Total immersion cooling hits the data centre

January 31, 2012 // 11:31 a.m.

Tags: #boston-limited #cooling #core-coolant #data-centre #hardcore-computer #total-immersion-cooling

If you thought that total immersion cooling was restricted to the extreme end of the enthusiast market, think again: Boston Limited has announced that it's bringing the technology the UK server rooms in the form of the LSS 200.

Developed in the US by the appropriately named Hardcore Computer Inc., the LSS 200 submerges every part of the computer to be cooled in a dielectric liquid the company calls Core Coolant. Thanks to its impressive ability to grab heat from components of around 1,350 times that of air, the result is a much cooler system.

While enthusiasts use such technology to overclock their systems to the limit, Boston has a more prosaic use in mind. By reducing the temperature of servers the server room becomes cooler, which in turn means businesses need to spend less on expensive air conditioning units. According to Boston's figures, that saving could be as high as 80 per cent; a total saving of 40 per cent when the cost of the system is taken into account.

That's not to say that performance isn't on some users' minds, however. Independent tests carried out on server hardware used in the financial services industry - where shaving a few nanoseconds off each transaction can be a deal-maker - showed performance boosted by 34 per cent over a traditionally cooled system.

'Regulating server temperatures has been an on-going challenge in data centres for many years, as it has a direct correlation with server power and performance,' explained president, chief technical officer and founder of Hardcore Computer Chad Attlesey at the announcement. 'Traditional cooling solutions have proven very costly and their efficiency is limited, thus data centres are continually battling with escalating power consumption and associated costs. The total liquid submersion cooling technology in the LSS 200 is the most effective solution on the market.'

While the LSS 200 isn't something you'll saving up for as an upgrade to your gaming machine - and is very much 'price on application - it's good news for consumers, too. Many technologies on the desktop started life in the server racks of large-scale data centres, meaning we can expect to see commercial off-the-shelf immersion cooling systems appear for home users within the next few years.

Hardcore Computer hasn't always targeted the enterprise sector, however. Back in 2008, it showed off a gaming PC featuring the same total immersion cooling technology, although the high price meant it wasn't much of a commercial success. The system was also only available as a pre-built kit, meaning it wasn't a tempting upgrade for those who wish to push their existing system to extremes of performance.

As a result, it's currently either a case of dig deep for enterprise-grade technology or do it yourself - as some of our readers are already doing.

Tempted by a total immersion cooling system, or do you think watercooling is already crazy enough? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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