Server chips today are on a trajectory that puts their power density well beyond what an air-based cooling system can do in just a few years. The power requirements of CPUs are now routinely over 200W, and they’re only expected to increase. Accelerators like GPUs, for machine learning and other types of applications, are already in the 250W to 400W range. Google has been retrofitting many of its data centers to support direct-to-chip liquid cooling for its custom AI accelerators since at least sometime last year; Alibaba is using full immersion cooling in one of its data centers; Facebook’s new accelerators are so power-dense that their heat pipes and the heat sink required to cool one gives it dimensions closer to those of a cement block than a circuit board.
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