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Full Immersion Cooling Comes To Desktop PCs

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the please-don't-drink-the-flourinert dept.

Hardware Hacking 192

mr_sifter writes "After three years of research and around £100,000 of R&D costs, UK-based Armari has unveiled its XCP prototype. It's a full immersion liquid cooled PC which supports standard ATX components. Unlike conventional liquid cooled PCs, the components are all easy to swap in and out as they're swimming in liquid, rather than under waterblocks. It also looks amazing, pumping around 70KG of electrically inert cooling fluid (salvaged from an old Cray) around its military grade perspex shell."

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Been done before... what's original here? (5, Insightful)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770107)

No offense, but this just seems like an elaborate waste of money. We've seen immersion pc's before ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M80eUcUVrmw [youtube.com] ). Other than a fancy case and a waterfall, what makes this any different? Why is it worth £100,000 versus a fishbowl PC that'll set you back $200? Give us some decent benchmark results at least; as of now though, I see nothing really original other than a cool case mod here.

Re:Been done before... what's original here? (0, Flamebait)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770151)

I agree with you, this looks like standard off the shelf gear stuck in cooling fluid from an existing immersion cooled computer all stuffed into a gaudy lexan case. I could easily build this in a weekend with a few hundred dollars worth of lexan from tap plastics.

Re:Been done before... what's original here? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770403)

And then your system could literally explode in a catastrophic fireball due to an electrical surge because mineral oil (or whatever the hell other oil your existing immersion-cooled computer uses) is highly flammable. Whereas Fluorinert is not flammable at all.

Never mind differences like the dielectric constant (I'm sure gigahertz-speed signals love the significantly increased capacitance the oil imparts on every circuit in the system) and the oil's viscosity (which is going to overtax any mechanical components you're dumb enough to submerge in there).

Re:Been done before... what's original here? (4, Interesting)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770495)

I'm not sure where you got the idea I was suggesting a different immersion liquid. If you checkout the rest of the comments on this story you'll see that I discuss fluorinert at least 3-4 times. I'm merely suggesting that wasting ~10k USD on coolant and then building a giant gaudy waterfall enclosure isn't exactly how I'd go about doing a project like this. A much smaller volume of liquid in a much smaller container with radiator/fan cooling could be assembled for about 2-3% of the cost they've incurred. Likewise a conventional closed loop cooling system that isn't fully immersing the system could be built for only a few hundred dollars and effectively cool all the components nearly as well and certainly be more cost effective. If you wanted performance you could build a whole cluster of either of the systems I've described for the cost that this article is advising.

Re:Been done before... what's original here? (5, Funny)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770847)

Oh, come on. They were just really smart and spent it all on strippers, now they have to come up with a justification of where all the dough went. Look! Blinkenleuchtz...

Re:Been done before... what's original here? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770559)

WTF?! Highly flammable? That's why space-heaters use it, right?

Re:Been done before... what's original here? (3, Informative)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770733)

They don't, Mineral Oil is used in cooling large transformers though. And yes it is flammable and they do make a HUGE fireball when they blow up. Fortunately it takes some pretty extreme conditions to light it up like say a lightning bolt.

Re:Been done before... what's original here? (2, Informative)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770587)

...right. OSHA totally rates mineral oil mist [osha.gov] as a 1 (slightly flammable). Mineral oil is even used commonly in HV transformers, which reach MUCH higher temperatures than will be experienced by even malfunctioning computer parts.

Re:Been done before... what's original here? (1)

Enki X (1315689) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771163)

Fluorinert costs something like $500 per 1000 cc... the cost of filling even a small case is astounding...

Re:Been done before... what's original here? (1)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771211)

Check out my other comments on this topic, it's available in 3 gallon quantities for about 2500 bucks. I've heard of gallon jugs going for 500 bucks in the past, I believe that is what the octools guys paid when they were doing their extreme celeron overclocking back in ~2000.

Re:Been done before... what's original here? (4, Funny)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770189)

Ah, but this is just step 1. In step 2 they add a trained octopus to each tank that will do your PC repairs for you. Then you'll really see the value! Just don't forget to feed your octupus, or it will come looking for food on it's own.

