As smartphone components get smaller and smaller, heat buildup has become a major concern — just ask Samsung. That’s one reason why the Seoul, South Kora-based company is rumored to switch to vapor chamber cooling technology for its flagship smartphones, but according to a new report, the changeover might take more time than anticipated.
Samsung will reportedly continue to use heat pipes in their high-end flagship smartphones throughout 2018, according to DigiTimes, and might not switch to a vapor chamber solution until 2019.
For those unfamiliar with smartphone cooling, a heat pipe consists of a small, flat metal pipe that touches the system-on-chip (SoC) and has a little bit of fluid in it. As the fluid heats up, it turns to gas that carries heat up through the heat pipe to a cooler part of the pipe. As it cools, the gas condenses back into a liquid and the process starts over again. It’s a simple — albeit expensive — solution.
Vapor chambers cool components slightly differently. Hybrid vapor chambers are placed in direct contact with the SoC, and allow for multi-directional heat flow. The goal is to disperse the heat by spreading it out as much as possible.
Both technologies are significantly more effective than old-school passive cooling. For a while, a simple flat heat sink spreader was placed on top of smartphones’ system-on-chips to dissipate heat away from the chip. But high-performing chips from Qualcomm, MediaTek, and other chip makers have forced smartphone manufacturers to adopt alternatives, and the cost-effectiveness of vapor chambers make them one of the best.
“Vendors’ demand for heat dissipation is expected to rise as they add more new functionalities into their smartphones,” Digitimes reports. “[We] believe there is a high chance for smartphone brands to adopt vapor chambers in 2019.”