Are You (Thermally) Challenged? . . . .

I was looking for something else at the Intel website when I saw a FAQ which said, “How to recognize a thermally advantaged chassis.”

This I had to see, so I went here, and sure enough, Intel explains:

First, The Serious Stuff

Thermally advantaged chassis:  A chassis that has been designed to meet the required thermal specification of a 38oC fan inlet temperature for the Intel® Pentium® 4 processor Extreme Edition, or Intel® Pentium® 4 processors based on 90nm.t

A thermally advantaged chassis can be recognized by a hollow tube attached to the side panel called a chassis air guide which has flared ends.  This tube will funnel cool air towards the processor passively, without fans.  It’s reliance on the internal system fans to guide air across the processor and other system components is achieved through a ventilation hole within the side panel that is required in order to function properly.

In English, this means “It has a duct.”

Intel even provides a video for the post-literate.

Unfortunately, the video starts off with a rather grating sound followed immediately by a picture of a heatsink fan. Since the grating sound sounds a lot like a really noisy fan (albeit rather more baritone than the usual whiny soprano), you can’t help but associate the sound with the picture.

This is not good. It’s not just the cooler fan from Hell, it sounds like the cooler fan IN Hell.

It does recover from that dubious start, though, and shows the thermal advantages of an air duct, which I’m sure will be news to everyone in the world but us.

You can find a list of thermally advantaged cases on the webpage linked above. However, potential case buyers have two problems:

  • Intel’s standard for giving the “thermally advantaged” award to a case seems to be “it has a hole and tube on the side, and keeps the temp down.” However, at least some of “thermally advantaged” cases do not seem to have the duct in the most advantageous place (the the Antec Plus 1080AMG, for one).
  • More importantly, unless you believe in disposable cases, the case with a hole in the right place today will have it in the wrong place tomorrow. The BTX standard puts the CPU in an entirely different location (page 9), and today’s “good” duct will become tomorrow’s “bad” duct and more likely than not actually interfere with air flow.

    Now, The Fun

    I’m really concerned that I wasn’t politically correct in describing all this. I think I got the “if your case has a hole which has been ducted, it’s thermally advantaged” part right. But what if you don’t? Is your case “thermally challenged” or “thermally disadvantaged?” This has me really worried, I don’t want to be called a heatist for using the wrong term.

    Perhaps this concept can explain other phenomenon in our lives. Most of you will recall the furor over Janet Jackson being exposed during halftime at the Super Bowl. Maybe we all got it wrong. Maybe she was just being thermally challenged under all those hot lights, and since I don’t think she has thermal throttling built-in like the PIV, Justin Timberlake was just trying to provide a cooling solution.

    Of course, he was wrong in doing that. What he should have done instead was attach a duct to her so she could meet her desired thermal specifications.



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