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IBM Hydro Cluster Water Cooling  (Source: IBM)
IBM Power 575 performs at 600 GFlops per node

Computer enthusiasts that overclock their CPUs have known for a long time that liquid cooling has the potential to cool the processor better than air cooling. Liquid cooling in the enthusiast space is common and has even given way in the extreme performance categories to much more exotic means of cooling processors.

In the supercomputer realm companies like IBM have traditionally relied on air cooling for the CPUs via air conditioning for the room the supercomputer is in. IBM introduced its latest supercomputer called the Power 575, which is equipped with IBM’s latest Power6 microprocessor. The Power 575 has moved from air cooling to liquid cooling and thanks to the liquid cooling useing water-chilled copper plates located above each processor, the new supercomputer requires 80% fewer air conditioning units.

The significantly reduced need for air conditioning means that the energy needed to cool the data center can be reduced by 40%. IBM researchers say water can be up to 4,000 times more efficient than air cooling for computer systems.

The Power 575 supercomputer has 448 cores per rack and provides over five times the performance of its predecessor and is three times more energy efficient per rack. Each rack features 14 2U nodes each consisting of 32 4.7GHz cores of Power6 and 3.5TB of memory. Each node is capable of 600 GFlops and is three times more efficient in GFlops per kilowatt than the Power5 air-cooled processors.

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The water of life.
By Misty Dingos on 4/9/2008 2:54:53 PM , Rating: -1
Hey they are finaly catching up! That's great. My PC is water cooled and I have no idea why all computers aren't. Any computer I buy in the future will be water cooled or some variation of that. I think I can even make water cooling work on a regular laptop.

Air cooling is for VWs.

RE: The water of life.
By masher2 on 4/9/2008 2:57:58 PM , Rating: 5
> "Air cooling is for VWs. "

Actually, I'd hazard a guess that within a decade, your average desktop will not only still be aircooled, it'll be fanless (and possible heatsink-less) as well.

RE: The water of life.
By ImSpartacus on 4/9/2008 3:27:23 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree. Unless there is a brilliant manner of pulling/sucking air in/out of a PC without a fan, fans are here to stay.

Maybe miniPC's like the EEE desktop (and comparable PC's) would become more full featured and remain fanless, but larger, more powerful PC's will keep their fans (unless EEE desktops become popular and mainstream and the need for a larger PC isn't there).

RE: The water of life.
By omnicronx on 4/9/2008 3:34:08 PM , Rating: 5
Unless there is a brilliant manner of pulling/sucking air in/out of a PC without a fan, fans are here to stay.
You mean like this?

RE: The water of life.
By Mortando on 4/9/2008 5:13:25 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, having trouble reading, that's a solid-state *what*? ;)

RE: The water of life.
By ChronoReverse on 4/9/2008 5:53:31 PM , Rating: 3
It's a solid-state ozone generator.

RE: The water of life.
By Mortando on 4/9/2008 6:41:26 PM , Rating: 3

RE: The water of life.
By PrinceGaz on 4/9/2008 3:43:06 PM , Rating: 3
I don't usually say this, but I think masher is right this time. The CPU needs of an average desktop computer will be so much less than the high-end CPUs in ten years that it will likely be a component drawing just a few watts at most. Ten years of development and the equivalent of today's Intel Atom processor will likely be more than enough for all but power-users. Same with the integrated-graphics chipset.

Once the whole computer is drawing so little power, the PSU could be fanless too. Throw in SSD hard-drives and you've got a totally silent PC (unless it has optical drives for removable storage).

RE: The water of life.
By ikkeman on 4/9/2008 4:58:47 PM , Rating: 2
that is, untill the crysis2 is released - we might have to install skyskraper stype AC units on our pc's to get more than 10fps...

RE: The water of life.
By Pirks on 4/9/2008 6:06:03 PM , Rating: 3
Crysis 2 is likely to be released on consoles anyway, Crytek guys are not that stupid to lose the perfect opportunity to make BIG bucks, and the big bucks in gaming are not made on PC these days.

