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Talking cool: Intel doubles notebook fan speed

Chipmaker hopes the prototype being displayed at the company's developer forum ultimately will find its way into notebook PC designs.

Intel has invented a way to double the air flow generated by fans used to cool ultrathin notebook computers.

Demonstrating a prototype of the technology in public for the first time at its developer forum taking place this week in San Francisco, Intel says the upshot will be cooler computers--and it's not referring to style.

Fan prototype developed by Intel. CNET News

"This will have the same power consumption and noise level of current fans," said Bradley Urban, an engineer inside Intel's thermal technology development unit.

As with other engineering advances coming out of its research side, Intel intends to license the proprietary design to computer makers--the idea being that anything which fosters more demand for Intel-based computers will, by definition, add to the company's bottom line.

Call it a product announcement by stealth: you'll find the technology demonstration in a nondescript booth at San Francisco's Moscone Center, a half stone's toss away from the myriad Atom-based notebook PCs Intel is putting on display at its developer forum.

In a side-by-side comparison, the Intel fan flow moves a Styrofoam ball around a track significantly faster. "It's a 2x comparison," Urban said. He added that Intel took less than a year to work out the kinks for a reliably faster fan to fit into ultrathin notebooks.

"As soon as we can get it into production, we will," he said. It was unclear how long this next step in the process will take before faster fans wend their way into the commercial market. "Maybe two years," he offered.

Click here for full coverage of the Intel Developer Forum.