Comes with sushi? Sweet! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770281)

Mmmmm, tako...

*drool*

Re:Been done before... what's original here? (4, Funny)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770397)

Actually that isn't too strange of an idea. Flourinert [wikipedia.org] , the coolant used, actually can hold a significant amount of dissolved oxygen and has been used in lab experiments where rats and other animals were kept fully submerged and breathing the liquid for a non-trivial period of time. So, I'd go with a larger tank and a small cadre of laser equipped, liquid cooled, attack tigers...

Re:Been done before... what's original here? (3, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770707)

...Or at least bad tempered sea bass.

Re:Been done before... what's original here? (1)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771087)

You forgot step 3. They add a shark with a laser on its forehead to each tank, as a anti-theft security system.

Re:Been done before... what's original here? (3, Interesting)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770211)

It can be a superior mode of building. A waterfall is not what is called for. Rather a radiator like device is sufficient. That puts the cooling fans outside the case for easy maintenance.Dust inside a PC as well as corrosion are warded off completely in such devices. If done right it is a superior build. If done wrong it can make a mess.

Re:Been done before... what's original here? (1)

birrddog (1237440) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771127)

Agreed re waterfall. The sound of water running under ones desk is bound to make you go to the bathroom more often...... ;-)

Re:Been done before... what's original here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770225)

If they did things like modeled the fluid and heat dynamics of the solution (to prevent hotspotting), research into how certain components handle the new environment over a long period of time(i.e. electrolytic capacitors), how the power supply handles it, etc... It could take time and money to do.

I don't want to think what it would take to get the thumbs up from CE/UL/insert your favorite electronics compliance committee for production (if that was even a goal).

Re:Been done before... what's original here? (1)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770581)

An interesting thought, however as they are advising that the case could be used with standard off the shelf ATX computer components it seems highly unlikely that any sort of fluid dynamic or thermal analysis is going to be relevant across the wide spectrum of components that could be used in it. I'm thinking that the 10k USD worth of flourinert was their major cost incurred and the rest was spent on tacky LED lighting and heat forming that giant ugly acrylic case. The 100k USD r&d cost is probably marketing included so that people with more cash than common sense would know that this is excessive enough to bother purchasing. I expect that several of them will have been ordered and shipped to Dubai by the end of the year.

Re:Been done before... what's original here? (3, Informative)

Chad Birch (1222564) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770405)

The summary said that the R&D costs were £100,000, not that it was the price of the PC.

I know, actually read the summary, must be new here, etc.

Re:Been done before... what's original here? (3, Funny)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770999)

Step 1: Read about crays
Step 2: Pay Billco £100,000
Step 3: ???
Step 4: Profit

It's immersion cooling. Pour liquid, add pump and radiator/bong, submit to slashdot.

We were doing this in the 90's! [archive.org]

Re:Been done before... what's original here? (2, Informative)

Ian Alexander (997430) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770447)

Um, it never says that the case costs £100,000. It says that bringing the case to completion took them that much in R&D. Making something is cheap. Working out how to make it right is expensive.

£100,000 is minute. (0)

zurtle (785688) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770959)

That's an incredibly small R&D cost. That would employ a newbie junior engineer for no more than 4 years. Let alone costs of materials, furnishings,...

Hardly expensive, really. If they sell a million units they only need to make £0.10 per unit to get that cost back.

yawn (2, Funny)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770521)

no doubt.

Wake me up when they put a pc in a high vacuum. You could even put the turbo pump in a different room.

Re:yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770691)

Why would you do that? That would be awful for dissipating heat.

Re:yawn (1)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771319)

exactly.

If a man laughs all by himself, is the joke still funny?

Re:Been done before... what's original here? (2, Interesting)

pcutilisateur (1349815) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770561)

I will add my voice to the flood. Yes, this seems to be a waste of resources. These days we need cpu which consume less resource because vast majority of us are buying laptop PC. I love desktop computers because they can be upgrade but I don't think I would built a machine that require an AC. I wish companies will reseach in building batteries that will last six months, and pc manufacture & software companies will spend their time building technology that will consume less energy. This is where the marks is heading.

