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Intel Embraces Oil Immersion Cooling For Servers

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the pretty-slick dept.

Intel 230

1sockchuck writes "Intel has just concluded a year-long test in which it immersed servers in an oil bath, and has affirmed that the technology is highly efficient and safe for servers. The chipmaker is now working on reference designs, heat sinks and boards that are optimized for immersion cooling. 'We're evaluating how (immersion cooling) can change the way data centers are designed and operated,' said Mike Patterson, senior power and thermal architect at Intel. 'I think it will catch on. It's going to be a slow progression, but it will start in high-performance computing.' Intel's test used technology from Green Revolution Cooling, which says its design eliminates the need for raised flooring, CRAC units or chillers. Other players in immersion cooling include Iceotope and Hardcore (now LiquiCool)."

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Wait, isn't oil flammable? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41229607)

Is it really a good idea to put computers and hydrocarbons that closely together?

What if there's a fire?

Re:Wait, isn't oil flammable? (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229625)

Is it really a good idea to put computers and hydrocarbons that closely together?

What if there's a fire?

Most people would put it out. What, exactly, were you thinking?

Re:Wait, isn't oil flammable? (2)

gagol (583737) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230069)

The technique has been field tested in submarines for quite a long time.

Re:Wait, isn't oil flammable? (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230167)

Yes. I remember on of the main threats to submarines being fires....

Re:Wait, isn't oil flammable? (4, Informative)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230673)

Yes. I remember on of the main threats to submarines being fires....

Wait, were you being sarcastic? The number one main most dangerous thing about being on a submarine is a fire breaking out [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Wait, isn't oil flammable? (5, Interesting)

the_rajah (749499) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230707)

I work in the elevator business as an Engineer. One day I was working on software in a new installation when the service man with me got a call to service an elevator in a mansion nearby. He suggested I come with him as it was an interesting installation. It was indeed. This was a three stop elevator installed in 1917 and all original and working just like it did almost 100 years ago. The controller resembled a cast iron bathtub with a lid having the relays mounted suspended from it. When the lid was lowered the relays were suspended in oil. I've seen some very old elevators still in use, but never one like that.

Re:Wait, isn't oil flammable? (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230999)

Most people would put it out. What, exactly, were you thinking?

Maybe tossing a bag of fries into the hot oil?

Not all oils are flammable (4, Informative)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229629)

One example of non-flammable oil is Silicone Oil

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silicone_oil [wikipedia.org]

Re:Not all oils are flammable (5, Informative)

cheese_boy (118027) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229683)

One example of non-flammable oil is Silicone Oil

You don't even have to go non-flammable - large transformers that you might see next to buildings have been using oil as a coolant and insulation for decades.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transformer_oil

Re:Not all oils are flammable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41229761)

The bigger issue would be using a flash safe oil unless the system isn't sealed like transformers. DOW has a tonne of products to address this.

Re:Not all oils are flammable (1)

erice (13380) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229937)

One example of non-flammable oil is Silicone Oil

You don't even have to go non-flammable - large transformers that you might see next to buildings have been using oil as a coolant and insulation for decades.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transformer_oil [wikipedia.org]

They also explode and catch fire every now and then. Of course, they are also carrying high voltages and statistically it is pretty rare.

Re:Not all oils are flammable (2)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230131)

One blew directly over my head - I was perhaps three feet from the pole - when I was a kid. Big blue flash of light(ning), huge explosion, smoke rising... it was awesome.

Re:Not all oils are flammable (4, Funny)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230261)

And now you have eleven posters of Tesla in your office?

Re:Not all oils are flammable (2)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230501)

Nah, I'm not the Oatmeal guy.

Re:Not all oils are flammable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41230521)

Most transformer oil used today is silicone oil.

that;s why I use carbohydrates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41229673)

I cool my computer with cold beer.

I use a beer cooler!

And when it gets too warm, I serve the beer to Englishmen.

Re:that;s why I use carbohydrates (2, Funny)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230075)

Are you suggesting someone waste beer on cooling a server? You should be in prison.

