[Beowulf] Airflow

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Fri Jun 30 08:04:50 PDT 2006

On Sun, 25 Jun 2006, Robert Fogt wrote:

> Hello beowulf mailing list,
> How much harm does removing the computer case do?  I know computer cases are
> designed for the air flow, and without them I was wondering if there will be
> heating problems. My air conditioner will be enough for the amount of heat
> generated, but will I need circulation fans in the room also?
> I created a test cluster of 8 nodes, removing all the cases and mounting
> everything onto a wire rack. It works fine with no heat problems. But I am
> concerned that once I build the entire 100 node cluster there will be
> problems. The book I am reading on HPC does not go into that detail.
> I was thinking an air purifier that is always on will slowly circulate the
> air when the air conditioner is off.
> I just don't have enough room to build this with the computers still in
> cases.

The biggest immediate problem is likely to be that it will make things
(much) louder.  Beyond that it is hard to know without knowing the
details of your case's design.  Some cases rely on very particular
airflow patterns -- suck cool from front, pull over memory, disk, CPU,
and either out directly or through power supply and out.  If you open
the cases you CAN create air circulation patterns that cause already
heated air to recirculate.  However, this is so very, very dependent on
case design and layout.  Rackmounts are more likely to be very sensitive
to this problem but you really have to look at fan placement.  Cases
(especially towers) that have a front fan push fan as well as rear pull
fans are a bit more likely to keep enough cool air mixed into any
recirculated air to avoid problems.


> Robert
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Robert G. Brown	                       http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu

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