Sapphire keeps its cool with Blizzard

If the noise your machine generates while it is ripping through the latest applications and games is driving you up the wall, Sapphire's new Blizzard equipped cards may be the answer to your prayers.

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By  Jason Saundalkar Published  May 25, 2005

In a bid to make high-performance graphics cards quieter and cooler, and so keep performance PCs stable, Sapphire has announced its ‘Blizzard’ liquid metal cooling solution. This employs nano-technology and works using the same principal as heat-pipe and water-cooling solutions, in that it transfers heat away from a heat source using a liquid. In heat-pipes and water-cooling solutions, this is normally water mixed with coolant. The ‘Blizzard’ cooling solution on the other hand uses liquid metal as the transfer medium, which is said to be 65 times more thermally conductive than water. Blizzard essentially works by transferring heat from the heat source (GPU), via a source exchanger to the liquid metal, which is encased in flexible tubing. The liquid metal meanwhile is constantly circulated around the tubing system by an electromagnetic pump. As soon as the liquid metal passes through an ambient exchanger (cooled by a low RPM cooling fan), heat is transferred from the liquid metal to the exchanger, which in turns transfers it into the surrounding air. Compared with standard heat-pipe and water-cooling solutions, this technology has numerous potential advantages. The most important is that it’s highly efficient at getting rid of heat, while at the same time offering low noise levels. This being the case, it could also be a viable means of cooling CPUs. This will unquestionably be music to performance enthusiasts’ ears, as the noise levels pushed out by the cooling systems on today’s graphics cards and CPUs are reaching, some might say, intrusive levels. Another potential advantage on offer from this technology is its strong reliability. Unlike conventional cooling solutions, the pump employed by Blizzard has no moving parts and is therefore less likely to fail. As this cooling solution is also orientation independent (it can function no matter how it is positioned), it also has the potential to be used in mobile products such as notebooks. Unfortunately this technology is currently expensive to implement, suggesting it may only be available on high and ultra-high end kit in the immediate future. Developed in conjunction with US based NanoCoolers, Sapphire has exclusive rights to the design and technology for a period of six months. Sapphire plans to initially equip its X850XT and X850XT PE cards with Blizzard technology. These should be available in stores across the region by late August.

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