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Start Subzero Cooling for Under $200

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post #1 of 206 (permalink) Old 08-08-2011, 08:31 AM - Thread Starter
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An Introduction:

It's a common misconception that subzero cooling is expensive while in reality, it's just like any other hobby: it can range anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to thousands of dollars (or even tens of thousands eek.gif).

However, I'm here to give a bit of a guide on how to get in as cheaply as possible.

So first, here's what you need:
  • CPU pot
  • Insulation

And here are some accessories that are nice to have:
  • Thermometer and k-type probes
  • Digital multimeter (DMM)

First, the CPU pot:

SetWidth300-madshrimps-f1-extension-1.jpg
Pictured above: Kingpin F1 EE with Aluminum Extension

The CPU pot is the most important part of a subzero setup. This is where the dry ice or LN2 goes to cool the processor. These can range from around $80 used to $350 new. As you progress up in costliness, a few things also increase as well. Generally, the more expensive pots are heavier as they contain a larger mass of copper. Usually they also have more intricate milling on the inside to increase surface area.

My recommendation for the budget shopper buying new is the Koolance CPU-LN2-V2. It can be purchased directly from Koolance for a cool* $170. The Koolance pot is EOL. I'm looking for a replacement with good availability. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to post!

If you have a bit more cash to throw around, the Kingpin Cooling Gemini is also a great purchase at $225. It also comes with two bases, a "fast base" and a "slow base". The names describe how they react when LN2 is poured which can be very important when trying to keep an exact temperature range on the processor if you're battling with a cold bug.


Next up, insulation:

There are tons of methods and styles to insulation. People use everything from conformal and art (kneadable) eraser to dehydrated rice. Below, I'm going to list my methods.

I recommend the following:
  • Liquid Electrical Tape (LET)
  • Armaflex
  • Paper Towels

LET can be purchased at most hardware stores in the electrical section. This is used to add a waterproof layer to the motherboard to keep condensation from shorting anything electrical. I purchase it at Home Depot for $6.00 a bottle. One bottle should cover five or six motherboard socket areas or graphics cards. A thicker layer is better because it peels right off leaving a flawless motherboard or graphics card underneath.

LET.png

Armaflex is used to insulate the reservoir of your pot as well as to create a gasket around the socket. Remember, insulation's goal is to keep the cold in. A 30ft roll can be purchased at Home Depot as Armacell for a little under $8.00. Keep in mind that this stuff is sticky. If you use it on your pot, put a layer of painters tape between them, otherwise you'll spend an hour or so peeling it off and using some sort of chemical to remove the sticky residue it leaves behind.

armacell.jpg

Paper towels are pretty self explanatory. These coupled with some rubber bands will give you a final line of defense around your pots as well as creating a nice moisture trap around the socket area.

DSC05067.JPG


Now on to the extras:

First in the list of extras is a thermometer. It's not necessary with dry ice (though it is helpful), but it's a must when benching LN2 with any Intel chip and some AMD chips. There's really only one item for the budget minded and after that it's a pretty steep slope upward in terms of pricing. I purchased mine (8060) on Ebay for about $40. If you're watchful, you can get a nicer one (DT302/304) for around $100.

Next up is a digital multimeter. This allows you to read actual voltages instead of relying on software voltages. For things like volt mods, it's necessary. However, this is something you can cheap out on. I purchased mine from Walmart for $4 and it works perfectly.


Finally, your shopping cart, Sub-total $184 + Shipping:
The final step in getting your first dry ice run going is to grab some dice and some acetone. You can get a gallon for around $17 or a quart for around $8. A gallon should last you a few hundred (lol) sessions, or long enough for you to aquire the funding to move up to LN2. Dry ice varies from location to location. In Kentucky, I purchase it at Kroger, a grocery store for $1/lb. In St. Louis, I purchase it from a welding supply shop for the same price. For your first session, 10 pounds should be enough. I usually purchase between 15 and 20 pounds now that I'm running a GPU on dice as well.


Final total including 10lbs of dice: $201** + Shipping


To conclude:

Once you're in, you can spend as much as you want. You can buy GPU pots, LN2 dewars, and all kinds of other stuff. Hopefully this will get you on the right track to keep moving up.





*Sweet pun, right?
**Yeah, yeah, I went over budget rolleyes.gif

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post #2 of 206 (permalink) Old 08-08-2011, 08:37 AM
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post #3 of 206 (permalink) Old 08-08-2011, 08:39 AM
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i have no intentions of ever attempting this, but i feel smarter knowing how to if the situation ever came up (lol). Jokes aside, great write up!


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post #4 of 206 (permalink) Old 08-08-2011, 08:42 AM
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Are you planning to make a full step guide for subzero ? Now we have all required materials, how to do proper insulation using THE RECOMMENDED items here, and then how to proceed, what to watch, when do you add more, etc.

Also, any Dice / LN2 benchers in MONTREAL, QUEBEC ? PM me.


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post #5 of 206 (permalink) Old 08-08-2011, 08:43 AM
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awesome man, thanks for the info.
im definately subscribing.
Is there anyway you can post up your project.
like step by step?
i've been wanting to do this for a very long time but im somewhat scared to start.
i will have an extra MoBo and processor soon so i wanted to give it a go.
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post #6 of 206 (permalink) Old 08-08-2011, 08:44 AM
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Hm..... When I upgrade, Q6600 is going under.

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post #7 of 206 (permalink) Old 08-08-2011, 08:51 AM
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Nice thread bass. One thing i would put out there would be to start your first runs on a system that you dont need to run 24/7. Bass an myself for sure use our everyday rigs for Dry ice an LN2 use. I found out the hard way at the overclockers event in ST.Louis that your 24/7 rig is a bad one to start with. We killed my mobo. Ln2 an Dice is very fun to play with. So Good luck an have fun guys.
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post #8 of 206 (permalink) Old 08-08-2011, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blostorm;14507537 
Are you planning to make a full step guide for subzero ? Now we have all required materials, how to do proper insulation using THE RECOMMENDED items here, and then how to proceed, what to watch, when do you add more, etc.

Also, any Dice / LN2 benchers in MONTREAL, QUEBEC ? PM me.

I have a guide from my old method. I'll probably get one going in the near future for my newer method (the one mentioned above).

Here's the old one:

https://www.overclock.net/dry-ice-liquid-nitrogen/839959-bassplayers-insulation-guide-lots-images.html

And a motherboard covered in LET:

DSC05069.JPG

Beyond that, most things are pretty self explanatory once you have it all prepped. I'd be happy to help with questions, as are most others in this section.

Also, if you can make the trip, we'll be doing a demonstration in Detroit later this month. Details are in my signature.

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post #9 of 206 (permalink) Old 08-08-2011, 09:02 AM
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very nice for te noobz tongue.gif. So if i can get dry ice for free ITS EVEN BETTER!



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post #10 of 206 (permalink) Old 08-08-2011, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xxbassplayerxx;14507438 

My recommendation for the budget shopper buying new is the Koolance CPU-LN2-V2. It can be purchased directly from Koolance for a cool* $170.

How good is the LN2-V2 actually? I've heard some bad things about the original version but I'm not quite sure if the V2 improved on the flaws of the original... Is the V2 heavy enough etc.?

I've been looking to order a pot from SF3D, but I'm not quite sure if it's worth the extra ~70€ I would have to pay over the koolance pot. I would like to buy a new one (don't really like buying stuff used) but I'm just not quite sure since I don't have any previous experience...

Anyways thanks for the good read!


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