Intel announced it has finished a year-long test of oil immersion cooling for servers, a technique that enables significant power savings. The chip giant found that while typical datacenters require 60 percent in additional energy beyond the power needed to run the servers, its seven dual-socket Xeon servers immersed in mineral oil in a CarnoJet vat from Green Revolution Cooling required just two to three percent additional energy, without impacting performance!
The Intel group is working on a proposal to study immersion cooling with a two-phase fluid that boils off and condenses, transferring heat. “There are a number of other liquid cooling approaches including cold plates for CPUs to plates for full servers, so we are very much in our path-finding phase,” he said.
For its part, Intel has no further plans to use the oil-immersion approach, in part, because it has plenty of space in its data centers where air flow is good. However Patterson’s group is analyzing the trade-offs of building an “oil-optimized platform.” In today’s servers “the heat sinks and fan control built into the platforms are for air cooling,” he said.
Intel conducted the oil-immersion test after overcoming some of its own skepticism.