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

Lux, Jim (337C) james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Wed Sep 5 11:36:51 PDT 2012

> ensues..  (I used to make my living doing fireballs.. A bit of 
> explosive
> (PETN) to disperse the flammable liquid, a bit of something that burns 
> well (black powder) to ignite it is the usual recipe for the "car 
> falling over a cliff and exploding")

>Gawd, some people have all the luck!  What a career!  Why in the world would you quit doing that to go to work in a boring, plodgy organization like NASA?  Oh, wait, they do like to blow things up, don't they...;-)

Forgot to mention Benzoyl Peroxide (makes for a better looking fireball).. Interestingly enough.. once you've done it a few times, it gets to be pretty routine.  Every engineer should work in the industry for 2-3 years... after that, you'll find you're repeating yourself.  (unless the craftsmanship aspect of detail design appeals to you.. yes, fireballs are all pretty much the same, but there are subtleties, but that's more art than engineering.  Good pyro guys and gals are artists)

But when talking cooling substances.. There's an interesting trade 
> between conductivity and viscosity (He and H2 are clear winners.. High 
> conductivity AND low viscosity) and density SF6 is really dense, so on 
> a temperature rise per unit volume basis, it actually does pretty well.
> BTW, high power turbomachinery (power plant generator driven by steam 
> turbines and such) are often insulated with H2, because the low 
> viscosity reduces windage losses.

>Yeah, like that.  It is a MIX of considering conductivity, heat capacity, viscosity and related turbulence/reynolds number.

>Prototyping justified, instant adoption not so much until after the prototype and perhaps a bit of -- dare I say it -- engineering and CBA?

Yes.. that will be what I predict happens with oil cooling.. some folks will prototype it.. it might have a niche application:  Clusters in a very dusty or hazardous environment.. you can seal the delicate electronics in their clean oil filled bath, and use a hose, scrub brush, and pressure washer to clean the heat exchanger.  PC in a coal mine?

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