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By A.J. Roan
Metal Tech News 

Graphene makes gaming computers cooler

Future computer components may use graphene to function Metal Tech News – January 27, 2021

 

Last updated 2/4/2021 at 1:56pm

Nvidia Gigabyte Chalmers University of Technology UCSB graphene graphics card

Gigabyte

The RTX 30 series of top performance graphics cards released by Gigabyte. Four graphics cards were launched late last year, the GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming, 3090 Eagle, the 3080 Gaming and the 3080 Eagle. All these cards feature the Gigabyte Windforce 3X cooling system.

Gaming computers are getting new upgrades with the addition of graphene to the ranks of specialized materials that increase performance, lower temperatures, and improve overall potential of the components at the core of high-end gaming computers.

With computer graphics card powerhouse Nvidia developing a graphene-based nano lubricant, scientists from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden proposing the use of graphene films in PC heat pipes, a slew of graphene-based thermal pastes for improved lifespan of CPUs, and the potential of graphene as a semiconductor for future microchips, the possibilities start to open up for what this carbon-based nanomaterial can really do for top tier gaming computers.

While 2020 saw some explosive growth in the graphene market as an antimicrobial material in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, exploration into its computer enhancing capabilities has only just begun.

With superconductive capabilities, incredible tensile strength, lighter-than-air weight, and only 0.335 nanometers thick, graphene is a 2D carbon material that has yet to be used to its fullest extent.

Last year, Gigabyte Technology announced the Nvidia powered RTX 30 series of graphics cards, which took the gaming market by storm with orders for the new card becoming impossible within minutes of its release, stocks becoming fully depleted within days, and orders being backlogged for weeks, if not longer.

Besides delivering the ultimate performance for gamers and creators, Gigabyte detailed several material innovations that improved the built-in fans and reduced the heat dissipation to give a longer lifespan to these state-of-the-art graphics cards.

Amongst these innovative features is the Gigabyte Windforce 3X cooling system. This system boasts three alternate spinning blade fans, and many other improvements such as composite copper heat pipes and large copper plate that directly touches and dissipates heat from the high-power graphic processing unit.

While the list could go on for specifics, just the material improvements alone in the architecture of the design are light-years ahead of the RTS 20 series, which released only two years prior.

When it comes to using cutting edge materials in its graphics cards, Gigabyte claims that a graphene nano-lubricant more than doubles the life of the three fans keeping the units cool. Gigabyte may replace the copper in the heat pipes with graphene, providing even greater cooling to even more powerful Nvidia graphics cards of the future.

The team at Chalmers University propose a graphene film with carbon fiber to create tiny heat pipes which, according to them could reduce temperatures and increase performance by 3.5 times.

A research team at the University of California Santa Barbara have been exploring using graphene in integrated circuits, to replace the copper interconnects you see on circuit boards.

RTX 30 heatsink thermal paste copper cooling pipes spintronics Sweden

Chalmers University of Technology

Thermal conductivity of copper is about 400 Watt per meter by Kelvin, by contrast, the thermal conductivity of graphene is in the range of 3,000 to 5000W/mk.

Graphene has also seen exploratory uses in a field of study known as spintronics, which could be used ideally in both memory devices in computers (RAM) and logic devices (transistors).

Read more about graphene's uses in spintronics at Graphene opens door to spintronic tech in the June 10 edition of Metal Tech News.

Further improvements in the advances that graphene is providing to computers in general, while standard thermal paste – the gooey material you put on the main microchip for your computer, the CPU – can provide a temperature drop by several degrees, graphene thermal paste claimants suggest much larger temperature differences with thermal conductivity.

As the decade is just beginning for graphene technologies, it is exciting to think about a potential computer that is smaller, faster, lighter and cooler than today's top models all because of a material that measures just one atom thick.

 

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