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Comparison of HPC/Telecom Data Center Cooling Methods by Operating and Capital Expense
Keywords: Liquid, Opex, Capex
Three cooling solutions were analyzed to provide cooling to a hypothetical, near-future computing cluster. Cooling Option 1 is an air-cooled system with large, high-efficiency, turbine-blade fans pushing air through finned, heat-pipe equipped, copper heat sinks on the blade. Rear-door air-to-liquid heat exchangers on each cabinet cool the exiting air back to room temperature so that no additional air conditioning strain is placed on facility air handlers. Cooling Option 2 uses water-based touch cooling on the CPUs via a copper coldplate loop on each board. These loops are connected to an in-rack manifold that feeds a water/PG mixture in and out of each blade. A coolant distribution unit (CDU) collects heated water via overhead manifolds from each cabinet, cools the water through an internal liquid-to-liquid brazed-plate heat exchanger, and pumps it back through the overhead manifolds to the cabinets for re-circulation. On the other side of the heat exchanger, a closed water loop runs from the CDU to a rooftop dry cooler, where the heat from the CPUs is ultimately dissipated into the atmosphere. Cooling Option 3, which considers two approaches, removes water from the server cabinets and instead uses refrigerant (R134a) as the heat transfer fluid in the server room. This approach uses a coldplate and manifold system similar to the water-cooling approach, but may or may not have a refrigerant distribution unit in the building. Cooling Option 3a pumps mounted in the cabinets pump the refrigerant through a water-cooled, brazed-plate heat exchanger in a refrigerant distribution unit (RDU) to condense the refrigerant after it absorbs the heat from the CPUs. In Cooling Option 3b, pumps move the refrigerant straight to the roof, where a rooftop condenser dissipates the heat to the environment. The goal of this study was to provide an
Alexander Yatskov, VP of Engineering
TF&F Inc.
Beverly, MA

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