HP reinvents data centre cooling

By Mitchell Smith on May 6, 2008 4:31 PM
Filed under Hardware

In a collaborative research project with Santa Clara University, HP is developing a technology that precisely targets the source of hot data centres: the processor chips themselves.

The HP Labs research team is using thermal scanning technology to indentify the hottest parts of a processor. Once identified, a system using the diffusion principles found in thermal inkjet print heads sprays liquid coolant from tiny nozzles onto these areas.

Data centres are one of the largest consumers of a corporation’s energy, with a substantial percentage of power directed towards the infrastructure used to cool the computer equipment in the facility. Current approaches to data centre temperature management use large-scale concentrated air conditioning or pipe-fed liquid systems to cool hot server racks.

The reality of the always-on data centre and an increasing reliance on multi-core and 3D stacked processors is driving demand for more efficient cooling.

John Frey, global chair of HP’s social and environmental strategies council, told CRN the new approach will remove the need for complex external cooling devices.

“What’s causing the heat in a server? The processor chip, and that’s what’s heating up the whole box. What if we had a closed container around the processor chip, we thermally scan the chip head, and said this spot and that spot are hot right now and used HP print head technology to squirt cooling fluid just on those spots to cool them back down. You actually solve the heat problem right where the heat is being generated,” he said.
 
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