Re:that;s why I use carbohydrates (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41230141)

No, he's suggesting beer should be earmarked as 'high performance server coolant', the keg as a 'coolant storage reservoir' and the tap as a 'used coolant bleedoff valve', the latter to be placed in the bofh's office next to the coffee machine.

Re:that;s why I use carbohydrates (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41230389)

Preferably you would use multiple kegs of different types of beer for redundancy. This is referred to as a "beer storage array".

Re:Wait, isn't oil flammable? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41229781)

It depends on what they use, but the worst case is the production of acetylene. Every year a couple of large transformers explode due to this. As a protective measure, transformers are inerted with nitrogen gas and have detection elements. Computers shouldn't test these limits, but you never know. A hot spot (resistor or capacitor) on a damaged unit could potentially start generating acetylene. But since the units appear to be vented, there should be no buildup.

Re:Wait, isn't oil flammable? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230287)

I'd worry more about the tendency of oil to dissolve various substances, and also evaporation.

Re:Wait, isn't oil flammable? (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229821)

Diesel is an oil product that isn't flammable... unless you compress it. Even crude oil is quite hard to light and requires addition of quite some energy to get it lighted, gasoline and certain other oils are the very flammable ones but there are quite some oils that would be considered inflammable under the conditions in a computer.

Re:Wait, isn't oil flammable? (4, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230103)

This is a bit confused, I'm afraid. Diesel has a flash point of 100 to 200 Farenheit depending on the type of fuel, etc. If you get it that hot, or hotter, it can accumulate enough flammable vapor to burn.

In a Diesel engine, compression heats it, and it ignites. But compression is not the only way to ignite it.

Re:Wait, isn't oil flammable? (2)

bev_tech_rob (313485) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230139)

Yes...it will ignite very readily with a match. Have watched too many people burn brush piles with it when I was a kid. It doesn't flash up or the vapors don't ignite like gasoline, but burns steadily.

Re:Wait, isn't oil flammable? (4, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230357)

In general, you need a wick. Diesel won't burn by itself, unless the temperature is very high or the air superoxygenated.

The same is true for gasoline, by the way. I used to fill a bottle cap with gasoline, and stub out my cigarette in it. It never caught on fire. The "no smoking" rule of gas stations is mostly because of people using open flames to light their cigarettes and pipes in a fume filled environment, and not so much a cigarette that isn't hotter than many exhaust pipes.

Re:Wait, isn't oil flammable? (4, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230411)

This is a bit confused, I'm afraid. Diesel has a flash point of 100 to 200 Farenheit depending on the type of fuel, etc. If you get it that hot, or hotter, it can accumulate enough flammable vapor to burn.

You need a certain ratio of vapour to air, and you still need something to ignite that vapour mix.

In a Diesel engine, compression heats it, and it ignites. But compression is not the only way to ignite it.

This is misleading at best, reading like you compress the diesel. You don't - liquids don't compress.
You compress air, which heats to a heck of a lot more than 200F (more like 1000F), and also puts more oxygen per volume in the chamber. The high temperature of the air combined with the high O2 level allows the combustion to take place.

Re:Wait, isn't oil flammable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41230119)

Gasoline vapors are fairly flammable. Gasoline, not so much.

I was once on a long road trip with my father when the panel van began to have problems. It was the fuel filter.

We pulled over to a service station, but parked on the asphalt. To replace the filter my dad had to drain the fuel line. Soon there was gasoline all over the asphalt. But gasoline doesn't play nice with asphalt. So to pretend that he wasn't fscking up the station's new asphalt, he smoked a couple of his unfiltered camels while it was draining and dropped the lit stubs onto the gasoline soaked asphalt.

I thought he was nuts and decided briskly walked over to the Wendy's next door. But my dad had been around the block more than a few times, and in retrospect I see that he knew precisely how close to the line we could get without blowing everything up. Gasoline just isn't as flammable as in the movies. And you'd think the vapors would have ignited, but it wasn't enough. Probably it was the asphalt.

