Intel on Thursday said it would invest $700 million in its new research and development facility that will design next-generation immersion liquid cooling solutions and other data center-oriented technologies. In addition, the company rolled out the industry's first open intellectual property (open IP) immersion liquid cooling solution and reference design that enables data centers to start using immersion liquid cooling without investing in expensive custom solutions.
The first step towards democratization of immersion liquid cooling solutions commenced today when Intel introduced the industry's first open IP reference design of an easy-to-deploy and easily scalable total immersion liquid cooling solution. The reference design is a proof of concept that will be completed in collaboration with Intel Taiwan and across the Taiwanese ecosystem in a phased approach. Many server OEMs reside in Taiwan, so working closely with them will allow Intel to address server suppliers and server users.
But Intel does not stop with a single reference design. The company plans to establish its new Oregon Research and Design Mega Lab in its Jones Farm campus dedicated to immersion cooling, water usage effectiveness, and heat recapture and reuse. Construction of the new center will start today, and it will begin operations in late 2023.
The new lab will ensure that Intel's future data center products are Xeon, Optane, network interfaces, switch gear, Agilex FPGAs, Xe accelerators, Habana accelerators, and other products under development and ready for immersion liquid cooling. Essentially, Intel wants ILC to become as widespread as traditional air and liquid cooling systems.
Modern Intel Xeon Scalable CPUs have a thermal design power of around 270W per socket. In contrast, artificial intelligence and high-performance computing accelerators can consume up to 700W of power per OAM or SXM5 socket. Furthermore, with heat dissipation of around 6000W per machine, air and liquid cooling are losing their attractiveness in terms of costs and efficiency as power consumed by today's chillers accounts for 35% ~ 40% of total data center power consumption, according to data by 2SRSi (opens in new tab).
Intel believes that immersion liquid cooling with energy reuse could reduce the power consumption of data center cooling systems and carbon emissions, making data centers cheaper to operate and lowering pollution emitted by various power plants. But there is a problem with immersion liquid cooling (ILC) solutions: virtually all deployments of ILC use expensive proprietary hardware designs. To make immersion liquid cooling more accessible to mainstream customers, Intel has been working with various ILC specialists for the past year or so.
"Intel's dedication to its global partnerships is evident with these announcements today," said Sandra L. Rivera, Intel executive vice president, and general manager of the Datacenter and AI Group. "The future of the data center and data center design is based on innovative and sustainable technologies and practices, and I am proud of the work we are doing every day to help make a sustainable future a reality."