Heat Sinks and Thermal Solutions for Portable Electronics Applications

Enertron has a long history of heat sink and thermal design for laptop computer industry. In 1992, Enertron designed and manufactured the first heat pipe integrated heat sink for use in a notebook PC. The same concept was later applied, and a heat pipe heat sink was designed to allow the first Pentium™ enabled laptop PC. Since then, heat pipes have become standard in nearly every laptop PC produced.

Heat Sinks and Thermal Solutions for Portable Electronics

Enertron has been a leader in the development of notebook PC cooling and heat sink solutions. When the Pentium™ processor was released for mobile applications, a simple heat pipe assisted spreader plate (see Enertron's Slim Cold Plate) was all that was necessary to cool the chip. This heat pipe spreader plate was positioned under the keyboard, where natural convection and radiation were most effective means of removing the heat.

When the Pentium™ II mobile processor was released, the heat load overwhelmed the simple heat pipe spreader plates. More elaborate heat pipe integrated spreader plates were designed, including a thermal hinge, which brought the heat of the processor to the backside of the display, where natural convection was better. However, fans were quickly seen to be the simplest method of dissipating the heat.

Small, extruded heat sinks were combined with heat pipes to carry the heat from the processor, and small axial fans (typically 25x25mm) provided the forced airflow to the heat sinks. Fans became a common component of laptop PC heat sink solutions.

After the release of the Mobile Pentium™ III processor, laptop manufacturers were seeking ways to reduce the height of their laptop computers hence increasing the complexly for thermal solution and heat sink design. One of the key barriers was the heat sink solutions, primarily the height of the fans, that dominated the previous generation of computers. Enertron engineers responded by using thin blowers, reducing the height of the fan to 10mm and therefore reducing the height of the overall heat sink solution. Innovative methods of joined heat sink fins and heat pipes were devised to cost effectively build micro heat sinks capable of dissipating 20-30 Watts in a small space.

The Mobile Pentium™ IV processor was released in 2002. With this processor, even higher heat loads were seen. To meet the challenge, dual-intake blowers that provided greater airflow were utilized in the heat sink solutions. Copper heat sink fins and solder bonding became necessary, despite the slight increase in weight.

Today, there are numerous Laptop PC processors on the market each posing different challenges for thermal management and heat sink design. Enertron continues to develop innovative thermal and heat sink solutions for Laptop PC industry. Our engineers can assist you in all aspect of thermal and heat sink design for Laptop PC applications. Please contact us so that we can further assist you with your application.

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