System Fan - Alternatives

Alternatives

If a fan is not desirable, because of noise, reliability, or environmental concerns, there are some alternatives. Some improvement can be achieved by eliminating all fans except one in the power supply which also draws hot air out of the case.

Systems can be designed to use passive cooling alone, reducing noise and eliminating moving parts that may fail. This can be achieved by:

  • Natural convection cooling: carefully designed, correctly oriented, and sufficiently large heatsinks can dissipate up to 100 W by natural convection alone
  • Heatpipes to transfer heat out of the case
  • Undervolting or underclocking to reduce power dissipation
  • Submersive liquid cooling, placing the motherboard in a non-electrically conductive fluid, provides excellent convection cooling and protects from humidity and water without the need for heatsinks or fans. Special care must be taken to ensure compatibility with adhesives and sealants used on the motherboard and ICs. This solution is used in some external environments such as wireless equipment located in the wild.

Other methods of cooling include:

  • Water cooling
  • Refrigeration, e.g. by Peltier effect devices
  • Ionic wind cooling is being researched, whereby air is moved by ionizing air between 2 electrodes. This replaces the fan and has the advantage of no moving parts and less noise.

Read more about this topic:  System Fan

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