Cool it! We talk laptop thermals with an expert from Dell

We speak with Dell's Travis North about all things laptop cooling from heat pipes to vapor chambers, high temperatures and more.

Credit: IDG

That high-performance CPU or GPU you're eyeballing for your next laptop is nothing if it's not backed by an effective cooling system. Yet consumers tend to know very little about the cooling in a laptop.

We fortunately had time to catch up with Dell's Travis North, who works as a Thermal Engineering Technologist. North answers our burning questions on whether a heat pipe is better than a vapor chamber, whether you should re-paste a laptop, is 100 degrees too hot, and more.

In the first section, North talks about a Dell patent on laptop cooling. You can watch the interview below or on YouTube at this link.

In part 2, North talks about one of the most controversial concerns about laptops: running the CPU up to 100 degrees Celsius. While many on the Internet believe this to be a design flaw, North explains why hitting 100 degrees and getting as close to the maximum thermal limit of the CPU is actually good. You can watch it here or on YouTube.

For part 3, North discusses whether a traditional heat pipe design in a laptop is as good as s thermal chamber and what's the best material top use in a heat pipe. North also addresses issues with getting heat out of tiny dies and whether benchmarks are truly capturing what matters to consumers. Watch part 3 on YouTube here or just click the play button below.

In part 4 of our talk with Dell's Travis North, he discusses the pros and cons of re-pasting a laptop's cooler and what the risks of liquid metal are in a laptop. Watch it on YouTube here or just click the play button below.

For part 5 of our interview, Dell thermal engineer North talks about the push for thinner laptops and whether a thin and light laptop will ever match a thick and heavy laptop. Watch it on YouTube here or click the play button below.

To close out our in-depth interview with Dell's Travis North, part 6 of our series  goes into designing a laptop and how machine learning is impacting performance in modern laptops. Watch the interview on YouTube here, or just click the play button below.

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Gordon Mah Ung

Gordon Mah Ung

PC World (US online)
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