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Full Immersion Cooling Comes To Desktop PCs 192

Posted by timothy
from the please-don't-drink-the-flourinert dept.
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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Full Immersion Cooling Comes To Desktop PCs

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  • by b4upoo (166390) on Wednesday August 27, 2008 @03:41PM (#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.

  • Fluorinert (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dfn_deux (535506) <datsun510@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday August 27, 2008 @03:43PM (#24770233) Homepage
    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...
  • by dfn_deux (535506) <datsun510@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday August 27, 2008 @04:03PM (#24770495) Homepage
    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.
  • by pcutilisateur (1349815) on Wednesday August 27, 2008 @04:08PM (#24770561) Journal
    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.
  • Mineral Oil (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 27, 2008 @04:13PM (#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).

  • Midel 7131 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by vimm (1300813) on Wednesday August 27, 2008 @04:17PM (#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.
  • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Wednesday August 27, 2008 @05:16PM (#24771273) Homepage

    $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.

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