HP Apollo 8000: Gearing Up With Water-Cooled Supercomputers


Supercomputers are what makes technological advances possible. They answer complex problems, help manage huge enterprises and allow for the operation of multiple processes that ordinary computers can’t even  begin handle.  

supercomputer also has the drawback of using large amounts of power just to cool its systems. This power consumption has restricted supercomputers for use in the government or the academia sectors. Yet Hewlett-Packard seeks to bridge the gap between supercomputers and other enterprises by offering a water-based server cooling system called the Apollo 8000.

What Makes The Apollo 8000 So Special?

Katrina Matthews

The biggest obstacle for computer manufacturers is developing a cooling system that runs efficiently, isn’t costly and doesn’t cause damage to components. Air-cooling systems have been on the market for years as the cool air draws the heat away from equipment. Yet liquid is a far superior medium as it doesn’t conduct electricity.

The Apollo 8000 uses regular plain water, the same water from a person’s kitchen sink tap, as the cooling agent for a supercomputer’s systems. The system is completely leak-proof and safe for computing systems. Using water instead of other special liquids, such as 3M’s Novec fluid, allows HP to market a green product for companies that is also energy-efficient, according to PC World.

How Does The Server Cooling System Work?

The awesome HP Apollo 8000 has a “water wall” in the center of the server rack that draws the heat away from the server blades. Near the server blades are also copper pipes that circulate the sealed water. Using a heat sink connected to underside of the CPU, the sealed pipes draw the heat through the copper and moves the warm water into the water wall to be dispersed out of the server rack.

What happens if a leak occurs? The water won’t escape from the copper pipe due to the vacuum. There is a vacuum created inside the copper pipe to stop any water from touching the server components. Since the server blades are not submerged into any type of liquid, the blades can be removed without shutting the entire system down.  apollo_8000_800x600_00002

What Advantages Will Companies Have When Using The Apollo 8000?

Due to the unique design of the Apollo 8000, a company can reduce the carbon dioxide waste of data centers by 3,800 tons, according to Market Watch. The water in the system is 1,000 times more efficient than the air-cooled supercomputer systems, greatly reducing the amount of power consumption a company uses for the data center. Up to 144 servers can be placed into the rack, helping minimizing space issues since there are no vats of liquid for the server equipment to be submerged in.

In addition, the heated water can be used as another heat source for a company’s facilities, according to HP. It will reduce operating costs for the company concerned about their data center spending budget and their carbon footprint. All these features in the Apollo 8000 allow companies to step into the future of green supercomputing.

About the Author

+Katrina  specializes in products for the leading custom design and manufacturing of racking products for your tech needs at RackSolutions.com.

Photo credit: Geeta Nambiar

YouTube: ‘Water-cooled Supercomputing with the HP Apollo 8000 System’ by Delighted Robot

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