×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Intel and SGI Test Full-Immersion Cooling For Servers

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the cooling-it-down dept.

Intel 102

itwbennett (1594911) writes "Intel and SGI have built a proof-of-concept supercomputer that's kept cool using a fluid developed by 3M called Novec that is already used in fire suppression systems. The technology, which could replace fans and eliminate the need to use tons of municipal water to cool data centers, has the potential to slash data-center energy bills by more than 90 percent, said Michael Patterson, senior power and thermal architect at Intel. But there are several challenges, including the need to design new motherboards and servers."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Cray-2 (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46711555)

The Cray-2 did this in 1985 using a liquid called Fluorinert also invented by 3M:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cray-2
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluorinert

I wonder... (1)

niftymitch (1625721) | about 8 months ago | (#46711561)

3M Novec 649 Engineered Fluid

Novec 649 fluid is an advanced heat transfer fluid, balancing customer needs for physical, thermal and electrical properties, with favorable environmental properties. Novec 649 fluid is an effective heat transfer fluid with a boiling point of 49C. Novec 649 fluid is useful in heat transfer particularly where non-flammability or environmental factors are a consideration.

Re:I wonder... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46711627)

49C is rather low for a boiling point for this application. Not that I'm terribly familiar with their product lines, but there are several in the 7xxx series that are more likely candidates - some with boiling points better than 100C. Running things hot (within tolerances) would help with the efficiency of heat transfer to the environment as well.

Re:I wonder... (4, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | about 8 months ago | (#46711919)

it can be an advantage, as long as it doesn't break down on boiling.

that way the cpu can stay at 49c and the system can be built to not require pumps, just by piping the steam to a cooling tower and from tower back to servers. however of course this needs redesign of the server and components, like said.

Re:I wonder... (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 8 months ago | (#46712227)

49C is rather low for a boiling point for this application.

Is it? Phase transitions generally require quite a lot of energy. It is my understanding that if you allow the vapors to condense externally and return the liquid back, you'll get a significantly improved heat transfer. In fact, this is why heat pipes work so well.

Re:I wonder... (1)

mpe (36238) | about 8 months ago | (#46719493)

Phase transitions generally require quite a lot of energy.

Phase translations involve energy refered to as "latent heat". However the latent heat of boilng and that of freezing (along with the specific heat capacity in any phase) depend very much on the substance involved,

Re:I wonder... (1)

Polo (30659) | about 8 months ago | (#46721795)

It seems to be 99kJ/kg at it's boiling point of 45C/120F

For all practical purposes, I just thought coolants increase in temperature to their boiling point and just stay there (or a little higher if under pressure like a car radiator or pressure cooker)

That would mean systems with this fluid would reach 120F and basically go no further (unless ALL the coolant boiled off, which I doubt would happen)

Re:I wonder... (1)

EngineeringStudent (3003337) | about 8 months ago | (#46714655)

The refrigerant in most air conditioner systems boils at about 45 F. The ability to transfer heat to the outside world depends on the compressor power - not on what the boiling temperature is. Because of the temperature and chemical compatibility with systems that run R-134a, there are going to be a lot of hardware cost reductions, multi-source suppliers, and existing infrastructure to support that technology. That boiling point yields a better technology ecosystem.

Re:I wonder... (1)

mmell (832646) | about 8 months ago | (#46716777)

The effect of boiling is that thermal energy is carried away with the (now gas) component of the coolant. The hot gas bubbles up, leaving the cooler liquid enveloping your circuit.

Put another way: boiling is nothing more than incredibly fast evaporation. That's exactly how sweat cools a body - by evaporation of a fluid on the surface of the object to be cooled. Mechanical removal of heat by a physical process - highly efficient.

Re:I wonder... (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 8 months ago | (#46711693)

Where did you see that it was Novec 649? There are a whole bunch of different 'Novec' engineered fluids... They could be referring to Novec 1230, which is a fire suppression fluid [mentioned in TFS]...that one doesn't seem very healthy to be around.

Re:I wonder... (1)

niftymitch (1625721) | about 8 months ago | (#46715665)

Where did you see that it was Novec 649? There are a whole bunch of different 'Novec' engineered fluids... They could be referring to Novec 1230, which is a fire suppression fluid [mentioned in TFS]...that one doesn't seem very healthy to be around.

SWAG... scientific wild ass guess.
I looked at the Novec product line and picked on that I would try first.
Note I changed the comment subject to "I wonder" not "I know".

Re:I wonder... (1)

Polo (30659) | about 8 months ago | (#46721803)

looks like the specs for both of them are about the same . 49C/120F boiling point, 88kJ/kg specific heat.

Re:I wonder... (4, Informative)

grouchomarxist (127479) | about 8 months ago | (#46711699)

None of the articles I've seen mentioned which version of Novec is being used. They have a great variety: http://solutions.3m.com/wps/po... [3m.com]

How about Silicone oil ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46711763)

Silicone oil is not flammable, can withstand a lot of heat, excellent heat transfer characteristic, doesn't conduct electricity ... and furthermore, Silicone oil is CHEAP !!

Can Silicone oil be used in similar operation ?

Re:How about Silicone oil ? (4, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#46711803)

Yes, it can. I've got a little bitcoin miner chip running right now as a proof of this. I'm not a bitcoin enthusiast, just wanted something hot and expendable to test immersion cooling on.

There is one downside: Viscosity. It's thick stuff, so it takes a powerful pump to keep it actively circulating. It also tends to pool in spaces underneath components and anywhere not exposed to easy circulation, impeding cooling.

