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February 2008 | Volume 11/ Number 2
Nitty Gritty

Wet Computing with Elma

Years ago, Yours Truly got some crazy ideas to make a PC faster. I decided would overclock the CPU and, to keep it cool, build a combination liquid cooling/Peltier thermoelectric system. After spending a small fortune on aluminum boxes, fans, power distribution blocks, pumps and plastic tubing with copper fittings (Oh-oh, copper and aluminum — dissimilar metals!), I discovered that my motherboard would accept a more powerful CPU, so I ended up simply installing a new processor along with a larger CPU fan.

Ironically, we can expect CPUs to run hotter and hotter as they become more powerful, a situation begging for liquid cooling, and liquid cooling has become popular among gamers. Even some mainstream OEM computer systems are liquid cooled.

Liquid cooling a computer platform is best left to the experts, and Elma Electronic (News - Alert) (, the well-known maker of electronic packaging products, now offers a modular ATR (Air Transport Rack). The unit is configurable in various sizes (encompassing up to ten 6U x 160 mm slots) and configurations without starting from scratch, which saves time, effort, and money.

Designed to ARINC 404A, the chassis accepts conduction-cooled modules in various architectures such as VME/64x, cPCI, VXS and VPX, and more. The independent dual liquid-cooled sidewalls dissipate in excess of 100 Watts per slot. You can use such varied coolig fluids as glycol, kerosene, PAO, salt water, etc. The unit is highly ruggedized and meets MIL-STD 810E, 461D and 704E standards.

The chassis can easily be scaled up or down while using the same liquid-cooled sidewalls (i.e., the walls for a 1 ATR are the same as the ones for a 1/2 ATR). To reduce costs, the liquid cooling can be optionally limited to one sidewall. Various plug-in power supply modules and front I/O configurations are possible in this design. Elma also offers a wide selection of backplanes in various architectures as well as different milled card cage sizes off-the-shelf.

The unit is power via 28V DC/270V or optionally 1 and 3-phase 115VAC @ 400Hz. The liquid-cooled chassis accepts up to a hefty 1 KW of input power. Custom I/O solutions are optional including MIL-STD wiring and connectors. Elma also offers ATR chassis in several sizes for convection (forced air), conduction, and in hybrid-cooled configurations. IT

Richard Grigonis is Executive Editor of TMC’s IP Communications Group.

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