While showing off their latest 3D chip development, chip manufacturer IBM has declared a need for an improved cooling system. In order to combat the increased amount of heat experienced when stacking chips on top of one another, they have developed a network of tiny arteries no wider than a hair that pumps water around the chip to cool it.
Traditionally, chips are laid out horizontally, but stacking them vertically allows for data to be transmitted quicker and more effectively. However, the by-product of this architecture is a massive increase in heat. The usual method of cooling chips, fans and air based cooling systems, cannot cool the chip enough and cannot be scaled to an acceptable level.
3D chips represent the future of computer technology and will enable the chips to become smaller and more powerful but cooling has been a problem since the idea was first thought of. Water has been used to cool computer systems before and is believed to be a viable solution because it absorbs more heat much more effectively than air.
If 3D chips are to become a part of future computing then the cooling issue has to be beaten, and IBM’s water cooling technique looks to offer a highly probable solution.