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Can a processor temp go sub zero?

Last response: in CPUs
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September 25, 2012 4:49:24 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUbpb23yTK8&list=UU_SN80...

It's suppose to be a troll video but it got me wondering. Can a Processor temp actually go that beyond sub zero?

More about : processor temp

a b à CPUs
September 25, 2012 5:20:57 PM

Well generally yes they can,but through other methods of cooling. Air cooling is limited to your ambient temps, if order to go below zero you need to use other extreme methods of cooling that are independent of the air in the room such as DICE and LN2.

So yes it's possible, just not with conventional methods.
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a b à CPUs
September 25, 2012 5:21:11 PM

Sure it could. You are going to have to build a refrigeration cycle. You need a compressor, evaporator (cpu block), porous plug and a condensor (radiator) with a refrigerant running through the system. Basically just turn your computer into a freezer.
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September 25, 2012 5:32:16 PM

Depends on which temperature scale we're talking, since absolute zero would be a definite no, zero F people do on a pretty regular basis, and zero C is not out of the question. As long as the electrons can still flow, it SHOULD be able to work.
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a b à CPUs
September 25, 2012 5:49:35 PM

Hi :) 

North pole ?

All the best Brett :) 
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a b à CPUs
September 25, 2012 6:19:28 PM

using a peltier you can rather easily. there is a sticky at the top of the overclocking section that explains how.
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a c 169 à CPUs
September 25, 2012 6:22:17 PM

cl-scott said:
Depends on which temperature scale we're talking, since absolute zero would be a definite no, zero F people do on a pretty regular basis, and zero C is not out of the question. As long as the electrons can still flow, it SHOULD be able to work.


Current experimental quantum computers need to be just above absolute zero to function. Of course it's not possible to go below, but it's possible to get very close :) 

Zero degrees Fahrenheit is actually colder than Zero degrees Centigrade
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September 25, 2012 6:41:30 PM

Pinhedd said:
Current experimental quantum computers need to be just above absolute zero to function. Of course it's not possible to go below, but it's possible to get very close :) 

Zero degrees Fahrenheit is actually colder than Zero degrees Centigrade


You're right, I got my F and C mixed up. 0C is 32F, not the other way around. :ouch: 
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a c 169 à CPUs
September 25, 2012 6:47:43 PM

cl-scott said:
You're right, I got my F and C mixed up. 0C is 32F, not the other way around. :ouch: 


That'll happen
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a b à CPUs
September 25, 2012 9:47:45 PM

Pinhedd said:
Current experimental quantum computers need to be just above absolute zero to function. Of course it's not possible to go below, but it's possible to get very close :) 

Zero degrees Fahrenheit is actually colder than Zero degrees Centigrade


just a split second thought thats prolly 99% wrong but if temperature is the amount of energy an substance has 0 degrees kelvin is no energy. that much is known but what about anti matter? wouldnt it have a below zero temperature if it has negative energy or mass? or could it even have a temperature...... hmmmmm..
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a c 102 à CPUs
September 25, 2012 9:55:39 PM

I would try anti matter cooling but would it not just combine with your CPU and turn into nothing.
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a b à CPUs
September 25, 2012 9:59:34 PM

^^^

Sorry for getting technical, but that violates the law of conservation of mass. It doesn;t turn into nothing, it just releases a ton of energy. Again, sorry for getting technical, LOL.
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September 25, 2012 9:59:52 PM

Sub-Zero is my favorite character from Mortal Kombat...
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a b à CPUs
September 25, 2012 10:01:50 PM

cbrunnem said:
just a split second thought thats prolly 99% wrong but if temperature is the amount of energy an substance has 0 degrees kelvin is no energy. that much is known but what about anti matter? wouldnt it have a below zero temperature if it has negative energy or mass? or could it even have a temperature...... hmmmmm..

Actually 0 K is not 0 energy, it's just minimum energy.
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a b à CPUs
September 25, 2012 10:25:09 PM

FinneousPJ said:
Actually 0 K is not 0 energy, it's just minimum energy.


its 0 energy except for mass energy i believe.
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September 25, 2012 10:53:47 PM

wanderer11 said:
Sure it could. You are going to have to build a refrigeration cycle. You need a compressor, evaporator (cpu block), porous plug and a condensor (radiator) with a refrigerant running through the system. Basically just turn your computer into a freezer.


I was actually thinking of doing something like that for a proof of concept.

only problems are your room would get really hot (which would ventilate back into the case), you'd have to let the cooling system build up pressure before you booted your PC, it would be very noisy, probably take up allot of space and if you had a polished metal water block or something else that could cause condensation you may have a big problem! lol
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a c 169 à CPUs
September 25, 2012 11:19:04 PM

cbrunnem said:
just a split second thought thats prolly 99% wrong but if temperature is the amount of energy an substance has 0 degrees kelvin is no energy. that much is known but what about anti matter? wouldnt it have a below zero temperature if it has negative energy or mass? or could it even have a temperature...... hmmmmm..


