Is this the same as mineral oil cooling?

Passive 2-phase immersion cooling is not the same as mineral oil cooling. Mineral oil is not very efficient compared to passive 2-phase immersion cooling, because it requires noisy and power hungry oil pumps and oil filters in addition to a secondary cooling loop with heat exchangers and water-pumps.

Mineral oil also doesn’t allow high density deployments, because heatsinks are still required. Heat sinks still need to be assembled to boards, and in worst case thermal grease needs to be cleaned up and replaced by expensive indium foil in order to avoid the oil from becoming milky.  Oil in general is extremely messy, while with 2-phase immersion fluids boards come out dry.

Mineral oil is also flammable and will require compliance with government regulations and approval by fire departments, as well as specialty insurance. The working fluids we use in passive 2-phase immersion cooling systems are non-flammable, eco-friendly and the fluids are reusable for 30 years.

Oil cooling is a single phase heat transfer process (= it never changes from liquid to vapor phase), while the magic of the passive 2-phase immersion cooling process comes from evaporation.

Oil cooling does not eliminate the time consuming and expensive mechanical structure, it introduces new points of failure.

You’ll find some more info in this blog here and in the FAQ here.

Won’t using 2-phase immersion cooling cost much more?

No it won’t, 2-phase immersion cooling costs less than anything else. We spend less money on parts, we spend less money on labor for assembly and maintenance, we spend less money on electricity. Systems are 100% reusable, in contrast to other technology such as heatsinks and fans. The infrastructure (power, cooling, room structure, etc) required to run our miners is dramatically reduced, too. A single person can deploy hundreds of boards within hours, instead of days or weeks normally spent on assembly and setup. These are just some of the factors that make it less expensive.

3M fluids and immersion cooling have a reputation of being more expensive. What most people forget is that only little fluid is needed for a lot of heat, and that a tank full with hundreds of boards costs a lot less than dozens of racks with machines with cases and fans or water coolers.

To give you an example, we can cool 4kW (4000W) in a small space of 1 liter volume with only 200cc of fluid. Even heatsinks and fans for hardware with 4000W will cost more than just 200cc of fluid. We challenge manufacturers to build hardware that dense, and we will cool it for a few dollars. And that is just one side of the equation.

To make a long story short, it is less expensive to build and to run. That’s the value proposition of passive 2-phase immersion cooling. We can build denser hardware than anyone else, and that much faster. Better cooling also means better performance.

DataTank Mining will also use different types of fluids and brands of fluids to further reduce costs where possible.