If you think about it, modern engines goes through a lot of trouble to efficiently burn gasoline. I'm no chemist, but I just don't think it's as flammable as, say, alcohol or natural gas.

Re:Wait, isn't oil flammable? (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230179)

Diesel burns quite well. You just need something like a "wick". Even salad-oil burns that way. And once it is heated up a bit, it does not need the help anymore.

Re:Wait, isn't oil flammable? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230477)

Diesel burns quite well. You just need something like a "wick". Even salad-oil burns that way. And once it is heated up a bit, it does not need the help anymore.

Unless you pump in a lot of air or oxygen, it still needs a wick.
However, soot can act as a wick too (which is why a candle can burn for so long).

Re:Wait, isn't oil flammable? (2)

mirix (1649853) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229853)

Mineral oil is combustible in the same way that wax, sugar, wood, etc, are. It burns, but it isn't flammable, as the flashpoint is way too high.

You need to hold it at a high temperature to sustain combustion (like a wick, for example).

Re:Wait, isn't oil flammable? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41230185)

Mineral oil is combustible in the same way that wax, sugar, wood, etc, are. It burns, but it isn't flammable, as the flashpoint is way too high.

You need to hold it at a high temperature to sustain combustion (like a wick, for example).

Exactly! Many things are made of materials that can burn but won't ignite under normal circumstances. Hell, what about the plastic cases they make most computers out of? Those are made out of hydorcarbons just the same. So you need a wick and a source of heat. But at the same time, you should not underestimate what can pass as a wick. I once tried to light a fart after pulling the end of an old hairbrush out of my ass, and the vaseline I used to lube it up must have wicked up a few of my ass hairs (there might have been some toilet paper clinging on there, I couldn't see) because man, did I get scorched!

Re:Wait, isn't oil flammable? (0)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230815)

What if there's a fire?

Oh, be realistic. This is Intel, not AMD!

Liquid Metal CPU cooler (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229615)

This brings back good memory for the liquid metal CPU cooler that I used a while back

A review is at http://www.guru3d.com/article/danamics-lmx-superleggera-review/ [guru3d.com]

Unfortunately the vendor already closed its doors, or I would have bought more coolers from them

Re:Liquid Metal CPU cooler (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229947)

That things is completely ridiculous.

If you have to build a custom case because your cooler is a giant turbine, you might as well go with immersion as so many others have in the past. [google.com]

Re:Liquid Metal CPU cooler (4, Informative)

scheme (19778) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230049)

The cooler uses a NaK alloy. Check youtube and you'll see that this reacts violently with water and will ignite in air. The company claims that they wouldn't worry about leaks in the cooler but I wouldn't trust them or want that stuff near my expensive hardware. The craziness of using NaK alloy as a coolant for a computer is probably why the company closed it's doors.

Re:Liquid Metal CPU cooler (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230319)

The cooler uses a NaK alloy. Check youtube and you'll see that this reacts violently with water and will ignite in air. The company claims that they wouldn't worry about leaks in the cooler but I wouldn't trust them or want that stuff near my expensive hardware. The craziness of using NaK alloy as a coolant for a computer is probably why the company closed it's doors.

Not to mention it is twice as much money as the zalman which outperforms this cooler in every way.

Re:Liquid Metal CPU cooler (1)

Riddler Sensei (979333) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230163)

Holy Christ. That thing is pumping sodium-potassium alloy through your computer. This stuff is used for coolant in some nuclear reactors. I had a passing thought some years ago at how humorous it would be if someone was actually crazy enough to use it to cool a desktop computer. It's a good coolant but it is VERY volatile. I don't think I, or my insurance, would be very comfortable having that in my home.

Danamics had this to say in the guru3d article:

But what if the product leaks, one might ask? Well simply we don't believe it can. Only by mechanically damaging the product, this would be possible and even that scenario has been taken into account. If the metallic closed loop structure is cut open, only a small amount of NaK will surface. This will coagulate during oxidation which tends to plug the leek preventing additional NaK from leaking out. The coagulation process is actually started by contact with water - more precisely from the moist in our air. NaK exposed to the ambient air can be seen as a grey substance.