Re:How about Silicone oil ? (1)

roger_that (24034) | about 8 months ago | (#46712573)

My experience with silicone oil was that it was very _thin_, and tended to try to creep out of its containers (lubricant for the heads on a drum recorder, back in the 70's and 80's). We weren't using it for heat transfer, just lubrication, and used cotton wicks to pull the oil out of the tray and apply it to the drum (no pump required).

Re:How about Silicone oil ? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#46712593)

Your oil must have shorter chains than mine. Much like hydrocarbon oil, it comes in a variety of thicknesses and other properties depending on chain length. I thought I had one of the shorter mixes, but not the shortest.

Re:How about Silicone oil ? (3, Insightful)

advid.net (595837) | about 8 months ago | (#46712137)

Their fluid is boiling, phase transition takes a lot of heat out without pumping anything.
If not, you need to pump fluid between boards, this require more space and energy, even more with a thicker fluid.

Re:How about Silicone oil ? (1)

Polo (30659) | about 8 months ago | (#46721839)

Their fluid is boiling, phase transition takes a lot of heat out without pumping anything.

That's the key point.

If you have a pot on your stove filled with water at 211 degrees F, it will absorb 1000 calories and then the pot will be at 212 F.
But then the pot will absorb 540,000 calories before it gets to 213 F.

Re:I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46712167)

This is like an infomercial, thin-chips will not make you fat, thin chips will make you more attractive, thin chips are the best..

Too bad... (1)

Sable Drakon (831800) | about 8 months ago | (#46711599)

There's also the fact that Fluorinert is potentially toxic, but it's also a greenhouse hazard. One would hope that 3M learned their lessons in the development of Novec and it's not an environmental hazard.

Re:Too bad... (1)

fnj (64210) | about 8 months ago | (#46712681)

There's also the fact that Fluorinert is potentially toxic, but it's also a greenhouse hazard. One would hope that 3M learned their lessons in the development of Novec and it's not an environmental hazard.

All right, I'll bite. Aside from "OMG, it is, gasp, a CHEMICAL", if it is inert, how can it be toxic? From the MSDS for Fluorinert FC-40 [3m.com] :

"Not classified as hazardous according to OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200."
"No occupational exposure limit values exist for any of the components listed in Section 3 of this SDS."
"Skin protection is not required."
"Inhalation: Vapors from heated material may cause irritation of the respiratory system. Signs/symptoms may include cough, sneezing, nasal discharge, headache, hoarseness, and nose and throat pain."
"Skin Contact: Contact with the skin during product use is not expected to result in significant irritation."
"Eye Contact: Vapors from heated material may cause eye irritation. Signs/symptoms may include redness, swelling, pain, tearing, and blurred or hazy vision."

Note, when they are talking about "heated", they are talking about heating to well above any proper operating temperature - greater than 200 C. The stuff CAN break down chemically under such conditions, and noxious/toxic products result. More or less the same as any fluorocarbon, including the refrigerant in your refrigerator.

It is non flammable, period. There is no flash point.

As for the GHG designation, absolutely true. However, essentially no evaporation of Fluorinert into the open should occur in a properly designed and maintained system.

Re:Cray-2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46713669)

interesting how just a day ago a story about a stock AMD graphics card being water cooled had a bunch of people trying to insist that liquid cooling doesn't actually gain you anything is just a scam to get the attention of case modders...

Re:Cray-2 (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 8 months ago | (#46716019)

The Cray-2 did this in 1985 using a liquid called Fluorinert also invented by 3M:

Cray-2 [wikipedia.org]
Fluorinert [wikipedia.org]

Yup, and I was an admin on one at NASA LaRC from 1988-92. Always wanted to put some fake floaty fish inside the thing, but people have no sense of humor about something that cost ~ $20M.

Re:Cray-2 (1)

Polo (30659) | about 8 months ago | (#46721737)

I hope it's cheaper than Fluorinert, which I remember reading was hundreds or thousands of dollars a gallon.

balance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46711565)

Slash bills by 90%. and increase other costs by 900%!

Not your father's SGI (4, Informative)

jones_supa (887896) | about 8 months ago | (#46711569)

A small history lesson for those who don't know, this is not the same SGI (or Silicon Graphics) than of the graphics workstation fame. This one is Rackable Systems which acquired the assets of the original SGI in 2009 (and SGI Japan in 2011).

Re:Not your father's SGI (4, Informative)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 8 months ago | (#46711637)

It's also not the SGI that owned CRAY in the past, who used to make supercomputers immersed in 3M fluids.

Anyway the summary desn't quite ring true. The fluids are great at getting heat efficiently away from the servers (better than air, if rather less convenient), but it still hsa to go somewhere after that.

Re:Not your father's SGI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46712187)

Anyway the summary desn't quite ring true. The fluids are great at getting heat efficiently away from the servers (better than air, if rather less convenient), but it still hsa to go somewhere after that.

As long as you can significantly limit the number and increase the localization of heat transfer points you can start using heat pumps connected to nearby water bodies, deep wells, etc. There are cold reservoirs to dump heat into, but they're kind of hard to bring into a datacenter.

Re:Not your father's SGI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46712653)

Many of the engineering and manufacturing people in WI are from the Cray days, with some who moved out from CA when SGI bought Cray. There aren't many Rackable people left.

Re:Not your father's SGI (1)

zoid.com (311775) | about 8 months ago | (#46712565)

Ah.. My first thought was "SGI is still around?"