So masher seems to be right here, our desktops will be Mac Mini-like in no time.

RE: The water of life.
By AnnihilatorX on 4/9/2008 8:20:12 PM , Rating: 3
If they do they would probably release in next gen console, not the current gen.

That'd mean another 5-6 years ahead.
Also from ending of Crysis, it seems that the sequel would continue on the story. Hence you can't just release a sequel on console just like that when Crysis is a PC game.
So my bet is it's more likely that Crisis 2 would be on the PC.

RE: The water of life.
By Pirks on 4/9/2008 9:32:27 PM , Rating: 2
Looking at Uncharted and Gears of War 2 art I really doubt there's a need to release Crysis 2 on PC. Financially speaking Crytek could make MUCH more money if they do big blockbuster release of Crysis 2 on Xbox 360 and later port it on PC if there's enough demand and PC is still alive by then.

Look at how big blockbusters like Gears of War and Halo were released - they did big smash hit on Xbox 360, grabbed wads of cash and later picked up the rest of the market money by releasing this stuff on PC in a year or so. This strategy is the most prudent if Crytek wants to maximize profits, so it's likely they'll go this way. Big smash hits on consoles these days are too sweet a bait for a large gaming studio to pass by, you know.

Now, if we look not at evolution of CryEngine 2 (which is Crysis 2) but at next revolution, which would be probably totally different game - this BRAND NEW engine is indeed likely to be done on PC in 5 years or so.

But Crysis 2 as an _evolutionary_ development of Crysis and CryEngine 2 (let's call it CryEngine 2.1)? No way, there's no economical sense to do it on a PC.

PC is good for groundbreaking development work, for true next-next gen stuff, and since current potential of Xbox 360 is far from being exploited to its fullest (again, just look at Gears of War 2 screens to see what I'm talking about) there is no sense to do evolution on PC.

Revolution belongs to PC, evolution belongs to console. Same's true for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. team by the way, they are firing all their cylinders working on Xbox 360 S.T.A.L.K.E.R. sequel, and they are very wise doing that, 'cause this is the best way to make big bucks on games these days.

They'll switch back to PC in a couple of years, maybe.

RE: The water of life.
By Pandamonium on 4/10/2008 1:22:19 AM , Rating: 2
I can't say much about Gears, but Halo's developing company was bought by MS specifically to make Halo an XBox exclusive. Halo was originally being developed for the PC gaming market before the Bungie acquisition.

RE: The water of life.
By StevoLincolnite on 4/10/2008 3:24:19 AM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately Crysis will never be release on Consoles.
Reasons are:
- Consoles do not have enough memory to support the large worlds.
- They are busy working on other projects.

However, they could always do a FarCry on us, and sell the rights to another developer to make the game on the consoles, but Crytek itself has been sworn black and blue, that it will never be released on the consoles.

And they actually have made a killing on the game on PC, However in November the sales were not looking all that good at all with only about 87,000 sales, During the game's release it was the second best selling PC game in Japan as well as the best selling game across all platforms in Germany. The game appreciated similar sales throughout Europe. During EAs Q3 2008 Earnings Conference Call it was stated that Crysis had sold over 1 million copies worldwide in the course of about two and a half months.

However, Selling the game is only half the story, a large portion of Cryteks income would actually come from people buying the right to they're engine.

But would Crytek make allot of money by selling it on the consoles? Heck yes.
Will they ever release it on consoles? Simply no.
Would a 3rd party? - Always a possibility, they said that "they" would never release FarCry on the consoles, and this still remains true, however, there was a castrated and botched version of FarCry released on the Xbox, which was not a very good game at all, with sub par graphics. (Especially in the texture department).

RE: The water of life.
By robinthakur on 4/10/2008 5:30:16 AM , Rating: 2
Its a very poorly kept secret within the industry that Crysis is coming to PS3. It might also be coming to 360, but PS3 is the only one I've heard of for now. This is common sense based on how many units Activision sold of Crysis on PC. They need to recoup those costs somehow. While I very much doubt it could compete looks wise with the pc version on high (or very high for those 5 people able to run it respectably) and the worlds will likely be scaled back, I think you'll be surprised for more than one reason ;)

RE: The water of life.
By StevoLincolnite on 4/10/2008 6:37:10 AM , Rating: 2
Crytek won't be releasing it, nor will the game "Crysis" be released on consoles, instead the engine will be used, but over 50% of the game will be changed.

