The researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology are working on a direct liquid cooling design to push liquid cooling further by having it cool the chip directly, without the Integrated heatspreader and a waterblock being in the middle.
Just like the benefits of direct cooling (or changing thermal paste) after CPU delidding done by extreme overclockers, Associate professor Muhannad Bakir devised a way by etching cooling passages on the silicon of the CPU itself. He has done it on a 28nm Altera FPGA chip having cylindrical channels to direct the de-ionized water through the chip. Unlike LN2 cooling that extreme overclockers use, this would be a more practical cooling solution for hardware of many applications.
With the inlet water temperature 20 degrees Celcius with a flow rate of 147 millimeters per minute, the chip operated on less 24 degrees celsius. The same chip operated via air cooling resulted in a temperature of 60 degrees celsius.
The results of a direct liquid cooling is very promising though this isn’t something users can do on their own. While delidding seems relatively easier, making channels is not. The direct liquid cooling for many types of processors has more advantage than just better cooling.
“We have created a real electronic platform to evaluate the benefits of liquid cooling versus air cooling,” said Bakir. “This may open the door to stacking multiple chips, potentially multiple FPGA chips or FPGA chips with other chips that are high in power consumption. We are seeing a significant reduction in the temperature of these liquid-cooled chips.”
FPGA chips are used in many fields which would benefit greatly, but it should be a no-brainer that similar implementation can be done on CPUs, GPUs and any devices that need very efficient cooling.