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Old 31st Jan 2012, 12:34   #1
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Total immersion cooling hits the data centre

Boston Limited has announced the world's first total immersion cooled server, the LSS 200.

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/hardwar...-data-centre/1
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Old 31st Jan 2012, 12:56   #2
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Sorry to say this but it won't reduce the heat in the server room. Even when submerged a 100w CPU will continue to use 100w which translates into 100w of heat. This heat has to escape somehow so unless they want to run mile long cooling tubes to the outside of the buildings these servers are to be in, it won't have a very large effect on the heat in a server room.
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Old 31st Jan 2012, 12:58   #3
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Originally Posted by Picarro View Post
Sorry to say this but it won't reduce the heat in the server room. Even when submerged a 100w CPU will continue to use 100w which translates into 100w of heat. This heat has to escape somehow so unless they want to run mile long cooling tubes to the outside of the buildings these servers are to be in, it won't have a very large effect on the heat in a server room.
They already run cooling tubes to the outside of the building - that's how air conditioning works. What this technology does is remove air from the equation: instead of the server heating air, which heats liquid (in the air conditioning unit) which is then taken outside to cool off, the server heats the liquid directly.
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Old 31st Jan 2012, 13:01   #4
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Well yes, you'd have to have radiators somewhere outside the server room. The choice of language in the article is a bit imprecise. Is this actually what they're talking about doing?
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Old 31st Jan 2012, 13:03   #5
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They already run cooling tubes to the outside of the building - that's how air conditioning works. What this technology does is remove air from the equation: instead of the server heating air, which heats liquid (in the air conditioning unit) which is then taken outside to cool off, the server heats the liquid directly.
Ah ofcourse, my mind hadn't connected the dots that far
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Old 31st Jan 2012, 13:03   #6
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Well yes, you'd have to have radiators somewhere outside the server room. The choice of language in the article is a bit imprecise. Is this actually what they're talking about doing?
That's up to the customer: those who just want to improve performance and don't care about HVAC costs can have radiators in the server room; those who want to recoup their investment with reduced HVAC costs can situate the radiators outside.
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Old 31st Jan 2012, 13:09   #7
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The only remaining question I guess is: will all of the components on the motherboard stand being immersed in whatever-it-is-but-presumably-silicone-oil?
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Old 31st Jan 2012, 13:16   #8
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It's a good question as to what exactly the liquid is; there's a few builds on here using mineral oil but I remember that at least one user is using proper fluorinert, which I think had essentially no effect on motherboard components.
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Old 31st Jan 2012, 13:31   #9
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There are videos of a build by 3M I think, using a chemical called Fluorinert, a bare processor, and thermal-electric device. It costs $300 a gallon to make (it's a nice long chain halogen compound). The chemical boiled at 38C, so with a fan and a TEC it was able to cycle through the liquid even at load without issue.

The issue here is component failure and ease of replacement, and where data centres have hot-swappable devices. If equipment needs to be replaced, the whole thing has to be taken apart and drained. Hot-swap devices will need to be outside the coolant.
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Old 31st Jan 2012, 13:35   #10
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The issue here is component failure and ease of replacement, and where data centres have hot-swappable devices. If equipment needs to be replaced, the whole thing has to be taken apart and drained. Hot-swap devices will need to be outside the coolant.
The system is modular: only the affected node need be drained while the rest of the system continues unaffected.
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Old 31st Jan 2012, 14:11   #11
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I wasn't aware that this was in use in a server/enterprise environment - Nice! I'd be interested to see more on this principle and whether it is a way to cool the entire board sub-zero without having the threat of condensation. Also, do any materials have to be avoided as they react to the coolant.

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Old 31st Jan 2012, 17:10   #12
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"Total immersion cooling hits the data centre
Trickling down to the desktop." - There is nothing trickling down to the desktop. This won't appear in any off-the-shelf desktop systems so why write it?

So the company concerned produced one very expensive submerged consumer PC... what's trickling down to the desktop?
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Old 31st Jan 2012, 17:25   #13
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"Total immersion cooling hits the data centre
Trickling down to the desktop." - There is nothing trickling down to the desktop. This won't appear in any off-the-shelf desktop systems so why write it?

So the company concerned produced one very expensive submerged consumer PC... what's trickling down to the desktop?
Just out of interest, where do you think watercooling started? Hint: supercomputers and HPC, then data centres, then the desktop. Is it possible to buy off-the-shelf watercooling kits, and even pre-assembled watercooled gaming rigs? Yes. Yes, it is.

