Comino company continues to bring new liquid cooling products onto the market. Approximately one year ago the company has unveiled a retail GPU-based computing device which can be used as a room heater, while during the summer of 2018 - Grando - a liquid-cooled enterprise computing platform.
Today we are seeing that the Comino product line has grown further, in particular, through FPGA platforms. So, FPGA developers get the opportunity to use ultra effective water block for Bittware CVP-13 boards. Now we are going to clarify the key characteristics of a new water block and other developments with the CTO of Comino Alexey Chistov.
iHodl: Hello there, Alex! Despite the situation on the market, you continue to produce new products. Did the "crisis" affect your company? Have the direction of the company's activities changed?
Alex: Hi! Referring to the "crisis", you mean the mining one. Sure, the mining crisis has affected everyone who worked with products in this sphere. Speaking about our company, initially we designed the system not for mining, but to act as a GPU computing complex. So in our case, we have certainly experienced less interest in products that focus on mining. Nevertheless, our projects, which were planned before this crisis, are in process now and our customers are not rejecting them, because our systems have a competitive position by way of energy saving. It allows mining to be profitable even at the times of crisis. Besides, during all the previous years we did research over application of our devices in other spheres. We have adapted to it and we are selling in various directions, such as 3D graphics rendering machines, Forensic Password Accelerator, as well as devices working on FPGA boards.
iHodl: Why do you design products exactly for FPGA boards?
Alex: A graphics accelerator is a specialised computing unit that works on a specific architecture. The FPGA board is the same unit, but it is meant for other tasks and they are much more expensive in the terms of their price per unit. It should be mentioned, that using FPGA’s one can solve more challenging tasks. So, when the tasks are more important, the equipment requirements are higher. And a cooling issue is a part of the equipments’ operational process. It means that a high-quality cooling system is required even more than when using graphics accelerators. In particular, the reason why we work in this direction is because FPGA boards are very demanding for cooling, especially if you overclock them, that is, the bitstreams can work at higher frequencies, but it requires high-quality cooling once again. Hence, only liquid cooling will cope with it, we make a product on top chips that can consume a huge amount of energy, such as the Bittware CVP-13 board, which can consume up to 400 watts, it is a very high rate for such kind of equipment though. We designed this water block so that our customers can achieve the board’s performance in full and get the most efficiency/cost ratio out of this equipment.
iHodl: What sets your product apart from others in your opinion?
Alex: When we design our water blocks, we started off from the fact that it is necessary to effectively remove the heat from all elements of the board. We adhered to this position from the very beginning, placing greater focus on removal of the heat from the power systems. In this case, this is critical just because these power systems ensure the maximum efficiency of the FPGA chip. There is no particular alternative on the market for this board, there is a standard water block by Bittware, that comes along with their boards, but it is not so efficient as ours. As a result, this is seen when the chip is at the maximum frequency. With our water block, this frequency will be higher and temperatures will be lower. Besides our water block is smaller in size than the others. So, you can set-up a larger number of boards in a tiny room, and if we are talking about, workstation-type motherboards from different manufacturers, then they have PCI Express slots that the standard water blocks do not fit, but ours do.
iHodl: So, is it possible to order your water blocks for other FPGA devices?
Alex: Yes, of course. We can design a water block for any FPGA device. Our company is engaged in a full cycle of work from development to integration, it's our specialisation.
iHodl: Why is your water block so efficient?
Alex: Our water block is extremely efficient because we use deformational cutting technology, which allows us to remove heat by increasing the heat removal area in an effective way. While designing the water blocks, we run thermodynamic simulations that help to optimise the cooling system. Our water block is designed in such a way that you can buy it for your board or order it as part of Comino or Grando products. When integrated into a Comino product, you get a workstation with 3 or 4 CVP-13 boards, and when you set it up in the Grando system, you get 8 boards in 4U 19” Rack-chassis. You can connect them to an external engineering infrastructure or as a rack version of the cooling system, which takes 4U more and can dissipate up to 3 kilowatts of heat (10C delta air/coolant). This is a convenient and high performance solution if you do not have an external engineering network for cooling and you need one solution to cover the whole rack.
iHodl: Could you tell us something interesting about your developments, anything unannounced yet but is being worked on?
Alex: You know, now we develop a lot of new and interesting things. Especially, I’d like to point you towards the 3D Graphics Rendering System that uses RTX 2080ti and RTX 2070 cards in the format of workstation and the Rack-chassis. Besides, we design compact and powerful gaming computer with an attractive design. To achieve this, we have engineered PCIe riser with flexible and a thin cable, that works in Gen 3.0 x8/x16 mode.
iHodl: Thank you very much for the interview, We're sure our readers will appreciate it!
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