Re:Been done before... what's original here? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770579)

The 100,000 was R&D costs not the cost of the system.

True, since for $400, you can phase change (1)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770817)

And get much better performance. All you need to cool on a PC for top performance is the CPU and the northbridge, maybe some of the voltage regulators, and the GPU if you want to overclock that.

Re:True, since for $400, you can phase change (3, Interesting)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771273)

$400 ? I'd love to see a link.

True phase-change cooling usually costs a grand for the kit, then you still have to gut your chassis to fit the ginormous cooling colon^H^Humn. Plus it's noisy as hell. It would require substantial improvements in both areas before ever being considered for general use in PCs.

This fluorinert jobby is probably whisper quiet, but I don't see anyone racing to order one. In a Cray, the liquid made sense because they were huge machines and it wasn't realistic to even try to cool them with air. Today's computers are reduced to a single board, with a few very localized heat sources.

Having a big body of liquid will actually hinder the heat dissipation, because the liquid moves far slower than air, and your CPU is putting out 100+ watts of heat in a tiny area, or in my case 350 watts, turning the area near the CPU into a mini deep fryer - definitely not cool!

Given how today's air coolers can run whisper quiet (at stock speeds and voltages), I just don't see where immersion cooling could possibly fit in the PC market. It doesn't work any better than a high-end air cooler (Ninja or TRUE120), doesn't overclock anywhere near as well as TEC+water setups or phase change, and costs 50 times more.

"You can't use water, of course" (4, Funny)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770119)

"so the XCP is filled with FLUAHRGHPT." Huh?! What's that again? I can't hear what he is saying. What liquid did they use?

Re:"You can't use water, of course" (4, Informative)

nycguy (892403) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770177)

They used flourinert [wikipedia.org] .

Re:"You can't use water, of course" (3, Insightful)

inviolet (797804) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770857)

They used flourinert.

...which is why this prototype will never see production. They got their flourinert from an old supercomputer, and that's not a viable supply for fullscale production.

That makes me wonder about their motivations for this PR stunt. Venture capital, anyone?

More seriously, I wonder if transformer oil could be used for this sort of thing. Flourinert may be overkill... or maybe transformer oil has enough capacitance to cause problems for the extremely high frequencies used on PC motherboards. Anyone know?

Re:"You can't use water, of course" (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770191)

Fluorinert [wikipedia.org]

Re:"You can't use water, of course" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770279)

It's a 3M product, Fluoronert (FC-72) or the new stuff is called fluoroketone. Here's a table of their properties.
        FC-87 FC-72 FC-84 FC-77 FC-3255 FC-3283 FC-40 FC-43 FC-70 R134A
Boiling Point (ÂC) 30 56 80 97 103 128 155 174 215 -26.3
Pour Point (ÂC) -115 -90 -95 -110 -30 -50 -57 -50 -25 -103.3
Vapor Pressure (Pa) 81.1x103 30.9x103 10.6x103 5.62x103 4.15x103 1.44x103 432 192 15 666.1
Density (kg/m3) 1650 1680 1730 1780 1770 1820 1850 1860 1940 1206
Coefficient of Volume Expansion (ÂC-1) 0.0015 0.0016 0.0015 0.0014 0.0014 0.0014 0.0012 0.0012 0.001
Kinematic Viscosity (cSt) 0.28 0.38 0.53 0.72 0.71 0.75 1.8 2.5 12
Absolute Viscosity (centipoise) 0.45 0.64 0.91 1.3 1.4 1.4 3.4 4.7 24
Specific Heat (J kg-1 ÂC-1) 1100 1100 1100 1100 1100 1100 1100 1100 1100
Heat of Vaporization @ B.P. (J/g) 103 88 90 89 92 78 68 70 69 217.2
Dielectric Strength (kV, 0.1â gap) 48 38 38 40 40 43 46 42 40
Dielectric Constant (1 KHz) 1.73 1.75 1.8 1.9 1.9 1.89 1.9 1.9 1.98
Volume Resistivity (Ã(TM) cm) 1015 1015 1015 1015 1.9x1015 1015 1015 1015 1015

Re:"You can't use water, of course" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770357)

That's amazingly impossible to read.

