CORRECTION: We originally said 30% more efficient; that was a misquote; these are thirty times more efficient. 30x. Our apologies for the typo!
DVice is reporting that Sandia National Labs has finalized a heatsink design that is 30x more efficient than traditional designs. The design involves an air bearing rather than contact with thermal paste; there is a very small air gap between the cooling surface and the CPU die. In such a confined space, air acts more like a fluid. Rather than a fan helping to dissipate heat, the entire heatsink rotates at a relatively low RPM, creating an air vortex in the center that pushes air out past the fins.
The video tells the story:
The most interesting bit of the story is that Sandia has licensed the design to an as-yet-unnamed company to create a CPU cooler for desktop PCs. Hopefully we’ll see final designs and review samples soon.