ability to cool by as much as 70°C. A company called Nextreme hopes to change that, however, with their Thermal Copper Pillar Bumps. Essentially, Nextreme intends to convert the existing conductive pillars from a processor into micro-peltiers. This would allow active cooling directly on the components that are generating the most heat. Additionally, the concept uses the same technology without the applied voltage (taking advantage of the Seeback Effect), allowing the processor's heat to generate electricity. If a chip's layout were designed around these principles, the heat could be used to reduce power consumption and overall temperatures could be lowered allowing for even faster processing.

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