A surprise heat sink design prepares a computer manufacturer for the
next wave of hotter, faster CPUs.
With each new generation, processors run faster, generating more heat
and creating an ongoing challenge for computer and computer-based equipment
designers. NEC Computers, Inc., Boxborough, MA met the challenge by designing
a radically new heat sink that protects processors running anywhere from
600 MHz up to future gigahertz rates. Originally, NEC planned to span
the processor range with two conventional elliptical pin fin designs,
but using Coolit, a CFD program specifically developed for thermal management
of electronics, the company analyzed and created a single heat sink to
handle the entire range. The unique heat sink topography significantly
outperforms conventional heat sinks and costs about 80% less to manufacture.