RE: The water of life.
By Pirks on 4/10/2008 7:54:21 PM , Rating: 2
No jumping around and dodging and word shuffling can save your beloved PC game, Stevo. Give up :P

RE: The water of life.
By shiznit on 4/11/2008 3:57:34 AM , Rating: 2
1. EA published Crysis, not Activision.

2. Crysis sold over a million copies already and made a lot of money, and there are no royalties on PC (MS and Sony take like 30% of all revenues). People need to stop focusing only on U.S. NPD numbers, there are other countries in the world even though some of us Americans forget that sometimes. In Europe PC Gaming is HUGE and in countries like Germany or Russia or Sweden it is twice as big as the console market.

RE: The water of life.
By ok630 on 4/13/2008 4:28:43 AM , Rating: 1

Die painfully okay? Prefearbly by getting crushed to death in a garbage compactor, by getting your face cut to ribbons with a pocketknife, your head cracked open with a baseball bat, your stomach sliced open and your entrails spilled out, and your eyeballs ripped out of their sockets. Fucking bitch

RE: The water of life.
By masher2 on 4/9/2008 3:43:20 PM , Rating: 2
> "Maybe miniPC's like the EEE desktop (and comparable PC's) would become more full featured and remain fanless..."

In 10 years, a "mini-PC" will be several times more powerful than a full-fledged desktop of today. For most people, that's going to be more than enough power.

In 2018, I can see workstations, servers, and bleeding-edge gaming machines still needing forced-air cooling, but your average home PC? Seems doubtful.

RE: The water of life.
By DeepBlue1975 on 4/9/2008 4:20:52 PM , Rating: 2
By 2018 I think we will have operating systems that will want to take advantage of the available hardware even for average use, and succesfully implement, or at least try to, things like the following:

- natural speech recognition
- virtual, more intuitive and immersive GUIs making extensive use of 3d graphics
- more embedded AI to take on simple maintenance tasks and repetitive actions responding to usage patterns that by today require active user intervention

Your average Joe will want a speech commanded computer evne more so than your average computer geek.
Fancier, more intelligent and intuitive interfaces on OSs are not there to benefit the power users as to make the less savvy ones get more easily comfortable with machines, so your average user will want the latest and greatest OS supporting the best eye candy experience he can get because it'll probably reduce his need to interact with the computer to a bunch of simple commands (issued by voice or simply by making gestures by waving your hands in the air rather than using a keyboard).

I think browsing the net 10 years from now will not mean just using a 2d browser showing 2d content, but something much richer and immersive.

2d browsing can't get much better than what we have now. I think tabbed browsing is the first shy step to start thinking about a 3d browser, and from them on 3d content should start appearing to take full advantage of the fact that even the cheapest IGP will have ability to decently cope with real time 3d content.

RE: The water of life.
By AggressorPrime on 4/9/2008 7:01:10 PM , Rating: 2
That is like saying back in 1995 that nobody will ever use more than 256KB of RAM. (Or whatever and whenever Bill Gates made his RAM error.) Computers become more powerful because we need them to be more powerful. There will never come a time in which the home user will be able to buy a low end computer and never be frustrated with low performance.

RE: The water of life.
By masher2 on 4/9/2008 9:52:12 PM , Rating: 2
> "That is like saying back in 1995 that nobody will ever use more than 256KB of RAM"

No, not quite. Obviously user demand for computing power will continue to grow. But over the next decade, hardware will grow faster. That's just the opposite of the situation during the 1980s and 90s. That's to be expected -- the industry is maturing.

> "There will never come a time in which the home user will be able to buy a low end computer and never be frustrated with low performance. "

I agree. But in a decade, a "low end computer" will be the size of a small cell phone...and it'll still be more powerful than a power desktop is today.

