IBM unveils watercooled super computer, Hydro-Cluster

IBM has unveiled a new supercomputer called Hydro-Cluster that uses water to cool down the device and reduce overall energy consumption.

With this new technology, data centres using Hydro-Cluster supercomputers can reduce their energy consumption by 40 per cent and use 80 per cent fewer air conditioners.

The 448 processors that Hydro-Cluster uses are capable of performing an astounding 252 trillion operations per second, using the world's fastest micro-processor, IBM power six, which smashes through the five-Ghz barrier for the first time ever.

To cool the processors functioning at such astounding speeds, Hydro-Cluster uses an innovative technology to get water almost all the way to the chip - the most advanced water cooling of its kind. This system uses water-chilled copper plates above each of its microprocessors that continuously remove heat from the electronics.

This chip level water cooling is the first step in major advances IBM researchers have planned for direct in-chip water cooled systems.

This is a unique approach where instead of treating the heat as their enemy it is treated like a precious commodity; piping hot water is carried off the chip and out of the systems where it can be used in other areas like homes, kitchens,etc.

IBM researchers say they are also working on computers that would allow water to go directly inside the chip.

Once inside, the water can be routed out of the computer and pumped into the heating system for re-use. Hydro-Cluster is expected to be available beginning 6 May.  (View video)