Here’s something you don’t see every day: Microsoft taking a page from cryptominers’ rule-book. That’s right. Remember those mineral-oil cooled GPUs used for Ether mining? Yes, MS is implementing the same methodology to cool its Data Center processors. The fluid inside the couch-shaped tanks was engineered by 3M. It has dielectric properties which make it an effective insulate, therefore allowing the processors to run normally while being fully immersed.
This engineering fluid has a boiling point of 122 degrees Fahrenheit, 90 degrees lower than the boiling point of water, making it ideal for cooling hardware. As the Data Center hardware heats up, the liquid starts boiling, taking away the heat dissipated by the servers along with it it. Inside the tank, the vapor rising from the boiling fluid contacts a cooled condenser in the tank lid, which causes the vapor to change to liquid and rain back onto the immersed servers, creating a closed-loop cooling system.
We are the first cloud provider that is running two-phase immersion cooling in a production environment,” said Husam Alissa, a principal hardware engineer on Microsoft’s team for datacenter advanced development in Redmond, Washington.Husam Alissa, Hardware Engineer at MS
Industrial cryptominers using high-end graphics cards such as the GeForce RTX 3080/3090 pioneered liquid immersion cooling to enable the hardware to run for prolonged durations without any risk of overheating. This inspired Microsoft to try something similar. The Microsoft team to work with Wiwynn, a datacenter IT system manufacturer and designer, to develop a two-phase immersion cooling solution. The first solution is now running at Microsoft’s Data Center in Quincy. As per the company, the use of the boiling liquid in a closed-loop mechanism not only improved performance using overclocking but also reduced the power consumption for any given server by 5% to 15%.