Actually, I'll go even further than that. I predict that, within 10-15 years, the *average* person won't even own a "standalone" computer. They'll own some sort of convergence device...and will fill their computing needs entirely with it. It might take the shape of a combo computer/phone/mediaplayer, or a computer/console/videoplayer, or even a computer/food processor/whatever. But standalone machines that do nothing but "compute" will not be something the average person buys. Those will be relegated to power users only.

RE: The water of life.
By djc208 on 4/10/2008 7:21:12 AM , Rating: 2
Add in the increase in interconnectivity thanks to wi-fi/bluetooth/etc. and the increase in internet access and functionality and I think you're on the right track.

The collection of smaller devices that work together with either an internet-based application/storage source or a combination of that and some sort of home server will handle most peoples needs 95% of the time.

It could easily end up that the most powerful computer in your house is the game console, which like we're seeing today is becoming an extension of your entertainment center and your computer anyway.

When your cell phone has the same power as an eeE PC does today along with wireless internet and some form of Bluetooth then between that and internet apps and storage most people won't need a normal desktop or laptop PC.

RE: The water of life.
By vladio on 4/9/2008 11:14:08 PM , Rating: 2
"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - Bill Gates, 1981
#1. No one talked about "256KB"
64KB -> 640KB -> 1MB -> 4GB limit for 32-bit systems.
#2. you say "1995" -> Win95 ring the bell?
Year 1995...
for some 'Ancient History',
for some 'like yesterday'

RE: The water of life.
By ninus3d on 4/10/2008 3:16:40 AM , Rating: 2
Not really true I think as I believe that has already happened. I have built a few "office pc's" for friend's parents and the like and by getting away with a fully working pc that they are satisfied with, for less than £200 (excluding the monitor) they still sit with all the speed
"they would ever need".
It does all the media functions they would dream of neeeding aswell, like HD and 5.1 or better output to their home cinema etc, how likely are "family fathers and mothers" to hit the wall in terms of perfomance? (Unless, they like games)

RE: The water of life.
By DeepBlue1975 on 4/9/2008 4:01:15 PM , Rating: 3
All home PCs were fanless before the 486. Even "heatsinkless".

Since the fastests 486s we have only been seeing larger and larger and more expensive HSF combos, to the point that every boxed processor comes with one and in each new generation, the stock HSF has a more intricate design than the previous one to cope with the high heat dissipation density. That is, Watts dissipated per area unit, which is a number that continues to increase as the die areas of CPUs continue to shrink, in spite of actual TDP numbers being able to decrease sometimes.

You can have a fanless PC now, but you will certainly need a really huge heatsink ala Scythe Orochi, plus some fans on your system case to keep your run of the mill C2D within acceptable temperatures, while putting more than 1 kilogram of copper and aluminuum on top of it.

I rather tend to think that the ramification between desktop and mobile parts will widen, becoming a more specialized branch than it is today (most of the time a derivative of desktop CPUs) and we will have very low consumption and heat dissipation notebooks on one side, though not incredibly powerful, and very powerful desktop computers on the other, which will still require active cooling.

I think that powerful sillicon based CPUs will never again be cool enough to be able to operate in a completely fanless desing.

But I think in the future the choice will be yours to make: powerful and noisy requiring big HSFs, or "powerful enough" and silent, not requiring the use of any kind of fancy HSF on top.

Nevertheless I think that nanomaterials can give quite a spin to actual heatsinks if that branch is researched and funded throughly enough.

RE: The water of life.
By DASQ on 4/9/2008 2:57:58 PM , Rating: 2
1) Cost
2) It's a pain in the ass to drain the loop every time you want to make minor additions or variations.
3) Takes up a lot more space than heatsinks (not considering cooling capabilities)

RE: The water of life.
By DarkElfa on 4/9/2008 3:00:09 PM , Rating: 2
I'll tell you exactly why I don't use watercooling, when you have 4 grand worth of PC equipment and you build your own rig, you fear putting in a water system that could spring a leak or have a fault that could kill your entire system.