Re:"You can't use water, of course" (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770469)

There's also hydrofluorinert (generally available from 3M) which has some slightly different properties (higher vapor pressure, for one, so it evaporates easier). However, before anyone goes out to play with HFE, they should know that it likes to dissolve [into] silicone seals a bit more aggressively than the other fluorinerts. This is a good thing sometimes, but in the case of a computer cooling system, it might cause big problems.

Re:"You can't use water, of course" (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770865)

HFE ? What kind of amplification factor does it have ?

Re:"You can't use water, of course" (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771079)

11, maaaan.

Misread the subject line... (2, Funny)

UNIX_Meister (461634) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770121)

Was I the only one who read it as " Full Immersion Coding Comes To Desktop PCs" ?

I had a picture in my head of a waterproof system. Perhaps it's a metaphor for coding while drinking a microbrew....

woohoo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770167)

Kathleen is out of town and you know what that means -- coke up my nose and cock up my ass. If any of you turd burglars want to have a "slashdot anniversary party", you know where to find me.

--CmdrTaco

All I can say is.... (3, Insightful)

sabatorg (1279426) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770169)

I am happy that I do not work for the geek squad anymore... can you imagine asking grandma to bring in her 300lbs pc?

Re:All I can say is.... (3, Insightful)

asc99c (938635) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770859)

Yeah but at least it would be in a few pieces after the explosion when the coolant was topped up with tap water.

Fluorinert (3, Interesting)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770233)

Flourinert [3m.com] is readily available from 3M in a variety of different compositions. It is the only exotic portion of this type of project and it's cost is the main reason why we don't see more full immersion cooling. I don't know about the rest of Slashdot, but I'd prefer not to spend several hundred dollars per gallon on cooling liquid in exchange for saving myself a little hassle removing cooling blocks from a [more] traditional closed loop contained coolant system. Not a whole lot to be gained from going to full immersion. Also, IIRC, California recently added Flourinert to it's list of potentially cancer causing chemicals, which IMHO makes it less than ideal for a warm LED lit water fall in your living room or office...

Re:Fluorinert (4, Informative)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770319)

Heh, looks like my recollection on the pricing is a bit off: 250ml for 555.35USD [artchemicals.com] at one retailer and 3Gal for 2,450USD [parallax-tech.com] from another.

Re:Fluorinert (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770511)

California would add grilled cheese to its list of potentially cancer-causing chemicals if it could. Probably already has, in fact.

Re:Fluorinert -- heat capacity vs water (2, Informative)

electrostatic (1185487) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771047)

Water has the highest heat capacity of any common liquid. It takes more energy to raise the temp of a given amount of water one degree than for any other substance. High heat capacity is one reason it is so efficient for power generation and cooling.

For example, one BTU of energy raises one pound of water one degree F. In metric units, the specific heat of water is about 4185 J/kg/K (15C). Whereas the specific heat of Flourinert is about 1049 J/kg/K, or 24% of water. OTOH, Flourinert is about twice as dense as water (1.85). This means that the flow rate would have to be 2.25 (1/(1.85*.24)) times that for water to remove the same amount of heat, given the same temperature drop. I would have guessed that Flourinert would be a better heat remover at such a high price. It's utility comes from its inert nature in an electronics environment.

Deionized water is also a good electrical insulator as well as the best heat transfer agent. But with the wide variety of materials in a pc, some would dissolve and cause water to be conductive. Shorts.

Re:Fluorinert -- heat capacity vs water (1)

FrameRotBlues (1082971) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771383)

That's like $40,000 worth of engineering in your post. Perhaps you should think about selling your services...? I hear there's more openings for that sort of work lately...

What were they thinking? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770239)

After the Sony rootkit fiasco [wikipedia.org] why in the HELL would anyone name a computer product "XCP"???!!! [uncyclopedia.org]

I'm not sure I'd want one. I don't care how quiet it is or how far I can overclock it. If they're dumb enough to screw up with its name, well...

