back to article Eco-friendly fluid keeps SGI supercomputer cool and moist

Intel and SGI have built a new supercomputer using an advanced coolant from 3M flowing directly over the hardware to slash the running costs of such systems, and possibly to boost performance. SGI supercomputer with liquid cooling Don't try this with water The SGI ICE X system uses Intel Xeon E5-2600 processors for grunt, …

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Pint

Excuse me ...

Would that work for beer?

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Useful with a gaming rig?

What's the likelihood this will become available for gaming rigs?

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Silver badge

Re: Useful with a gaming rig?

I would think it would depend on toxicity and general messiness. If it has any toxic* properties, I'm sure some group somewhere will throw an absolute hissy fit. If it's messy and spills or leaks occur, I'm thinking that someone at home will be in deep shit for staining the carpet.

* Disclaimer - Just because it's eco-friendly doesn't mean it can't be toxic.

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Silver badge

Re: Useful with a gaming rig?

Looks like another perflurocarbon. Non-toxic. Perfectly safe and no measure than water. Also insanely expensive - if you want to use it in your gaming rig, budget an extra grand or two for the coolant.

Mineral and silicone oils work as a low-cost alternative. Except for the slow degredation of capacitors.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Useful with a gaming rig?

Deionised water or oil for diy

Deionised water takes some care but is harmless if it spills. Does not conduct if properly deionised.

Also you can already get water cooling systems that pass water throigh heatsinks

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Boffin

Re: Useful with a gaming rig?

People have build mineral oil immersed PCs before, and I've heard of people managing to get hold of other 3M coolants as well, so I'm sure some brave soul will be doing this with their overclocked desktop machine real soon now.

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Silver badge

Re: Useful with a gaming rig?

are we talking about regular engine oil or the laxative type?

And while talking about oil - would cooking oil (sunflower or canola) work?

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Re: Useful with a gaming rig?

The trouble with deionised water, to paraphrase Terry Pratchett, is that it doesn't stay deionised for long. It soon picks up enough stray ions to become conductive.

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Silver badge

Re: Useful with a gaming rig?

Deionised water is no good. It's too reactive - it soon dissolves traces of everything it's in contact with. Copper turns into copper oxide or hydroxide. Electrolytes leech from capacitors. It doesn't stay deionised for long. Then things short. Just ask anyone running long-term watercooling about the corrosion issues - and those algae that somehow appear as if by magic or spontaneous generation.

You get three choices of violent for immersion:

- Mineral oil. Cheap. Works nicely. But some reactivity issues. Nowhere near as bad as deionised water, still enough to seriously shorten capacito lifespan.

- Silicone oil. Much like mineral oil. But less reactive, won't damage components nearly so much. Downside is viscosity - takes quite a pump to keep it circulating.

- Perflurocarbon. Ideal in every possible way but one. Thin, completely nonreactive, won't damage components. Slight flaw, though: The price. Crazy. It can be a tousand dollars for a one liter bottle, or thereabouts.

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Aesthetics

All that is left is to put the entire thing into a glass tower, and put the power supplies around the outside, maybe set up like a nice set of seats in a circle.

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Re: Aesthetics

Bit like this perhaps? http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cray_X-MP.jpg

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Headmaster

Re: Aesthetics

That's mixing the Cray hardware details folks. The Cray 1 and Cray XMPs had the "seats" covering the power supplies, and the Cray 2, Cray 3 and T series had the immersion cooling (no seats). More details on the Cray FAQ home page on

http://0x07bell.net/WWWMASTER/CrayWWWStuff/Cfaqp3.html#TOC5

Building PCs into fish tanks full of clear Mineral oil is feasable http://hackedgadgets.com/2008/10/24/computer-cooled-using-a-mineral-oil-filled-fish-tank/

but without secondary oil cooling, when worked hard, eventually it will overheat as the oil -> air interface is thermally slow.

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UK co making Novec liquid cooled servers for a few years. http://www.iceotope.com/

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