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PCIe-enabled Intel 9th Gen computer uses water cooling

Mar 31, 2020 — by Eric Brown 1,088 views

Vecow’s Linux-friendly “RCX-1500W” edge AI computer cools its 9th Gen Coffee Lake Refresh chips and up to 4x PCIe cards with a water-cooling system.

We rarely see liquid cooling systems on embedded computers because they tend to be complex, bulky, expensive, and must be carefully installed and maintained to avoid damage to the computer. Yet, embedded computers have never been so powerful and hot as the latest PCIe-enabled edge AI monsters that are in vogue these days. When you’re running high-powered graphics cards with Intel 8th or 9th Gen CPUs, you just may need to get a little wet.

Now, with Vecow’s water-cooled RCX-1500W Series, your embedded computer can be just as steampunk as a high-end, liquid cooled gaming computer or water-cooled server. There have also been water-cooled smartphones since as far back as 2013 with NEC introduced its NEC Medias X 06E.

RCX-1500W and exploded view of water-cooling system
(click images to enlarge)

Vecow announced the RCX-1500W Series without a product page and with only renders for images, but it appears to be almost identical to the similarly Intel 9th Gen Coffee Lake Refresh based RCX-1500 PEG Series, which we’ll summarize below. The RCX-1500W’s water cooling system extends the width of the box on the side closest to the PCIe cards. A section on the left side of the box exposes the water pipes to the air.


The water-cooling system provides up to a 20 percent higher operating temperature range compared to a similar, fan cooled system, claims Vecow. For comparison, the fan-cooled RCX-1500 PEG has a -25 to 45°C range. Supported applications include autonomous cars, deep learning, robotic control, and other AIoT and Industry 4.0 applications.

The RCX-1500W’s water-cooling system “integrates all necessary elements such as pump, tank in independent partitions and radiator for heating dissipation with minimum maintenance effort,” says Vecow. A transparent panel enable easier monitoring of CPU water block and tank conditions. Vecow notes that the water-cooling system is much quieter than a fan.

RCX-1500 PEG

The fan-cooled RCX-1500 PEG, which appears to form the foundation of the RCX-1500W, was announced on April 30, 2019. It shares many features with Vecow’s 8th or 9th Gen based GPC-1000, including up to 4x PCIe slots that support dual-slot graphics cards.

(click images to enlarge)

The RCX-1500 PEG is available in four models. The RCX-1540 PEG and RCX-1540R PEG each provide 2x PCIe x16 (x8 signal) slots plus PCIe x16 (x4 signal) and PCIe x4 (x1) slots. The RCX-1520 and -1520R PEG models are limited to two 2x PCIe x8 slots.


In addition to supporting single- or dual-width AMD or Nvidia Tesla/Quadro/GeForce graphics cards at up to 350W, the RCX-1500 PEG is compatible with the PE-5000 Series 10GbE Ethernet cards with PoE+ that Vecow announced today. The 4-port PE-5004 is based on an Intel XL710 controller and the 2-port PE-5002 uses the Intel X550-AT2. Both PCIe cards have a -25 to 60°C operating range.

The RCX-1500 PEG runs Linux or Windows 10 on a range of 8th or 9th Gen Coffee Lake CPUs including the octa-core i7-9700E and Xeon E-2278GE There’s also a high-end Intel C246 chipset and support for up to 128GB DDR4-2666 via 4x sockets, including ECC RAM.

For storage, you get 4x front-accessible SATA III bays with RAID support and 2x mSATA-ready mini-PCIe cards also. It’s unclear if these are the same as the separately listed 2x mini-PCIe slots, which also enable PCIe and USB signals and are supported by 2x external SIM card slots. The system is further equipped with an M.2 M-key slot for storage and an M.2 E-key for wireless.

The RCX-1500 PEG provides an HD-ready DVI port, as well as 4K-ready DisplayPort and “Digital Display” ports. If you max out your PCIe slots with graphics, you can drive up to 11x independent displays. Realtek ALC892 drive audio I/O jacks are also available.

Other features include 3x RS-232/422/485, 6x USB 3.1 Gen2, and 2x GbE ports, one of which supports iAMT 12.0. You also get 32x isolated DIO, a watchdog, HW monitoring, optional TPM, LEDs, wall mounting, and optional DIN-rail.

The 350 x 210 x 198.2mm RCX-1500 PEG supplies a 6-36V DC input plus 12V PEG power via terminal blocks. External power adapters are optional. There’s a remote switch, ignition control, surge protection, humidity tolerance, and IEC 61373:2010 rated shock and vibration resistance.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the water-cooled RCX-1500W, which was announced here. More on the similar — and currently shipping — RCX-1500 PEG may be found in Vecow’s RCX-1500 PEG Series launch page.

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