Re:What were they thinking? (2, Funny)

Ross D Anderson (1020653) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770903)

After the Sony rootkit fiasco [wikipedia.org] why in the HELL would anyone name a computer product "XCP"???!!! [uncyclopedia.org]

Because most people have never heard of the rootkit fiasco (let alone "XCP"). Additionally I don't think most people who have heard of the rootkit would be dumb enough to confuse a bad copy protection system with a liquid cooled PC. Besides, a lot of acronyms double up for different things, there's only so many TLAs available in this world.

Unrealistic (4, Insightful)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770291)

Is never happening ever for the average person and thus makes it just a novelty item. Their design is excessive and cumbersome, not to mention has excessive weaknesses such as cost to maintain, cost to purchase, time to maintain, etc.

It was tough to decipher their speech as well. Word use and pronunciation were a bit distracting. It's tough when your target audience are distracted by your speech instead of focused on your product.

you fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770441)

Talk about the pot calling the kettle... I sure hope you were trying to be funny by using such bad grammar. If not, then please go back to school before you attack others.

Re:Unrealistic (2, Informative)

VeNoM0619 (1058216) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770533)

Apparently its approx $500 a gallon [octools.com] for the Fluorinert solution.

Once again, an article that sparks my interest, then someone comes along and destroys it with reality...

Re:Unrealistic (3, Insightful)

asc99c (938635) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770973)

Oh come on - they're asked to show a dream PC and they've come up with a mini and modern Cray-2 - fits the bill perfectly. It's a concept PC - having some interesting ideas, not making people think yeah that's practical. I don't want a BMW with a flexible rubber 'skin' but I think it's a good concept.

And the speech is just a English accent - a real one! (many British actors on American TV have to learn the English accent generally used on TV). I have similar difficulty understanding a Texas drawl.

Re:Unrealistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24771389)

I'm sure that the target audience was the UK as this was published on a UK site. As a native British English speaker, I had absolutely no problem understanding what the commentator was saying.

meh (1)

acecamaro666 (1243364) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770297)

Let me know when they make one that uses beer as a liquid. And dispenses it too. Then I will be impressed.

Re:meh (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770369)

Ugh. Warm beer?

Re:meh (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770413)

Ugh. Warm beer?

GP is obviously British.

Re:meh (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770429)

GP is obviously British.

Ugh. Warm beer.

Re:meh (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770603)

pfft. I'd prefer a warm beer over frosty piss.

signed,
A. Brit

Can't wait for this to be easily available! (1)

houbou (1097327) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770309)

Obviously, the overclockers will rejoice, being able to crank up the speed on motherboards, cpu, etc..., and keeping the temp down! But even for people who don't want to speed things up, a nice setup with this liquid means that your hardware will stay cool, no overheating in normal wear and tear at all, that translate into a much longer hardware life. Now, the question is.. How much does will it cost to get this setup for a home PC?

Re:Can't wait for this to be easily available! (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770565)

a nice setup with this liquid means that your hardware will stay cool, no overheating in normal wear and tear at all, that translate into a much longer hardware life.

Fantastic! Now, instead of old hardware continuing to function ten years after Moore's Law makes it obsolete, it will still be usable A HUNDRED years after it becomes pointless to use!

Re:Can't wait for this to be easily available! (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771203)

I remember reading on Slashdot, an ancient story. Guys used combination of that liquid and nitrogen to hit some insane Mhz. It was done in Australia.

You would tell me "so find the story". The "search" part of Slashdot... :)

$100,000 invested? lolwhat? (1)

Blice (1208832) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770325)

What a load of bullshit. There's howto's all around the net on how to do this, and has been for a long time.

Re:$100,000 invested? lolwhat? (1)

qazwer00 (1152449) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770517)

you mean £100,000 or 183,000USD

Re:$100,000 invested? lolwhat? (1)

NextGaurd (844638) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770597)

For the Fluorinert breathing octopus, of course...

Not cool . . . (1)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770343)

. . . to link to an ad-filled TFA with bandwidth-consuming cheesy music. I hope their server fries.

Re:Not cool . . . (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770545)

I agree. While I have adblock, you could have warned us about the video!
Thanks Timothy!

