CCI makes 2mm thick Ultrabook vapor chamber

TFE 2011: Miracles of engineering can’t save a bad idea

CCI LogoIn case you haven’t noticed, we at SemiAccurate are not too keen on Ultrabooks, and seeing their heatsinks are a good example of why. These Ultrabook heatsinks made by CCI are a marvel of engineering, but there is only so much that physics will let you do.

At AMD’s TFE show, there were a ton of thermal solutions on display, and the thinnest and smallest were definitely from CCI. Officially, they were Ultrabook heatsinks, but there is no reason that they couldn’t be used for tablets or any other small form factor part. The short technical story is that CCI has made 2mm ‘thick’ vapor chamber, and the larger of the two units is capable of dissipating 17W, the magic number for this class of parts.

CCI Ultrabook heatsink

Amazing engineering goes in to this

The vapor chambers on the right and top are a for Ultrabooks, and that is a $100TW coin in the middle for size reference. Although it is a bit hard to see, they are approximately the same height, brackets, screws, and fins not included. On the left, there is a ‘thin and light’ laptop cooling solution, and it absolutely dwarfs the Ultrabook versions. Then again, it can easily cope with 2-4x more thermal energy.

In a nutshell, this is why we think Ultrabooks are shiny things for the stupid, you give up too much for ‘pretty’, and they do absolutely nothing that Apple doesn’t, but cost more. A heatsink like the ones shown are about all you can stuff in to a package that is a <20mm high, and it is a premium cost item. The fact that CCI can actually do it, and it will actually dissipate 17W is a miracle of thermal engineering, the company should be seriously proud of this achievement.

That said, 17W isn’t really enough to make a real machine out of, especially a premium machine. Even with bending over backwards for the thermal solution, you end up with far too many compromises. The fact that it can be done at all is quite amazing, but no one at Intel seems to be asking if they should. Then again, they are going to add touch screens soon, and that will un-fail the paradigm for sure. At least you can’t blame the thermal guys this time.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate