Computer In a Freezer (Seriously)

Zxcs

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 11, 2004
Messages
2,007
I was bored and trying to get through a ton of work when I began thinking about original cooling ideas. I was thinking how I could get my computer running at sub-zero temperatures without the need of something that would burn a hole in my pocket.

I began to wonder whether it would be possible to get my desktop running stable in a deep-freezer. I have an old freezer lying in the garage that I had from when I moved house and it is capable of running at -30. It has enough room to fit a computer and also produces very little water vapour (does not produce ice, though you can feel a slight dampness when you touch the sides).

My initial ideas were to put the computer inside in an air-tight case, but I doubt whether I could make my case air tight. The best idea I've had so far is to go ghetto. Take the mobo out of the case and enclose it, with the hardrives and PSU, in a plastic bag (dont laugh :p ), and basically run the PSU, keyboard, mouse and IDE cables for optical drives all out of a tight opening. I dont really need the freezer so I guess I could cut a hole in it somewhere for the cables that need to be run out of it.

Anyone know if this would work? Any other ideas on how I could do this? Would the freezer keep it cool or just heat up past 0 degrees?
Would water vapour be a big problem for me?

Just a little thought that may become a reality, someday ;) .

Zxcs
 

kubalaTF

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 5, 2004
Messages
401
I think that condensation and water would get into anything you deem to be airtight eventualy (especially if you go ghetto). I'm by no means an expert, but just to throw out an idea. How about putting it in the liquid that people use for submersion then putting it in a freezer. Over time it would probably overpower the freezer anyway. Hmmmm
 

kubalaTF

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 5, 2004
Messages
401
I beleive if the submersion liquid was heavy enough, any water might stay towards the top. But I'm just kindof brainstorming here (3 in the morning isn't the best time to brainstorm though, I think). The submersion liquid probably isn't cheap enough to make it practical for this application anyway. I should just be quiet now. But won't, I'm sure.
 

Zxcs

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 11, 2004
Messages
2,007
I was just looking at submersion liquids, the best one I've found is Fluorinert, it is denser than water but it does cost a load. $72 for 100ml, so I guess thats out of the question :D
 

Tigerbiten

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - February 2007/January 2
Joined
Sep 24, 2002
Messages
5,028
As long as as the freezer is sealed as well as possible then condensation on the computer won't be a problem.
The comp will be running warmer than the freezer so condensation wont form on it.

Your hard drives may not like getting that cold.
If the bearing freeze they wont last that long.

The other thing to think about is the freezers compressor.
It not designed to run with a constant high heat load.

Luck.......... :D
 

mohammedtaha

2[H]4U
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
Messages
3,648
what would be a cool idea is if you can use the fridge as a cooling unit ...

Connect a water cooling system and use the freezer as the cooler for your radiator ...

Put anti-freeze in the water and let the water run into the fridge and then in the fridge is the radiator which will cool the water down.

Just an idea ...

If you're very daring .. you can use alcohol since that will never freeze :D ...
 

TehQuick

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 3, 2004
Messages
3,738
I think freezer/fridges are not designed to cool hot stuff continuously, they'll burn out quick. Interesting experiment tho.
 

whitewale

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 23, 2004
Messages
259
If you move the hard drive and power supply outside the freezer should have no problem cooling the rest of the board. My biggest problem with trying that was finding fans that are rated to the appropriate temperature. Tying to change the grease in the bearings to a low temperature version was pretty desasterous, they are sealed in most cases. But if you can find a good fan that hits the heatsink you can probably make it work very effectively.
 

RS3RS

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Dec 10, 2003
Messages
8,198
It seems there's a thread about this that pops up every few weeks...

The general opinion is that refridgerators are designed to chill something from room temp. one time, and then keep it there. They aren't designed to constantly remove heat (and, in the case of a computer, a lot of heat), and you'll probably burn the compresser out eventually.
 

tsuehpsyde

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 22, 2004
Messages
6,598
I know my one friend at college setup a water-cooling system and used the fridge as the resivour (spelling) with a huge container of cold water and had it looping into his computer...how he set it up to work is beyond me. Also it was a college fridge so he wasn't too concerned if it died lol.

Can I recommend something that's made to run alot....like an AC unit at Wal Mart for like $70 :) I'm sure you could ghetto something like that. Idunno, just tossing something in there.
 

