Three cooling variants for 100W edge servers

Three cooling variants for 100W edge servers

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Board maker congatec in Germany has developed three cooling designs for a 100W edge server built around AMD’s EPYC Embedded 3000 Series processors.

Combining the rugged cooling systems to manage the heat genertated by the high performance processor modules is key for reliable 24/7 operation at the edge of the network and embedded in the Internet of Things (IoT). Edge servers are being installed in many new places, such as up communicaitons piles or in raodside cabinets, where thermal management is evern more important than in a data centre.

Recommendations for system ventilation design are often part of a specification, so having multiple cooling options can reduce the thermal design effort at the system level. The congatec cooling designs are matched to the 100W edge servers to prevent the overheating that can lead to rapid aging and system failure. Edge servers with real-time requirements also need optimum protection against thermally induced performance degradation to ensure deterministic behaviour, which further underscores the importance of high-performance cooling systems in industrial computer systems.

Alongside standard heatspreaders, there are three additional variants for different edge server implementations based on the COM Express heatspreader specification that has been standardized by the PICMG group. These are a heatspreader with a heatpipe adapter, a heatspreader with integrated heatpipe and an active cooling solution.

The conga-B7E3/HPA heatpipe adapter absorbs the waste heat from the heatspreader via up to four heatpipes and directs it, for example, towards other passive heat sinks mounted on the housing. This allows the design of extremely powerful passively cooled systems for up to 100W.

The version with the integrated heatpipe (conga-B7E3/HSP-HP) was developed primarily for particularly flat embedded systems where a standard height COM Express heatspreader must be coupled to the housing. The integrated heatpipe distributes the waste heat from the processor evenly over the entire heatspreader so that no hotspots are created, even in applications with a thermal envelope up to 100W.

Next: Fan cooling with an MTBF of decades

The third variant is a fan-based active cooling system (conga-B7E3/CSA-HP) that is specifically designed for 24/7 operation in harsh industrial environments. The fans are not only mounted extra securely, but also specifically fixed to reduce wear and tear. In addition, the bearings are equipped with a special seal and additional cover to provide maximum protection for mechanics and lubricant. With a high-performance synthetic oil as lubricant, the fan has an MTBF of several decades at the industrial temperature range from -45 to +85°C and with industrial-grade shock and vibration resistance. The functional scope of this fan-based active cooling system is rounded off by the additional integration of a heatpipe to distribute the waste heat from the processor even before it reaches the active fan.

“The AMD EPYC Embedded 3000 Series Processors provide a new level of high-performance computing for embedded edge server systems. But with such embedded system designs, it is critical to manage the thermal envelope of any high-performance part. That’s why we’ve worked hard to create a 100 Watt ecosystem for high-performance COM Express modules that meets the rugged design requirements for 24/7 operation. We are now presenting three of these solutions for the first time at Embedded World 2020,” said Andreas Bergbauer, Product Line Manager at congatec.

“The AMD EPYC Embedded 3000 Series Processors allow for a wide range of embedded edge server designs. It is great to see that companies such as congatec invest in offering a complete ecosystem with Server-on-Modules and all required accessories, such as these powerful cooling solutions, which will help simplify designs and help end customers get systems faster,” said Stephen Turnbull, director of product management and business development, Embedded Solutions at AMD.

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