By Evan Ackerman
The faster a laptop is, the hotter it tends to be, making it noisy and sucking down power running fans and (eventually) rendering you sterile. We’ve heard about some promising new cooling technologies like steam cooling, but something called ionic cooling looks like it could really take the
cake ice cream. Ionic cooling is a pretty simple concept: a 3,000 volt electrode ionizes molecules like nitrogen in the air. A second electrode attracts the ionized molecules, and as they move toward the electrode, they push neutral air molecules along with them. This flow of air is channeled over a conventional heat pipe, cooling it.
The ionic cooling system uses no moving parts (making it completely silent), is very compact, and has the potential to use only half as much power as a conventional fan. The best part, though, is that it cools up to 30% more effectively than fans do. The biggest hurdle at the moment is making the ionic cooling system as reliable as the rest of your laptop is, but the technology may be commercialized as early as next year. The cost? It’s supposed to be in the “ballpark of where it needs to be.” Who knows what that means, but personally, I’d certainly be willing to pay a premium for a silent (and more efficient) laptop.