Using your foundation to cool your PC

Hardware hackers have done all sorts of interesting things to cool down their PC’s so they can be wildly over clocked. Roughly speaking, two otherwise identical processor chips rated at different speed are not necessarily designed differently. They are just capable of running at different speeds and not screwing up. The causes of screwing up are sometimes related to heat. So, a chip designed to run at a given range of speeds, then rated for, say, the middle of that range, can be run at the upper end of the range …. or beyond …. if it is kept very cold.

(I’ve oversimplified.)

So, you have hackers building their PC inside a beer cooler, or emersing it in non-conductive fluid. Or whatever.

Now we have a guy who is using the concrete slab of his house to cool down the box:

Well the slab gets poured on Wednesday so I thought I would sink 6 meters of copper pipe in the slab so that I can run my water loop through it when the house is finished. I hope to have water year round at about 16deg. No need for radiators or fans with chilled water coming straight out of the slab Hope there isnt any condensation issues but I dont think the water will be cold enough….

soruce

Cool, hopefully.

Comments

  1. #1 Fordi
    August 27, 2009

    Uh… way to dig something up from 2002?

  2. #2 Jeremy
    August 27, 2009

    My computer must be some kind of weird time machine, the date on the post on my computer (the source post) says 1st of August 2009. The date the user joined says 2002 though.

    Over clocking is fun, but once I stopped playing video games, it seemed fairly useless. Google Chrome and Open Office run pretty well on my computer at its factory settings :P

  3. #3 Colin
    August 27, 2009

    “1st August 2009, 1:25 PM”

    Clearly not posted in 2002. I guess the whole “Join Date” right before it was hard to miss.

    This sounds basically like geo-exchange heating/cooling, except for a building you have to up the game by putting in way more than 6 ft of tubing.

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    August 27, 2009

    From now on I will not post anything from where the user has joined prior to 2003!!!!

  5. #5 Jason Thibeault
    August 27, 2009

    This is genius. I will have to consider exactly this, in the event that I ever manage to save enough to get my house put on a proper foundation.

  6. #6 NoAstronomer
    August 27, 2009

    “…once I stopped playing video games…”

    Sorry Jeremy you lost me right there.

  7. #7 omar
    August 27, 2009

    The trick is to put your house on a foundation of ICE!!!

  8. #8 jj
    August 27, 2009

    Sweet…
    @1 – Even if it was from 2002 it would a)Still be relevent and b) Still be pretty sweet

    @2 – Not too much use to OC a CPU if you aren’t running games and/or video/photo editing. I just built a new top-of-the-line rig (at leased as far as AMD is concerned), and I OC it, but just for testing purposes, never really need that much power!

    @Greg

    sometimes related to heat

    If we’re talking about CPU’s screwing up, it’s more like 99% of the time. Unless we are counting faulty CPU’s, which would be due to manufacturing.

  9. #9 John Swindle
    August 27, 2009

    I have sometimes daydreamed about such things, though I’ve never had a computer worth so much trouble. Does anyone know if computers in the ISS are designed to take advantage of the fact that it’s cold outside? What about all the geeks in Antarctica? Surely theirs are plugged into the environment…?

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    August 27, 2009

    Wait, I’ll check….

  11. #11 Nathan Myers
    August 27, 2009

    What makes this a better idea than burying the pipe underground is that concrete is astonishingly heat-conductive, so a small amount of copper pipe dumps heat to a large solid heat sink that is, in turn, in contact with a large area of cool earth. I probably would have used a single length of corrugated pipe.

  12. #12 travc
    August 27, 2009

    When I finally get around to actually owning a place I can modify, I’m definitely going for a proper machine room/closet. Decent cooling is very important if you need stability, even if you aren’t overclocking.

    Geo-exchange is a really elegant solution for temp regulation generally. The guy should put in a lot more pipe and integrate it with the AC system.

    BTW: I haven’t played a game in months, yet my desktop has spent many an hour with all 4 cores chugging away… alaylsing data. I haven’t overclocked per-se, but it is tempting.

  13. #13 Greg Laden
    August 27, 2009

    John [9]: I have sometimes daydreamed about such things, though I’ve never had a computer worth so much trouble. Does anyone know if computers in the ISS are designed to take advantage of the fact that it’s cold outside? What about all the geeks in Antarctica? Surely theirs are plugged into the environment…?

    OK, I just got word back from my homegirl who is at this time underground at the South Pole. I asked her:

    Question: Do you use the fact that it is really cold outside to cool down any of your indoor electronics, like computers and stuff?

    Her answer: Yes. Most of the electronic rooms here leak in the cold air to cool the rooms.

    So there you have it, direct from the South Pole.

  14. #14 Ryan
    August 27, 2009

    As for the ISS, it is “cold” outside, but the density of space is too low to transfer much heat away.

  15. #15 John Swindle
    August 27, 2009

    Wow, Greg! you know somebody at Antarctica? Cool!

    What I envisioned was some kind of heatsink rigged to ice. But just letting a room leak a little sounds much easier and more direct.

  16. #16 elle
    August 27, 2009

    One of the Antarctic experiments, Ice Cube (out of Madison WI) has a whole server room cooled by the outside temps, while here inside the Amundsen-Scott Elevated Station there are a few rooms that are set up the same way. Keep in mind that temps during most of August have been around -90F, so the intake is slow.

    We also utilize the cold temps to store our life line of fuel, AN8 cold. While stored at -60F, it is below the lower explosive limit for the fuel, so not even vapors are present. Only when it is warmed do we smell the fuel.

    And, by the way, the sun is approaching the horizon after 6 months!!!!!!

  17. #17 John Swindle
    August 27, 2009

    Ryan – tsk. Another great idea ruined by reality.

  18. #18 Stephanie Z
    August 27, 2009

    L, you’re stopping back through Minnesota so we can buy (or make) you drinks and hear all about it, right?

  19. #19 Argon
    August 27, 2009

    omar: “The trick is to put your house on a foundation of ICE!!”

    Heh, Ice nine.
    Or, the gentleman could wait a couple years when cooler chips with the same processing power come out at half the price…

    If you’re serious about overclocking, at least use liquid nitrogen.

  20. #20 elle
    August 29, 2009

    Yes Ma’am, Mz. Stephanie! That is an affirmative.