Zxcs

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 11, 2004
Messages
2,007
The freezer I have isn't one of the home models, its the large ones (about 5 foot) that can run cool even when the door is open, it was originally designed to cool small amounts of meat.
I still doubt it could put up with the heat generation of a computer, but the WC idea is one I may use. Is there any disadvantages/risks of using alcohol in a watercooling system?
 

whitewale

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 23, 2004
Messages
259
alcohol (as in methanol, ethanol or isopropanol) has three major problems:
heat capacity is 1/2 that of water, you need double the flow for equal heat removal
alcohol is volatile and flamable
finding tubing that will stand up to alcohol in the long run (or O-rings in seals for that matter, like in your pump)) will be a problem
also you have much more trouble to get the sytem leak proof due to the lower viscosity

you can run it on pure antifreeze (glycol), still the that capacity problem, but not as volatile and more viscous

but remember, if you don't have the whole system in the freezer and go sub-ambient, you need to think about condensation on your chilled parts.
 

Tigerbiten

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - February 2007/January 2
Joined
Sep 24, 2002
Messages
5,028
Best working fluid for sub-zero temps is 33% methanol / 66% water.
Check out winter windscreen washer fluids as some are this mix.
Its good down to around -40 C/ -40 F.
Has aprox the same heat capacity / viscosity as plain water so removes heat almost as well.

Luck.......... :D
 

Zxcs

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 11, 2004
Messages
2,007
Other than a freezer, is there a way to get a computer cooled below 0 degrees C that does not include a $1000 vapour phase change cooler? I'm trying to cool 2 proccessors and a gpu all to below 0, and I'm willing to spend upto $1500, this possible?
 

cgrant26

2[H]4U
Joined
Oct 23, 2003
Messages
3,416
I think your best bet would be to run TECs and watercool those. SHould be able to do that for well under $1500.

Oh, BTW. My WC system has a radiator installed inside a window A/C unit. When the A/C runs at max I get consistant water temps of 17*C. Even when the CPU and GPU are under full load.
 

FrgMstr

Just Plain Mean
Staff member
Joined
May 18, 1997
Messages
51,425
Nitrogen purge the freezer compartment so you rid yourself of the condensation issue. Can get it at any welding supply house.
 

Seer

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 21, 2004
Messages
186
Hmm... Nitrogen would be an excellent idea. However I'm not sure how much a bottle o liquid nitrogen costs(as im not really into buying that kind of materials) However i did read an article about a year ago On Toms Hardware Guide, where they broke the worlds proc speed limit, by using liquid notrogen cooling. They sucessully aceieved over 5Ghz on a P4 by using liquid nitrogen. I think that the average temp. was abotu -190C. Im not to familiar with the dissipation qualities of liquid nitrogen to be an accurate judge of wether or not this is a cost efective soluition. But Hey! for a 5.0Ghz CPU, who wouldn't want to pay?
 

Thermite Paste

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Dec 17, 2003
Messages
5,651
theres a huge tank of liquid nitrogen outside this building i skateboard at... i could get u some :D
 

Zxcs

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 11, 2004
Messages
2,007
ln2 is something like $3 a litre depending where you live, the problem is handling it. DI is good but the problem with them both is that they run out in 6hrs or so
 

gclg2000

Gawd
Joined
Jun 27, 2004
Messages
634
so what .... 6 hrs...DI is not intended for 24/7 use. Only for quick "see what you can do: benchmarks.
 

Solutions

n00b
Joined
Feb 9, 2005
Messages
43
You may want to check the working temp range of everything you plan to cool in that freezer/fridge. Thermal compound, thermal adhesives on the mobo, etc. Good luck though. I'd love to see some pix if you end up throwing your board into the meatlocker!
 

Zxcs

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 11, 2004
Messages
2,007
Solutions said:
You may want to check the working temp range of everything you plan to cool in that freezer/fridge. Thermal compound, thermal adhesives on the mobo, etc. Good luck though. I'd love to see some pix if you end up throwing your board into the meatlocker!
Too bad I froze my last mobo (with a phasechange) otherwise I'd stick a cheap secondhand opty in and put it in. If I find a cheap p4 pressy rig I might try it, just slop dielectric grease all over it first.
 

mwarps

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 6, 2002
Messages
7,023
Unless he's got a rough pump, he ain't nitrogen purging shit. If he HAD a rought pump, he'd be all set. well, and some MFC's, but I doubt he's got those.
 

zalazin

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
May 12, 2000
Messages
1,567
weird thing thing does any one remember years ago someone had actually put a mainboard in a freezer and over clocked it. The overclocking eventually melted the frozen vodka and beer. This was a long long time ago might have even been a 486......
 
Top