ColdWatt Targets Power Inefficiencies

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ColdWatt Inc. has launched a line of power conversion products designed to reduce power bills in data centers. ColdWatt, a spinoff from Rockwell Scientific, says its power supplies are more efficient than competing products, allowing data center operators to cut costs by using less power and spending less on cooling.

ColdWatt is based in Austin, Texas and has received $31.5 million in venture funding from backers including Austin Ventures, Global Technology Investments, Matrix Partners, RRE Ventures and Rockwell. On Monday the company introduced its first products, a 650W power sub-system and a AC-DC 1U 1200W power supply for use with 1U “pizza box” servers. Additional products for blade servers and high-density installations are due out later this year.

The low efficiency rate for power distribution inside the data center is a historic challenge, and often cited by proponents of switching to DC power distribution, which could eliminate inefficiencies involved in the AC/DC conversion. The potential savings of DC power were demonstrated in a test facility at Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. While broad implementation of DC power distribution is not imminent, ColdWatt says its technology can offer similar efficiency gains with existing equipment.


An overview of ColdWatt’s technology is available in a product tour (PDF) on its web site. The company says its digital power conversion roducts generate 45 percent less heat, which results in 30 percent less overall server power consumption (once cooling costs are factored into the equation).

ColdWatt says it accomplishes these gains through “proprietary magnetics technology to increase energy storage and digital control to achieve higher efficiency and flexibility.” The company says its front-end power supplies can exceed the 70 percent efficiency level achieved by current power supplies. ColdWatt says that with the right system design, customers can realize efficiencies of up to 91 percent, “with emphasis on light load efficiencies greater than 82 percent, and industry leading densities at these power levels.”

“Power delivery is obviously a critical factor in the data center and AMD is excited about the ColdWatt solution and the positive impact we expect it will have at the system level in combination with the leading performance-per-watt delivered by the AMD Opteron processor with Direct Connect Architecture,” said Randy Allen, corporate vice president, Server and Workstation Division, at AMD.

Open Source Systems said ColdWatt’s power supplies “are helping us solve some of the power and density challenges facing server systems today,” according to Jared Giles, vice president of Product Management. “Their solutions were easy to integrate into our systems and enable us to deliver significant operational expenditure savings to our demanding data center customers.”

“As networking and computing equipment continues to climb in performance, so does the amount of electricity required and the amount of heat generated, forcing IT managers to look for ways to make their data centers more energy efficient,” said Dan Artusi, chairman and CEO of ColdWatt. “By using ColdWatt’s innovative technologies, we believe systems designers can deliver high performance

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.