Looking for recommendations on IBM workstation.

Complete water cooling systems (for example: Exos-2.5, PC5-1336, etc.)...
Gewehr98
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Looking for recommendations on IBM workstation.

Postby Gewehr98 » Sat Apr 25, 2009 3:00 pm

Howdy, all!

I have a fleet of 5 IBM Intellistation M-Pro 6850 workstations, each with dual Xeon Socket 603 processors. I've been upgrading them to SL79V Gallatin 3.0Ghz processors with the 4Mb L3 cache, and they're capable of generating enough heat to really get the stock IBM fans roaring. I've installed SpeedFan to monitor and control the 40mm CPU fans and the 120mm case fans, but when I'm doing something that gets all 4 CPU graphs in Task Manager going, it doesn't take long for the hyperthreaded Xeons to report 57 degrees C. or even higher.

Summertime approaches, and that means the ambient temps in the rooms that house these behemoths will be climbing, too. I'd like to install a Koolance Exos v2 or v2.5 external water cooling system to keep the noise and temps down in these big black IBM systems, but am concerned I might purchase and install the wrong size or model for my cooling needs. The IBMs are 23.75 inches long x 8.5 inches wide, so I believe even an Exos v2.5 would sit nicely on top, complementing the monolithic appearance of the computer.

Image

The video cards are ATI Radeon X850XT models, with their own integral fans that seem to be doing just fine. It's the CPU/case/Northbridge temps that bother me, so I'm looking for recommendations regarding waterblocks, Exos 2.0 vs. Exos 2.5, series/parallel waterblock plumbing for dual processors, etc.

If I replace the stock IBM Xeon heatsink assemblies with waterblocks, I'd assume I can disable each CPU fan in the chassis wind tunnel mounts, but I still need to keep air flowing over the Northbridge heatsink assembly. Also, the 480 watt power supply is pretty much maxed out via the Gallatins and Radeon X850XT current draw, so is there a means to add an external power supply to an Exos v2.0 or v2.5 instead of having it tap into the computer's own?

Thanks for any and all assistance.

Izerous
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Re: Looking for recommendations on IBM workstation.

Postby Izerous » Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:30 am

ERM-3K4U5

I'm thinking that should be able to handle all 5 machines without much issue, and would be cheaper than 5 separate Exos 2.5's. This is of course assuming you keep all 5 together and they are not scattered about.

The Exos 2 would be sufficient in comparison to the 2.5 for your needs however if you do want each one to be a standalone and not connected to one unit the 2.5 has more growing room and would be better suited for future upgrades beyond this one and would potentiality have lower overall temperatures.

The exos's don't have to sit perfectly on top they don't even have to sit on top that just happens to be the most convenient place to put them. This means even if the Exos 2.5 is longer than your cases it won't really matter.

All you have left to worry about going that route is having enough tubing and the water blocks. I normally suggest using 13mm hosing where ever possible but you may find it easier for what your doing to keep with 10mm hosing throughout the systems.
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Gewehr98
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Re: Looking for recommendations on IBM workstation.

Postby Gewehr98 » Wed May 06, 2009 11:46 pm

Thanks for the helpful reply, Izerous!

No, each of these IBM workstations are located in separate rooms, so it'll be separate water cooling systems for each machine. I'm leaning towards the Exos 2 for now, unless perhaps it's smarter to go with an Exos 2.5 and add Northbridge and VGA cooling to the mix.

It appears that to install the two waterblocks per computer, I'll need to remove the motherboards. I don't see any 603/604 waterblock mounting hardware that makes use of the existing heatsink sockets already installed on my motherboards. :(

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Re: Looking for recommendations on IBM workstation.

Postby Gewehr98 » Tue May 26, 2009 11:44 am

I jumped in with both feet, and bought an Exos-2.

I've considered buying a Koolance liquid temp probe and associated plumbing for one of the temperature monitoring channels, as well as the other two normal probes situated to monitor the case temps and my hotter of the two Xeon CPU's temps.

I've been running SpeedFan as my system cooling utility of choice, and I'd be very interested to see the difference in reported temperatures between what the motherboard chipset reports via SpeedFan and what the CPU probe reports via the Koolance front panel.

