Alienware’s x15, x17 gaming laptops wield radical ‘Element 31’ cooling


Cooling is half the battle in gaming laptops and Alienware’s new secret weapon is its mysterious “Element 31,” which the company finally revealed at Computex 2021.

Element 31—named for gallium’s 31st place on the periodic table—is essentially an encapsulated gallium liquid metal and one of the exotic materials Alienware used to make the stupidly thin Alienware x15 and x17 laptops.

Traditional liquid metals have been used by enthusiasts on desktops for some time, as well as high-end laptops for the last couple of years or so, but it’s always had downsides. Alienware actually looked at phase-change materials, aluminum-doped materials, organic waxes, graphite and raw liquid metals, but decided Element 31 was the best answer.

Dell’s Travis North said while conventional liquid metal has great thermal conductivity, it’s also electrically conductive, which isn’t great in a computer where it can potentially short out components. 

aw x15 internal components Alienware

You can see Alienware’s Element 31 on a CPU die before the cooler is attached, which crushes the encapasulated gallium liquid metal and creates safer and more efficient cooling material.

“In addition, the fillers corrode in the presence of water vapor, so you get a degradation of performance over time and it’s very corrosive in the presence of aluminum,” North said during a press briefing on the new laptop’s cooling.

Where Element 31 differs is the ease and safety of application.

“It looks like a grease, you apply it, compress the heat sink by screwing it down, it breaks the bonds of the silicone so we get liquid-metal to die touch points and to the base of the heat sink touch points,” he said.

Despite Element 31 not having the electrical conductivity of conventional liquid metals, North did say Alienware still took the extra safety step of fencing Element 31 off which is what most laptop makers have had to do with their liquid-metals.



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