[Beowulf] Servers Too Hot? Intel Recommends a Luxurious Oil Bath

Prentice Bisbal prentice.bisbal at rutgers.edu
Wed Sep 5 10:56:13 PDT 2012

On 09/05/2012 10:53 AM, Eugen Leitl wrote:
> On Wed, Sep 05, 2012 at 09:54:55AM -0400, Prentice Bisbal wrote:
>> On 09/05/2012 06:22 AM, Eugen Leitl wrote:
>>> On Tue, Sep 04, 2012 at 02:54:46PM -0400, Ellis H. Wilson III wrote:
>>>> I know we've been taking things to the uber-scale level with this
>>>> conversation, but does anyone have suggestions for small (homebrew
>>>> Beowulf) clusters?  I've considered oil before, but for all the
>>> A major advantage of these forthcoming ARM server systems is that
>>> they are air-coolable, and in fact even convection-aircoolable,
>>> if you add a suitable funnel on top of the rack.
>> Existing systems are already air-cooled by convection.  Anything that is
>> being cooled by the movement of air is convection* When we use fans in
>> our servers, it's forced convection. Did you mean natural convection,
>> where there the air density difference (caused by the temperature
>> difference) causes the movement of air, without any fans?
> Yes.
>> Where does the funnel come in? To reduce drag that would hinder the
>> natural convection?
> Sorry, chimney, not funnel. To generate draft, via a column of hot air.
> The same mechanism as in an oven.

Ahhh. Gotcha. if you said chimney, I would have know exactly what you 
meant. That makes perfect sense. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

> Speaking of which, do you know how a rocket mass heater (supposedly) works? It has
> no chimney but only horizontal exhaust. The only way how that makes sense is something
> like a stationary scramjet.

Never heard of a rocket mass heater before, so I had to google. I know 
how masonry heaters work. From the pictures I saw online and what I read 
in Wikipedia, there is a vertical internal chimney. This is the "rocket" 
part. It generates enough of a draft to push the flue gases through the 
rest of the heater, and allows the gases to exit horizonltally. I would 
have to read more to understand how it works.

>> Sorry - I spent waaaay too much time studying transport phenomena in
>> college.
>> * For the science nerds: Technically, convection is heat transfer by
>> flow of any fluid.
> Possible, and Wikipedia seems to confirm that usage, but in the informal
> use convection cooling means passive transport as opposed by forced
> transport, e.g. via fans.
> Will try to be more precise in future.
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