Cree has already gone a long way towards making incandescent light bulbs obsolete, by introducing its relatively normal-looking, inexpensive LED bulbs. Today, however, the company announced that those bulbs will soon be ... well, even more normal-looking and inexpensive, thanks to the elimination of the heat sink.
On the current generation of Cree LED bulbs, the heat sink takes the form of a sort of multi-finned collar that goes around the base of the bulb. This gives the bulb additional surface area, allowing it to better dissipate the heat that it generates while running.
The new bulbs, however, incorporate a convection-based technology that Cree calls 4Flow Filament Design. This incorporates slots both in the base of the bulb, and at the top. As heat generated by the bulb rises and exits out the slots on top, it continuously draws cooler ambient air in through the slots on the bottom. This eliminates the need for the heat sink, resulting in a cheaper-to-manufacture, lighter bulb.
Cree's new LED bulbs will be available in 40- and 60-watt equivalent models, putting out 460 and 815 lumens, respectively. They will also each come in soft white (2700K) and daylight (5000K) color temperatures. According to the company, they use up to 85 percent less energy than their incandescent counterparts, while lasting about 25 times longer. They also have a shatter-proof casing.
The bulbs can be ordered now via the Home Depot website, and will be in the retailer's stores as of November. Prices start at US$7.97 per bulb, as compared to the $9.97 minimum price of the current generation.