Gamers now turning to Vapor Chambers for High Performance Thermal Management

Gamers out there have been buzzing over the new 2018 Razer Blade laptop.  We at ACT have been buzzing over the awesome shout outs to thermal management the laptop has been receiving in the mainstream media!


Razer Blade laptop
Source: Razer

The Blade is touted as the smallest gaming laptop on the market at 15.6 inches.  How did Razer manage to make a gaming laptop so small while still maintaining the power required by the ultimate gamer?

The laptop features an advanced cooling system, utilizing vapor chamber technology.  The fins in the laptop are a thin 68.1 mm and comes with custom fans.  The fans push air through heat sinks to remove the heat.

razer-blade-2018-6
Source: hardwarezone.com

Laptops conventionally use 3-4 heat pipes to move heat – Razer states that the use of the vapor chamber design covers more area and aids in the thinner design.

So, is a vapor chamber a good alternate solution to heat pipes in a laptop? 

The short answer is: Yes. Since the two-phase heat transfer taking place within a vapor chamber is identical to that of a heat pipe; the vapor chamber is going to offer a super low-thermal resistance path for waste heat from the 8th Generation Kaby Lake Intel CPU and Nvidia GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU to be rejected. In a typical heat pipe based thermal management system; the factor determining how much power each heat pipe can carry is the heat pipe’s vapor space. Sometimes multiple heat pipes must be used to move the required power from the heat generators to the ultimate heatsink. The vapor chamber; as the name suggests; is a chamber filled with space for the internal vapor to vaporize and condense. This design eliminated the need for multiple individual closed loop heat pipes; replacing them with 1 highly efficient chamber performing the same function.

razerinside
Credit: www.MSI.com 

As an added benefit, using a vapor chamber allows hardware designers to sync other “lower level” thermal loads to their main heat sink simply by contacting them to the vapor chamber. This means components such as memory and storage devices can have direct thermal path to the finned/fanned heat sinks.

At ACT we design custom vapor chambers and heat pipe assemblies for customer on a daily basis. Vapor chambers are typically reserved for applications that are high power and volume sensitive. Commercial laptop manufactures continue to pack the most recent and powerful chipsets into their chassis while also trying to shave off every millimeter in height and footprint. Seeing vapor chambers finally utilized in these designs signifies to ACT the consideration these designers must give to thermal management to ensure their devices keep cool and maintain a long life.