Thermal energy is distinct from mass energy. Temperature is a measure of the amount of thermal energy that an atom has. Thermal energy is representative of the level of excitement in an atom's subatomic particles; it's like when you drink half a dozen redbulls and can't sit still. Mass energy is the energy equivalent via E=M*C^2.
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a c 116 à CPUs
September 25, 2012 11:37:45 PM

cbrunnem said:
using a peltier you can rather easily. there is a sticky at the top of the overclocking section that explains how.

Thermoelectric cooling does not work particularly well when you start working with high-power loads like ~100W CPU.

The thermal rating on TECs is for 10C temperature delta at maximum input power. If you try cooling a 100W CPU with a TEC rated for a maximum thermal load of 100W at full power and manage to keep the HSF at ambient temperature (no chance of that happening with the HSF now having to dissipate close to 200W), the CPU would operate at 10C below ambient.

Better off going with phase-change cooling for today's somewhat power-hungry CPUs.
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September 25, 2012 11:39:23 PM

obsama1 said:
^^^

Sorry for getting technical, but that violates the law of conservation of mass. It doesn;t turn into nothing, it just releases a ton of energy. Again, sorry for getting technical, LOL.


You just keep telling yourself that when you have a big gaping crater where your computer used to be. :p  "It's not that I have nothing for a computer, it's that my computer turned into pure energy!"
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a b à CPUs
September 26, 2012 1:18:38 AM

^^^
LOL!
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a b à CPUs
September 26, 2012 3:35:45 AM

cl-scott said:
You just keep telling yourself that when you have a big gaping crater where your computer used to be. :p  "It's not that I have nothing for a computer, it's that my computer turned into pure energy!"


sooo would that be covered under an accidental warranty plan.....?
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a c 185 à CPUs
September 26, 2012 5:07:09 AM

cl-scott said:
You just keep telling yourself that when you have a big gaping crater where your computer used to be. :p  "It's not that I have nothing for a computer, it's that my computer turned into pure energy!"

Does ASUS's warranty cover that? :lol: 
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a c 185 à CPUs
September 26, 2012 5:07:35 AM

BTW to OP
Tom is a veteran watercooler, he made that video to poke fun at closed loops ;) 
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a c 169 à CPUs
September 26, 2012 5:48:23 AM

amuffin said:
Does ASUS's warranty cover that? :lol: 


Only if you have the original socket cover
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a b à CPUs
September 26, 2012 6:21:37 AM

cbrunnem said:
its 0 energy except for mass energy i believe.

No, a bound particle like for example an electron orbiting a hydrogen core would just go to its ground state, but the ground state is not equal to zero energy.
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a b à CPUs
September 26, 2012 10:56:21 AM

mikes1992 said:
I was actually thinking of doing something like that for a proof of concept.

only problems are your room would get really hot (which would ventilate back into the case), you'd have to let the cooling system build up pressure before you booted your PC, it would be very noisy, probably take up allot of space and if you had a polished metal water block or something else that could cause condensation you may have a big problem! lol


Well of course it causes condensation. It isn't called a condensor for nothing. I don't think it would make your room too terribly hot unless you game in a closet. Does your refrigerator make your kitchen noticeably hotter? You could always mount the condensor in a window so it drips outside.
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a c 116 à CPUs
September 26, 2012 12:39:34 PM

wanderer11 said:
Well of course it causes condensation. It isn't called a condensor for nothing. You could always mount the condensor in a window so it drips outside.

In a phase-change heat pump, the evaporator is the part that gets cold from refrigerant going from liquid to gas state and the condenser is the part that gets hot from the refrigerant getting pressurized until it loses enough heat to condensate back to liquid state.

Naming aside, the reason you would want to put the hot-side of a heat pump in the window is to get rid of heat and you will not get condensation on something that is warmer than ambient temperature so there is no point in worrying about dripping there. Where moisture condensation and freezing may happen is on the cold side of the cooling circuit which you want to apply to the CPU. Unless you want to put your whole PC out the window to make it drip outside, some other solution is required.

Phase-change kits usually include sealing gaskets to keep moisture out, insulation gaskets to keep cold in and heating elements to bring external surfaces up to room temperature.
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September 26, 2012 5:33:19 PM

amuffin said:
Does ASUS's warranty cover that? :lol: 


Tell you what. If you're at ground zero and survive, I'll do everything I can to get it covered. :sol: 
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a b à CPUs
September 26, 2012 5:55:18 PM

Taking this back around to the start for a quick sanity test...

Helium needs to get down to a temperature of -269F in order to turn into a liquid. PC cooling systems have been created that make use of liquid helium.

It stands to reason, therefore, that as soon as something at -269F touched the processor, it would go well south of 0F instantly.

