A groundbreaking supercomputer developed by Intel and SGI takes advantage of a new coolant from 3M (News - Alert) and promises to revolutionize data centers around the world. Designed to use as little water consumption as possible for the coolant in a two-stage process, the supercomputer will be able to substantially reduce the energy requirements for data centers and shrink their environmental (and economic) footprints.
The supercomputer developed under the collaboration is designed more as a proof-of-concept than an actual working model, designed to push the limits of the technology and show data center technicians what the machine is capable of. Featuring Intel (News - Alert)'s E5-2600 Xeon processor, the SGI ICE X computer is submerged directly into 3M's Novec Engineered coolant fluid.
Novec keeps products cool while decimating energy requirements normally associated with the process, requiring 10 times less space and totally removing air conditioning requirements associated with normal cooling methods. The coolant utilizes a two-stage process that collects the vapor created by computer chips as they heat up the liquid around them. This vapor is then cooled and recombined into a liquid again, and it is added back to the coolant system. Through this process, the computer is able to utilize the heat generated by the processors and microchips towards a useful purpose.
As of now, only a very few companies use Novec immersion cooling in their data centers, like Allied Control who have used similar cooling systems in Hong Kong high rise data centers. Through coming together to collaborate on this single product, Intel, SGI and 3M have provided the data center industry with a workable and economically affordable solution that utilizes technology from all three companies. As such, an opportunity exists for the companies to be on the forefront of a rapid growth in immersion cooling technology and leverage their position as innovators of the concept.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi