Next-Gen GPUs Will Require More Robust Cooling Solutions

Next-Gen GPUs Will Require More Robust Cooling Solutions

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Taiwan’s cooling component suppliers foresee excellent prospects for their wares for H2 2022, according to a report published by DigiTimes today. The semiconductor industry periodical says that next gen graphics cards are going to stimulate demand for high performance coolers. Higher performance parts with premium materials and engineering offer greater margins for suppliers, and this is why they’re rubbing their hands.

Why We Will Need Better GPU Coolers

Both AMD and Nvidia are preparing some monstrous consumer GPU launches for H2 2022. In AMD’s case, we have seen rumors that AMD’s largest Navi 31 die will feature a whopping 12,288 streaming processors housed inside 48 WGPs (workgroup processors). This is over twice the number of streaming processors as RDNA 2’s beefiest and best. AMD’s new 5nm or 6nm GPUs will very likely require more power, so the new GPUs will have a huge concentration of processing power and energy in a very small chip.

Nvidia will face very similar issues to those outlined above. In our Nvidia Ada Lovelace technology roundup, we mention that the top-end 4nm AD102 GPU is expected to pack 60 billion transistors with up to 18,432 GPU cores, plus Tensor cores and RT cores. That will go into a very small area of likely 600 mm^2 or less, and third party GPUs may consume up to 600W when under load.

Auras Technology and Sun Max

Two cooling component suppliers provided some background knowledge to DigiTimes, with regards to their hopes for H2 2022 and the arrival of the Nvidia Ada Lovelace and AMD RDNA 3 architecture GPUs for the consumer market. They inhabit different niches of the cooling component market, so it is interesting to hear what both have to say.

First and probably most interestingly, a firm called Auras Technology says it has been designing vapor chambers for use in updated graphics card ranges. This is an interesting development as its current product pages only mention vapor chambers for laptop cooling purposes. Its PC GPU cooling solutions pages show only a traditional heatsink laced with heatpipes and attached to a large finned radiator. Other technical resource pages show that Auras has experience in coolers with heatpipes, vapor chambers, and combinations of the two technologies.

Auras cooling components including some vapor chamber designs (Image credit: Auras)

We know vapor chamber use in laptops is growing, and there are even some used in mobiles. Asus is a recent ‘convert’ to using vapor chambers in its laptops, with both the Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 SE and ROG Flow X16 featuring this technology to help tame the powerful CPUs and GPUs used in these severely size-constrained portable gaming machines. Vapor chamber technology cooling has been used previously in desktop GPUs, but perhaps it is set to become much more commonplace.

Elsewhere in the DigiTimes report, cooling fan specialist Sun Max seems to be highly optimistic about the next generation of GPUs and says it is already enjoying record high revenues and profits. Sun Max says it has spent over US$2 million on fan R&D in the last year, and has filed hundreds of patents over the same period. As well as PC cooling fans, Sun Max produces custom solutions for smart fan, network device, server, automotive, and more. Sun Max’s PC gaming related shipments brought in US$63.33 million last year and things are apparently going even better in 2022.

Neither AMD nor Nvidia have formally announced their next generation GPUs, but both are expected to arrive before the end of 2022, with Nvidia potentially arriving as early as July (Ada is expected some time in Q3, so between July and September). Given the timeframe, graphics card designs for the new GPUs should be nearly finalized, with orders and shipments of cooling components already procured. Will any of the new cards rock the boat in terms of design, or will we continue to see traditional dual and triple fan designs? We should find out soon enough.

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