The whir (or buzz, or moo) of laptop fans is kind of the Seattle coffee shop theme song. Beneath the din of mice clicking, keyboards clacking, and fans buzzing, you can sometimes catch snatches of Arcade Fire or Grizzly Bear, and maybe even a few hushed words of conversation. But soon that comforting wum of your laptop’s fan may be replaced by slightly more magical technology, if Tessera R&D has their way.
Tessera is working on a fanless active cooling solution; there are plenty of fanless cooling systems out there already, but they’re passive, allowing heat to dissipate on fins or what have you. This system is active, forcing cool air over your hot, hot processor. I won’t go into the details, firstly because the system is miles away from the way it will probably end up in your laptop, and secondly because I don’t understand them at all. I do understand, however, that this ionized-air cooling solution can absorb reduce heat more effectively than a fan, and at a lower power cost.
Tessera demonstrated the technology at this year’s Semi-Therm symposium, and although another company is developing a similar technology, don’t expect a rush to market. It’s far from ready to clip onto your processor. But you can dream sweet dreams about perfectly silent coffee shops… except for those pesky people talking.