I'm typically not squeamish on things such as this but...if they were to reopen up shop I'd be more than hesitant to give it a shot. Even if it were completely safe I can only imagine disposal would be tricky on a large consumer scale.

Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] article on NaK.

Is it liquid? A lot of cars have sodium ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41230595)

inserts in the valves for better heat transfer. That's near water and air and gasoline! Apparently for disposal you're supposed to drill a hole in them and drop them in a bucket of water.

Economy of Scale (1)

hoboroadie (1726896) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229621)

I hope this stuff hits the discount rack soon.

Cray did this decades ago (1)

gkndivebum (664421) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229653)

Cray did this decades ago: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cray-2 [wikipedia.org]

Re:Cray did this decades ago (4, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230121)

Not to mention Slashdot's own coverage (possibly incomplete):

2003 [slashdot.org] , 2005 [slashdot.org] , 2006 [slashdot.org] , 2008 [slashdot.org] , 2010 [slashdot.org] , 2011 [slashdot.org]

Re:Cray did this decades ago (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41231025)

Funnily enough, the 2005 link has a comment complaining that this featured on Slashdot of 1999 [slashdot.org] .

CPU Cooling Insanity
Posted by CmdrTaco on Saturday May 29 1999, @12:31PM
from the everyone-needs-a-hobby dept.
moonboy writes "I saw this over at Ars Technica. This dude submerged his entire motherboard in mineral oil. As if that weren't enough, he then and got a 5,000 BTU (window?) unit and circulates the oil through the coils to keep it all cool." Don't expect Gateway to be offering these any time soon... I suspect it will a bit more than just void your warranty. It'll probably make motherboard engineers come to your home under cover of darkness carrying loaded shotguns :)

Re:Cray did this decades ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41230147)

Yeah, except it used a custom inert liquid, Flourinert [wikipedia.org] , not some commodity oil.

Re:Cray did this decades ago (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230243)

FTFS

  'We're evaluating how (immersion cooling) can change the way data centers are designed and operated,'

immersion cooling is already a proven technology, doesnt matter what the medium is.

I cool with air you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41229675)

I cool with air you insensitive clod.

Hardware failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41229685)

What happens when a server has a hardware failure? Take it out of the oil? That must be fun!

Re:Hardware failure (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229849)

Take it out with some gloves, do the repair, put it back. If done properly you would only need to clean up a little bit. You could also simply replace the whole module and ship it back to manufacturer. Even in servers there is little to repair these days, fans, hard drives, anything mechanical is usually the culprit. RAM, SSD, CPU's don't die (after burn-in testing) for decades.

Not only safe... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41229695)

...but if you put the server room near the cafeteria, you can make fries too.

Re:Not only safe... (3, Informative)

guruevi (827432) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229883)

I think chunks of fries and burgers (and cell phones and other crap that gets dropped into the oil in restaurants) may cause certain issues with the flow of the heat.

Re:Not only safe... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41229983)

That's not really a problem when the oil is too cold to cook anything in the first place.

I'm sorry, were you trying to make a joke?

Re:Not only safe... (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230099)

P'Shaw, that's never stopped McDonald's or burger king!

Re:Not only safe... (2)

mirix (1649853) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229959)

Mineral oil is generally used as a laxative, so unless they are cooling with vegetable oil, I'd advise against this. :-p

Perfect (4, Funny)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230133)

Have you ever worked at a company where middle management could not have used daily bunches of fries with extra laxatives?

What "News"! (2)

Ashenkase (2008188) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229699)

Everything old is new again.

It's great until... (1)

gpmidi (891665) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229707)

Oil works great until you have to remove something...

Re:It's great until... (2)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229775)

Oil works great until you have to remove something...

You realize, of course, that datacenters don't "remove" anything smaller than an entire blade (or depending on the scale involved, they pull an entire rack). Then they rotate a spare into place, ship the bad one out the door, and let the vendor screw around with figuring out "why" it failed.

