Liquid cooling (LC) has been used since the early mainframe days and to cool some supercomputers. More recently, air cooling became the predominant form of cooling for most computing systems. Over the past several years, however, many new LC technical developments and products have entered the market. This has been driven by several factors, such as the increased demand for greater power density, coupled with higher information technology (IT) performance for high-performance computing (HPC) and some hyper-scale computing, and the overall industry focus on energy efficiency.
While the thermal transfer effectiveness and energy efficiency of LC compared to air are well-known, deployments have been limited. However, this past year there have been many new developments, which makes it easier to implement and has increased interest in LC. Even the major server OEMs are now offering LC for some models. LC in the data center is steadily advancing⎯both in technology and market acceptance.