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.