What is Direct to Chip Cooling and Is Liquid Cooling in your Future?

August 02 2022

Market Insight

Decrease energy consumption. Increase compute densities. Optimize space utilization.

These critical goals of the data center are just getting that much more difficult to achieve, as intense data-crunching AI workload needs are more common and high density computing grows.

“High density” refers to both the computing power and high levels of electrical power required (data centers account for 1% of global electricity, according to Deutsche Welle). That generates a lot of heat.

What is your strategy for accommodating high-powered processors while conserving energy?

The answer, more and more often, is liquid cooling. One of the most efficient methods is direct to chip cooling (or direct-on-chip cooling), which keeps processors at optimal temperature at all times, under any load, in all climates.

Not all direct to chip liquid cooling is created equal, however. Specifically, two-phase waterless liquid cooling (2PLC) is the most effective way to go beyond the limits of air cooling and mitigate the risk of IT failure.

Because 2PLC is nearly unlimited in its capabilities for all high-powered processors, facility managers can confidently handle whatever technological innovation the future brings.

The Benefits of Direct to Chip Liquid Cooling

Before exploring the benefits, we will quickly answer: “What is direct to chip cooling?”

Safe, non-flammable dielectric fluid is brought directly to the chip via flexible tubes. The liquid coolant absorbs heat, evaporates into a vapor, and carries heat out of the IT equipment.

Because this system cools processors directly, chip cooling is one of the most effective and efficient forms of data center component heat removal. Data center owners can cool even the highest powered chips, pushing to 1000W and beyond.

Get additional direct to chip cooling details in this article answering 8 common questions.

Presented with today’s density challenges (and more on the horizon), data center professionals know that air cooling alone cannot handle powerful processors’ demands. At the same time, pressure to reduce energy consumption is constantly increasing.

In other words, the industry continues to ask data centers to do more – and hopefully spend less. A switch from traditional methods to rack-level, direct to chip cooling delivers impressive benefits to data centers:

  • Reduced energy. Compared to traditional air cooling, liquid cooling is more efficient at transferring heat away from electrical components. In fact, liquid’s heat-carrying capacity can be up to 3,500 times greater. There is also a reduced need for fans in a liquid cooling system
  • Increased processing capacity. Because direct to chip liquid cooling is precisely targeted, and therefore more effective in isolating and dissipating heat, equipment is able to support greater CPU and GPU densities
  • Reduced space. Rack-based liquid cooling solutions keep cooling inside the enclosures, reducing the need for additional heat removal systems
  • Reduced downtime. Because it is more effective in removing heat, chip-level cooling means less likelihood of equipment overheating, a major cause of data center downtime

Rittal Knows Direct to Chip Cooling

Rittal’s high performance computing (HPC) direct to chip cooling solution — Rittal High Density Cooled-by-ZutaCore — combines Rittal’s modular IT enclosures (or IT cabinets) with direct to chip evaporative cooling technology from ZutaCore. This highly efficient, easily scalable, single-source solution eliminates data center hotspots, meets demanding cooling requirements (from edge, hyperscale, and colocation to HPC), and minimizes the risk of IT failure.

Beyond an integrated direct to chip cooling solution, data centers managers also need the ability to deploy it seamlessly and painlessly. The value that an expert partner brings includes knowledge and insights on the latest trends in liquid cooling.

Rittal experts work closely with IT professionals to understand your unique needs and make recommendations for cost-effective, energy-efficient cooling that helps you future-proof your data center.

We recommend digging a little deeper into a liquid cooled server rack solution that supports today’s requirements while saving space and energy. Read this whitepaper.