Apple · June 28, 2022

Apple is developing next-generation computer fans

Last month, Apple got a patent which shows that they have been doing some innovations in the cooling fans of their Macbooks and iMacs.

We know that CPUs generate a lot of heat. The higher transistor density on the latest chips and their ever higher switching frequencies have contributed to this.

To cool the chips down, computer manufacturers are relying on cooling fans that spin at higher speeds. But this comes with a side effect of higher noise levels. Noisy fans are annoying, don’t you agree?

So in this patent, Apple has tried to modify the design of their fans to reduce the noise levels. The modifications are many-fold:

  1. The edge of fan blades will be tapered towards the center
  2. An outward slope will be given to the center of the impeller hub
  3. An opening will be created for the entry of air directly towards the center

This is how the new design might look:

Figure from Apple’s patent

The complete fan assembly might look like this:

Figure from Apple’s patent

The new design improves air circulation and cooling efficiency while the tapered blades and the slope of the impeller hub helps reduce the acoustic noise.

It is pretty much certain that the processing power of our gadgets is only going to increase in the coming years, which is not possible without an increase in the heat they generate. That makes it necessary that improved heat dissipation systems be invented.

Right now our mobile phones and tablets do not come with cooling fans. There is already a market for external cooling fans for mobile phones, especially for gamers. Mobile phones and tablets which really need high performance could in fact benefit from such silent fan assemblies.

Apple is not the only company working on this problem. Intel, Dell, and Acer are also some of the prominent companies working on this technology.

As a result of these innovations, we may see computer fans that make no sound whatsoever, even when they are spinning at full speed!

P.S. Cover Photo by Vishnu Mohanan on Unsplash