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Lenovo Brings Water Cooling to Data Center Servers

Friday Mar 2nd 2018 by Sean Michael Kerner

Servers can get hot, but water will help keep them cool in a way that can be significantly more efficient than fans, according to Lenovo.

High-end gamer PC systems have long utilized water-cooling systems to help prevent CPUs from over-heating. Now Lenovo is bringing water-cooling technology upstream to its ThinkSystem SD650 servers.

The benefits of water cooling are lower energy costs as well as significantly lower noise. The new server system Lenovo engineers have built is directly water cooled, doesn't need a chiller and can use existing utility water that can be as warm as 113°F.

Running a water-cooled server is a bit different than a traditional fan-cooled server and requires a purpose-built enclosure to help optimize the setup. That's where the NeXtScale n1200 WCT fits in, providing a standard 19-inch rack setup, albeit one that fits the SD650 needs.

According to Lenovo, the n1200 WCT enclosure houses up to 12 water-cooled servers in 6 trays across its 6U rack mount unit chassis.

The SD650 itself is a compute tray that include two separate servers, each running an Intel Xeon Gold or Platinum CPU with up to 28 cores. In total, the SD650 server tray can support up to 768 GB of memory, and each server can support up to 960 GB of SSD storage.

According to Lenovo, the water-cooled server system has the potential to save an organization more than 40 percent on data center energy, thanks to the reduced need for energy.

In a video covering the new water-cooled server, Lenovo thermal engineer, Scott Holland, provides a walkthrough of the system.

Holland noted that exhaust water from the water-cooled system can be re-purposed to help an organization heat other areas of a data center. He added that 85-90 percent of the heat generated by the SD650 servers is captured by the water-cooling system.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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