Re:Not your father's SGI (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 8 months ago | (#46712663)

I really miss SGI. Wish at least the SGI that made Itanic supercomputers was still around.

Re:Not your father's SGI (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 8 months ago | (#46715051)

I worked at SGI for a short whole, at the mtn view campus. before it was infested and taken over by google...

SGI was one of the coolest companies in the bay area, or even the world. I can't begin to describe the joy of working there and of just *being* there.

really sad when they closed down. also sad when Sun closed down (I also worked there, too).

why do we lose good companies and piece-of-shit things like facebook and twitter are the 'new computer economy'. we went backwards quite a bit, it seems. don't design hardware, just try to be a mega-marketing firm, which is all social networking is, at its core. don't build computer, send more ADVERTISING and do more SPYING on users. yeah, great going, silicon valley... ;(

Re:Not your father's SGI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46715817)

Best comment I've seen in a while. So sad, but true.

If I had points I’d mod you up. (1)

qubex (206736) | about 8 months ago | (#46718571)

But I don’t so I’ll have to hope some mod heed my request.

Re:Not your father's SGI (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 8 months ago | (#46719067)

I completely agree with you. How is it assumed that the Taiwanese/Chinese will build computers for ever, and nothing new in computers needs to be designed here in the US?

Re:Not your father's SGI (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 8 months ago | (#46712689)

By the way, the finally stopped releasing bug fixes for IRIX [sgi.com] last December. The company still plans to keep phone tech support going on. They say that the MIPS/IRIX products continue to be a viable solution for many customers, with millions of dollars invested over the years.

Re:Not your father's SGI (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 8 months ago | (#46723587)

They ought to take one of the BSDs - F/N/O and finetune their ports to their legacy platforms, so that their customers have a path to move to. In this, they could also develop Irix jails under BSD for software that just has to have Irix. That gives their customers a migration route for their existing hardware that continues to serve them well. Whenever they die, things could then move to a BSD on x64 platforms.

Re:Not your father's SGI (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 8 months ago | (#46723635)

That makes absolutely no sense. :) There is almost nothing left of the original SGI. Most of their customers have moved to OS X and Linux a long time ago.

Re:Not your father's SGI (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 8 months ago | (#46729691)

This is about the people still using those purple Irix boxes.

Re:Not your father's SGI (1)

jasonla (211640) | about 8 months ago | (#46722347)

Thank you. I would think the current editors pay a little more attention... Is this the new Slashdot? Have I been away for so long?

Re:Not your father's SGI (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 8 months ago | (#46722709)

I don't see how the editors made any mistake here.

perpetum mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46711597)

"The technology, which could replace fans and eliminate the need to use tons of municipal water to cool data centers"
So Novec is a great material to sink heat into as it boils at what, 34 degrees. How does that remove fans and cooling water? Heat you put into Novec you also need to take out. You will still need to cool the cold side, or all your coolant boils away and goodbye cooling.

What about maintenance costs? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46711609)

Many years ago I invested in a Hardcore Computer Reactor system. This was a giant custom built computer that had both the motherboard and GPUs submerged in a proprietary non-conductive coolant. It weighs over a hundred pounds filled, and they still needed pumps inside it to direct the coolant across a bunch of purpose built water blocks to extract heat from the hottest components (since liquid convection alone was not enough).

About a year ago I had to replace the motherboard (which is a proprietary part). I can't even begin to tell you what a gigantic pain in the ass this was. There is a ton of plumbing running around inside the system that you have to worry about, and beyond that the entire compute module comes out of the coolant dripping wet, so you can't just pop it out and chuck it down on your desk. I had to break out a pair of rubberized gloves just to service the damned thing since it became obvious that the boards weren't going to dry themselves just sitting there- the coolant doesn't evaporate at all and you can't just take a towel to the raw PCB to clean it off. I landed up lining the inside of a large plastic bin with antistatic bags and doing the procedure there, which still made one hell of a mess.

I still run that system, but if anything else ever breaks I'm probably going to sell it off rather then try to fix it again. I honestly can't imagine trying to deal with that sort of a setup on a datacenter scale. General liquid cooling is easy enough to deal with since you can just disconnect the cooling lines and pull out a module (which is precisely what IBM does with their extreme high-end end PowerPC based servers). Submerging the entire PCB is nasty business, and I wouldn't want to be the tech who has to go through that amount of trouble on a weekly or monthly basis.

Re:What about maintenance costs? (2)

whois (27479) | about 8 months ago | (#46711927)

While I don't doubt your experiences were sucky, I think this could be overcome if they designed the computers and the datacenter with it in mind. You could make the boards be pullable cards from above. Depending on the size of the chassis they might use a robot crane to retrieve the cards or it might be by hand (the crane would mean the entire datacenter floor could be liquid and the cards would be brought to a place where they could be serviced without messing up the place)

As far as the plumbing getting in the way, I imagine that would be something they would have to address before this became practical. Most of it could be routed according to purpose so it doesn't obstruct but if the CPU board needed active cooling I think there would be more problems like you described.

If it saves enough money people will do it no matter the mess. They might make sealed pods that need to be sent back to the manufacturer for repair.

Re:What about maintenance costs? (1)

chuckinator (2409512) | about 8 months ago | (#46713317)

No way, chief. Datacenters are designed to be cost efficient, too. That automatic card pulling robot is likely to cost more than an entire row of server racks, and the servers themselves will be ridiculously expensive from custom hardware design and unorthodox cooling systems. What you'll really see is a traditional datacenter running on commodity hardware with humans doing all the manual maintenance. If there's a glut of money for crazy stuff, they'll invest it in either more servers, bigger networking equipment, or additional NOC staff.

