This is Sapphire Atomic HD 3870‘s new cooler. It is a single slot design, and integrate with Vapor Chamber technology. The Vapor Chamber is under the black shell, only 3.0mm thick.
Source said the 3mm Vapor Chamber can absorb as much as 150w heat and emit to the fin. With the single slot cooler, HD 3870 now have the ability to run Quad CrossfireX on a bad-PCIe-design 790FX mobo.
The Vapor Chamber is not a new technology, it is based on the same theory with heatpipe. But there is a difference. Heatphipe’s heat transmission is from the hot end to the cool end, limited by its shape. Vapor Chamber is from the hot surface to the cool surface. This design make the vapor chamber’s performance not limited by its shape.
And here is a technical explanation of the vapor chamber from Thermacore:
“A vapor chamber is a vacuum vessel with a wick structure lining the inside walls that is saturated with a working fluid. As heat is applied, the fluid at that location immediately vaporizes and the vapor rushes to fill the vacuum. Wherever the vapor comes into contact with a cooler wall surface it will condense, releasing its latent heat of vaporization. The condensed fluid returns to the heat source via capillary action, ready to be vaporized again and repeat the cycle. The capillary action of the wick enables the vapor chamber to work in any orientation with respect to gravity.”
The reference cooler is based on cooper fins, while the new Atomic version is only aluminum. But source said the new cooler can deliver more heat away. In fullload mode the temperature of HD 3870 with reference cooler is about 74C while HD 3870 with new atomic cooler is only 67C.
So it seems good enough, let’s hope Atomic version HD 3870 can come out soon and we can have a full test about it.
Here is a reference version HD 3870 for your comparison.