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The butterfly shape lends itself surprisingly well to its role
as a heatsink. Two stacks of fins form the wings and the base of the fan forms
the body. Decorative as they are, the shape of the wings is also quite functional:
Each wing has a total of four evenly spaced heatpipes that run the full vertical
length of the heatsink. The heatpipes are grouped in pairs, each pair connected
at the top of the heatsink so that, even though there are eight vertical pipes
in total, only four long pipes need be manufactured. Doubling up heatpipes in
this way is not uncommon.
Front and back.
The pairs of heatpipes form a V that is roughly followed by the shape of the
wings themselves. In addition to giving the heatsink its distinctive shape,
the contours of the wings cut away fin material that is a long way from the
heatpipes, reducing impedance where heat transfer is likely to be low.
The decorative ridges, the holes on the tips of the wings, and the trailing
"tail" on each wing may also have useful purposes that go beyond aesthetic
appeal. The ridges are likely intended to direct airflow, and they are arranged
to channel the air as close to the heatpipes as possible. The holes in the wingtips
are located where air pressure is likely to be weakest, and should reduce impedance
to some extent. The "tail" fins serve a double purpose: They prevent
stray cables from fouling the fan, and take advantage of the lateral airflow
the comes off the tips of the fan blades.
The fins themselves are thin and loosely spaced both good signs for
when the fan is turned down. Our only concern is that, with all of the contouring,
there is less surface area compared to many tower heatsinks. The larger the surface area, the better the ability of the fins to transfer the heat from the CPU into the air.
The fins are fixed at the base.
Like the fins, the red plastic body also looks as though it is functional.
The "tail" of the body forms a wedge shape that splits the airflow,
forcing it out sideways instead of allowing it to blow straight through. This
forces the air towards the heatpipes where it is most useful. The wedge shape
continues through the length of the body, with the two antennae pushing the
air outwards as it leaves the fins.
Does this butterfly have propeller-assisted flight?
Although it is necessary for the design of the heatsink, the rear-mounted fan
looks a bit odd attached to the back of a butterfly. With the fan direction
reversed, it looks as though it could be the butterfly equivalent of a wheelchair;
perhaps it is unable to fly without the fan. It even has a taillight: The fan
glows red whenever it is spinning thanks to a red LED embedded in the hub.
Getting back to the technical details, the copper base on both of our samples
was slightly tarnished, but otherwise flat and smooth.
Slight discolorations on the base are unlikely to affect performance.
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