Intel doesn't mean for your average Mom n' Pop running Windows SBS in a half-rack mounted PowerEdge to use immersion cooling.

Re:It's great until... (1)

gpmidi (891665) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229867)

But why do I keep having to remove line cards from an MLX-16 or PCIe cards... You're right in some environments, but not all. And I'm not including anything as small as you're implying.

Re:It's great until... (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229955)

But why do I keep having to remove line cards from an MLX-16 or PCIe cards...

..maybe because you are doing it wrong.

Re:It's great until... (4, Insightful)

scheme (19778) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230067)

Oil works great until you have to remove something... You realize, of course, that datacenters don't "remove" anything smaller than an entire blade (or depending on the scale involved, they pull an entire rack). Then they rotate a spare into place, ship the bad one out the door, and let the vendor screw around with figuring out "why" it failed.

I doubt most datacenters swap out racks. Unless they've built a crane into the datacenter, you'd need to get a forklift to move the entire rack and there isn't clearance for that. Swapping blades is entirely reasonable, swapping 1U servers less so unless you have some really smart automation and failover to reimage the server and get it back to the previous state.

compartmentalization (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41230367)

you're assuming that they will submerse the entire rack in one vat of oil. if they instead do each unit level in its own vat with lines for circulation, you could shut off that unit, drain it and swap the offending blade. might add 10 minutes to the whole ordeal. the oil can be rinsed off in a parts cleaner like you pick up at harbor freight, using odorless mineral spirits or the like.

Re:It's great until... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41230369)

Oh man, you should have seen that IBM rack (42u fully loaded with disk shelves, servers, UPS, the whole nine yards. Total worth high-mid 6 digits) that I moved onto a truck.

Note to self: Never use the official ramp that comes with an IBM rack when the rack is full. Holding a full rack from collapsing sideway due to a broken ramp with only 2 people fending it off is 1 of the most exciting highlights of my career. IT took 8 programmers from the office to stuff the rack onto the truck.

Of course, this is an atypical situation.

Re:It's great until... (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230395)

Not to mention a failed server having sensitive internal data on it... You don't ship those out. If you can't erase the drive you destroy it.

Re:It's great until... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41230337)

Very true, but removing an entire blade at 3:00 in the morning when on your day off and dead to the world is annoying enough, but having to deal with mineral oil and its issues (dripping over the floor making a slip hazard), not to mention having to clean up greasy fingers after inserting/removing the blade, just compounds the issue.

If a data center changes out a rack at a time, that is a different story, but a lot of enterprises go by blades, and that can get messy really fast, especially if the backup admin has zero experience with mineral oil cooling.

Re:It's great until... (1)

Anonymous Sniper (113827) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230845)

I work as a field engineer for a large unix systems company (also lots of databases and such)... spend most of my days swapping FRUs (field replaceable units). HP, Sun, IBM all work the same way. Most parts are a single board or at most 2-3 bolted together. We very, very rarely have to pull a whole 1U system (easier/cheaper to replace the system board).

What about the weight? (3, Insightful)

sub67 (979309) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229743)

Seems to me this would add a considerable load to whatever flooring is in place.

They used to say ... (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229805)

... that the British don't build computers because they couldn't figure out how to get them to leak oil.

I welcome our new UK computing overlords.

Re:They used to say ... (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229981)

Perhaps they can get Lucas involved. Then it can leak oil and release magic smoke at the same time.

Re:They used to say ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41230011)

This coming from a nation that can't make a car able to go round corners properly (or sell well in any foreign market).

Here come the FUCKING SHILLS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41229857)

GOD I hate this fucking site

Re:Here come the FUCKING SHILLS (1)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230473)

Then go somewhere else, dipshit. As I recall from the minutes of our last meeting, the Nerd Mafia aren't forcing anyone to read /. against their will yet.

I was considering something like this a few years (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229863)

I was considering something like this a few years ago. But instead I went with conventional air cooling inside an ornately carved wooden case instead.

