Tuesday, April 6th 2021

Microsoft Tests New Liquid Cooling System for The Data Center

Microsoft employees are trialing a novel new immersive cooling system for their data center servers involving boiling liquid. Microsoft has looked to this two-phase closed-loop system as a solution to increasing power requirements from components. The cooling system features large vats where servers are submerged in a specially designed fluid from 3M which is harmless to electronics and boils at just 50°C (122°F). The heat from the servers is transferred to the fluid which boils and carries the heat away without any risk of overheating. The vats each contain a condenser that comes in contact with the gas cooling it down into a liquid and falling back into the loop. Microsoft claims that this new cooling approach will improve efficiency and sustainability through increased utilization of resources.
Source: Microsoft
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21 Comments on Microsoft Tests New Liquid Cooling System for The Data Center

#1
Darksaber
Senior Editor & Case Reviewer
Why is there a picture of a guy smiling into the camera? :D
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#2
Caring1
Darksaber
Why is there a picture of a guy smiling into the camera? :D
Maybe it's the fumes. :laugh:
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#3
ZoneDymo
is this not one of those technologies that we have seen presented..oh idk, 10 years ago? more?
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#4
ZeppMan217
ZoneDymo
is this not one of those technologies that we have seen presented..oh idk, 10 years ago? more?
Was gonna say the same thing. Isn't this mineral oil cooling?
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#5
turbogear
This principle was shown also by Der8auer in 2017 at Gamescom but if I remember this was supper expensive.
Der8auer offered also at that time some systems at Caseking with this principle but if I remember correctly the cost of one high end PC with such submerged liquid cooling was around 10k€. :oops:
He at that time said that servers use this.
So maybe it was not widespread in server and Microsoft want to bring it to next level now. :rolleyes:

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#7
dyonoctis
ZeppMan217
Was gonna say the same thing. Isn't this mineral oil cooling?
It looks similar, but 3M liquid isn't mineral oil. Mineral oil doesn't evaporate for one :D
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#8
Anvirol
I wonder what kind of liquid is that. I hope they have extensively studied the safety of it..

3M synthetic liquids immediately remind me of PFOA / C8 chemical scandal which can be found in multiple U.S. water sources.
It can cause multiple cancers. Some people who worked directly with the chemical died in just a few years.
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#10
1d10t
ZoneDymo
is this not one of those technologies that we have seen presented..oh idk, 10 years ago? more?
Actually it was demonstrated in CES 2019.

[MEDIA=Youtube]YyKIZPuepl8[/MEDIA]
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#12
Punkenjoy
1 phase cooling is like water cooling or mineral oil immersion. The liquid stay in the same phase and you move that liquid to a radiator to cool it.

2 phase cooling is when the liquid change phase (evaporate) then is condensed and put back in the loop.

Changing phase require a lot of energy. So when the liquid boil, it absorb a great deal of energy from the part you want to cool. (This is how humans cool themselves by sweating). And when the liquid condensate of it have to release a lot of energy. Vapors are easier to move around also.

But you are right, heatpipe are 2 phase cooler and they were around for quite some time. The difference here is the liquid isn't encapsulated into pipe. The whole system sit in it.
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#13
Quitessa
Yeah this is pretty old news really, 3M have been trying to sell this for Years as the Ultimate Cooling Solution

Servers

PC
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#14
L'Eliminateur
it's 3M Fluorinert, that liquid is already used in the industry for other stuff, but since it's "thin"(it has very low viscosity, in fact i think it's "thinner" than water) and the surface tension is similar(it "wets" easily) plus the boiling point is low at atmospheric pressure (around 60~70°ish) AND it's nonconductive and doesn't leave residue, it's been used for immersion cooling since several years ago.

The gist, it's expensive AF, liquid gold levels of expensive.

I think the only twist that MS is bringing is that it's a condensing closed system, making sure you don't lose the liquid gold to evaporation
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#15
Dr_b_
Data centers have been using this for a while now, wonder what the microsoft "innovation" is to this
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#16
R0H1T
1d10t
Actually it was demonstrated in CES 2019.

[MEDIA=Youtube]YyKIZPuepl8[/MEDIA]
So these are the guys who siphoned off all those 16x 2080 Ti's o_O
Vayra86
Why not get something more recent eh

www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/florida-reservoir-leaking-toxic-wastewater-demonstrates-decades-regulatory-failure-environmental-n1263089
Scale mostly, human death toll which is estimated to be a lot more than 20k ~ that's just the headline number, a lot more people died due to exposure in the years since & at least 10x have had lasting effects of the gas literally etched into their bodies!
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#17
L'Eliminateur
Dr_b_
Data centers have been using this for a while now, wonder what the microsoft "innovation" is to this
as i've said, probably the innovation is the condensing system and how it's a "sealed" off vat
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#18
pisscut
I worked with this stuff building battery driven Heavy Fondation Equipment.
We had to cool the batteries with this stuff "3m Novec 7300" . I Think one Liter cost 110-130€
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#19
Wirko
L'Eliminateur
it's 3M Fluorinert, that liquid is already used in the industry for other stuff, but since it's "thin"(it has very low viscosity, in fact i think it's "thinner" than water) and the surface tension is similar(it "wets" easily) plus the boiling point is low at atmospheric pressure (around 60~70°ish) AND it's nonconductive and doesn't leave residue, it's been used for immersion cooling since several years ago.

The gist, it's expensive AF, liquid gold levels of expensive.

I think the only twist that MS is bringing is that it's a condensing closed system, making sure you don't lose the liquid gold to evaporation
Looks like it's 3M Fluorinert FC-3284, which has a boiling point at 50°C. Pricing upon request. Here's a price listing for FC-72 - similar but boils at 56°C and is closer to silver, price-wise.

A fluid like this has to be used in a condensing closed system - there simply is no other option when you're working with a fluid close to its boiling point. The datasheet indeed suggests that the fluid can also be used in single-phase systems - but the super low boiling point is one of the characteristics that make it super expensive, and why would anyone buy it and then not make use of evaporation?
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#20
qwerty_lesh
:roll: so how much money did they lose getting the photo of the system open while it was making all those bubbles surrounding the motherboards :laugh:
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