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IBM Hardware

IBM Deploys Hot-Water Cooled Supercomputer 112

MrSeb writes "With the ISC (International Supercomputer Conference) kicking off this week, there's been a flurry of announcements around new supercomputer buildouts. One of the more interesting systems debuting this week is SuperMUC — IBM's new supercomputer at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center in Germany IBM is billing SuperMUC as the first 'hot-water cooled supercomputer,' an advance it claims cut power consumption by 40%. Dubbed Aquasar, the new system looks like any standard water cooler: water is pumped in one side of the blade, circulates throughout the system, and is pumped out. The difference, according to IBM, are the microchannels etched into the copper heatblock above the CPU cores. Rather than simply being dumped, SuperMUC's waste heat is designed to be converted into building heat during winter. Presumably it is mostly radiated away in summer, rather than being dumped into the offices of angry German scientists."
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IBM Deploys Hot-Water Cooled Supercomputer

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 18, 2012 @06:39PM (#40364553)

    You ever try working in a server room when the a/c is broken? In southern California? In the middle of summer? It gets unpleasant. Quickly. And when it's 110 outside, you cannot simply pipe in outside air to cool the place. a/c is also for the server admins, not just the hardware. I'd venture to guess than the equipment will fail long after I have when the place gets a bit roasty.

  • by pedrop357 ( 681672 ) * on Monday June 18, 2012 @07:12PM (#40364835)

    The hard part is where do you pull FROM. If it's like the poster said and 100+ outside, you're 'cooling' your servers with 100 degree air, and it's a convection oven for everyone inside that room.

    If you're pulling in the air from an air conditioned part of the building, you're just 'stealing' cold air from that part of the building and pulling it through your servers; you're also losing a lot of that cold air around the servers unless you isolate your hot/cold sides like some colo facilities do. Now we're at the point where you still have AC or chilled water, you're just not dumping the heat back into the same room, assuming you properly isolate and don't simply let the cold air slip around the servers and out the door.

  • by BobandMax ( 95054 ) on Monday June 18, 2012 @07:43PM (#40365059)

    Yeah, I think the last time we dealt with the products of angry German scientists, it didn't go well.

  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Monday June 18, 2012 @08:33PM (#40365351)

    The hard part is where do you pull FROM. If it's like the poster said and 100+ outside, you're 'cooling' your servers with 100 degree air,

    If the surface temp of your CPU is 160-200F, then cooling it with 100F air will work fine. You still have a delta-T of 60-100F. Computers do not need to be cooled with air that feels cool to a human. If the air temp is warm, it is usually much cheaper to increase the flow rate than to cool the incoming air.

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"