Note that capillary action inside the cable tends to create oil drips all over the place unless you inject glue/epoxy into all your cables to seal the the tiny gaps between insulators..

http://www.pugetsystems.com/aquarium_computer/V2/module.php

ARM servers making in progress... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41229877)

so intel embraces more efficient cooling. Any other good reason they did not do this years ago?

dell 'Copper' arm server:
http://content.dell.com/us/en/enterprise/d/campaigns/project-copper

mineral oil cooled vps host:
http://midasgreentech.com/

Re:ARM servers making in progress... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41230033)

so intel embraces more efficient cooling. Any other good reason they did not do this years ago?

Because making more efficient processors is better in the long run. Liquid cooling just doesn't scale well.

Q: What's the best way to get heat out of a CPU? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230409)

A: Don't put it in.

2006 do-it-yourself ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41229885)

From Tom's Hardware 2006 article: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/strip-fans,1203.html

2000 do-it-yourself (3, Interesting)

jcohen (131471) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229987)

June 30, 2000: Slashdot reports that some overclockers have solved their cooling problem by immersing their motherboard in Fluorinert [slashdot.org] . Crazy kids. Who knew it would eventually catch on?

Re:2000 do-it-yourself (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230397)

Didn't Seymour Cray pioneer the concept?

Deep fried chips are delicious! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41229973)

And have plenty of carbon for a nutritional diet.

fluorinert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41230065)

Another, but somewhat expensive option is fluorinert. We used to use it for boards that would eventually be potted, but would arc in air. We could use mineral oil (but a dog to clean off the board for potting later) and fluorinert, which was better, but depending on the temp/voltage resistance needed could be helishly expensive

That's my retirement grease! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41230125)

Arrrgh!

Cool cooling in a cooler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41230173)

I keep my server in my refrigerator.

Pff, that's so 2006. (2)

conspirator23 (207097) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230191)

The first place I ran across the concept was Tom's Hardware, and you can still see the original article. "High Performance Computing" says Intel? Pish Tosh. Kids, you really can try this at home... but get a grown-up to assist you!

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/strip-fans,1203.html [tomshardware.com]

Let's party like it's 1999 (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230213)

http://web.archive.org/web/19991006062047/http://www.accsdata.com/drffreeze/TestBox2.htm [archive.org]

Sadly, all the pictures appear to have been lost.

I remember this guy going through and dunking his systems in Mineral oil over a decade ago, back when I was in 11th grade. You know, back with the BP6 was amazing shit and slotkets were an essential overclocker's tool.

What about maintenance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41230231)

Am I the only one who cringes at the thought of yanking a giant quad-processor card out of a tank of oil, dripping wet, then trying to coordinate the movement over a tupperware container (as to not make a mess on the floor) so I can place it on a desk covered in paper towels for servicing- only to get all my nice ESD safe tools covered in the same gunk, which will require a trip to the bathroom or kitchen to clean up afterwards?

How do you even store one of these boards in a permanent fashion? Wash it down with de-ionized water? Stick it in the dishwasher? I can't imagine you just pop it out, dry it down with some sort of an ESD-friendly towel (assuming things like BGA chips are actually sealed around the edges, so crap doesn't get under them), then chuck it in a plastic container.

I dunno. This seems like one of those marketing things that sounds fantastic on paper, until some dude has a data centre full of 40 racks that are all filled with oil (how heavy would that be?), and has to deal with the issues of swapping out parts on occasion. I bet that same dude isn't going to think oil filled computers were such a great idea. Even IBM isn't crazy enough to do this- their zSeries mainframes have some pretty insane cooling options, but none of them are full PCB-immersed cooling.

-AC

SGI was doing this a looong time ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41230241)

I wonder if Intel acquired any of SGI's patent portfolio. I good friend of mine's brother was a ME at SGI and worked on all the exotic ways to dissipate heat, one of which was submersion in oil and other liquids. Nothing new here. Somebody go check on Cray and Rackspace and see what they're doing.

Re:SGI was doing this a looong time ago... (1)

moj0e (812361) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230487)

+1 to the parent. I used to work at SGI and, as you said, this is old news. One small note, unless rackspace is also doing something different, I believe you are talking about Rackable Systems intead of Rackspace.

