Case StudiesElectronicsIndustrial Additive ManufacturingMetal Additive Manufacturing

EOS and TheSys team up to 3D print the future of gaming CPU’s thermal management

A 3D printed CPU cooling system could take up up to 81% less space

One of the most relevant, effective and important applications of industrial 3D printing is high-performance heat exchangers to manage extreme heat in the aerospace and energy segments. So why not use these capabilities to improve thermal management in high-performance gaming CPU’s? On the occasion of the E3 2019 show in Los Angeles – the most important show for the global videogame industry – EOS, its venture AM Metals and thermal management experts TheSys used developed a 3D printed CPU cooling system and demonstrate what the future of processor thermal management could look like.

Excess heat limits the miniaturization of portable computers, power electronic devices and high-power LED lighting. Ambitious technological solutions from the lab are often not yet ready for mass production and deployment in consumer products. Industrial 3D printing of thermal management solutions can bridge the gap and keep electronics cool even when the available space is severely limited, just like they do in thermal management applications on rocket engines and in gas turbines.

Additive manufacturing technology enables thermal management components to offer the same or superior effectiveness as conventionally manufactured components while requiring far less space and even with the possibility of custom-shaping a part in order to best fit in the space around it (and not the other way around). Enlarged surfaces, any-shape geometries and conformal cooling channels are key opportunities offered by 3D printing’s ability to produce a part of any shape – exactly as you see it in the CAD computer model. And what goes around, comes around.

3D printed CPU cooling system

A 3D printed CPU cooling system in 81% less space

Excess heat limits the miniaturization of high-performance computers, such as those used for gaming or high-level computer graphic design

Equipped with state-of-the-art additive manufacturing and material technology, AM Metals’ application development specialists created an innovative design that can match the best-in-class gaming CPU coolers. Thermal solutions specialist TheSys carried out thermal simulations that served as the basis for an improved version of the cooler. With only one iteration, the companies came up with a design that meets the target cooling performance. The design was realized on an EOS M290 machine in a matter of hours. By comparison, producing an entirely new component from scratch by traditional methods would require months.

The result is a CPU cooler which operates at the same cooling performance but requires 81% less space than the original design. This is clearly an enormous improvement in an extremely reduced development time (and costs). Besides CPU coolers there are countless electronic applications where space for heat transfer is a premium. For example high power LEDs, lasers, autonomous driving, power electronics, and chemical microreactors. ”

We believe that additive manufacturing can bridge the gap between current market demands for miniaturized thermal management solutions and future technologies that might circumvent the problem in a fundamental way,” Matthias Hoeh, Business Development Manager at EOS, wrote on this LinkedIn Pulse post. Hoeh is now working on a detailed white paper about this gaming CPU cooler project. to obtain it you can contact Mr. Hoeh via his LinkedIn by following the link above.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as both a technology journalist and communications consultant. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he received his undergraduate degree. Specializing in covering the AM industry, he founded London-based 3D Printing Business Media Ltd. (now 3dpbm) which operates in marketing, editorial and market analysys&consultancy services for the additive manufacturing industry. 3dpbm publishes 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies related to 3DP, as well as several editorial websites, including 3D Printing Media Network and Replicatore. Since 2016 he is also a Senior Analyst for leading US-based firm SmarTech Analysis focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets.

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