Laptops are fast replacing desktop and tower computers in most offices. But with their small and compact size laptops have one big problem, cooling. Here I will go through some facts on laptop cooling that you probably didn’t know. With these facts you will be able to take good care of your laptop.
Let’s start with what you already know:-
- Heat transfers from areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration. Don’t you wish the same was true for money, power and fame? Anyway this is done through either conduction, convection or radiation. (Standard 4 Science)
- Large surface areas dissipate heat much faster.
- Metals are good conductors of heat.
- Moving air/Wind speeds up any cooling process
The laptop cooling mechanism comprises of a heat sink, fan, air intake and exhaust.
- The microprocessor produces heat as it executes instructions.
- This waste heat should be removed as quickly as possible to keep components within permissible operating temperature.
- Waste heat is a sign of inefficiency because the ideal microprocessor should not produce any heat at all. Since we don’t have the ideal microprocessor, scientists have made processors that work on low voltages and produce significantly less heat that their companions in the 1970s and 80s.
- Other components like ICs need cooling but not as much as the microprocessor.
- That’s why the processor has a heat sink attached to it.
- Heavy programs or files like Video editing software require much faster executions.
- This makes the processor work harder, and the harder it works, the more heat it produces.
- The heat sink is made of fins/thick and flat long metal to increase the surface area. (Remember the surface area fact above?)
- Laptop processors have a fan mounted on the heat sink, this is called active laptop cooling.
- The Fan pumps air from the air intake holes at the bottom of the laptop.
- This air is passed through the heat sink fins where heat transfer occurs.
- The hot air is expelled from the exhaust, usually on the left side of the laptop.
- Number 6 above also makes the Fan run faster, so it has variable speeds according to the microprocessors work.
- Placing your laptop on a dusty table will make the fan pump dust through your laptop.
- Do not block the air intake holes at the bottom of your laptop. This slows the cooling process and makes your computer slow and sometimes hang.
- So don’t place your laptop on blankets or similar soft materials for extended periods of time.
- Always shut down your laptop before placing it in the bag.
- If you have a back-pack place the laptop with the exhaust side facing the top. This will make sure the remnant heat rises up and out of the laptop.
The featured image above shows the brown copper heat sink from the microprocessor to the fan exhaust side. The heat sink takes away heat from the microprocessor and the fan blows air across the heat sink on the other end
Now you know a lot more about laptop cooling mechanisms.