Intel Experiments with Oil Immersion Cooling Technology

Paul Lilly

Dipping PC parts into a vat of oil sounds scary at first, but it's actually a great way to cool components, and surprisingly safe to boot. You may recall that back in 2008, we played with an oil immersed system from Hardcore PC, and while the idea hasn't quite gone mainstream, it's making headway. Puget Systems sells a DIY oil kit (which we highlighted in 2010 ), and now Intel is experimenting with the idea, albeit on the server side.

According to Gigaom , Intel just completed a year-long test of Green Revolution Cooling's mineral oil server immersion technology and is tickled pink with the results. Mike Patterson, senior power and thermal architect at Intel, tells Gigaom that the technology appears safe for server parts and could become the norm one day.

"We’re doing our math to understand if we developed an oil optimized platform, what that would mean [for performance, efficiency, etc.]," Patterson said.

Where oil immersion cooling goes from here is anyone's guess, but the fact that Intel is impressed with the technology ensures that it will at least be further evaluated. Should Intel and others go down that road, it would require tweaking traditional server design, which is currently optimized for air flow.

Cool stuff, eh?

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