Am I correct in assuming one should use something like Arctic Silver or Arctic Alumina adhesive to mount the Koolance temperature probe to one side of the CPU or waterblock closest to their junction?

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Re: Looking for recommendations on IBM workstation.

Postby Mik » Tue May 26, 2009 7:05 pm

You should use the included copper tape to attach the probe. It's adhesive properties are pretty awful so you should take steps to secure it. See this link for some ideas viewtopic.php?f=5&t=622

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Re: Looking for recommendations on IBM workstation.

Postby Gewehr98 » Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:52 pm

It's done!

I went with an Exos 2, using 2 Koolance waterblocks in series, and it idles at 36C with the radiator fan speeds set at "5". Stress testing it with 4 simultaneous instances of "Toast" brings it up to 40C. I'll call that a success, considering with the stock IBM heatsinks and fans the dual hyperthreaded Xeon MP 3.0 processors were hitting 57-58C.

I kept it simple, cooling just the two CPUs. The Northbridge peaks at 41C without any assistance save for the case fans at quiet speeds, and the Radeon X850XT does just fine with the factory blower.

I'd like to thank the folks here at the Koolance forums for giving me the info needed to get the job done. This was all new to me, and had it not been for all the threads and discussions, I feel I would have been trying to re-invent the wheel. The install was actually pretty straightforward, and I've taken pictures for the benefit of others wanting to try the same.

One waterblock's installed, with the other Xeon MP waiting to have the factory heatsink mount removed and replaced with the Koolance bracket:

Image

Both waterblocks installed, ready for plumbing!

Image

Tubing connected, and coolant flowing with external power supply for a 12-hour leak test:

Image

The external power supply, a Gateway Core2Duo I had sitting around:

Image

Once burped to my satisfaction, the system's fired up and running "Toast" to warm up the 4 processors:

Image

This is the warmest the IBM got after running 100% CPU utilization for 12 hours:

Image

The Northbridge chip is the warmest thing in there, at 41C. I have the 3rd temperature probe reading the temps from under the Northbridge heatsink as shown in the pictures above. I'm considering having the 2nd temperature probe relocated from the 2nd CPU waterblock to a Koolance liquid temperature fitting, but that can wait for now. I do notice about a 4 degree Celsius difference in temperatures between what SpeedFan reports and what the Koolance waterblock temps say. That's supposedly normal, and although I used a bit of Arctic Silver 5 around the temp probe and under the copper tape (with Scotch tape anchoring the whole thing), I suppose there is some heat loss compared to the position of the processor's internal temperature sensor.

Here's the system, all tidied up, sitting next to its external SCSI hard drive tower, looking pretty stock in the general scheme of things:

Image

My IBM thanks you, Koolance!

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Re: Looking for recommendations on IBM workstation.

Postby Gewehr98 » Sun Oct 04, 2009 7:25 pm

Had a little bit of a "problem" last week. I was getting a lot of foaming in the Exos 2 reservoir, and when I opened the fill plug, pressures was released quite audibly. I topped off with a few mL of distilled water, but it would start to foam after a short while, and still pressurize. The Koolance blue coolant had a bit of white "crud" in it for lack of a better term, and some of that deposited on the inside of the reservoir window. I was concerned that the pressure buildup might blow a fitting or crack the reservoir, so this definitely got my interest.

The coolant level was also somewhat lower than when I had first filled it back in June. A visual inspection of the inside of the computer showed no leaks, so I drained the system completely, then ran a vinegar and distilled water solution through the system twice, then flushed with straight distilled water before emptying and filling with fresh Koolance Blue. So far, no problems, but I'm keeping a wary eye on the coolant for now. I used the Koolance Blue that came with the used Exos 2 earlier, and topped up with WalMart distilled water. I assume there was contamination that caused either a chemical reaction or biological bloom, so I'll make it easy on myself and run nothing but straight Koolance Blue without distilled water from this point on. ;)

Izerous
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Re: Looking for recommendations on IBM workstation.

Postby Izerous » Mon Oct 05, 2009 6:59 am

WIth thermal expansions etc the hosing might stretch itself out a bit etc increasing the overall system fluid capacity. It is normal to expect your fluid levels to go down a bit over time. Of course depending on how much.
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