Heatpipes: The Investigation Begins

Written by Michael Larabel in Peripherals on 27 October 2007. Page 1 of 7. 21 Comments

Since breaking open bottles of beer with heatpipes and other hardware last month at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, we have been cutting open a number of different heatpipes. In this article we have some new details to shed on heatpipes from a numbers of manufactures, including Thermalright, Thermaltake, OCZ, and Abit. These cooling mechanisms are supposed to keep our beloved PCs from overheating, but how does their manufacturing quality differ? With this article, we have plenty of pictures and videos showing you the differing qualities in heatpipes.

As was shared in Creative Ways To Open Beer With Computer Hardware, using the OCZ Reaper DDR2 heatsink with heatpipe was definitely one of the easiest ways to open your favorite bottled beverage. After that though, we decided to cut open the heatpipe. As this copper heatpipe is attached to the heatspreader atop the DDR2 memory, the heatpipe is rather small but sufficient for a single DIMM.

However, when cutting open the first OCZ Reaper heatpipe, no liquid was to be found but only a subtle pressure relief. As a crash course into heatpipes, they are designed to transfer heat between two areas. Normally at the hot-end of the heatpipe there is a fluid that turns to vapor because of the heat and it then naturally flows to the colder end. When reaching the opposite end, it then condenses back to a liquid and flows back to the hot interface and the process repeats itself in a closed loop. Heatpipes are generally made of copper or aluminum and filled with a fluid such as water, ethanol, mercury, or a pressurized gas.

Related Articles