A chipset cooling fan powered just by its own heat? Intriguing!
Fans, as a rule, are not exciting. Motherboards ditto. Kudos, then, to MSI for managing to bring some interest to both with the announcement of its ECOlution heatsink; a self-powered cooling fan driven by the heat generated by the component it is cooling.
ECOlution works using a device called a Stirling Engine, which works by using the heat energy from, in this case, the heatsink to power a fan which then cools said heatsink. MSI claims the system works at about 70 per cent efficiency (no perpetual motion machines here) but the beauty of the system is that once it gets going the process is self regulating, so as the heatsink gets hotter the fan spins faster and, as a result, cools itself quicker.
There are a couple of limitations, the biggest being that the system has to get to 60 degrees Celsius before it will get going, the second being that a fair amount more space is needed than a conventional powered fan, or even a large passive heatsink. However, for innovation MSI can’t be given less than a full ten out of ten.