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Wednesday, April 09, 2014
3M, SGI and Intel Showcase New Cooling Technology for Data Centers

3M has implemented a fully functional supercomputer developed in collaboration with Intel and SGI that uses a two-phase immersion cooling technology.

In this proof-of-concept, SGI ICE X, the fifth generation of the distributed memory supercomputer and the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 hardware are placed directly into 3M Novec Engineered Fluid. The 3M Novec fluid is an efficient dielectric that keeps the hardware cooled with minimum additional energy. 3M says that its two-phase immersion cooling technology can reduce cooling energy costs by 95 percent and reduces water consumption by eliminating municipal water usage for evaporative cooling. Heat can also be harvested from the system and reused for heating and other process technologies such as desalination of sea water.

This technique has been shown to require 10 times less space than conventional air cooling and eliminates costly air cooling infrastructure and equipment associated with conventional liquid cooling, making it cost effective for large-scale data center hubs. It enables much tighter component packaging and easy access to hardware with no residue. In fact, the system can enable up to 100 kilowatts of computing power per square meter.

In the "data center of the future" the SGI ICE X system can scale from tens of teraflops to tens of petaflops, and across technology generations.

This installation is designed to prove the viability of the two-phase immersion technology using Novec fluids, and to validate open and future proof platform designs. In-depth data acquisition and evaluation of the installation will kick off in April. Additionally, the companies are working with the Naval Research Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs and APC by Schneider Electric to deploy and evaluate an identical system with the intention to demonstrate the viability of the technology at any scale.

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