Business, Enterprise, Hardware

Liquid cooling goes big: HP launches water-cooled Z workstations


It took longer than most liquid cooling enthusiasts expected or wanted, but liquid cooling is slowly losing its stigma as an unreliable cooling system due to potential leaks. By using Teflon cabling, the risk of leaks turned about equal to a heat-pipe leaking its fluids.

Thus, large vendors started to try out liquid cooling first in their systems for enthusiasts, such as the Acer Predator, Dell’s XPS or Alienware series, Voodoo, HP’s Blackbird and Firebird and so on. The results of this low-unit trial were successful enough for HP and the corporation decided to implement liquid cooling inside Z400 and Z800 workstations.
According to information we have at hand, the newly launched Z series went with liquid cooling because of its orientation towards ultra quiet operation. When HP designed the Z series, the idea was to create a workstation machine that combines 16GB of DDR3 memory, 7.5TB of storage and multiple professional graphics cards, either Quadro FX1800 SLI or FX4800.

The Z800 series is something that leading game developers such as Tim Sweeney would seriously consider for their next setup: Single or dual Xeon processor, 192GB of DDR3 memory and a graphics subsystem of up to dual Quadro FX 5800 setup in SLI mode, for a grand total of 8GB of GDDR3 video memory – without liquid cooling, this setup would require at least a dozen fans inside the case.

Both models are nothing short of being computing monsters, and levels of customization are truly amazing. But most importantly, performance no longer equates noise. Anyone who has ever had experience with noisy coolers that traditionally follow higher-performing Intel Xeon processors will appreciate that.

Both workstations are now in the sub 40 dBA area, and Asetek now has only one hurdle to overcome: enter the world of desktops. It is really positive seeing Asetek and CoolIT making innards into market segment that traditionally refused to play with water cooling. Now, it seems that liquid cooling is finally "safe enough" for doing business.