Re:What about maintenance costs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46712031)

If they could come up with a liquid with high coefficient of thermal expansion, then the absorbed heat itself would make the liquid flow. Without needing additional pumps. But, then it would mean that they would have to use fatter pipes to compensate for the lower circulationary pressure. Or not use pipes at all. Large pools of cooling fluid, submerged high powered computing units.. It's fitting somehow how nuclear reactors produce the power submerged in pools of liquid and elsewhere data centers spend the power submerged in pools of liquid.

Re:What about maintenance costs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46713063)

I built my own submerged system a few years ago (21 gallons of mineral oil) and had much the same experience.

The fact that oil doesn't evaporate and is hard to clean without soap takes on a whole new meaning when trying to work on a motherboard that's been soaking in the stuff.

I imagine to be practical, the boards would have to be vertically hung from the top of the "tank", and maintenance would be: remove the defective one, toss it out, put in a new one. Trying to service the drenched boards themselves is a nightmare.

Re:What about maintenance costs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46715767)

You mean like Green Cooling?

http://www.grcooling.com/ [grcooling.com]

Re:What about maintenance costs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46723721)

PCB as in Printed Circuit Board, or PolyChlorinated Biphenyl?

Cylon Hybrid (1)

abies (607076) | about 8 months ago | (#46711615)

http://en.battlestarwiki.org/w... [battlestarwiki.org]

Not a new concept, Cylons are using it for 3000 years already.

I doubt it (0)

enriquevagu (1026480) | about 8 months ago | (#46711657)

In order to obtain a 90% reduction in the energy bill, cooling must account for 90% of the power of the DC. This implies a PUE [wikipedia.org] >= 10. As a reference, 5 years ago virtually any DC had a PUE instantaneous PUE of one of its DC in Prineville, which at the moment is 1.05. This implies that any savings in cooling would reduce the bill, at much, in a factor of 1.05 (1/1.05 = 0.9523).

On the other hand, I believe that this is not the first commertial offer for a liquid-cooled server, Intel was already considering it two years ago [datacenterknowledge.com] , and the idea has been discussed in other forums [electronics-cooling.com] for several years. I can't remember right now which company that was actually selling these solutions, but I believe it was already in the market.

Re:I doubt it (1)

enriquevagu (1026480) | about 8 months ago | (#46711675)

This post is incomplete because of problems with html markings. Please see the complete post below (and mod this one down!)

I doubt it (4, Interesting)

enriquevagu (1026480) | about 8 months ago | (#46711665)

(sorry for the duplicated posting; the previous one was cut because of problems with the html marks)

In order to obtain a 90% reduction in the energy bill, cooling must account for 90% of the power of the DC. This implies a PUE [wikipedia.org] >= 10. As a reference, 5 years ago virtually any DC had a PUE lower than 3. Nowadays, PUE lower than 1.15 can be obtained easily. As a referecence, Facebook publishes the instantaneous PUE of one of its DC in Prineville [facebook.com] , which at the moment is 1.05. This implies that any savings in cooling would reduce the bill, at much, in a factor of 1.05 (1/1.05 = 0.9523).

On the other hand, I believe that this is not the first commertial offer for a liquid-cooled server, Intel was already considering two years ago [datacenterknowledge.com] , and the idea has been discussed in other forums [electronics-cooling.com] for several years. I can't remember right now which company that was actually selling these solutions, but I believe it was already in the market.

Re:I doubt it (1)

Megol (3135005) | about 8 months ago | (#46711785)

While 90% is a lot your calculations doesn't take into account that lowering temperature also lowers power consumed for processing due to leakage reductions and other effects.Look at  http://www.realworldtech.com/supercomputers-cooling/

Re:I doubt it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46712119)

True, but the difference between a cpu running at 50C and running at 0C is about 10%.

Reducing the power consumed by the CPU by 10% and getting a 90% reduction in power consumption implies a starting PUE of 9.9, rather than 10, hardly worth taking into consideration.

PUE = ancillary power/component power, so reducing CPU power consumption by 10% would not affect PUE, and would constitute a 10% saving only if CPUs were the only thing consuming power.

In a large server RAM can use as much as half the power of the CPU, and this is largely due to the power consumed in the drive circuitry, which is unavoidable due to the trace capacitance from the RAM to the CPU. Moving the RAM onto the CPU in a 2.5D IC or PoP (what's already in your smartphone) could result in a 30~40% reduction in system power (assuming SSD and networking are only ~10% of the system power), by significantly reducing the capacitance and required drive voltage between the CPU and DRAM.

Re:I doubt it (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 8 months ago | (#46712183)

That effect is minimal and would never account for such a large difference.

Re:I doubt it (1)

Megol (3135005) | about 8 months ago | (#46712489)

True. Don't know where the 90% figure comes from but it's either bullshit or fantasies.

Re:I doubt it (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 8 months ago | (#46712771)

Bullshit fantasy, most likely.

Re:I doubt it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46713075)

The article probably just misquoted them, changing "90% of cooling costs" to "90% of energy usage," considering how frequently figures of the former nature get used in such PR.

