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This is how the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix cools itself without a fan

A thermal module less than half a millimeter in thickness. No fans. Thinner. Lighter. That's the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix for you. It's been a few months since the Helix convertible tablet was refreshed with Intel's Broadwell processor, otherwise known as Core M (the same processor used in Lenovo's Yoga 3 Pro), and the benefit is that it runs cooler than ever. So cool it might not even need a fan.

While we're not 100% on the supposed fanless-ness of the Yoga 3 Pro, the ThinkPad Helix is touted very much as being a fan-free design (as the video above would indicate). The thermal module is, in essence, a blade of a heat sink, pulling heat from the Broadwell processor and dumping it onto the perimeter of the device. It's just runs cool enough that you don't necessarily need a fan to manage it.

Source: Lenovo (YouTube)

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.

63 Comments
  • Dell and hp could learn a little something from them!
  • Speaking of hp they now have a amd hexacore laptop
  • What model? Their website sux , would probably take ages to find.
  • Yeah, or copy them, which they have, with the Yoga
  • Dell does have some unique designs like the XPS 12 that rotates the screen and folds down on top of the keyboard instead of exposing it like the yoga. Now they should make a Broadwell version and done.
  • I have xps 12 and so many times I wanted to detach the screen. Back then sp3 had not launched so spent all money getting best xps12 config.
  • Have one too and not very happy with it. Fan has I mind of its own, it is just blasting with little CPU utilization and often when idle, drives me nuts. Track pad is also the worst I ever used and to add to the frustration my right click stopped working. Going to be dumping it for an SP3 very soon.
  • Can confirm. The metal plate on the bottom acts as a major heat sink too. Wicked design.
  • If I'm not wrong then fanless laptops were supposed to come since the launch of Haswell processors....So now what to expect from the future laptops having skylake processors??
  • Wonder how much would be for this one.
  • At least $980 with ultrabook keyboard, see here. 
  • I saw it at the Partner Conference in Toronto. It's nice.
  • For those interested, some early benchmarks.  It looks like a pretty great device, but the pro keyboard is not yet available. The same person that did the benchmarks also did a youtube video which shows the included ultrabook keyboard.
  • Thanks for the link!
  • the performance should be even worst than ARM socs, so i would rather have a proper fanless long lasting arm machine, x86? why bother? you wont even run skype desktop properly with this
  • Are you serious? Which arm processor could keep up with this processor?
  • Yeah that seems an odd statement
  • Any of them, they are all crappy slow CPUs, at least the ARM ones don't burn your lap and are truly mobile(not having a charger always on)
  • EspHack, you need actual professional medical help.
  • The arm CPUs are comparable to Intel atom CPUs, not core series CPUs. That's a pretty big difference
  • Unfortunately for Intel, the difference is pretty much gone. Look up the Geekbench scores of this device and compare it with the Galaxy Note 4, which features the new Cortex A57. Also the iPad Air 2 has a higher multi-core score. Atoms are much slower. ps. I am not talking about the faster desktop class CPUs from Intel but specifically about this Core M Broadwell SoC.
  • @EspHack Where did you read about ARM SOC's faster than the Intel Core chips???
  • The Cortex A57 in the new Galaxy Note 4 (first design with A57) has practically the same Geekbench multi-core score. In addition the Note 4 most likely do not throttle down the clocks so heavily under load as this Core M processor. And we comparing phone vs ultrabook here...
  • Lol you're joking right?
  • Never go full retard
  • Arm is unfit for laptops.. I am pretty sure..,,
  • Fanless CPU is one of the reasons I bought the ThinkPad 10. No noise and no dust. So I'm pleased that they're moving in this direction with higher end tablets/laptops.
  • Agree. No dust !
  • Has science gone too far?
  • Tommorow it'll comin without lcd ;)
  • Lenovo are the only serious competitor to MS in the hybrid market. Looking forward for LG to step it up.
  • Honestly, judging by the number of Lenovo Yoga and ThinkPad that i see around me, I think the picture is a little different. Hybrids haven't made a big dent in the notebook market, especially after Lenovo created the Yoga. I am starting to feel that Windows tablets and hybrids have a basic design flaw: they are not convenient to be used as tablets. When you hold a tablet with 2 hands, your thumbs should be able to cover almost all the distance. If a tablet is too large and designed to be used horizontally, you have to hold it in one hand and use the other hand to tap, and that totally kills it. That's why the iPads are designed to be used vertically. It's the only way to effectively use a 6"-10" screen. And that's also why they do not use a 16:9 format, the screen would just be too narrow in vertical mode. My conclusion is that unless the new Windows 10 for tablets is designed to be used in vertical mode, the hybrids will never become popular.
  • Using a 10 inches tablet with your thumbs? Really? We definitely don't have the same use of our devices, dude...
