CES 2023 | Innovative laptop cooling system: Frore shows AirJet cooling chips with ultrathin profile and silent operation
Laptop cooling systems have been relying on the tried and true design involving copper heatsinks combined with a certain number of heatpipes and some compact fans for decades now. In the past few years we have seen timid introductions for alternative technologies such as vapor chambers, liquid metal coolants and even external liquid-based units, but these are mostly reserved for premium laptops with powerful builds and still require fans that can get noisy. An innovative alternative to the fan-based design was recently revealed at CES 2023 by a company named Frore Systems. Its solution is still air-based but does not rely on any fans and comes in the form of a solid-state active cooling chip.
In an interview with PCWorld’s Gordon Mah Ung, Frore CEO Seshu Madhavapeddy reveals that the cooling chips dubbed AirJet are only 2.8 mm thick, yet they integrate complex technologies that are currently used for cooling aircraft jet engines. Each chip is equipped with a cavity that is filled with vibrating membranes. The vibration creates a suction force (back pressure) that pulls air through the holes on the top side of the chip. This back pressure is pushed down at 200 km/h velocity, hitting the copper heat spreader that makes contact with the processor. These pulsating jets are then redirected outside the chip through an exhaust.
A small cooling chip can create the back pressure that is usually produced by a fan ten times larger. Thus the solid-state chip is almost 10 times more efficient compared to a compact laptop cooler, plus it produces more airflow and it also allows OEMs to dustproof the vents without preventing the airflow generation. Moreover, the chip is essentially silent as it produces only 21 dBA in full load. In order to keep the chassis ultrathin, Frore recommends that OEMs use the cooling chips placed beside the processor, interconnecting the two with a thin vapor chamber.
For now, the size of the cooling chips only allows them to be paired with 28 W TDP laptop processors. One cooling chip takes a maximum of 1 W of power to operate and can remove 5 W of heat so OEMs need to implement 4 of these for a processor. There is also a larger version (AirJet Pro) that can remove 10 W so only two are needed. Future versions will be able to scale for more powerful processors and they could eventually be paired with powerful laptop CPUs and GPUs or even desktop-grade chips with TDPs of hundreds of W, not to mention PCIe 5.0 NVMe SSDs.
As far as costs go, Frore says the cooling chips are not that expensive to implement and the company is already working with select laptop OEMs to launch devices integrating AirJet chips in the second half of 2023.