French cloud concern Qarnot wants to use AMD processors to heat water.
No, this isn't a cruel joke at the expense of thermally inefficient silicon. Instead it's a deliberate plan to use CPUs' heat-producing powers for good. Qarnot makes a device called the “ Q.rad” that uses three CPUs to provide heat and serve as a node in a distributed cloud dedicated to jobs like rendering VFX or financial risk analysis.
The company has won a contract to provide heat for 1,500 social houses in Bordeaux, France, and says “Ryzen Pro is producing the same heat as the equivalent Intel CPUs we were using while providing twice as many cores.”
Qarnot's tests also showed “a performance gain of 30 to 45 per cent compared to the Intel i7 we were previously using.”
In, therefore, comes the Ryzen and out goes the i7. Qarnot is now thinking about what else it could do with AMD kit, and has “a boiler for domestic hot water and swimming pool heating solutions” on the drawing board.
Qarnot's not alone in using distributed servers as heaters: Dutch companies Nerdalize and Eneco adopted the idea in 2015. ®