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Fan-free PC uses copper foam for quiet cooling

The SilentPower PC sidesteps cooling fans by using a foam-like copper substance to chill out the machines.

It looks like a scrubber, but acts like a heat sink. SilentPower

As I stand at my desk writing this, I'm listening to the low, constant whir of the fan on my desktop PC. It's background noise, a regular part of my day, but I wouldn't miss it if it was gone. German company SilentPower believes PCs should be used and not heard. It's currently crowdfunding a PC with a different kind of cooler made from copper foam.

The SilentPower PC is tiny, with its longest dimension being just over 6 inches. It runs Windows 8.1 and sports an Intel Core i7-4785T processor. There are four USB ports packed into the small space. The most noticeable part of the design is the copper foam piled up on top. SilentPower says the heat-dissipating properties of the foam means a fan is no longer necessary.

SilentPower is aiming to raise around €45,000 (roughly $60,000) to go from prototype to production. It's gathering the money through preorders and donations. A base model with 8GB RAM and a 500GB solid-state drive is going for €699 ($935, £550, AU$1,000) while the highest end version with 16GB RAM and a 1TB drive is going for €1,159 ($1,550, £920, AU$1,670). The company hopes to start production by the spring of 2015.

The small size, quiet operation, and unusual looks could make the SilentPower quite the conversation piece as part of a living-room system. The compact design means the computer components aren't upgradeable, though SilentPower is looking into ways to offer upgrade options should it reach its funding goal. If it outlives its usable life, you could always repurpose it as a very expensive kitchen scrubber.

As usual with crowdfunding projects, it's up to the buyer to decide whether to plunk down the money on an unproven product. The concept behind the SilentPower PC is certainly clever, though it looks like it could be a minor pain to keep clean if you have shedding pets who like to hang out around your computer. SilentPower says a vacuum will provide sufficient cleaning for the foam piece.

SilentPower prototype
A closer look at the copper foam on a prototype. SilentPower

(Via Gizmag)