The processor would freeze and probably be destroyed at anything south of -233F, so you would have to have some kind of apparatus between the liquid helium and the processor that would raise the temperature to at least about -200F to be on the safe side.

If you engineered such a thing, there should be no reason that you can't get the processor temperature well south of 0F.

AFAIK, such a solution that uses a combo of liquid helium and liquid nitrogen already exists and it is what those people trying to OC FX-8150s to over 10 GHZ use. Costs like $10,000.
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a b à CPUs
September 26, 2012 6:08:25 PM

For a real sanity check you should consider the fact that a semiconductor will freeze out at a certain temperature, thus making it useless to cool it beyond that point. It will not conduct electricity anymore.
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a b à CPUs
September 26, 2012 6:30:19 PM

Didn't I actually mention that and spend literally 1/3 of the post discussing it?
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a c 116 à CPUs
September 26, 2012 6:44:27 PM

FinneousPJ said:
For a real sanity check you should consider the fact that a semiconductor will freeze out at a certain temperature, thus making it useless to cool it beyond that point. It will not conduct electricity anymore.

Actually, most materials have lower electrical resistance and become BETTER conductors at lower/cryogenic temperatures. Some materials exhibit a sharp decline in resistivity below a certain temperature and they are called supra-conductors.

Cooling a supra-conductor below its supra-conduction temperature is indeed pointless but at that temperature, the conductor is very much able to conduct electricity. Hundreds or even thousands of times more than it would at higher temperatures.
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a b à CPUs
September 26, 2012 7:01:11 PM

InvalidError said:
Actually, most materials have lower electrical resistance and become BETTER conductors at lower/cryogenic temperatures. Some materials exhibit a sharp decline in resistivity below a certain temperature and they are called supra-conductors.

Cooling a supra-conductor below its supra-conduction temperature is indeed pointless but at that temperature, the conductor is very much able to conduct electricity. Hundreds or even thousands of times more than it would at higher temperatures.

Yes, I know this. We are however talking about semiconductors. CPUs are not made of super conductors obviously. If you're trying to say a semiconductor would turn into a super conductor you're mistaken.
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a b à CPUs
September 26, 2012 7:05:56 PM

Raiddinn said:
Didn't I actually mention that and spend literally 1/3 of the post discussing it?

I'm sorry I thought you meant freeze as in how water freezes. I believe the term used in semiconductor theory is "freeze out" when the electrons become bound into the structure. It won't be destroyed by it though, and will in theory at least work normally when you increase temperature and the electrons again become free.
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a b à CPUs
September 26, 2012 7:21:29 PM

I would think that it would be destroyed by the process, but I am not a chemist and I am not familiar with the lingo in this regard.
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a b à CPUs
September 26, 2012 7:32:50 PM

I wouldn't classify it as a chemical problem. It's more material/quantum physics.
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a b à CPUs
September 26, 2012 7:47:04 PM

Depends on how you look at it.

At the root, electrons can't flow without chemical processes.

The changing of matter between various states is also a matter of chemistry (as with helium from gas to liquid).

If anything you are just talking about which sub-sciences apply.
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a b à CPUs
September 26, 2012 7:52:14 PM

I guess it's about what you prefer. To me electron flow is physics as are phase changes. Even covalent bonding for example is quantum physics to me, while a chemist would say it's a chemical interaction.
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a c 116 à CPUs
September 26, 2012 8:14:59 PM

FinneousPJ said:
Yes, I know this. We are however talking about semiconductors. CPUs are not made of super conductors obviously. If you're trying to say a semiconductor would turn into a super conductor you're mistaken.

Neither is copper.

But copper and most semi-conductors do become more conductive at cryogenic temperatures. They do not magically stop conducting.
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a b à CPUs
September 26, 2012 8:23:25 PM

Semiconductors don't. Metals indeed do. You can check the book if you refuse to believe me.
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a b à CPUs
September 26, 2012 8:24:49 PM

And I don't believe in magic nor did I claim it was such. It's actually physics which may seem like magic to you but isn't.
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a c 116 à CPUs
September 26, 2012 8:45:02 PM

FinneousPJ said:
Semiconductors don't. Metals indeed do. You can check the book if you refuse to believe me.

I just did that.

RDSon losses in low-voltage CMOS are reduced by ~50% at 77K and turn-on/off times are reduced by ~33%. If you want to "freeze off" semiconductors, you have to go below 40K at which point RDSon starts rising again due to hole mobility getting too slow. The transistor does not stop working but cooling it beyond this point does become counter-productive.
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a b à CPUs
September 26, 2012 8:56:03 PM

There's a misunderstanding here, I was talking about semiconductors genetally, not integrated transistors. You are right of course that integrated circuit performance is increased however if you understand semiconducor physics I'm sure you realize their resistivity goes up with lowering temperature. This is because free electron and hole concentration falls.
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