SERVER VENDOR Supermicro has teamed up with Hardcore Computer to create a fully submerged blade server using overclocked Intel 'Everest' Xeon chips.
At The International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) you expect to see racks of servers perhaps pumping out impressive GNUPLOTs to attract passers by, but what you don't expect to see is Intel's Xeon x5698 chip, a 4.4GHz dual core blunderbuss, being overclocked. What's more in order to keep things running the whole server is submersed in dielectric liquid.
Supermicro already tipped up at ISC with an early 1U AMD 32-core Bulldozer server, but Boston's Liquid Cooled Blade that runs in Supermicro's blade server chassis managed to top even that. Each blade has two Intel Xeon x5698 chips running at up to 4.8GHz and has six DDR3 slots. The blades can be interconnected by 10Gbits/s Ethernet or 40Gbits/s Infiniband.
The chap responsible for designing the cooling in Supermicro's server is Chad Attlesey, co-founder, president and CTO of the appropriately named Hardcore Computer. Attlesey talked about the cooling solution and why his firm did what it did. Sadly because the blade server is submerged in liquid, he couldn't show us its internals.
Attlesey told The INQUIRER that these overclocked systems are gaining in popularity with high-frequency traders at investment banks where low latency is king.
Liquid cooling supercomputers is not new, Cray waw known to cool its legendary supercomputers with dielectric fluid back in the 1980s, but submersing every single component is, even by hardcore overclockers' standards, a bit extreme.
That said, Intel's 'Everest' Xeon x5698 is still Chipzilla's highest clocked Xeon chip, and it is believed that Intel has to disable four out of the six cores to hit 4.4GHz. The fact that Supermicro, with considerable help from Hardcore Computer, managed to squeeze out another 10 per cent is impressive, though we must say, not as impressive as the blade itself. µ