Microsoft have registered a patent to try and help reduce the problem of overheating in their laptops; and possibly even their future foldable devices.
At this point the idea is only a patent and there’s no indication that when or if we’ll ever see this idea implemented in any of Microsoft’s devices.
The idea is an interesting one, though; it could see more manufacturers looking for innovative ways to reduce the heat that’s generated by our laptops
Why do PC’s overheat?
PC cases have a lot more going for them when it comes to heat management. Without the need to be portable form is far less important than function. Added to that PC’s have much more room to circulate air and install heatsinks and fans.
For a laptop the first and most important job of the designer is to fit it on your lap and in your laptop bag. As a result laptops are typically pretty poor at dealing with high temperature.
High-end gaming laptops are able to look at more advanced cooling solutions but these come at a cost. When you start looking at things like liquid cooling you sacrifice portability and start pushing the price up.
There’s a solution
Designing an efficient laptop is not easy; there’s only so much you can do with the space available in the base section of a laptop. Microsoft have clearly been applying their mind to this problem. The patent was unearthed by Mayank Parmar.
Microsoft’s patent looks to address this by implementing a vapor chamber which would run from the base of the laptop to the screen portion. This chamber will connect the base section with the screen section.
This could change the way manufacturers approach the idea of heat management. The screen and the base where the CPU and GPU are housed are generally thought of separately; the majority of cooling focuses on the heat generating base.
Innovative screen design
The idea of making use of the screen section to help dissipate the heat would give designers more space and materials to use to try and solve heating problems.
Microsoft notes in their patent that the screen section of a laptop “may provide an effective surface area for passive heat transfer”.
The proposed vapor chamber design is focused on providing efficient cooling without affecting the integrity of the laptop hinge it will need to cross. This is most likely why the vapor chamber is has been preferred to a heat conductive material.
If the solution proves successful Microsoft is likely to find applications for the patent in their foldable mobile devices as well as future headsets.