Just because you can't imagine it doesn't mean it won't happen. If everyone thought like you, the personal computing revolution would never have happened. "There'll never be any off-the-shelf computers for use in the home, so why write it? <sneer>"

Also: it's amazing how rude people can be when you give them anonymity and an audience...
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Old 31st Jan 2012, 18:16   #14
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I would love to see the heat from the server room being used to heat the office in winter. Or possibly offset the energy used to heat water?? The air con in the server room broke once at my work and it really made me realise just how much energry is wasted, as it takes twice as much energy to cool it down. Its like haveing a pan on the hob and then when it gets to the right tempreture you put ice cubes from swedish lakes to keep it that way.
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Old 31st Jan 2012, 20:30   #15
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Oooooo you go Gareth! You certainly look like you've been very interested in this area, it's nice to see :-)
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Old 31st Jan 2012, 21:01   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree View Post
Just out of interest, where do you think watercooling started? Hint: supercomputers and HPC, then data centres, then the desktop. Is it possible to buy off-the-shelf watercooling kits, and even pre-assembled watercooled gaming rigs? Yes. Yes, it is.

Just because you can't imagine it doesn't mean it won't happen. If everyone thought like you, the personal computing revolution would never have happened. "There'll never be any off-the-shelf computers for use in the home, so why write it? <sneer>"

Also: it's amazing how rude people can be when you give them anonymity and an audience...
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I do love reading about new advances in technology such as this, it does make perfect sense and will hopefully one day be in my living room!
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Old 31st Jan 2012, 22:25   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree View Post
Just out of interest, where do you think watercooling started? Hint: supercomputers and HPC, then data centres, then the desktop. Is it possible to buy off-the-shelf watercooling kits, and even pre-assembled watercooled gaming rigs? Yes. Yes, it is.

Just because you can't imagine it doesn't mean it won't happen. If everyone thought like you, the personal computing revolution would never have happened. "There'll never be any off-the-shelf computers for use in the home, so why write it? <sneer>"

Also: it's amazing how rude people can be when you give them anonymity and an audience...
Feathers is the resident rude, abrasive and generally unhelpful member

I do love reading about new advances in technology such as this, it does make perfect sense and will hopefully one day be in my living room!
I considered submerging my PC some years ago. When I thought more about it, I realised I didn't want to get my hands wet every time I installed a new part.
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Old 1st Feb 2012, 03:57   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by feathers View Post
"Total immersion cooling hits the data centre
Trickling down to the desktop." - There is nothing trickling down to the desktop. This won't appear in any off-the-shelf desktop systems so why write it?

So the company concerned produced one very expensive submerged consumer PC... what's trickling down to the desktop?
Maybe not off-the-shelf right away, but they already had boutique immersion systems for the home back in 08. $5k for a quad core system, not cheap, but also not unheard of for boutique systems. http://www.bit-tech.net/news/2008/10...n-cooled-pcs/1

Years ago we didn't expect an off-the-shelf watercooled system, and then Apple released the watecooled G5 and another company was at least working on a water cooled laptop.

While I would say this technology is pointless for the home as things are getting smaller and running cooler and more efficient, all that liquid is one heck good way of keeping customers from messing around inside. So I would half expect it on every Apple product in the near future.
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Old 1st Feb 2012, 05:30   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Picarro
Sorry to say this but it won't reduce the heat in the server room. Even when submerged a 100w CPU will continue to use 100w which translates into 100w of heat. This heat has to escape somehow so unless they want to run mile long cooling tubes to the outside of the buildings these servers are to be in, it won't have a very large effect on the heat in a server room.
well not quite, liquid tends to have a higher thermal capacity. It takes a lot more energy to heat up a liquid, depending on the load you might find you an equilibrium temperature with the server room air that is much lower and more constant. Also there's a lot to be said for latent heat and heat of evaporation (can't remember the term) a lot of energy is lost during phase change so you can get a lot of cooling for free by designing a heat sink like that. I agree there's still 100w spewing from the CPU but that doesn't necessarily mean it will all end up heating the room.
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Old 1st Feb 2012, 05:32   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jqim
I would love to see the heat from the server room being used to heat the office in winter. Or possibly offset the energy used to heat water?? The air con in the server room broke once at my work and it really made me realise just how much energry is wasted, as it takes twice as much energy to cool it down. Its like haveing a pan on the hob and then when it gets to the right tempreture you put ice cubes from swedish lakes to keep it that way.
some offices do this, places with big render farms like pixar will account for the heating of the computers. Most air con system designers will account for the heat of 1000 people + 1000+ computers when they design heaters and air conditioning systems. Unfortunately it's usually not cost effictive to pump server room heat into something useable for space heating.
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