Motivair Corporation has launched Dynamic Cold Plates for direct liquid cooling, supporting thermal performance of up to 1,000 watts per processor.
The cold plates eschew the conventional "skived" microchannels found in cold plates, allowing for less sensitivity to particulate contamination. Skiving is the process of carving metal by removing thin slices. It is used instead of rolling or molding, to create very thin structures, when it is important that the metal does not shed minute slivers.
Ready for exascale
"There's a big challenge in the industry with fluid quality," CEO Rich Whitmore told DCD. "Most of the industry uses skived cold plates - a copper cold plate that has about 110 micro fins carved into the copper per inch.
"And what that means is that the industry has great concerns about any particulate, any of it at the micro level getting into those fins, because if they do, it blocks the flow and it affects the thermal performance of the cold plate."
Current systems require water to not have any particulates greater than 50 microns. "That is really small," Whitmore said. "And it takes a lot of pressure drop in the filtration systems to get fluid to make sure that that never happens.
"You can put very clean fluid in and you can clean all of your systems, but at the end of the day, this is the real world - when they're connecting a hose, there could be a piece of particulate on the tip of a quick connect that could then go into the system."
The company's dynamic cold plates don't use skiving; they have grooves "wide enough to basically fit a penny in between them," Whitmore said, with the system able to handle particulates up to 400 microns. This means that the plate has a reduced surface area, "but we get the performance back by dynamically distributing the fluid across those grooves," Whitmore explained. "We do it uniformly across the entire cold plate - most of the technologies out there are entering in one side and coming out the other whereas we actually distribute from the top down, flowing the fluid across the entire surface area."
Motivair believes the cold plates will allow operators to use smaller and cheaper water filtration systems.
The company is currently set to provide cooling solutions for the US's three upcoming exascale supercomputers, but Whitmore declined to confirm whether the dynamic cold plates would be used in the systems.