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LN2 + Mineral Oil = Overclocking PWNAGE!!

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So, this was a stab myself, Clamatowas, took at winning EVGA's Mad QPI challenge.

The Hardware consisted of:

EVGA X58 Motherboard
Intel Core i7 920 Processor
Corsair Dominator 6GB 3x2GB @ 8-8-8-24
850w Thermaltake Toughpower PSU
EVGA GTX260 Core 216 (irrelevant for the tests we were doing)

For all of you who don't know what the Mad QPI challenge is:

The Setup:

Well first off, The Plan was to cool the Processor using only Liquid Nitrogen. Clamatowas and myself are very familiar with overclocking with liquid nitrogen.

What we have learned from all that was whenever you are dealing with something that cold (?210 °C) condensation is your worst enemy. It will build up all around the motherboard, chipset, mosfets, and RAM causing shorts, power glitches, or complete motherboard bricking. So with LN2, you really don't have a whole lot of time trying to figure out what your max overclock is.

What we have never done (or ever heard of anyone doing) is sumberge the ENTIRE setup in mineral oil. Since mineral oil is non conductive (just messy), it would completely remove any threat of condensation building up on the motherboard. The most that would happen is the oil freezing to the LN2 tube. Not a big deal really.

So, to keep the mineral oil cold, what we did was Break up chunks of dry ice and just drop them down in with the computer components (When Dry Ice melts, it goes from a solid to a gas unlike normal ice. That way we don't have any by product of this extremely cold material).

We also did this in a garage. Reason being because it is around 15/20°F (-6.6/-9.4°C) here which would help.

I really don't want to get too technical with this, but unfortunaly we did not get as high of QPI as we wanted. There were lots of little stupid things that would happen (more OS related) that would keep us from saving a CPU-z validation file (see below for highest QPI score). The hardware was running great! Given it was completely submerged in mineral oil and was cooled by dry ice and liquid nitrogen.

The main reason for posting this is not to brag about what kind of QPI score we got, but more to show you how to COMPLETELY beat the issue of condensation on computer components when cooling with liquid nitrogen.

The Setup

Here is the liquid nitrogen tube we used. it is fabricated out of 100% aluminum and as you can see, its lapped.

Lots of mineral oil!

All reado to go! Just need oil....

Ad there you have it! The motherboard is completely submerged, and you can see the dry Ice evaporating making it look like the oil is boiling! The oil temp during the entire testing process was around -5/-10C.

Adding the Liquid Nitrogen


This as the highest QPI we ended up getting.

I'm positive we could have gotten more if it were not for several things. OS issues we were having we a major play. The other thing was we were using BIOS version SZ1A which worked great! Then in the middle of this while deal we find that there was a newer BIOS version. So we download and flashed to version SZ1C. That is where we really started to have problems. We kept getting RAID controller errors. After the initial POST, it would just sit there looking for a raid configuration that did not exist. We tried resetting the BIOS, but no luck. We could not get into the BIOS to make changes not would the computer boot. That is unless we let it sit there for 30 minutes for the Raid issue to pass. Then it would boot like normal... So that is when we gave up lol.

Topic starter Posted : 14/04/2009 10:36 am