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Select ASRock Motherboards Will Feature Waterproof Coating

By - Source: ASRock | B 21 comments

It appears that a number of ASRock's upcoming Haswell motherboards might feature a waterproof coating, although no details have been given as to how the coating would actually be applied and what purpose it would serve in practice.

Earlier, we already showed you that ASRock was working on better onboard sound codecs for its upcoming Haswell motherboards. Now we bring you yet another interesting feature that's worth having a look at.

It appears that ASRock will have five key features that will be on its A-Style Haswell motherboards. These features include Purity Sound, HDMI-in, Wireless 802.11ac, Home Cloud, and most notably, a Waterproof by Conformal Coating.

The last listed feature, the Waterproof by Conformal Coating, is one of the most intriguing features of all. While some of us might question the true purpose of such a coating, it can be very interesting for hardcore overclockers. Yes, we can all be careful not to spill a  cup of water over our motherboards, but as humans, there is little we can do to go against the force of nature and stop water from condensing on a motherboard when it gets so cold because we use liquid nitrogen to cool it while we're pushing those ultra-high frequencies.

Sadly, ASRock has revealed little information as to how it will apply the coating. It remains unknown whether the coating will only cover the PCB or all the chips as well. This, of course, is quite important since it will make the difference between the coating actually serving a useful purpose or simply being another marketing gimmick.

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Top Comments
  • 15 Hide
    bambiboom , May 7, 2013 7:17 PM
    Here's a wild guess as to the purpose for waterproof coating on a motherboard > has a liquid CPU cooling system ever leaked ?
    BB
Other Comments
  • 2 Hide
    Soda-88 , May 7, 2013 7:06 PM
    I guess this is good for people living in humid areas.
  • 15 Hide
    bambiboom , May 7, 2013 7:17 PM
    Here's a wild guess as to the purpose for waterproof coating on a motherboard > has a liquid CPU cooling system ever leaked ?
    BB
  • Display all 21 comments.
  • 5 Hide
    nevilence , May 7, 2013 7:25 PM
    I do tend to keep my coffee warm by placing it straight on my cpu, also works to disipate heat, this may proove useful to me =P
  • 2 Hide
    MANOFKRYPTONAK , May 7, 2013 7:26 PM
    8 core hswell-e with waterproof components for liquid cooling and extreme overclocking. Could I coat my gpu too?
  • 0 Hide
    Hazle , May 7, 2013 7:39 PM
    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/03/the-internet-demanded-partially-scientific-testing-of-ultraeverdry-in-hd/
    soooo... they're just gonna spray a layer of this?
  • -2 Hide
    nevilence , May 7, 2013 7:44 PM
    I do tend to keep my coffee warm by placing it straight on my cpu, also works to disipate heat, this may proove useful to me =P
  • 0 Hide
    MANOFKRYPTONAK , May 7, 2013 7:45 PM
    Quote:
    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/03/the-internet-demanded-partially-scientific-testing-of-ultraeverdry-in-hd/
    soooo... they're just gonna spray a layer of this?


    I dont think that would be good for the components...
  • 1 Hide
    InvalidError , May 7, 2013 8:00 PM
    A board-wide extra thickness of conformal coating may also be useful for oil-immersion cooling. A rather neat though messy concept.
  • 0 Hide
    Hazle , May 7, 2013 8:06 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/03/the-internet-demanded-partially-scientific-testing-of-ultraeverdry-in-hd/
    soooo... they're just gonna spray a layer of this?


    I dont think that would be good for the components...


