Due to the current ridiculous Xeon Phi 31S1P offering (~90% discount until end of year), we were tempted to investigate in the capabilities of this coprocessor, which seems well tailored for some of our CPU-intensive applications.

Probably we already have a motherboard which may support it; the real problem is the thermal dissipation.

The 31S1P is expected to be installed on well-cooled servers, so it provides no active dissipation of its own - and having a 270 W TDP, just putting it in a regular case "as is" won't do.

So, my question is: are there some solutions to cool down this kind of cards when put in a "regular" desktop/workstation case? Could they handle the dissipation required by this device?

  • It wouldn't be too hard to rig something up with heat conductive metal and a fan or two, either. Won't look pretty, but the datasheet includes technical information on their active cooling system, and it's nothing special. Nov 14, 2014 at 0:43
  • @HopelessN00b: of course, but, thinking that such kind of "small scale testing" isn't so uncommon, I was wondering if there was something around ready-made - I don't know, server-grade fans that can be fixed behind the cards? Nov 14, 2014 at 0:48
  • Yeah, you can buy a Xeon Phi that comes with an active cooling system manufactured for it, and installed onto it. Otherwise, you're pretty much left with rigging up whatever you can. Nov 14, 2014 at 1:51
  • hmmm, yeah I have this issue with some NVIDIA tesla cards. Get reasonably sized desktop case that you can position some decent fans directly in front of it. Alternatively, replace the heatsink with something more suited to your application.
    – hookenz
    Nov 14, 2014 at 3:13
  • 1
    About the closing: how is this off-topic? I'm asking about using server hardware for a development workstation in a professional environment... Nov 16, 2014 at 23:09

1 Answer 1


congrats on getting that very sweet coprocessor.

We use these in a high performance physics lab on some exotic workstations. We tried an all aluminum workstation case, hoping that apple was on to something. We tried it with the cover on and had stability problems. Initially we were not certain that the problems were due to overheating, so as a control we tried it on a motherboard sitting on a nonconducting, antistatic material in a (very) cold row of a data center. The system stayed up for days without a problem as opposed to a few minutes.

The volume of the case has a lot to do with its thermal characteristics. If there is room, you can add couple small and inexpensive fans at the front and rear of the case, otherwise I recommend using a dremel tool to cut through the side so the fan on the card can vent to the outside.

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