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Q & A: LN2 CPU cooling

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
Can you show me how to use nitrogen liquid with computer?? for on processor(cpu), memory card, video card, motherboard
- Chad Henry (age 17)
Northview High School, Grand Rapids, MI USA
A:
For this, you need to purchase a special case to house your entire PC. This case will have a tank of LN2 in it, which must be replenished every once in awhile. Also included will be plates that have tubes through them. These will be connected to your processor, GPU (graphics processing unit), memory and perhaps other places on your mainboard. These cases cannot be built using commonly found hardware, as the LN2 will freeze and damage the pipes, leading to leaks inside the case.

I would advise against this unless you need EXTREME performance (meaning you need to overclock your CPU by a large factor). Even so, it will be very expensive to maintain, since you will need to purchase a container capable of carrying LN2 in, as well as purchasing the LN2. Also, cases that support this are VERY expensive (a couple hundred US dollars, typically). Overclocking using LN2 usually yields approximately 20% better performance than with good air cooling, and maybe 10% over water and other exotic cooling techniques. (Extremely cooling the processor's transistors does yield the best performance possible, but overcooling will make them nonfunctional.)

I would suggest something a little less overboard if possible, such as water or peltier cooling, which is much safer in general, though also very dangerous if done incorrectly. Especially Peltier cooling, which takes advantage of the Peltier effect (where electricity is run through a metal plate and one side gets very cool and the other very hot). Water and peltier coolers have been known to short out CPUs. Direct LN2 exposure would put the components in your system well below operating specs and also short the components. Check out 's site for more info on water cooling cases, or just use the money that you'd spend on LN2 cooling to get a faster CPU and a more stable motherboard.

-Jeff

(published on 10/22/2007)

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