Hey... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770385)

My Bissel Spot-Bot steam cleaner looks like that...

Old! (1)

DigitalJer (1132981) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770399)

Been done, ages ago...

http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=802563 [hardforum.com]

Re:Old! (1)

my_left_nut (1161359) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770645)

Not the same fluid... this one's using fluorinert, a perflurocarbon. That one used Midel, a fire-resistant, oil-like compound which has been used in transformers. I suspect that fire-resistance doesn't equal inert.

But Flourinert was considered (1)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770775)

Read the HardOCP forums, and you'll see several people had talked of using Flourinert, it's just too damned expensive.

Practical use? (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770493)

So, you spend $10k on a top of the line rig like this, overclock your CPU to double or even triple normal... which, according to Moore's law means you may have gained 3 years of non-obsoleteness. Don't get me wrong, it's really cool, but is this really more economical (in terms of flops per dollar or some such) than buying a $3k machine, a $3k machine 3 years later, and a $3k machine three years after that?

Re:Practical use? (3, Informative)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770649)

since when do computers get twice as fast every 18 months? That hasn't been true for a couple years.

Re:Practical use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770829)

Since when has double clocking a machine result in it actually being able to accomplish two times the amount of work?

P.S. the statement "since when do computers get twice as fast every 18 months? That hasn't been true for a couple years." is funnily stupid on SO many levels. Grammatically, rhetorically, factually, and technically, you failed.

Re:Practical use? (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771173)

They still get twice as fast but Mhz myth is kinda gone. In fact, there are some same speed Xeons performs almost 30% faster than the same Mhz model because of low nanometer, bigger cache etc. The "Quad Xeon" Apple pro one is a good example. 2 versions, same or similar Mhz, the later one beats first generation by 30%.

BTW as everyone stares to memory bandwidth issues etc. now, people investing to "dead" SGI and rescuing it from chapter 11 are damn clever. Same goes for Cray too.

Re:Practical use? (1)

Panaflex (13191) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770897)

If you really need the FLOPS - you'd do it too. I'm working on a project now that requires 9k of custom hardware acceleration. I'm already spec'ing the next gen product to run on a $100 video card in the next year or two.

I really doubt I would spec this product... though... it looks like a great addition to some evil genius collection though! Would look nice next to the sharks-n-lasers tank!!

Re:Practical use? (1)

Panaflex (13191) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771077)

Hell - you could put the sharks IN the computer!! How fun!

Re:Practical use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770953)

No. You won't be able to overclock it that far, maybe double if you've got a good CPU and it was a low clock to begin with. If you were serious about overclocking you'd get phase change cooling so you could keep your CPu and -15C not +30C.

Re:Practical use? (1)

hellwig (1325869) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771461)

There's a false argument that goes if you have a task to complete that will take 100 years on today's computers, wait. Since transistor density doubles every 18-months (allowing more transitors, more cores, more processing power), the computer you buy today will be unable to outperform a computer you buy 18 months from now. I.e. computer A will compute for 18 months. If you buy computer B, it can do in 9 months what the first computer did in 18. Then in can double that work in the next 9 months, completely replicating the first computers work in 18 months what computer A took 36. But after the second 18 months, another, faster computer comes out and does all the work over again in another 18 months. Basically, don't bother buying today because you'll get the same amount of work done in the same amount of time simply by waiting for a faster computer.

It's simple binary division. 100 years now = 50 years 18 months from now, etc.... 100/2^6 = 1.56 ~ 18 months. So basically 6*18 months from now (9 years) is when you want to buy that new PC of yours, or whatever the hell you were talking about.

Long story short, if you plan to live to 100, wait 9 years and buy a new computer. You'll only live till 11, but you'll get all the same work done. Or something like that, I don't know, math is confusing.

Not another... (3, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770541)

You desktop jockeys have no idea.

Datacenter workers are far more aware of the demands and complexity of cooling.

1. It's a commercial pursuit, which is meaningfully different than one-off's from the lab. They must have some customer in mind. If they don't, well, their investors will get burned.