Overclockers have been doing it for ages (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 8 months ago | (#46711673)

If you search for "computer immersion cooling" with Google it will throw up a bunch of people (and companies) doing PC systems totally immersed in mineral oil and things as a way to get even more power out of a system (even more than regular liquid cooling gets you)

Re:Overclockers have been doing it for ages (3, Interesting)

Mashiki (184564) | about 8 months ago | (#46711719)

Sure, mineral oil, cooking oil, fluorinert distilled water, bunch of other esoteric fluids. The real thing that it comes down to the heat transfer between the component and the fluid itself. And this newer stuff is apparently leaps above flurorinert, especially besides that it won't kill you quite so quickly and won't destroy the ozone layer quite so badly. You thought that freon was bad? Fluorinert makes freon look like a glass of water in terms of reactivity.

Re:Overclockers have been doing it for ages (2)

Megol (3135005) | about 8 months ago | (#46711797)

<quote><p>Sure, mineral oil, cooking oil, fluorinert  distilled water, bunch of other esoteric fluids.  The real thing that it comes down to the heat transfer between the component and the fluid itself.  And this newer stuff is apparently leaps above flurorinert, especially besides that it won't kill you quite so quickly and won't destroy the ozone layer quite so badly.  You thought that freon was bad?  Fluorinert makes freon look like a glass of water in terms of reactivity.</p></quote>

Eh, no. While it isn't the nicest fluid available it is pretty much inert under normal circumstances,which strangely is the reason why the name ends with -inert.

Re:Overclockers have been doing it for ages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46714933)

Also certainly isn't meant to kill you since it's first intended application was to replace plasma for soldiers on the field in cases where medics with blood weren't immediately available. This idea was scrapped when the low flash point of fluorinert was realized. However, on the wiki it mentions cautions when handling it, yet "no health effects are expected by ingestion". Having actually had exposure to fluorinert I would likely say this is because of it's extremely fast rate of evaporation that they warn against contact with eyes and skin. As it would likely take away skin moisture and create splits or worse.

Re:Overclockers have been doing it for ages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46712869)

Fluorinert is one of the least reactive liquids available. I'd say it is much less reactive than water. But, it does tend to dissolve plasticizers out of plastics, which makes it troublesome for some long term applications. Fluorinert's main problems are its incredible stability (it does not degrade in the environment) and gas phase infrared absorptivity (it is a very effective greenhouse gas). These two factors together could make it very bad for the environment if released in large quantities.

It is sometimes used in medical applications. An interesting demonstration of its use is in the movie The Abyss, where a rat is submerged in the liquid and then starts breathing the liquid. This is because Fluorinert can have a high enough concentration of oxygen as a dissolved gas that it can be breathed. Unfortunately it is not very good at absorbing carbon dioxide and the viscosity and density eventually cause problems with long term breathing use.

Re:Overclockers have been doing it for ages (1)

SuseLover (996311) | about 8 months ago | (#46715927)

Sure, mineral oil, cooking oil, fluorinert distilled water, bunch of other esoteric fluids. The real thing that it comes down to the heat transfer between the component and the fluid itself. And this newer stuff is apparently leaps above flurorinert, especially besides that it won't kill you quite so quickly and won't destroy the ozone layer quite so badly. You thought that freon was bad? Fluorinert makes freon look like a glass of water in terms of reactivity.

HUH? Kill you? Flourinert is just what it means, it's inert! It's what the medical community was been playing with years ago in an attempt to treat lung infections, you can breath it, like in the move "The Abyss" where they dunk his rat in the tank (they actually did that). It IS slightly toxic and is probably one of the reasons it never made into actual medical use.

Toxicity Profile Fluorinert liquid FC-70 is non-irritating to the eyes and skin, and is practically non- toxic orally. The product also demonstrates very low acute and sub-chronic inhalation toxicity. A Material Safety Data Sheet is available upon request.

Although you are correct about it's greenhouse potential, it's vapors are extremely dense and thus relatively easy to contain.

I used to work with the stuff doing vapor phase soldering on specialized components.

Re:Overclockers have been doing it for ages (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 8 months ago | (#46718023)

HUH? Kill you? Flourinert is just what it means, it's inert!

There's plenty of inert things that will kill you in a painful manner.

Re:Overclockers have been doing it for ages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46723783)

Sure, mineral oil, cooking oil, fluorinert distilled water, bunch of other esoteric fluids. The real thing that it comes down to the heat transfer between the component and the fluid itself. And this newer stuff is apparently leaps above flurorinert, especially besides that it won't kill you quite so quickly and won't destroy the ozone layer quite so badly. You thought that freon was bad? Fluorinert makes freon look like a glass of water in terms of reactivity.

Please check your science, and ammend your comment as required.
If you were to know much about ozone depletion, you'd know that it is caused by Chloro-Fluoro-Carbons, not long-chain Fluorocarbons or Ammino-Fluorocarbons such as Fluorinert. Ozone depletion is catalyzed by otherwise stable sources of Chlorine (Cl) in the upper atmosphere. When a Gasseous CFC, such as Freon, is exposed to Ultraviolet light, the Freon gas molecule is reduced, preferrentially shedding its Chlorine molecule(s). These Chlorine free-radicals either join other Chlorine radicals, to form Chlorine gas, and then adsorb into microscopic ice particles (the reason the ozone hole is *MUCH* bigger over Antarctica), or go on an ozone-eating spree. The chemical half-life of CFCs is measured in the tens or hundreds, even thousands of years in the Stratosphere.
Statistically speaking, Chlorine or Chloride molecules will reduce thousands of Ozone molecules, before encountering a catalytic poison.

Fluorine (especially when present as a Carbon-Fluorine bond) is not ionized by UV radiation; it merely Fluoresces. This is the reason Fluorocarbons have negligible Ozone Depletion Potential.

