WARNING: PLAYING WITH LIQUID NITROGEN COOLED FLUORINERT IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. COMPLETE PROTECTIVE GEAR IS NEEDED WHEN HANDLING THIS CHEMICAL. KIDS DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME. WE WON’T BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ACCIDENTS CAUSED BY THIS EXPERIMENT.
As overclockers, we’ve already seen a lot of extreme cooling done to our beloved systems. First victim is the CPU, we take those useless stock heatsink and fan off then put a bigger aftermarket heatsink fan combo. Not contended, we then go extreme by adding a peltier to further cool down that processor. Finally, with all that modification, we delve further to the extreme by going the watercooling way. Is that it? No. Next to fall victim is your case. You put as much fans as you could, the bigger the better, then you cut your case and put blowholes wherever possible. Is that the end??? Yes…. for most. But not for me.
I’ve heard of a few people thinking of fully submerging their entire motherboard with all its components in some sort of non-conductive fluid. Now that is really extreme!!! Sounds crazy actually. I’ve only heard of 2 people doing such bizaare experiment but with the use of mineral oil and motor oil. Now I don’t wanna use that. So, I had to do some research and look for a liquid medium that is totally non-conductive. Then I came across FLUORINERT™!!!
Fluorinert™- is an electronic testing fluid manufactured by 3M™. It is used to immerse devices to test its quality, physically and electrically. Devices dry quickly without residue to be cleaned. These 3M Fluorinert Electronic Liquids have good stability, high dielectric strength and are compatible with sensitive materials.
EUREKA! I have found it. Just the fluid I needed. Of course I also want to supercool this liquid. Now how do I cool this liquid??? Since I have already gone extreme by thinking of fully submerging the system, why not go really, really extreme. What do I need to add in the picture to make it more intriguing for you guys? How does LIQUID NITROGEN sound??? Yes that’s it! That’s what I’ll do…that will be my mission. A liquid nitrogen cooled 3M Fluorinert™ to fully submerge the motherboard and all its components!
Liquid Nitrogen- Atomic no.= 7; Atomic mass= 14.0067 (hehe, just wanted to sound like a real scientist). Temp.= -196C approx.
Now that I’ve got the idea, I have to go to my drawing board and come up with a diagram of how this will be done and achieved. THE PLAN!
This is the diagram that came into mind. I need two containers to house the motherboard and the intercooler. These containers need to be made of something that can withstand liquid nitrogen and wouldn’t leak. So it was decided to use polysterene. The first box would house the motherboard which will be submerged in FLUORINERT and the other box will house the intercooler submerged in LIQUID NITROGEN. The pump will suck the warm fluorinert to the supercooled intercooler then pump it back to the mobo box.
The first problem that pop into mind was the availability of the materials I will use. Specifically Fluorinert and Liquid Nitrogen. Now these are not stuff that you just buy from your local hardware store or anywhere. Fluorinert, for instance, can only be bought directly from 3M and there are certain things and documents you need to show them before they could sell it to you, at least here in New Zealand. And man are they expensive!!! US$500/gallon and I need 2 of these to fully submerge the setup, so that’s $1000. But what the heck! Next is Liquid Nitrogen. I have to scout around to look for a place to get them. And I need at least 10 liters of them. Found them in some chemical testing facility here. Very cheap but the problem lies as to what reservoir I would use to contain the Liquid Nitrogen for a period of time. In the end I was able to get all the stuff needed for this experiment. Note that this is not a very practical way of cooling for overclocking. This is just done out of pure curiosity and craziness!
10 Liters of Liquid Nitrogen(LN2)
Water Pump- 220gph
2 Polysterene Boxes
At first I thought I’ll just use some cheapo mobo, vid card and RAM. Since I don’t know if it will really work. I might end up frying the whole setup. But thinking it over, since I already bought the expensive fluid why not use a good test rig. So here’s what I came up with…
ABIT BE6-2 Motherboard (QJ BIOS)
Creative 32MB TNT2 Ultra
Infineon 128MB PC133
Not included in submersion
IBM HD 7200rpm UDMA66
300w ATX PSU
With all of these sorted out, I will need the help of some experts to make the mission possible…(not impossible, get it?)