    it's non-conductive, FYI. their FAQ was pretty vague on how long it'd lasts though, but the major factor that results in the coating losing it's effectiveness is abrasive force, and is supposed to last longer inside a home environment than outside. another con is that it dries out to a supposed translucent layer, so i'm expecting it to look like it's all covered in spunk if this was the case.
  • 3 Hide
    mariush , May 7, 2013 8:07 PM
    Gigabyte had problems in India with humidity entering between layers of the pcb (mb pcs have 6-10 layers or more) and causing shorts. They had to use fiber glass woven in another pattern to slow down the speed of humidity penetration and reduce the number of boards returned.
    With Haswell it may be the case that more integration and the lower heat dissipated by the cpu makes them able to reduce the number of layers on the board which results into thinner boards.
    It may be a move on their part save a couple of dollars on pcb reducing the layers by spending half a dollar or less for conformal coating which would make the board more resistant to flexing.
    Also, since Haswell has much lower power modes (using little power on idle), the coating may help with reducing emi coming from video cards and the VRMs.
    Anyway, just guesses.
  • 0 Hide
    vmem , May 7, 2013 8:10 PM
    this almost sounds like a gimmic, seriously, the people doing LN2 or liquid helium suicide runs are ready to burn through many many CPUs, do they really care that much about losing a mobo or two after a few runs? sure, it would make it easier for them, but it's a VERY NICHE market, something they can take care of simply by opening an in-house "custom-mobo-features" department.
    More likely this will serve to help extreme overclockers hit higher clocks just a little bit easier (less worrying about your mobo turning out due to excessive condensation), their boards will be more likely chosen to break world records, thus giving them more publicity...
  • 0 Hide
    madjimms , May 7, 2013 8:32 PM
    How the heck can you waterproof the contact pins on all the I/O stuff & slots/LGA areas?
    The PCB isn't conductive, but the contacts are, so how exactly does this make it waterproof?
  • 0 Hide
    s3anister , May 7, 2013 8:38 PM
    "there is little we can do to go against the force of nature and stop water from condensing on a motherboard when it gets so cold because we use liquid nitrogen to cool it while we're pushing those ultra-high frequencies."
    I was thinking this and mineral oil bath cooling. Seems the most likely reason for waterproofing a board to me.
  • 0 Hide
    lockhrt999 , May 8, 2013 12:15 AM
    Quote:
    Gigabyte had problems in India with humidity entering between layers of the pcb (mb pcs have 6-10 layers or more) and causing shorts. They had to use fiber glass woven in another pattern to slow down the speed of humidity penetration and reduce the number of boards returned.
    With Haswell it may be the case that more integration and the lower heat dissipated by the cpu makes them able to reduce the number of layers on the board which results into thinner boards.
    It may be a move on their part save a couple of dollars on pcb reducing the layers by spending half a dollar or less for conformal coating which would make the board more resistant to flexing.
    Also, since Haswell has much lower power modes (using little power on idle), the coating may help with reducing emi coming from video cards and the VRMs.
    Anyway, just guesses.


    My Asus mobo has that kind of problem. Too much BSOD in Rainy Season. My old gigabyte with 845 chipset still doesn't have such problems.
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , May 8, 2013 7:02 AM
    Quote:
    Gigabyte had problems in India with humidity entering between layers of the pcb (mb pcs have 6-10 layers or more) and causing shorts.

    Boards with more than six layers are very uncommon in the consumer electronics world. You have to look at the high-end for boards with 8-10 layers... workstation/server-class boards, premium overclocking boards or premium sockets like LGA1366/LGA2011.

    IIRC, Intel started pushing for six layers with the P4 but board manufacturers found ways to stick to four layers on their lower-end boards until the MCH got integrated in CPUs.

    As for moisture getting into PCBs, that should not happen on a properly manufactured motherboard since the resin/epoxy that holds the fiberglass and copper together should not absorb moisture. Not to mention that just about all PCBs are already covered in conformal coating anyway in part to prevent "tin whiskers" from growing across traces and also in part to prevent solder/flux from adhering to random exposed copper during assembly so most of a PCB's surface area should already be airtight even without the extra coat of conformal coating.

    I think the main real-world benefit for most people here would be eliminating the risk of "tin whiskers" (conductive dust) bridging pins on SOIC/TQFP chips but with almost everything shipping in BGA packages these days, this shouldn't be much of a problem anymore.
  • 0 Hide
    captaincharisma , May 8, 2013 11:09 AM
    i guess they are just trying to make a failsafe for the newbs who try to attempt to install liquid cooling in their PC's
  • 0 Hide
    rolli59 , May 8, 2013 11:21 AM
    Interesting, are they going to put waterproof lids on all unused connectors and slots as well? As we all know they do have exposed electric connections. Anybody spilling water on their board would be lucky if missing this or the other connector or slot
  • 0 Hide
    koga73 , May 8, 2013 11:54 AM
    Protects against humidity but it would also be useful for computers in walk-in coolers where the heat from the computer could potentially create condensation in the cool environment.
  • 0 Hide
    _Cosmin_ , May 8, 2013 1:41 PM
    Waterproof will be IP67 rated and allow full immersion in water or just IP44 rated for water splashing ?
  • 1 Hide
    InvalidError , May 8, 2013 5:11 PM
    Quote:
    Protects against humidity but it would also be useful for computers in walk-in coolers where the heat from the computer could potentially create condensation in the cool environment.

    Adding heat cannot cause condensation since heat raises the temperature which incidentally raises the air's water-saturation pressure - its moisture-bearing capacity - effectively preventing condensation. It is not the addition of heat that is causing condensation; it is the lack of sufficient heat to keep the board's temperature above dew point that is.

    That's why phase-change CPU coolers often have heated seals - raise exposed surfaces' temperatures above dew point to prevent condensation.
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