So Fluorinert makes Freon look like a measure of universal solvent in terms of reactivity? I dont get it; solvents are non-reactive by definition. :)

Re:Overclockers have been doing it for ages (5, Interesting)

Chas (5144) | about 8 months ago | (#46711767)

Yep. Got to fiddle around with Fluorinert cooling years ago.

Interesting, just not very practical.

You really DO need a fully sealed system and ostensibly clean-room assembly. Because, while the coolant itself is non-conductive, any detritus that accumulates in the fluid after settling out of the environment ISN'T. That's the main thing about water (straight H2O) isn't conductive. It's all the other things in the water, minerals, dust, etc that's doing the conduction.

Also, as noted, there's STILL going to be use of fans and water. Because you still need systems that extract the thermal energy from the liquid medium. You simply remove them from the main system chassis.

It also doesn't change the fact that it's still a TERRIBLY inefficient way to cool the system. Unlike water cooling loops, where you have no more than maybe a pint or so of fluid cooling the major heat sources in the system, you have QUARTS of fluid basically covering everything. And you really have no good flow control, other than extremely high volume fluid exchange, which is energy inefficient in and of itself.

That's PROBABLY what a lot of the board re-engineering is about. Centralizing all the thermally active devices into a centralized area to limit the volume of immersion coolant required and to simplify flow control.

Re:Overclockers have been doing it for ages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46711925)

"That's the main thing about water (straight H2O) isn't conductive. It's all the other things in the water, minerals, dust, etc that's doing the conduction."

You cannot be serious...

Re:Overclockers have been doing it for ages (3, Informative)

Chas (5144) | about 8 months ago | (#46712129)

There's still a minimum conductivity in molar water. But it's several orders of magnitude lower than than tap or bottled water.

Again, primary conductivity of water is via impurities in the water, not the water itself.

Re:Overclockers have been doing it for ages (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 8 months ago | (#46712371)

"Molar water?" Even The Google has no idea what that is.

Perhaps you meant "pure water" or just "water?"

In any case, the resistivity is about 18 Mcm, which is pretty high. I would think that almost all the conductivity comes from H3O+ / OH- ions dissolved in the water, due to dissociation (which is why pure water has a pH of 7).

I'd think that impurities in an organic solvent of some kind would be far less of a problem than impurities in water. Water is a very polar solvent, and thus strongly promotes ionization of salts/etc. If you sprinkle salt in water you end up with sodium and chloride ions in solution, which are VERY conductive. If you sprinkle salt in toluene it will just sink to the bottom. Now, lots of organic compounds will dissolve just fine in toluene, but I imagine they'd make poor conductors.

That said, I can certainly believe that impurities would be a problem. A tiny spec of metal floating in the coolant could easily find its way into contact with a circuit of some kind, perhaps even inside a chip. I imagine that this sort of thing is much less likely to happen with air, which is much less viscous and thus can't hold anything but the lightest particles in suspension.

Re:Overclockers have been doing it for ages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46712695)

"Molar water?" Even The Google has no idea what that is.

Perhaps you meant "pure water" or just "water?"

Reckon they's talking 'bout moles, that or tooth fairies. Both have pretty high-brow tastes when it comes to water. The moles hate dirty water so bad they rather kill themselves than bathe in it if'n their holes be filled with the stuff, and the fairies leave pocket change out of pitty when they see y'alls teeth, figurin' ya can't even afford clean drinking water.

Re:Overclockers have been doing it for ages (1)

dargaud (518470) | about 8 months ago | (#46714085)

From my dim recollection, it's the CO2 in the air which gets in the water, acidifies it and make it more conducive by orders of magnitude.

Re:Overclockers have been doing it for ages (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 8 months ago | (#46714231)

"Molar water?" Even The Google has no idea what that is.

Perhaps you meant "pure water" or just "water?"

I think that's what he means. The problem is that water is VERY reactive and is really an excellent solvent. Pure water has a fairly high PH, which means that it will leach (dissolve) most metals over time an picks up ions. As you point out, it only takes a few ions dissolved in water and it becomes an excellent conductor.

As such, water is an extremely poor choice for cooling electronics. It might be environmentally safe, but it's pretty much not going to be an insulator if it is exposed to anything metal. Coating everything in plastic might be an option, but that defeats the purpose by impeding heat transfer.

I like mineral oil myself. Not very environmentally friendly and really messy, but easy to get, it can transfer a lot of heat and doesn't react with most things electronic..

Re:Overclockers have been doing it for ages (1)

sootman (158191) | about 8 months ago | (#46714923)

If you won't believe some random guy on Slashdot, will you believe some random guy on Wikipedia?

"Pure water has a low electrical conductivity, but this increases with the dissolution of a small amount of ionic material such as sodium chloride."

Yes, pure water has very low conductivity. The reason you always hear "OMG NOES don't get electronics wet!" because all the water you encounter in day-to-day life is nowhere near pure. Tap water and bottled water are safe from a human-consumption point-of-view but that is very different from chemically "pure" water.

See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Overclockers have been doing it for ages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46712055)

Pints? Quarts? we are in 2014, and the world is metric.

Re:Overclockers have been doing it for ages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46715001)

This is likely why the fluorinert systems I had exposure to, while certainly sealed and definitely sensitive, I think were less prone to the issues of detritus. Primarily because they used fluorinert nozzles that sprayed an misting over the components of the computer, where by the fluorinert would evaporate and provide cooling both in the temperature of the spray itself but in the phase transition as well. Then it had collectors for all the re condensed liquid, which presumably had filters and pumps to spray it back out again.

