Microsoft unveils liquid cooling solution for datacenters
Aaron Lee, Taipei; Joseph Tsai, DIGITIMES

Microsoft has announced to begin implementing a two-phase immersion liquid cooling solution that is co-developed with Wiwynn, to its datacenter in the state of Washington for testing.

Christian Belady, Microsoft's vice president & Distinguished Engineer - Datacenter Advanced Development, noted that air cooling is no longer sufficient for datacenter applications and liquid cooling enables Microsoft to go denser, and thus continue the Moore's Law trend at the datacenter level.

Husam Alissa, Microsoft's Principal Engineer also pointed out that transistor widths have shrunk to the atomic scale and are reaching a physical limit. Meanwhile, demand for faster computer processors for high performance applications such as artificial intelligence has accelerated. To meet the need for performance, the computing industry has turned to chip architectures that can handle more electric power. However, the more electric power pumped through these processors, the hotter the chips get. The increased heat has ramped up cooling requirements to prevent the chips from malfunctioning.

Microsoft has been cooperating with Wiwynn over immersion liquid cooling module development since 2018 and will begin implementing the solution at its datacenter in Washington to conduct tests in the next several months.

With Intel's new generation Ice Lake Xeon processors featuring a thermal design power (TDP) at 270W and the fact that each motherboard is usually equipped with two CPUs, average power consumption of a new-generation server can go up as high as 540W not including that from GPUs, making liquid cooling the next mainstream cooling method for datacenters, according to sources from the server upstream supply chain.

The solution is suitable for datacenters in high latitude areas, where the temperature is lower, the sources said.

Microsoft and Wiwynn have co-developed a liquid cooling solution for datacenters

Microsoft and Wiwynn have co-developed a liquid cooling solution for datacenters
Photo: Company

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