PopSci Teardown: A Meltdown-Proof Computer
An overheated computer can defeat even the best gamer. When hardware gets hot, processors and graphics cards respond more slowly to commands, costing a player the competitive edge that top-shelf components provide. To keep the game moving at critical moments, PC manufacturer Digital Storm adapted automotive technology, including radiators and an exhaust chamber, to build the Aventum, the coolest—and therefore quietest and fastest—gaming PC to date.
All components generate heat: The CPU alone can reach 150°F in seconds. The Aventum has a six-core Intel processor, three graphics cards, and a 1,200-watt power supply.
Next to the CPU, designers installed a thermoelectric plate, which has a current running through it. The far side of the plate is made from a material more conductive than the side nearest the processor, so electrons—heat—move naturally toward it. The process keeps the CPU side of the plate consistently below 32°F.
Excess heat diffuses from the plate into tubes filled with liquid coolant. Circulated by a pump, the liquid carries the heat to two 16-inch copper-and-brass radiators at the bottom of the case. Six intake fans direct air from outside the chassis over the radiators, dissipating the heat. A third radiator sits at the top of the case and chills the graphics cards.
Fans push the warm air from the radiators into the exhaust chamber, which is surrounded by 18-gauge steel so that heat can't escape back to the components. With nowhere else to go, the air leaves out a back vent below the power supply.
Five probes throughout the chassis monitor temperature. Software automatically adjusts the speed or number of fans in operation (there are 13 total) to target any hotspots.
DIGITAL STORM AVENTUM
Dimensions: 26 by 30 by 10 inches
Price: $8,500 fully loaded