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Cooling servers

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wierdbeard65

New Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Hi,

New here, so forgive me if my questions are odd!

I have a small server rack at home (2 x HP DL 380's, 3 x HP DL 140's, a home-built unit, 1 x 48 port poe GB switch). We are moving house and in the new place I don't have a suitable place to put it. The available locations have insufficient airflow, so I'm looking in to the possibility of water-cooling the entire rack with a remote radiator. I'm also hoping that getting rid of all those fans will reduce the power consumption!

Anyway, a couple of questions...

Which components actually need cooling? I'm reading mixed messages about, in particular, RAM. (Remember, no air-cooling.)

I am not particularly interested in the look (yes, I know, heresy!) but am keen to keep costs down. What do I need to search for?

Any advice welcome! :D
 

Automata

Destroyer of Empires and Use
Joined
May 15, 2006
This isn't a good idea. Servers are built to have air hitting all the components in the case and will likely throw loud alerts when fans are missing. You can cool the major components, but there are still a lot of pieces which need airflow (hard drive, controllers, memory, power supplies). With a loop that large, you also run a much higher chance of leaking, which is going to be catastrophic since everything is stacked and has convenient holes to leak liquid to the server below. This isn't even mentioning how difficult it would be to work on, replace, remove, or add a server.

You'd be much better off picking a better spot or getting airflow fixed. It is going to be a massive headache otherwise.
 

Silver_Pharaoh

Likes the big ones n00b Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2013
This isn't a good idea. Servers are built to have air hitting all the components in the case and will likely throw loud alerts when fans are missing. You can cool the major components, but there are still a lot of pieces which need airflow (hard drive, controllers, memory, power supplies). With a loop that large, you also run a much higher chance of leaking, which is going to be catastrophic since everything is stacked and has convenient holes to leak liquid to the server below. This isn't even mentioning how difficult it would be to work on, replace, remove, or add a server.

You'd be much better off picking a better spot or getting airflow fixed. It is going to be a massive headache otherwise.
^^ Trust him. He knows his servers.

You'd probably need to have machining skills too to make your own waterblocks for some components as well...
 

sporktar

Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2010
I wouldn't discount the idea completely, if you're dedicated to the idea it could be a cool project and it's certainly doable. IBM has pulled off a liquid cooled server array successfully. Leaks are preventable if you take your time and be careful, much like any other watercooling loop. The biggest challenge would be sourcing waterblocks that you could make fit, if you aren't capable of machining them yourself. This project also won't be very cheap. Watercooling is inherently expensive, and in order to be able to work on your servers you are going to need quick disconnects on each server, which can add up quite quickly.
 

TransformedBG

Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2013
go look at linus personal rig update 2015... he uses water cooled "server" but it not really his server its his personal pc... so thats the closest you would get
 

GTXJackBauer

Water Cooling Senior Member, #TEAMH20HNO
Joined
May 22, 2011
Location
USA
I can't say much since I have no experience around servers but will say if you're willing to do the research and understand the pro's and con's and risk involved, have at it. On that note, all I can do is link you to a site that might be helpful.
 

Ben333

Folding for Team 32!
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
1st off, what generation are your servers? They made DL380s from back in the Pentium III days till now. So big range lol

Is the setup still going to get air flow? You're still going to have a lot of heat from whatever doesn't get watercooled, so you won't just be able to stick it all in a closed closet no matter what you do.

Which components need cooling? All of them. The RAM gets hot, server HDDs get hot, the power supply gets hot, just like Thideras said.

As for reducing the power consumption by eliminating fans.... Not gonna happen. Any pump uses the power of many fans, and a pump to cool 6 computers would be either two or three PC grade pumps, or a beefy aquarium pump. Going to use some juice, and make its own heat!

You can get waterblocks on ebay for around $10. But they probably suck, and you wouldn't want to have a $10 part ruin all your gear. You'd be spending at least $30 - $60 each on a good waterblock. Let's say $50 each. There's $300 just for waterblocks. $150 for a pump, $50 for a new small car radaitor on ebay, $50 in tubing / fittings. Let's call it $600, and I'm sure that would quickly turn into a bigger number. And these servers are still going to need a decent amount of fresh air intake. It would not be wise to remove any fans. Rackmount systems have excellent air flow, therefore parts that may have gotten a heatsink in a non rack environment may not have one, because in the rackmount setup they get lots of air.

But yeah, huge pain in the ***. Unless you run one pump per system and use a manifold to feed them all, you'd be killing the whole setup in order to take one machine out. Quick, self sealing fittings are EXPENSIVE too, so I wouldn't even bother with those unless you really want to do it just to "do it" and have some money to burn.

Here's some inspiration though http://procooling.com/index.php?func=articles&disp=15