This might be the first time Intel is doing it with their HW though. If I recall correctly, SGI did it with their MIPS systems.

Wow your evaluating (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230289)

something that was proven to be fine in 1985?

sure it wasnt oil, it was an exotic chemical developed by 3M but the point still stands

  'We're evaluating how (immersion cooling) can change the way data centers are designed and operated,'

its been proven on machines that produced much more waste heat than today 27 years ago in the cray 2

not to mention countless people using oil to cool their high voltage transformers and overclocekd P4's, but yay, GO Intel, grats on the prior art, obious patent in the near future

sigh

Why don't they put datacenters in cold places? (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230371)

I've always wondered - Why aren't cold places full of datacenters? Just pump the air in from outside. Yakutsk (well known to anyone who plays Risk) is a city that gets down to -50C in the winter, or something like that. In the summer it rarely gets above +20C. You'd figure there'd be a booming business building datacenters in these places.

Re:Why don't they put datacenters in cold places? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230451)

They do. There is considerable expansion in Canadian datacenters right now, and I believe Greenland too. Latencies can be an issue, but for some things like compute clouds it's not a concern. Ambient cooling is making big strides, as is datacenter thermal energy recovery. If you throw off heat it's possible to use it for other industrial uses, to heat human spaces, to melt the ice on streets and sidewalks and so on.

Re:Why don't they put datacenters in cold places? (1)

Funk_dat69 (215898) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230481)

Dew point. Colder than that and you have to deal with condensation.

Oil works well, but current solutions work with total immersion and that's a freakin mess. And seeing the heatsink capacity of water is higher to begin with, warm water cooling is a much more practical solution.

Re:Why don't they put datacenters in cold places? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230903)

Cold arctic air is often dry. And if you must extract humidity even lower, the compressors aren't going to have to work as hard due to the difference in Delta T. Either way, hosting data centers in colder climate is better than someplace in the sub tropics.

raising the most important question: (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230469)

Do you want fries with that?

Re:raising the most important question: (1)

InterGuru (50986) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230641)

If you're in Britain you want a computer with efficient chips.

Re:raising the most important question: (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230893)

there's something fishy about your comment

New problem (1)

stox (131684) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230507)

Floor loading. How much is a rack of oil filled servers going to weigh?

what's old is new again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41230509)

Cray used to do this.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cray-2

Raised Flooring (2)

MDMurphy (208495) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230613)

I spent most of the 80's working on flight simulators that had rows of cabinets on raised flooring. One sim was supposed to be at 70F and the temp was usually so stable that if it was up more than a few degrees we could tell by feel and smell as soon as we walked in the room.

By shear luck I worked on simulators in Las Vegas, New Mexico and South Korea, all places that in the summer you really wouldn't want to be working outside. The constant temp during working hours was great ( though I think it made me more of a wimp for temp extremes when I went outside ) Thinking about the oil immersion and what I'd guess would be warmer ambient temps in computer rooms is a little sad. It was the extra cool computer rooms that I worked in that added to the appeal of my job back then.

Two birds with one stone (1)

Tony Isaac (1301187) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230677)

After the oil has been heated up by all those processors, pipe it to nearby fast food restaurants to cook French fries and all those other delicious, fattening foods! Yum!

1998 (3, Interesting)

slackware 3.6 (2524328) | more than 2 years ago | (#41230681)

And I was using a mineral oil bath (bar frige guts were used to keep the oil cool) to cool my over clocked Pentium. HDD, optical drives and power supply sat on a grate at the top of the coleman cooler and every thing else was submerged. I even did it with distilled water for a bit but it was to hard to keep the water clean.

hard drives? (1)

amoeba1911 (978485) | more than 2 years ago | (#41231011)

"hard drives [...] withstood the oil just fine"

I'd like to know if they used off-the-shelf hard drives for this. I find it hard to believe that a hard drive would work in oil. They usually have breathing holes, wouldn't oil get into the drive and interfere with the moving parts?

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