Experts Believe Liquid Cooling Is On The Brink Of Mainstream Adoption

When considering top performance, reliability, and energy efficiency, mitigating the effects of heat is one of the top considerations for any electronic system. High-performance computing news outlet HPCWire recently sat down to speak with Steve Campbell, co-founder, and managing partner at strategy and research firm OrionX. Campbell makes the case for liquid cooling being closer than we think to widespread use in home computers and datacenters. Anyone who has experienced a laptop with a noisy fan can understand the potential benefits offered by advanced, noise-less, high-performance liquid cooling technology, and Campbell argues that expanded offerings from vendors and unbeatable savings on energy costs are currently driving the adoption of a liquid cooling trend.  Drawing from the experience of new advances revealed in liquid-cooling technologies at the recent SC16: International Conference for High-Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis, Campbell believes we are on the edge of an early tipping point for widespread adoption of liquid cooling technologies. At the SC16 supercomputing conference, a very impressive number of vendors came equipped with server-oriented liquid cooling technologies.

At the SC16 supercomputing conference, a very impressive number of vendors came equipped with server-oriented liquid cooling technologies. At the dawn of the major advances in computing in the early 1980s, liquid cooling was limited to big, heavy, and outrageously expensive IBM mainframe-class products. But just 30 years later, we are witnessing low level, x86 class server products displaying advanced liquid cooling technology, from Direct-to-Chip to servers to even storage solutions cooled by dielectric fluid.

Liquid cooling, compared to air-cooling, is more economical with up to 40% lower rates of energy usage depending on the installation. Liquid cooling, therefore, gets the benefit of lowered carbon footprint in contribution to important business goals like green sustainability in data centers. According to a study by data centers in the United States alone used 70 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2014, which factors about two percent of the country’s total energy consumption, according to a 2014 study conducted by the US Department of Energy in collaboration with researchers from Stanford University, Northwestern University, and Carnegie Mellon University. Because liquid cooling reduces energy consumption by up to 40 percent, widespread adoption could potentially reduce overall energy usage by 40% in data center energy consumption alone.

One major reason liquid cooling can be expected to see wider adoption is its ability to increase server density. Because with standard cooling solutions, the heat generated from servers rises to the top, and thus there is a hard limit on how many servers you can stack on a single heat before the top of the rack experiences too much heat and shuts down. This forces data centers to add additional racks and extra floor space to increase processing power. The ability to distribute cooling ability with liquid cooling greatly reduces the need for additional racks, meaning that you can have higher data center server density with less square footage. Additionally, liquid cooling servers are operationally silent, which can be a stark contrast to the high acoustic output of the standard data centers of today. Liquid cooling eliminates fans and thus reduces acoustic noise levels, which not only reduces mechanical stress from the lack of vibration from fans but also can be considered a major quality of life improvement for data center employees. Liquid cooling is also noted to benefit is higher-speed processing – with more efficient cooling, CPUs and other components can be designed or overclocked to run at higher speed, and reliability can also be improved as mechanical and thermal fatigue have been reduced in liquid cooling systems as there are no moving parts, no vibrations from fans for example, and the systems are being cooled more efficiently.

If you are looking for liquid cooling parts, servers, or a full custom build for a home gaming or multimedia PC, contact Spartan Liquid Cooling at 810-SPARTAN (810-772-7826).