Date: June 10, 2000
Time: 12 midnight
Location: NZ hideout
After gathering the team and resources, it was decided that the first thing on the agenda would be the designing and building of a heat exchanger, the Intercooler. Upon completion of the rig, extensive testing and checking will be done before the final experiment.
We wanted a heat exchanger that can cool down the Fluorinert extremely. By using Liquid Nitrogen (I always wanted to play with this stuff) for cooling the intercooler, it is guaranteed to provide us with sub zero temps. We were quite indecisive on whether to use copper or alloy tubing. In the end we all decided to use the alloy as the material for building the rig. The design agreed upon was to build a 4-loop double layer intercooler. These is what we came up with…..
Date: June 16, 2000
Time: 2200 hrs.
Location: In a concealed place in NZ
Before the actual experiment is performed, we wanted to make sure that everything was gonna work as planned. We will test the intercooler by running just water through the the tube and using lots of ice to cool it. We wanted to see if there was any leak and if ice alone can cool the water running through the intercooler. We also wanted to test the pump to see if pressure is enough to pump the fluid to the other box. It cannot be too powerful nor weak.
Now that the intercooler is finished, it’s time to put it to the test. We had to see if the rig is fully operational otherwise the operation will be halted. Any improvement to the design and planning will be done during this time and all obstacle will need to be assessed during the duration of the test. So without further ado, let the games begin…………..
THE WATER TEMP AFTER 10 MINUTES OF RUNNING THE PUMP
After running the rig successfully and getting the desired cooling effect of the intercooler, we decided that we were ready for the ultimate test the next day. We have checked everything and so far there was nothing that surfaced during the dry run that will pose as a problem for the FINAL SHOWDOWN!
Date: June 18, 2000 “D”Day
Time: 0100 hrs
Location: NZ Base Camp
” IT WAS THE LATE HOURS OF THE DAY, WE WAITED TILL EVERYONE WAS ASLEEP…TILL EVERYTHING WAS QUIET…THEN WE MADE OUR MOVE…..”
-Jon von Tranquilitzki
Now the next thing will be the Liquid Nitrogen. At last we get to play with this stuff. But extra precaution has to be taken as this stuff is very dangerous if not handled properly. KIDS DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME…
OVERCLOCKED STRAIGHT TO 581MHZ (105fsb) BUT LN2 STARTED EVAPORATING VERY FAST. SO WE DECIDED TO SUBMERGE THE WHOLE INTERCOOLER.
THIS IS THE LAST OVERCLOCK WE COULD GET AS THE LIQUID STARTED TO TURN INTO GEL AGAIN AND BESIDES OUR LN2 EVAPORATED ALREADY SO WE RUN OUT OF IT.
We didn’t realize that Fluorinert has a not so extreme freezing point. In the spec sheet it didn’t mention it. But hey we don’t have Chemistry degrees, we’re just crazy with nothing to do OVERCLOCKERS! Besides we had no guide to follow since no one has really demonstrated such bizaare experiment. We will of course learn from our mistakes. Some of the points we will change next time is to:
Put a pump with more power
Make the bore of the Intercooler bigger
Maybe look for a chemical aside from LN2 which is less extreme like dry ice + acetone (-78°C) or other types of alcohol, or CO2 cooling which will still allow us to remove a lot of heat.
Of course there will be a sequel to this cool experiment.
I already have an idea for the next project. It will be utilizing 2 Intercoolers this time. One will still cool the fluorinert but using less extreme chemical to submerge the setup. Then the second intercooler will cool the water block attached to the CPU while it is submerged in Fluorinert using antifreeze coolant as the fluid in the closed system. It will again be cooled by LN2. Any suggestion or recommendations for this project from those with chemical background or from just those crazy overclockers will be welcomed. Just email me.
Thanks for all your patience and interest in this project. Hope to see you all again on the next project.