This week’s trip down memory lane centers on an interview that HWBOT conducted with three Elite overclockers on the issue of overclocking with liquid nitrogen. Der8auer (Germany), Vivi (S.Africa) and Rbuass (Brazil) sat down with Massman and Xyala for a general discussion on the topic of using LN2, the gear you need, the knowledge required and the benefits that it offers in terms of temperatures and performance. Here’s what we published on February 12th, 2014:
HWBOT - Why would an overclocker change to liquid nitrogen cooling?
Vivi - Overclockers always want more performance and a higher overclock. They know the only way to get it is with better cooling. To eliminate the cooling problem, you use liquid nitrogen as it can take the component to its coldest and/or best operating temperature. Then you are free to go for the highest possible overclock.
Rbuass - I also believe it is a quest for more performance. Many enthusiast overclockers feel that if they want to do better scores, they don’t want to be limited by the enthusiast-grade cooling anymore. So in search of the maximum, they gather all their courage and go extreme!
Der8auer - We all started as normal overclockers using air- or water cooling. However there is always the point where you hit the thermal limit of your setup. You can raise the voltage of your CPU or GPU but you won’t be able to clock higher. The conclusion is that you need a lower temperature to achieve better results. Participating in HWBOT rankings means competing with the rest of the world so in order to improve your ranking you have to step up to a better cooling solution such as dry ice or liquid nitrogen.
HWBOT - What aspects of an LN2 cooling solution do you believe are most important when considering a purchase?
Vivi - First make sure you have access to dry ice or liquid nitrogen, because a container is useless without active extreme cooling. Secondly, do some research for which pot is better for the cooling you will use. There are containers designed for dry ice and others designed for LN2. In most cases they are backwards compatible, though.
HWBOT - what are the things you look for in (extreme) cooling gear? Anything we should look for, or try to avoid?
Vivi - Surface area and weight is the most important for me. I prefer a heavy pot over a light one, because I have access to LN2 which has super-fast heat transfer capabilities, so it can cool down a heavy pot with good surface area fast. This is best for any light and heavy load benchmark. For dry ice, I would use a lighter pot with more surface area because dry ice can’t cool down a big pot quick enough during load.
Der8auer - Extreme overclocking is quite critical as you have a lot of side effects. High voltages or condensation water can easily kill your hardware if you are not well prepared. In terms of preparation it doesn’t matter which cooling solution you use. Dry ice, LN2 and different pots. You always have to prepare your hardware carefully to achieve good results and have fun.
You can find the rest of this fascinating interview from February 2014 here.