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Hitachi's Water-cooled Laptop 228

surfacearea writes "The Register has an article about the new Flora 270W Silent Model, a Japan-only 1.8GHz water cooled laptop. Apparently the pump and piping is all held behind the LCD in the lid. I wonder how much extra weight that consumes." But best of all, it means now laptops have a chance to spring a leak!
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Hitachi's Water-cooled Laptop

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  • Missing the point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Friday July 19, 2002 @12:48PM (#3917428)
    To me, this kind of thing strikes me as the wrong solution. I'd much rather see the emphasis on low power on low energy, rather than fixing this on the back end by coming up with a novel way of eliminating all the excess heat that is generated.

    It's like saying "We found a way to reduce the emissions from SUVs," which ignores the fact that SUVs are grossly fuel inefficient in the first place.
  • Wrong market? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by og_sh0x ( 520297 ) on Friday July 19, 2002 @12:50PM (#3917450) Homepage
    Will this really sell in a purely Japanese market? The Japanese are more obsessed with small size and light weight. Seems like Americans and Europeans are more likely to add extra weight or size to get a quieter machine.
  • spring a leak? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by laserjet ( 170008 ) on Friday July 19, 2002 @12:50PM (#3917456) Homepage
    As usual, slashdot has sensationalized water cooling, and made it seem that springing a leak can be common with a system like this.

    Water cooling has been around a long time, far pre dating computers. While it may be true that over clockers working on their own PCs in their dads' garages may spring a leak, in reality a commercial water cooling system this just doesn't happen.

    Springing a leak with this system would be about as likely as your new air conditioner sprining a coolant leak. It simpley won't happen within the normal life span, and assuming you don't run over it with a car or drop it down an elevator shaft.

  • by 1000101 ( 584896 ) on Friday July 19, 2002 @12:53PM (#3917484)
    The japanese company that is offering this laptop is creating a way for the end user to maximize current technology. It's up to Intel/AMD to come up with ways to reduce power consumption at 2.5 Ghz......
  • by Gyorg_Lavode ( 520114 ) on Friday July 19, 2002 @12:54PM (#3917488)
    There isn't much laptop makers can do to make their computer components generate less heat. That is more on the hard drive and processor manufacturers.

    Personally I think liquid cooling will slowly become standard in cooling because it is so efficient and can replace the cooling of all components of a computer. It is slowly dropping in price and the main hinterance is the inate resistance to putting liquid in a computer.

  • Re:spring a leak? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pmz ( 462998 ) on Friday July 19, 2002 @01:09PM (#3917623) Homepage reality a commercial water cooling system this just doesn't happen.

    Springing a leak with this system would be about as likely as your new air conditioner sprining a coolant leak. It simpley won't happen within the normal life span,...

    ??? Air conditioners, cars, toilets, any hydraulic systems...they spring leaks all the time. Usually, the leaks are small, and people put up with them by adding antifreeze to the resevior, hiring an HVAC technician to add refrigerant each year, etc. There is no reason to believe that a laptop would be any more immune to microcracks or bad gaskets than any other hydraulic system.
  • Design and Leaks. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lionchild ( 581331 ) on Friday July 19, 2002 @01:11PM (#3917633) Journal
    While I tend to agree, the sensationalism of a leak springing from your laptop in the midst of a high-level confrence in some plush board room with a teak wood table isn't terribly likely. However, as noted, the coolant system runs up behind the LCD. That means that somewhere between the system board and the LCD, there's some flexing happening as you open and close the LCD on your laptop. Moving parts are potential failure points.

    Let's all admit, how often have you picked up your laptop and held it by the LCD? For Joe User, it happens. Or how many times have you seen a User stacking reports and books on their laptop? More pressure on that LCD that's got the cooling system in it.

    Apple had problems with their good looking Titaniums loosing connections when their cases flexed. If engineers don't look closely a real-world instances where users are going to flex things that really weren't meant to be're going to find the wear will cause a leak. Maybe not during your warranty period..but, say a couple months after it's over? Of course then, you'll need to go buy a new laptop, eh?

    There's a gimmick.
  • by kiwimate ( 458274 ) on Friday July 19, 2002 @01:51PM (#3917894) Journal
    In the hopes of stemming the flood of purely silly questions, here's the article which will answer something like 95% of the questions I've seen posted thus far. You lazy sods, I'll bet you don't indicate when you turn a corner while driving either.

    Hitachi Ltd. has announced the commercial launch of its water-cooled notebook PC, a 1.8GHz mobile Pentium 4-based machine which uses a patented Hitachi system to aid heat dissipation.

    Most notebooks are cooled by air fans, and as processors have grown more powerful and begun to generate more heat, these fans have become more numerous, larger, and have needed to spin faster.

    This has also meant that fans have become noisier and might not be suitable for use in places like libraries, Hitachi said.

    The new Flora 270W Silent Model uses a water-based solution tank, instead of a fan or fans for cooling down the processor. Hitachi announced a working prototype using this technology in February.

    "The efficiency of a water cooling system and the air cooling system are about the same but the biggest difference is the noise the latter creates," said Masayuki Akabane, a Hitachi spokesman.

    The water-based solution runs through a flexible tube that is placed over the chips and absorbs heat. The heated water solution is then sent to the display part of the notebook to be stored in a tank where it cools down.

    The solution can last for more than five years, the flexible tube can circulate the solution over 20,000 times and the pump works for more than 44,000 hours, the statement said.

    Plastic panels separate these water-cooling elements from high-voltage areas, in case of a solution leak from the cooling system. The Tokyo company also offers a three-year guarantee service for the product.

    The new products are slightly thicker than existing air-cooled Flora models, in order to show the tank at the back of the LCD (liquid crystal display) panel and hence differentiate the water-cooled machine, Akabane said. The tank also be hidden, he said.

    The products are equipped with a 1.8GHz mobile Intel 4 processor, 128M bytes of RAM, a 20G-byte hard disk drive and a 15-inch (37.5-centimeter) color TFT (thin film transistor) LCD (liquid crystal display), and are priced at ¥341,000 (US$2,941). The products can be customized to connect via Ethernet, a modem or an IEEE802.11b interface.

    Hitachi started taking custom orders from corporate customers at its online shopping site on Wednesday. The products are expected to be shipped on Sept. 30 in Japan, Akabane said. The company can provide the product for corporate users outside Japan on demand, he said.

    The company is still looking at market trends before deciding when to launch the product for the consumer market, he said.

    Hitachi has patents for this unique water-cooling system, and is trying to promote it as a standard throughout the industry. Several high-end product makers are in talks with Hitachi for possible adoption of the technology in servers and PDPs (plasma display panels), Akabane said.
  • by angryty ( 464324 ) on Friday July 19, 2002 @02:43PM (#3918293)
    You miss the point.

    This is an effective method for dispersing heat given technology and cost constraints with performance remaining at today's standards. Want reduced power? Slow that processor down to 1990 levels and you'd get what you're asking for - but then nobody (even you) would buy it.

    Limiting the power consumption of the laptop is already a goal, but economically, this is a better (cost effective) solution. Let's say that they CAN reduce consumption significantly, you still have the problem that NEXT year you'll have faster processors and higher heat, and the need will reappear.

    The technology exists to double the fuel economy of your favorite SUV, but then nobody wants to drive a vehicle with 0-30 times measured in minutes with a top speed well below highway speeds. The technology also exists to increase performance significantly over todays models but they would get 2mpg.

    Got Abacus?

The best defense against logic is ignorance.