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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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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.

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