Most people have a clear picture of servers in their minds. They imagine them as loud and clunky devices that are housed away from workstations in their own room. A passively cooled server proves that things can be different. It is small, completely silent and accordingly inconspicuous. There is only one point where the two variants are the same: In the application possibilities. In this article, you’ll learn how a passively cooled server works, what makes it so special, for what purposes it’s suitable and what advantages it brings to your office environment.

The most important facts about sustainable servers at a glance:

What is the difference between a classic and a passively cooled server? 

The central difference is the cooling technology. Regular servers use small metal heat sinks with integrated fans. These are located on all components that generate heat. Primarily this is the processor. However, such cooling concepts are also present on the mainboard, the graphics card and in the power supply unit for the power supply.

The fans ensure that a permanent air exchange takes place at the heat sink. This ensures that the heat sink quickly releases the absorbed waste heat into the ambient air.

In contrast, no fans are installed in a passively cooled server. Instead, a well thought-out passive cooling concept ensures that the waste heat is dissipated from the components. Heat pipes are used in the heat sink. The waste heat is completely dissipated via the all-aluminum case, which acts as a passive heat sink.

This means that the waste heat from the processor and other components doesn’t stay in the case. Instead, the heat reliably gets to the outside.

How is passive cooling of a server possible?

Whether passive cooling is possible depends on the amount of waste heat generated during operation. This can be directly influenced by the choice of components. Especially the type of processor has a big influence on the waste heat.

Therefore, server processors like those from the Intel Xeon W series are usually found in regular servers. The TDP, the Thermal Design Power, is often 205 watts or more in these – like in the Xeon W-3275M. The TDP indicates the maximum thermal power dissipation of the processor. It is therefore the value that the CPU generates in heat during operation.

Prime Computer’s PrimeServer Pro, on the other hand, uses a frugal Intel Xeon from the D series. These are CPUs that are optimized for energy efficiency. The TDP of the Intel Xeon D-2123IT is only 60 watts. Accordingly, a passively cooled PrimeServer Pro generates less waste heat.

Another factor is the power supply. In classic servers, it is located in the case. The passively cooled servers from Prime Computer, on the other hand, use external power supplies. You know them from laptops. These also have a passive cooling concept and do not generate any noise.

The important thing is that the waste heat from the power supply is not emitted to the case. The heat stays directly outside the server and thus doesn’t heat up the case. This is also part of a well thought-out passive cooling concept.

What are the advantages of passively cooled servers?

The real advantages of a passively cooled server become apparent in practice. Classic servers are always unpleasant due to the enormously high background noise. This is due to the installed high-performance fans, without which continuous operation is not possible.

A passively cooled server, on the other hand, doesn’t produce any noise at all during operation. Neither fans nor other mechanical components are present. This is another advantage that improves reliability. Servers with mechanical components like fans have a higher failure rate.

Continuous operation is particularly hard on the fans. If fans have to be renewed and replaced, the systems fail temporarily. This doesn’t happen with a passively cooled server.

The low power consumption of a fanless server should also be mentioned. Passively cooled servers consistently use energy-efficient and power-saving components. This significantly reduces power consumption and you thus benefit from low operating costs in the long run.

There is a clear trend towards power-saving and efficient servers. Even leading IT giants like Microsoft recognize the benefits and are working to make data centers greener and smaller.

These are the central advantages of a passively cooled server at a glance:

  • Completely silent operation
  • Low power costs
  • Reliable due to high reliability
  • Flexible application possibilities
What are the possible applications of passively cooled servers?

The enormous flexibility of passively cooled servers speaks for this form of system. Classic servers are usually unbearably loud and generate enormous waste heat. This is the reason why they are often centrally located in a remote and air-conditioned room.

With passively cooled servers, this is completely different. You are not disturbed by noise or waste heat. For a server, this is a rare and unusual feature. Thanks to these features, you can use the PrimeServer Pro much more flexibly than a regular server.

Possible areas of use include the office, for example. There is no longer any reason not to integrate such a quiet server directly at the workplace.

You also benefit from these features in other areas. In many companies, it is difficult to find separate rooms for larger IT hardware. This applies to medical practices or restaurants, for example. The silent PrimeServer Pro can be placed anywhere because it does not disturb employees or customers.

You also benefit from another special feature of Prime Computer’s PrimeServer Pro. The housing is much more compact than a regular server. This way, no 19-inch rack is needed for installation. You can simply place the PrimeServer anywhere you like, just like a regular desktop.

A special feature of the PrimeServer Pro is also the closed aluminum case. It prevents too much dust from entering the server. Thanks to the passive cooling technology, no air exchange between the inside and the outside is necessary. This makes the PrimeServer Pro suitable for areas where regular servers and computers can’t keep up. This is especially the case with increased dust loads.


The PrimeServer Pro:
The sustainable solution from Prime Computer

The PrimeServer Pro is a flexible and versatile platform with a passive cooling concept.

You can individually adjust the performance of the PrimeServer Pro in the configuration. You can choose between processors with eight or twelve cores. This way, your new silent server provides you with exactly the performance you need. The PrimeServer Pro also accommodates up to 128 GB of RAM.

Integration into the network is child’s play. In addition to the two LAN ports with up to 10 GBit/s, you have other options at your disposal. The PrimeServer Pro comes with WLAN, an IPMI LAN port and LTE. Thanks to a SIM card slot, the server can connect directly to the mobile Internet. The many connectivity options make the PrimeServer Pro particularly location-independent.

Despite its compact dimensions, the PrimeServer Pro accommodates numerous hard drives. With six bays for SSDs and HDDs, plus an interface for an m.2 SSD, you’ll have plenty of room to expand storage capacity. Looking for quiet, compact, and power-efficient servers? Then find out more about the PrimeServer Pro and the advantages of this small server.

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