In this environment any heavier particles of detritus would likely "fall out" of the misting and not be swimming around allowing free arcing between components.

Challenges (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 8 months ago | (#46711753)

But there are several challenges, including the need to design new motherboards and servers.

Swapping out that faulty network card gets to be a bitch [youtube.com] .

(might need a bit of context; something goes wrong with the super-cooled computers and Chris Evans has to dive in and fix it. Then he dies)

For another 90% reduction (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46711827)

Get rid of dynamic languages (like PHP which recompiles on every pageload) for web apps and use properly compiled ones.

Re:For another 90% reduction (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46711893)

Agreed, using dynamic languages is hands down the biggest power waster.

Re:For another 90% reduction (1)

PPH (736903) | about 8 months ago | (#46716037)

We'll just use JavaScript and generate all the heat on the client's systems.

Re:For another 90% reduction (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46711945)

Web developers are too dumb to operate a compiler.

Back to the 1950s! (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 8 months ago | (#46711843)

Transformer oil - move out!

Re:Back to the 1950s! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46712069)

You can do this sort of thing with pure water, if you can solve it's tendency to act as a solvent. Electric utilities have done this for years in the form of water cooled windings in utility generators.

Reference EPRI Primer on Maintaining the Integrity of Water-Cooled Generator Stator Windings - Link

http://www.epri.com/search/Pages/results.aspx?k=Primer%20on%20Maintaining%20the%20Integrity%20of%20Water-Cooled%20Generator%20Stator%20Windings [epri.com]

Back to the 1980s! (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 8 months ago | (#46712767)

Transformer oil - move out!

Man, these greasy energon cubes are more than meets the eye, Optimus.

I thought you had a taste for crunchy fried things, Bumblebee?

When in Rome, do as the Romulans!

Shut Up Starscream!

Re:Back to the 1950s! (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 8 months ago | (#46714267)

Transformer oil - move out!

Fast forward to the 80's and please ditch the PCB's. Just switch to mineral oil. Costs a bit more, but does the same job.

Re:Back to the 1950s! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46758883)

Fast forward to the 90's and please ditch the flammable alkanes. Just switch to Envirotemp FR3. Costs a bit more, but does the same job.

Re:Back to the 1950s! (1)

PPH (736903) | about 8 months ago | (#46715967)

Transformer oil? Not a good idea [capturedlightning.com] .

H1Z1 - may be better than DayZ! from SOE - F2P (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46711861)

http://slashdot.org/firehose.p... [slashdot.org]

Note: I am not the author of the following quote, this is a copy/paste.

http://www.reddit.com/r/h1z1 [reddit.com]

http://www.reddit.com/r/h1z1/c... [reddit.com]

"Hi there,

I wanted to tell you about an exciting new free-to-play game we've had under wraps here at SOE for some time. It's called H1Z1. It's a massively multiplayer game in which players fight for survival in a world where death is the only sure thing. The H1Z1 virus devastated mankind and left nothing but death and destruction in its wake and a world nearly empty of human life where the remnants of humanity are in a fight against extinction against those infected with the virus. It's been 15 years since H1Z1 was first encountered and what's left of the world before is overrun with the Infected. Humanity has been reduced to hiding in the shadows, searching desperately for food and water and anything that can help to survive even for another day. But the Infected aren't the only dangers in the world. Everyday life in the Apocalypse means dealing with all kinds of wild animals and the brutality of other survivors, as well as finding your next meal and a safe place to sleep. It also means scavenging or crafting anything that can help you live just one more day. In H1Z1 every minute of every day is borrowed time and fearing for your life.unless you are the Danger (talking to you Walter), but life can and will go on.even in circumstances as dire as this. Humanity has not given in to the Infected. There are still pockets of humanity and the fight goes on!

Our vision for this game is very simple but ambitious. We are starting with what I would call "Middle America" - an "anywhere and everywhere" town. The world is massive as you've come to expect from our games. Over time we will grow the world until we have our own version of the U.S. after the death and destruction brought on during the H1Z1 epidemic. It will be our own version of America. We'll have urban cities and desolate wide open places. All connected seamlessly. Our focus is building a sandbox style of gameplay where players can build shelters out of resources in the world. They can even work together to make amazing fortresses complete with weaponry to help defend against both the Infected and other players. Players also have access to a very deep crafting system that can let players make a huge variety of awesome stuff, including weapons (I made a 1911 the other day) and things like Molotov cocktails, explosives.. and other fun surprises.

I will also go right to the heart of the question a lot of players will have - "There are a lot of survival / Zombie games.how is this one going to be any different?". First off, it's a persistent MMO that can hold thousands of players on servers we host (yes there will be multiple servers with very different rule sets). Why is that a good thing? It means a thriving economy (oh yes.there's trading). It also means you have potential allies in the all-out war on the Infected... and many an enemy as well. It uses our proprietary next-gen Forgelight engine and that means we've had a lot of really cool technology to work with to make the game we wanted to make. It's also designed from the ground up for our players to become part of the design process. The Roadmap system that we built for PlanetSide 2 will be used extensively to clearly communicate what features we're working on and what you can expect and when. You're also going to be getting awesome access to our developers. We'll be opening it up for Player Studio creations too so expect player-created items to make their way into the game. The main thing that differentiates H1Z1 from the other great games in the genre is the emphasis we are putting on player ownership and building. We want you to be able to form roving gangs that are headquartered out of an abandoned warehouse that you've taken over... or a house you've built from scratch after having cut trees down and secured the resources to make it. We are giving players the tools to make their own towns, camps and defenses, and they can decide how to set up their base (which is in the world btw... not instanced). We're building in all the social features you've come to expect from an SOE game (grouping, proximity voice chat, voice chat for your gang, and many other cool social features).