RE: The water of life.
By Misty Dingos on 4/9/2008 3:13:33 PM , Rating: 1
Hmmmm, I built my rig, it has four grand of gear in it and it is water-cooled. And "GASP" it leaked once too! Nothing fried. Tightened loose clamp, dried up mess, cleaned the electronics and rebooted. Still runs like a greased ape on fire. Oh and my PC doesn't sound like a collection of whirling dirt suckers.

Those that fear the edge should stay where it is safe and leave the adventures to those who dare!

RE: The water of life.
By AlphaVirus on 4/9/2008 3:21:41 PM , Rating: 5
I built my rig, it has four grand of gear

I hope you are putting that 4 grand to use, I spend 1 grand tops and can do everything. I could not imagine the power of 4 grand.
it is water-cooled. And "GASP" it leaked once too! Nothing fried. Tightened loose clamp, dried up mess, cleaned the electronics and rebooted. Still runs like a greased ape on fire.

I would question whether you were at home when this happened or if you were away. If you were away you better be thankful you didnt come home and your entire house was on fire.
Oh and my PC doesn't sound like a collection of whirling dirt suckers.

What a bunch of fluff, the only PC that might have loud fans would be a 1999 celeron at a pawn shop. If you buy any new PC from any computer shop, the fan will throttle down the speed to where its nearly silent.

Those that fear costly repairs should stay where it is safe and leave the waste of money to those who are rich !


RE: The water of life.
By Carter642 on 4/9/2008 3:43:08 PM , Rating: 2
I spent about 2K on my latest full build that's watercooled. Honestly the difference in price between doing it air cooled vs water was about $250.

I DIY'd my own watercooling kit and I've learned the joys of drybreak couplings and braided abrasion resistant lines. Finding couplings to replace the stock nipples on the waterblocks was a bit of a PITA but now I have drybreaks on on my CPU, GPU, NB, radiator, and pump/resevoir. I can literally snap the whole thing apart while full without spilling a drop. I know it's costlier than hoseclamps and tubing but it's infinitely safer and more convenient. Maybe if WC companies made drybreak kits WC would be a little less daunting to new folks.

RE: The water of life.
By AlphaVirus on 4/9/2008 6:01:34 PM , Rating: 3
I do understand, to some, the easy task of having watercooling and not having fears. And like I said in my previous post, not everyone has expendable cash for a computer rig. Not only if 1 component goes bad, it would be death of the entire thing goes out. The wife would have me sleeping on the couch for a long time.

Personally I would not play baseball near the Louvre.

RE: The water of life.
By Misty Dingos on 4/10/2008 11:06:58 AM , Rating: 2
OK to be honest and fair my computer didn't cost four thousand dollars (maybe in Canadian dollars) But it was over three. The leak I had was on the cpu heat sink. No not a good place to have a leak. It leaked all down the side of the mother board while the computer was running. It caused all sorts of crazy behavior for about an hour. Then I noticed the leak. I turned off my pc and started cleaning up and fixed the leak. Most of the voltages on a pc are low. So arcing should never be an issue. Like I said I dried off the alcohol that I used to clean up the coolant put it back together and started it back up. Works fine. So if you don't want to water cool your PC don't. I like it so I will.

What I don't understand is the desire to leave your PC on 24-7. What is up with that? I am not exactly sure how many watts my computer draws on average but I know I don't want to pay for it when I am not there. If something happens to my computer, well I am there. Little problems are easy to fix. But big problems often grow from little problems left unattended.

But I am not going to tell you that you are living wrong if you leave your PC on all the time. That’s your business. But I would turn on the auto shutdown feature if your bios supports it.

RE: The water of life.
By ochadd on 4/9/2008 3:42:21 PM , Rating: 1
After experiencing a waterblock failure first hand I know these guys are risking allot for the improved cooling.

It nearly burned my house down after cooking for hours while away at work. After losing $2k worth of equipment and being reimbursed 20% of the purchase price it would take more than a better OC to get back into it.

