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MSI going green at CeBIT with ECOlution

by David Ross on 29 February 2008, 12:36

Tags: MSI

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MSI brings Stirling Engine theory to the PC

MSI is promising an “ECOlution”, short for eco-friendly and environmental evolution, at this year's CeBIT.

On show from the Taiwan-based manufacturer will be Intel 4 series motherboards, a Green Concept notebook designed with Anion technology, a gaming series notebook with Turbo Battery Energy-Saving Technology and a selection of low-cost PCs.

Whilst those are all well and good on the green-front, what MSI hopes will really catch the eye is its new "Air Power Cooler", set for its first live demonstration at CeBIT next week.

MSI Air Power Cooler

The Air Power Cooler, pictured above and designed by MSI with the help of Polo-Tech, is based on Stirling Engine theory and utilises heat transfer technology to power its fan. Sound complicated? Here's MSI's official explanation:

"The “Air Power Cooler” transfers the chipset heat into air momentum, when the air becomes hot, the air will expand then push the fan to rotate and In doing so cooling the heatsink immediately. After the air moves from the bottom to top of the piston, the air will become heavy to push the up piston down. The better air piston design can transfer over 70% heat power and transfer to air power, that’s great efficiency transfer from Stirling engine theory. In a comparison with solar power the transfer rate is only around 20~30% requiring more surface and as a result cost."

It sounds very cool and every saved watt is all important in the green(er) looking future, but will it prove beneficial? MSI's demonstration pictures show the fan as a northbridge cooler as opposed to a CPU cooler. We therefore assume the technology isn't yet suitable for cooling hotter components. With the presumably minimal energy saved, will the technology prove viable? We're not so sure, but we salute MSI for trying.

Here's a rather subdued video, provided by MSI, of the Air Power Cooler in action:

MSI hopes to turn this early concept into mass production in the near future. We'll be taking a closer look when we land at CeBIT next week, stay tuned!

Official press releases:
MSI invites you to the ECOlution experience at CeBIT
World’s First Powerless Air Cooler on a Motherboard!

HEXUS Forums :: 5 Comments

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I wonder how it actually performs? I can imagine it moving pretty slowly.

Also, it seems a lot of effort to save the ~3 watts (?) from a cpu fan, nice as an engineering exercise though I guess :)
Probably more effective to make the chips use 3W less power.
looks very gimmicky to me.
Gimmicky, and more to go wrong than with a ‘normal’ HSF setup (though if it's for the NB it'll prob be ok, rather than for you cpu.)
I think the concept of cooling a processor by its own heat is pretty “cool”. But will it work as good with the motherboard in upright position?

It pisses me off though that an idle computer still uses at least 60 watts, and some even over 100 watts. If I leave my desktop machine unattended, there's no reason for it to use that much power doing pretty much nothing. Improving that sort of bad engineering is what the market should focus on, switching off cores and even large parts of the rest of the processor, motherboard, graphic card, etc.

If cars would be made to those efficiency specs, nobody could afford driving them. Granted, that's not quite the same thing, but still… wasting energy in such a way is just plain bad engineering. Efficiency never was calculated in when the computer market started developing, I guess…

So it's good to see some focus on this issue.