To use a simple reference I'm sure everyone interested in this game will get... we want our players to make Woodbury from The Walking Dead if they want to. Or take over a prison. Or fix an old car so you and your friends (yeah we have multiplayer vehicles) can run zombies and players over mercilessly, and revel in the sheer delight of hearing a zombie scream as you light it on fire, or craft a gun to take down your friends and enemies alike. Our goal here is to provide emergent gameplay that will allow our players to make the world their own the way they want to. One of the best things about H1Z1 being an MMO is the fact that with a lot of people playing, we're able to see all different kinds of gameplay. If you prefer a quiet life as a farmer raising crops... we're going to make sure your zombie apocalypse fantasy is complete. If you're like me and you want nothing more than to kill everything that moves, by all means see how that goes. It's going to be a blast!

Check out http://www.h1z1.com/ [h1z1.com] and the subreddit ( http://reddit.com/r/h1z1 [reddit.com] ). We'll be adding more information in the coming weeks to the website. We'll also be very openly answering questions in the subreddit.

Next week you can see us do a livestream of the game as we have a playtest. Stay tuned!

Smed"

- http://www.reddit.com/user/j_s... [reddit.com]

** What we've learned now:

http://www.reddit.com/r/h1z1/c... [reddit.com]


PC Gamer at 00:33 on 10 April 2014
Story: http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/04... [pcgamer.com]

Archived: https://archive.is/kbRot [archive.is]

So where does the head go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46711889)

There is no magic bullet here. The accumulated heat must go somewhere. Perhaps they are using vapourized gas or the liquid fluid directly to transport the head but you're pumping that instead of blowing air and there needs to be a heat transfer equivalent to the refrigeration cycle in AC so how can this save energy if you're running around the clock? If not then it's merely a heat sump that any system could augment their AC with.

Great , more fluorocarbons (4, Interesting)

Viol8 (599362) | about 8 months ago | (#46712011)

Even though according to wonkypedia it has low GW potential and doesn't damage ozone, do we really want to be manufacturing more fluorinated hydrocarbons which almost never decay in the enviroment by themselves and just build up over time in the soil, plants and eventually us?

Re:Great , more fluorocarbons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46716671)

It is volatile, so it ends up in the atmosphere. It lingers low in the atmosphere. It decomposes in day light in a few days. It is not water soluble. It should not accumulate so badly. There is some HF produced that is probably not a concern to the environment but could be problematic in a poorly ventilated greenhouse.

Tons of water (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46712057)

Oh my! One ton of water is a staggering 250 gallons (1000 litres). Everyone knows it must be put into olympic-sized swimming pools you dolt!

Strange method of water cooling... (1)

YoungManKlaus (2773165) | about 8 months ago | (#46712231)

Seriously, using the water and then dumping it? Why not just cool down the water (by using a passive radiator) and reuse it? I know at least one datacenter that does exactly this.

Those numbers are complete B.S. (2)

sirwired (27582) | about 8 months ago | (#46712349)

Air cooling is inefficient, but it's not so horrible that that inefficiency alone accounts for 90% of data center power usage. Heat is heat, and Watts is Watts; they gotta go somewhere.

And the "tons of water" that data centers use is generally used to spray the outdoor condenser (think cooling tower at a power plant); changing the servers to liquid cooling won't fix that.

Liquid cooling makes less sense for smaller servers, as going to all the trouble to plumb a pizza box is generally more trouble than it's worth. Big Iron is already frequently liquid cooled, if not in an immersion bath.

Re:Those numbers are complete B.S. (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 8 months ago | (#46714585)

changing the servers to liquid cooling won't fix that.

Not that I disagree on most of what you said, but on this point I think there is a possible efficiency gain. What we do today is pump cool air into systems and cool the air to 70 degrees F using standard Air Conditioning systems. AC systems use a liquid phase change process, fans and compressors which take large amounts of power to run.

If we can design liquid cooled systems that operate at higher temperatures, and get that temperature significantly above what you can reliably get from a water evaporator, you might be able to avoid the whole AC (phase change liquid cooling) systems and their power consumption by directly cooling a liquid. Avoiding the phase change AC process will require that the hot liquid temperature to be in excess of 120 degrees F and means the hardware will be seeing at least that temperature internally. But this higher working temperature would allow us to dump the heat directly into the ambient air by building heat exchangers which where big enough, or by using evaporating water to cool the fluid. The trick is to get the temperature differential high enough between inside the server and outdoors so we don't have to employ traditional AC methods that involve the phase change of a refrigerants, compressors and fans.

Hope they're not trying to patent it (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 8 months ago | (#46713959)

I'd been talking about Novec 1230 being used as a computer coolant for years on this site. Prior art all over the fucking place.

Non conductive liquid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46716773)

Using any non-conductive, non-corrosive liquid would work. The low viscosity liquids currently in use (the liquid in use now is common air), has a low heat dispersion. Being able to conduct more heat would be an important part of this liquid. Circuit board manufacture commonly uses liquids (like clean municipal water) to 'wash' water soluble flux from solder connections, but these must be free of (usually conducting) flux and also must be dried thoroughly as water can also conduct electricity, altering the connections between chip pins and power/signal busses, etc. Small systems users can still use CPU and GPU liquid cooling technology currently available.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?