  • Yeah we know you love apple, as an iDude that uses an iPad and even though what you said isn't so tenable as an argument, but thanks anyway.
  • Nice joke, how on earth can you cover 10" ipad with thumbs only? You must be a giant.
  • Umm, I remember using and loving my original ten inch iPad back in the day. I remember using my thumbs to type with the split screen keyboard quite frequently, but I do not recall ever using the entire thing with my thumbs. I do agree that most hybrids are too large to be used as tablets, which is why the Surface Pro 3 is so magical! I had the Surface Pro 2 and I've played with several other hybrids, but my Surface Pro 3 is the first one I actually feel comfortable using as a tablet for an extended period of time. Like I loved my Surface Pro 2 and all, but I'd be lying if I said I used it as anything more than a really convenient and portable ultrabook 90% of the time. Not with the Surface Pro 3. It's thin, light and gorgeous enough, and has that beautiful 3:2 aspect ratio screen that I have zero issues using it as a tablet. I just pop off the keyboard, place it in my bag or on a table, then just browse away. Likewise, it's light enough that I can hold it for extended periods of time with arm fatigue, and I've always got a kickstand for when I do. Microsoft has some terrible ads, but god is this a great product!
  • the only thing your thumbs need to reach are the letters on the onscreen keyboard and windows has the split keyboard for that. most of the actions are swiping and you can do that from the edge of the screen. the occasional one handed use to reach the a link in the middle of the screen is not a big deal. most ios games are landscape. the reading apps are portrait. even in portrait you can't reach every part of the screen without shifting your hand or using one hand. the fact is most tablets get used when dittîng down and all this doesn't matter. you don't see people walking around using their tablet very often, unless it is being used as a point of sale device in a store. even then, when i see a salesman using an ipad, it is isually one handed.
  • I'm waiting for the REAL Broadwell processor to come out next year
  • I'm waiting for the UNREAL Broadwell processor to come out next year!
  • It sure look much, much better than SP3.
  • Royal rovalt 2 updated... But don' t update it... You might loose your progress in the game.
  • "Irrelevant post of the week" award spotted.
  • LOL
  • Cool tech
  • I am surprised they didn't mention the enhancement in battery life, since there is no need to run a fan motor. So, does this mean that the half-a-millimeter thermal module consumes more power than the motor?
  • A cooling blade consumes no power.
  • It simply dissipates the heat. I don't even know why they won't research on looping the different form of energy dissipated into usable form of energy to charge the battery or power the tablet. That should ensure prolonged backup. For instance, integrating the heat-sink with a thermocouple power generator which in turn charges the battery pack. You may say it's little current but at least it may charge the battery in twice to thrice the charging time from the mains.
  • That energy cannot be harnessed. It is waste energy.
  • Now, that is an interesting idea.
  • if that technology exists, i'm sure the cost, weight, and size would prohibit it from being used in a portable device.
  • I don't get how an actively rotating fan consumes no power. Please enlighten me!
  • A fan does not use that much power and by the way is not supposed to run at full speed all time, so I doubt there is a huge difference...
  • Laptop fan = around 0.3W at full power. Broadwell cpu = 10W And @ above ; only differences in temp can be harnessed. You'd need something which *stays* cool to get a constant power output (example: once water reaches at 100 degrees is no use to produce power, it will need to be replaced or cooled, which costs energy)
  • Would be nice to see an in-depth comparison between Surface Pro3 and this Lenovo Helix
  • Doodle jump is now free
  • "While we're not 100% on the supposed fanless-ness of the Yoga 3 Pro"
    What is that supposed to mean?
  • I guess they're not sure if it does or does not have a fan. Daniel said he heard what appeared to be a fan starting up during his hands on video.
  • I purchased the yoga pro 3 from John Lewis, in the UK, and it definitely has a fan - air comes out from the hinge. Whatever it is, air is coming out, under load. Other reviews have confirmed the presence of a fan so..?
    I'm personally not convinced by the core m chips. They are (of necessity) underpowered. Anemic. My surface pro 3 i5 and i7 blows the yoga pro 3 out the water. And battery life is no good.
    I love the look of the helix but wonder if the trade off is worth it, over a macbook air or the xps 13, both spring haswell.
    Bring on broadwell!
  • This is a terrible article. Do you even know what you're trying to say here?
  • I'm a fan!
  • my phone is hot when i am racing, virtually. may i have a phone with at least one fan?
  • Wow. It uses a heat sink. Who would have guessed?
  • Hats off to Lenovo. Only Chinese owned company that I can say is really doing good stuff. The fact that they are increasing PC sales during the downturn while others are whining and blaming Win8 and MS proves if u innovate and make good products buyers will notice. Down w Acer and their terrible loud mouthed CEO!