Nowadays all available retail mining hardware products are still cooled with air cooling. But is it the most efficient way to cool eg. a Bitcoin Miner?
It is probably true for small Mining operations that air cooling beats Immersion cooling. But at large scale mining installations immersion cooling can bring a clear advantage.
In today’s distributor Newsletter a small announcement was made from Canaan that there will be released “board level immersion products” – Let’s see what they come up with soon.
What is Immersion Cooling Technology?
One of the simplest examples of immersion cooling is the immersion of standard air-cooled computer hardware in mineral oil. Mineral oil does not conduct, is not capacitive and therefore does not pose a threat to the electronics. Computer enthusiasts sometimes use this method with commercially available aquariums that house the hardware. The fans continue to rotate, causing the oil to circulate through the radiators – naturally at a slower rate than in the air, but with much more efficient thermal conductivity. Thus, the components are cooled while the oil first absorbs the heat and then benefits from the evaporative cooling. However, this method can not deal with high heat loads and needs from time to time refilled oil. More sophisticated immersion cooling techniques are used in flagship computers, mainframes and data centers. These systems still often use evaporative cooling and submerge the parts, but they are often a closed system, more like a hybrid solution of immersion cooling and conventional liquid cooling with pumps and external radiators. The liquid used by them is in most cases an artificial dielectric liquid with a lower boiling point than water. The liquid evaporates, condenses and drips back into the designated tank. This approach reduces the need for liquid, which is often proprietary and expensive.
Immersion cooling consumes up to 99 percent less electricity than conventional data center cooling with refrigerators, heat pumps and air conditioners. The higher cooling capacity at a lower cost also enables higher system densities. Many immersion cooling systems are complex. However, simpler – yet very effective – open bathroom systems are the least expensive to run. Further advantages are the almost noiseless operation and reduced dust formation, since only a significantly reduced air flow is needed.
Liquid cooling can significantly limit the flexibility of a data center design, as systems connected to the water supply are not that easy to implement. The combination of electronic systems and water also complicates disaster recovery planning (DRP). Administrators need to know in advance how to deal with potential problems, such as rust or spills. Dielectric liquids immersion cooling simplifies many of these concerns as well as the general fear of the interplay of electricity and water. The coolant can be creatively used to transport the heat to a place where it can be useful. This too effectively leads to heat savings. Most data center immersion cooling is very costly in terms of installation. However, the power consumption costs for cooling represent one of the largest items in the operating costs, so that the investment in the immersion cooling usually after a short time amortized by the energy savings.