Feeds

Eco-friendly fluid keeps SGI supercomputer cool and moist

3M fluid cuts costs 95%, space required reduced by 10X

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Intel and SGI have built a new supercomputer using an advanced coolant from 3M flowing directly over the hardware to slash the running costs of such systems, and possibly to boost performance.

SGI supercomputer with liquid cooling

Don't try this with water

The SGI ICE X system uses Intel Xeon E5-2600 processors for grunt, and keeps them cool by passing 3M's Novec coolant directly over the chips. This gives almost unheard-of power density; Intel reckons it can pack up to 100 kilowatts of computing power per square meter using the new system.

"Modern data centers must increase the raw performance they deliver, but also do so efficiently by containing power consumption and operating costs," said Charles Wuishpard, general manager of workstation and HPC at Intel.

"Intel is continually innovating and improving microprocessor technologies to meet today's datacenter demands and is working with companies like 3M and SGI to explore advanced cooling technologies that improve energy efficiency in datacenters while also containing operating costs," Wuishpard says.

Taking out a bulky cooling system cuts the amount of space needed for a supercomputer by a factor of ten, says the company, and reduces the overall power consumption needed to maintain a healthy operating temperature by 95 per cent in comparison to air cooled systems.

Novec is a fluorinated liquid that 3M developed to be environmentally friendly but also highly effective at not damaging electronics or substances such as paper. It's used in fire control systems in some datacenters and also in the National Archive, home of the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

It's also an excellent heat exchanger, and is looped into a second stage cooling system that uses water to draw away the heat, which can be recycled, either to heat buildings or for industrial uses or power generation.

"We are thrilled with the work that our collaboration with SGI and Intel has produced," said Joe Koch, business director for 3M electronics markets materials Division. "These advancements are a significant stepping stone in accelerating industry wide collaboration to optimize computer hardware design."

The test supercomputer is now up and running, but the three companies are also building a similar super for the combined operations of the Naval Research Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, and APC by Schneider Electric system to act as a second test bed. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Microsoft says 'weird things' can happen during Windows Server 2003 migrations
Fix coming for bug that makes Kerberos croak when you run two domain controllers
Cisco says network virtualisation won't pay off everywhere
Another sign of strain in the Borg/VMware relationship?
Forrester says Australia, not China, is next boom market for cloud
It's cloudy but fine down under, analyst says
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.