[Beowulf] HVAC and room cooling...

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Sat Jan 31 08:34:55 EST 2004

On Fri, 30 Jan 2004, A.J. Rossini wrote:

> I'm trying to do an HVAC analysis of a small beowulf cluster (12 dual
> athlon or opteron machines).  
> Can anyone suggest where I might look to find information for this?  

There are some documents on the brahma site (and my personal website)
that might help.  Quite a bit of their content has been drawn from
extended threads on this list, so a look through the list archives is
also in order.  My book on the brahma site and an article in Linux
Magazine and I think one other document should tell you how to work out
required capacity and so forth.

> Also, does anyone have any brilliant thoughts for cooling an internal
> room that can't affordably get chilled water?  (I've been suggesting
> to people that it isn't possible, but someone brought up "portable
> liquid nitrogen" -- for the room, NOT for overclocking -- I'm trying
> to get stable systems, not instability :-).

How big a room?  Is it ducted for air conditioning of any sort?  Does it
have any windows or outside walls (probably not, given that "internal
room", eh?).

It isn't a matter of brilliance.  The electrical cables running into the
room can be thought of as pipes bringing in pure heat and pouring it out
onto the floor.  Some of that heat will leak out, driven by temperature
differences, through the walls and ceiling, and the temperature of the
room will rise until equilibrium of a sort is established (probably
stabilizing too hot for most hardware).  To run systems in there, you
have to provide a means for removing that heat.  Chilled water can be
heated and removed/recycled.  Chilled air can be heated and
removed/recycled.  Cooler air from surrounding air conditioned rooms can
be forcably driven through, heated, and indirectly removed/recycled.
You will have to provide some sort of mechanism for removing the heat,
and they'll all involve moving cooled mass in and warmed mass out.



> best,
> -tony

Robert G. Brown	                       http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu

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