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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?

closed as off-topic by Chopper3, joeqwerty, yoonix, HopelessN00b, mdpc Nov 14 '14 at 7:29

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions must be relevant to professional system administration. Server Fault is dedicated to professional system and network administrators. End user and enthusiast questions are off-topic (contact your system administrator or hire a professional to help you out). Please see the Help Center for more information." – Chopper3, joeqwerty, yoonix, HopelessN00b, mdpc
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 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. – HopelessN00b Nov 14 '14 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? – Matteo Italia Nov 14 '14 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. – HopelessN00b Nov 14 '14 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. – Matt Nov 14 '14 at 3:13
  • About the closing: how is this off-topic? I'm asking about using server hardware for a development workstation in a professional environment... – Matteo Italia Nov 16 '14 at 23:09
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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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