PC Gamer Hardware (formerly Maximum PC) spotted a cool immersion cooling system being shown off at the SuperComputing conference in Denver, Colorado earlier this month. Allied Control who was recently acquired by BitFury (popular for its Bitcoin mining ASICs) was at the show with a two phase immersion cooling system that takes advantage of 3M's Novec fluid and a water cooled condesor coil to submerge and cool high end and densely packed hardware with no moving parts and no pesky oil residue.
Nick Knupffer (@Nick_Knupffer) posted a video (embedded below) of the cooling system in action cooling a high end processor and five graphics cards. The components are submerged in a non-flamable, non-conductive fluid that has a very low boiling point of 41°C. Interestingly, the heatsinks and fans are removed allowing for direct contact between the fluid and the chips (in this case there is a copper baseplate on the CPU but bare ASICs can also be cooled). When the hardware is in use, heat is transfered to the liquid which begins to boil off from a liquid to a vapor / gaseous state. The vapor rises to the surface and hits a condensor coil (which can be water cooled) that cools the gas until it turns back into a liquid and falls back into the tank. The company has previously shown off an overclocked 20 GPU (250W) plus dual Xeon system that was able to run flat out (The GPUs at 120% TDP) running deep learning as well as mining Z-Cash when not working on HPC projects while keeping all the hardware well under thermal limits and not throttling. Cnet also spotted a 10 GPU system being shown off at Computex (warning autoplay video ad!).
According to 3M, two phase immersion cooling is extremely efficient (many times more than air or even water) and can enable up to 95% lower energy cooling costs versus conventional air cooling. Further, hardware can be packed much more tightly with up to 100kW/square meter versus 10kW/sq. m with air meaning immersion cooled hardware can take up to 10% less floor space and the heat produced can be reclaimed for datacenter building heating or other processes.
Neat stuff for sure even if it is still out of the range of home gaming PCs and mining rigs for now! Speaking of mining BitFury plans to cool a massive 40+ MW ASIC mining farm in the Republic of Georgia using an Allied Control designed immersion cooling system (see links below)!
- Two-Phase Immersion Cooling A revolution in data center efficiency @ 3M [PDF]
- 3M, Orange Silicon Valley, Allied Control and U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Demonstrate High-Density Supercomputing at SC'17 @ 3M
- Revolutionary project built by BitFury and Allied Control to cool 40+ MW of ASIC clusters [PDF]
- Oil cooling: Deep fried, or deep energy savings? @ ExtremeTech