The cost of a whole rack of equipment and the lost computing time would add up pretty quick. Might be worth it for 40% cost savings on the HVAC side.

RE: The water of life.
By PrinceGaz on 4/9/2008 3:52:28 PM , Rating: 3
Did you not have the option in the BIOS set to shutdown the system if CPU temperature exceeds whatever amount you felt would never be reached unless there were a problem?

I think I've got mine set so it shuts down if the Athlon 64 X2 processor passes 60C, well within its safe limit but quite a bit below the temperature it ever reaches - with the cooling working normally. If the CPU fan failed, the temperature would start to climb and when it reached 60C the PC would turn itself off. No problem.

RE: The water of life.
By jtemplin on 4/10/2008 12:54:49 AM , Rating: 2
Don't listen to these noobs. To the rest of you:
A good watercooling setup now will have redundant fail safes, not to mention BIOS shut down as another poster pointed out. No way your house or even your CPU is going to burn down. If you aren't capable enough to do it right, or not interested in the labor involved in building/maintaining it thats your call. But don't try to attack other posters by asserting that by taking the "risk" they are somehow foolish because you firmly believe in the illusory risks.

As someone else pointed out, use distilled deionized water and theres no concern of a short out. If your worried you add: flow meter with shutdown feedback just aft of water block, inline temperature sensor with shutdown feedback, low water sensor with shutdown feedback. There's really no excuxe other than your opinion, which is just that.

Here's a bunch of fluff for you...
Those that fear costly repairs should stay where it is safe and leave the waste of money to those who are rich !
Just leave it up to the big boys to figure out how to do the best, right =D

RE: The water of life.
By fleshconsumed on 4/9/2008 3:08:29 PM , Rating: 5
Water cooling is still superior to air, but it doesn't appeal as much as it did in the past. During socket 7/A era water cooling made sense because there were no good heatsinks that could adequately cool CPUs without producing excessive noise (anyone remembers golden/silver orbs?), so watercooling made sense - you got better temps and lower noise. During P4 era it still made sense because power consumption skyrocketed and existing heatsinks had trouble keeping up with it.

However, right now right water cooling usefulness is rapidly failing because newer CPUs are fairly power efficient and new heatsinks from Scythe/Thermalright can sufficiently cool CPU with minimum noise and without all the hustle that comes with watercooling.

Just about the only group of people who still benefit from using watercooling are extreme overclokers. That's fine, they need water to reach the highest overclocks they can, but for vast majority of people who run stock or reasonable overclock water makes little sense.

RE: The water of life.
By thereaderrabbit on 4/9/2008 4:52:50 PM , Rating: 2
There seems to be a misconception here.

IBM has made use of water cooling in the past, it's just that over the previous dozen or so years, technology improvements and die shrinks have allowed for air cooling to take the front seat.

RE: The water of life.
By zozzlhandler on 4/9/2008 5:11:07 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. The headline should read: IBM moves back to liquid cooling! Many IBM mainframes were liquid cooled, and IBM pioneered this technology before PCs were even thought of. There was also at least one Cray computer were all the components were immersed in liquid (not water!). In order to service it, you had to dump the coolant into a holding tank and let it drain.

RE: The water of life.
By nineball9 on 4/10/2008 1:38:40 AM , Rating: 2
I was wondering if anyone would remember (or know) that most IBM mainframes were water cooled! As a sysprog, I worked with various 370's, 3033's, 3080's, 3090's and an air-cooled 4341. The data center was in a six-story building with numerous mainframes on the 2nd floor and the chiller on the roof. That was a lot of water.

RE: The water of life.
By SLI on 4/10/2008 11:58:08 AM , Rating: 2
Indeed. I have been a IBM large systems hardware support rep and have been working on these boxes for over 22 years. Our current high end mainframes (Z-8 series) actually use phase change cooling technology. This "new" tech is for the Z-9's but differs than the old water-pumpers (3080X-3090X) in that the water system is self contained. No external heat exchangers that rely on customer supplied chillers like the old ones required. (not to mention the 400hz cycle power they needed either)

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