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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 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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