Mar 17, 2022 Written by:Lane Prescott

Celebrating three years of liquid metal in ROG laptops

Articles: ROG Gaming Laptops
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liquid-metal

Every laptop generates heat, thanks to powerful components packed in a portable chassis. Good heatsinks and fans go a long way in dissipating that heat so you can frag your enemies all day long. But there's another, unsung hero in the chain of cooling: TIM.

No, we're not talking about Tim the Enchanter. TIM stands for thermal interface material, the most common of which is thermal paste. In the electronics industry, thermal paste consists of  non-conductive but thermally efficient compounds that efficiently passes a processor’s waste heat to the heatsink. This basic thermal solution has proven to be effective and reliable for decades, but modern laptops have run into a problem. They need to be as thin and light as possible, while also featuring components more powerful than ever. Since you can't install a larger heatsink in a smaller laptop, our engineers had to find other ways to push the boundaries of our cooling solution.

A new conductor in town

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The team at ROG turned to liquid metal. A much more thermally efficient TIM, liquid metal conducts 17 times more heat than traditional thermal pastes. When compared to ROG laptops cooled with traditional paste, our team saw incredible temperature reductions of around 10°C on average. Liquid metal does have one significant drawback - it is electrically conductive. When not handled correctly, it can easily touch a sensitive component and lead to a short, causing damage to the laptop. In 2017, our engineering team began to research whether liquid metal was feasible in a laptop. After much trial and error, ROG introduced its first devices with liquid metal two years later: the ROG G703 and ROG Mothership. This first test of liquid metal required application by hand, but the thermal results proved that we were onto something special. We didn't want to stop there.

In 2020, we were able to automate and refine the application process, which brought down the manufacturing time and cost enough to make liquid metal feasible on all mainstream laptops, not just our flagship models. Custom machines, developed and patented by ROG, painstakingly brush a thin coat of liquid metal onto the CPU die, then add two more tiny drops to ensure no gaps between the chip and heatsink. We also added a tiny barrier sponge just 0.1mm tall around the CPU socket, safeguarding against any accidental seepage. These production innovations allowed ROG to add liquid metal to every laptop equipped with an 10th Gen Intel Core processor. Thanks to the extra thermal efficiency of liquid metal, we were able to reduce fan noise and temperatures while improving our laptops’ performance at the same time.  

Better cooling for all

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Our next major milestone with liquid metal came in 2021, when we were able to apply it to both Intel and AMD processors, as well as the GPU of the Strix G Advantage Edition. AMD processors and GPUs are much harder to safely apply liquid metal to than Intel processors, due to the numerous surface mounted SMD caps on the processor package. These SMD caps need to be shielded from the electrical conductivity inherent in liquid metal, which is a challenge. 2021 marked the first year that every ROG laptop was cooled with liquid metal. That year also marked the launch of the Flow X13, making it the first convertible laptop with liquid metal available for sale worldwide.

Taking cooling to the extreme

2022_ROG Zephyrus G14_GA402_Scenario Photo_02

2022 saw a return of liquid metal on all ROG laptops, and the GPU of the Zephyrus G14. In addition, we introduced the new ROG Flow Z13, the first tablet with liquid metal onboard. Even more significantly, we continued to deepen our ongoing partnership with Thermal Grizzly by incorporating their ultra-high performance Conductonaut Extreme liquid metal on our laptops for the first time. This TIM lowers temperatures a further 5°C even when compared to Thermal Grizzly’s standard liquid metal formulation. You can find Conductonaut Extreme in the ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 as well as the Strix SCAR 15 and SCAR 17, enabling incredible cooling performance for our most powerful laptops.

The future is metal

The team at ROG is dedicated to pushing the performance of our laptops even further, and liquid metal is key to that vision. Liquid metal allows the Z13 to continue the journey ROG Mothership started, and challenge the status quo on what kind of high performance components you can find in a modern portable form factor. Below is a table showing all of our laptops from the last three years, and which models utilized liquid metals for cutting edge performance. Keep an eye out for even more models featuring this incredible thermal interface material coming soon. 

Model Name Release Date CPU GPU
ROG Mothership GZ700 April 2019 Liquid metal     Paste
G703 April 2019 Liquid metal Paste
Zephyrus G15 January 2019 Paste Paste
Strix SCAR January 2019 Paste Paste
Strix G January 2019 Paste Paste
TUF Gaming January 2019 Paste Paste
       
Zephyrus G14 January 2020 Paste Paste
Zephyrus G15 January 2020 Liquid metal Paste
Strix SCAR January 2020 Liquid metal Paste
Strix G January 2020 Liquid metal Paste
Zephyrus Duo 15 January 2020 Liquid metal Paste
TUF Gaming January 2020 Paste Paste
       
Flow X13 January 2021 Liquid metal Paste
Zephyrus G14 January 2021 Liquid metal Paste
Zephyrus G15 January 2021 Liquid metal Paste
Zephyrus M16 April 2021 Liquid metal Paste
Strix SCAR January 2021 Liquid metal Paste
Strix G January 2021 Liquid metal Paste
Strix G Advantage April 2021 Liquid metal Liquid metal
TUF Gaming January 2021 Paste Paste
TUF Dash April 2021 Paste Paste
Zephyrus Duo 15 January 2021 Liquid metal Paste
Zephyrus S17 April 2021 Liquid metal Paste
XG Mobile RTX 3080 January 2021 N/A Paste
XG Mobile RTX 3070 January 2021 N/A Paste
       
Flow Z13 January 2022 Liquid metal Paste
Flow X13 January 2022 Liquid metal Paste
Zephyrus G14 January 2022 Liquid metal Liquid metal
Zephyrus G15 January 2022 Liquid metal Paste
Zephyrus M16 January 2022 Liquid metal Paste
Zephyrus Duo 16 January 2022

Conductonaut Extreme
liquid metal

Paste
Strix SCAR January 2022

Conductonaut Extreme
liquid metal

Paste
Strix G January 2022 Liquid metal Paste
TUF Gaming January 2022 Paste Paste
TUF Dash January 2022 Paste Paste
XG Mobile RX 6850M XT January 2022 N/A Liquid metal

 

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