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IBM Is In Hot Water Cooling Servers

IBM Is In Hot Water Cooling Servers

IBM researchers in Switzerland are standing server cooling on its head, using water as warm as 140 degrees to cool processors that have an unusually high safe operating temperature.

It might seem counterintuitive, but IBM researchers think they've got a line on a novel method of cooling server processors using ... hot water.

Working at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, the researchers have launched a new supercomputer dubbed "Aquasar," which sports a higher-than-normal safe operating temperature. As a result, water as warm as 140 degrees can in fact become a cooling agent, potentially yielding significant energy cost savings. Server Watch takes a look.

IBM researchers and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) have launched Aquasar, a supercomputer with a new cooling system that isn't all that cool. Rather than chill the system down to refrigerator temperatures, IBM lets things get hot. Very hot.

Aquasar is a supercomputer that uses water to cool its blade servers' processors, in lieu of using a heat sink and fan. But instead of chilling the water down to the 50-60 degree Fahrenheit mark, Aquasar uses water that's up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 Celsius). That's because the safe operating temperature for IBM's processors is up to 185 degrees (85C), so in this case, "cooling" becomes relative.


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