2. I can easily imagine a commercial application where, perhaps cooling needs overwhelm a building, this may come in as a cheap alternative.

Get back to us when you've figured out how to cool a rack full of blade servers working near capacity. This may do it more elegantly than air.

Re:Not another... (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770905)

Yes, that may be so, but it's so fucking *messy* that I'd hate to use it. Also do not underestimate the complexities of a housing a column of fluid that's 7' (2.10 meters) tall...

Re:Not another... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771157)

Seal the rack and fill it with mineral oil. Done.

Yes!!! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770585)

Bring one of these puppies to a LAN party, and the babes will be swarming all over you... wait... has anybody ever been to a LAN party where babes were actually present?

Re:Yes!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770777)

You want to lug 70 kg of computer to a LAN party?

Re:Yes!!! (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770941)

Actually yes, you just need to find the right babes.

Mineral Oil (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770615)

You can do this with Mineral Oil. Cheap and found everywhere. I remember reading about a guy that overclocked his P2-400 to like 650MHz at the time using a homebrew cooling rig. Dr. Freeze or something was his name (freeze spelled strangely).

Re:Mineral Oil (1)

freddy_dreddy (1321567) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771291)

Indeed, they commonly use mineral oils in transformers and high-power/voltage applications. But I'm skeptic about their electrical characteristics in a HF environment like a computer.

Toxicity (1)

timias1 (1063832) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770619)

Apparently this stuff is almost completely safe, according the 3M -MDS Fluorinert liquids are non-irritating to the eyes and skin, and are practically non - toxic orally. They also demonstrate very low acute and sub-chronic inhalation toxicity. These products are not mutagens or cardiac sensitizers.

Though, I want to see the look on the Best Buy Employee's face when you go to return a video card that has been sitting in this goop.

Re:Toxicity (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771007)

"Though, I want to see the look on the Best Buy Employee's face when you go to return a video card that has been sitting in this goop."

Just tell him it got that way when you were watching Golden Girls videos...

Midel 7131 (2, Interesting)

vimm (1300813) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770647)

rumored to be about 8$ per gallon.... This is just proof that we're in the last few years of VC funding for "amazing, innovative, and revolutionary computer design" instead of something that works.

Back to the future TCM! (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770651)

I can see this for extremely dense packed server blades in a rack. Where today our problems are electrical and heat and not compute power. This would solve one of those problems at any rate.

It's like the good old days of TCM mainframes with massive 400psi chiller pumps.

Big deal... (2, Informative)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770713)

This has been done before with fluorinert and mineral oil. In fact, there was a posting here on Slashdot [slashdot.org] back in 2000 where the guys did liquid nitrogen-cooled fluorinert. Definitely more cool-points (pun intended) for that.

Fluorinert is definitely a better choice over mineral oil if you ever intend on being able to upgrade or fix the PC, since fluorinert evaporates without a residue, but it's a bit pricey.

Surely the Kingdom of Heaven is near (2, Funny)

Mesa MIke (1193721) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770781)

.. when we have fully baptized and oil-annointed CPU's.

Willy Wonka in IT says (1)

ZarathustraDK (1291688) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770951)

"See that waterfall? That's what makes my computer so snappy and frothy. Yes sir, my computers are the only ones cooled by waterfall in the whole world. And you can take that to the bank."

WTF is a KG? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770987)

A KG doesn't exist. Neither a prefix of K nor a unit of G exists.

What's the big deal? (1)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771017)

Aside from it looking cool when new and polished, this will be an overpriced piece of junk in 3 years. Given the rate, my Wristwatch will have a stronger and faster CPU by then.

Looks like... (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771049)

ORAC

I wonder if it has his voice and attitude too?

Done Before.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24771205)

I seem to remember a /. article 'round 'bout the time that overclocking PII's became popular. A young man with a webhost in The Netherlands took his PII/233 and overclocked it to 618MHz by dumping the motherboard in mineral oil and using a fishtank pump to circulate the fluid over a window-mount room air conditioner condenser coil (approx 4k BTU's). His styrofoam cooler was the housing, and he had some condensation problems, but it worked. Total cost of mod: ~ 300US. Meh.

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