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USB Heatsinks

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I've noticed that the USB ports on my laptop closest to the CPU get pretty hot when the laptop is on. The fan and ventilation are working, and the CPU isn't overheating, but obviously there are parts inside the casing the ventilation can't get at. The WiFi card is also in that general vicinity and adding to the heat. Any peripheral plugged into those ports gets pretty warm, and I've stopped using those ports altogether. But this gave me an idea.

USB heatsinks are simple passive coolers, with a USB plug on one side and a heatsink on the other. Plug one in the USB port, and it conducts the heat and dissipates it, more effectively than just the empty port. They could be aluminum (often used for coolers), making them lightweight and cheap.

I'm not sure how big (or small) an effect they would have, but iI'm sure having a few of them taking at least some of the heat and radiating it away couldn't hurt (unless you happen to impale yourself on one).

Veho, Feb 25 2010


       I don't think they would help a lot. You're asking all the heat to flow through the USB socket on your computer. These are normally plastic (a poor conductor) with some metal contacts - overall, not a good heat-transfer route.   

       You could have a USB-powered fan, which would blow (or suck) air into (or from) the USB port to help cool the computer. But then again, many USB ports are so well enclosed (inside the computer) that not much air would flow.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 25 2010

       Laptop heat transfer's engineered to a fare-thee-well; I really wonder whether something so ad hoc could add anything to the heat pipes, thermostatically controlled fans, conductive paste, finite-element- modeled airflow, &c they already have.   

       On the other hand, maybe you could have a laptop that was *designed* to take a USB heatsink -- it'd have some special all-metal USB connector, linked via high thermal conductivity path to the CPU, and you could run it in a special overclocked mode when you had the external heatsink plugged in.   

       On the third hand, you could make the entire chassis out of a single machined block of aluminium and ... oh yeah, wait....
mouseposture, Feb 25 2010

       "my laptop gets hot around the USB ports" isn't really evidence that there is a market for a product , its just evidence that your laptop is poorly designed. Since the usb port doesn't actually connect with much in the way of thermal mass (the port itself is surrounded by plastic, the "ground" is usually attached by a small tab to the board/chassis) it just isn't going to sink much heat. better maybe to redesign the USB so it can act as a vent when not in use maybe.
WcW, Feb 26 2010

       // You're asking all the heat to flow through the USB socket on your computer. //   

       No, only the part of it that the ventilation can't get rid of on its own.   

       With USB ports on laptops, the socket frame (metal) is mounted on the internal chassis. It gets pretty warm in some cases, and heats up anything plugged into it. Why not plug a heat sink into it? It wouldn't touch the data/power pins, only the frame, and radiate the heat away more efficiently than just the frame alone. It couldn't hurt.
Veho, Feb 26 2010

       I don't know, you ever whacked a hand against a heat sink? They can hurt quite a bit.
MechE, Feb 26 2010


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