The 5 GHz, Six-Core Project: Core i7-980X Gets Chilly

Reworking The Installation

We’ve already proven that we’re not afraid to risk a little “free hardware” to prove a point, and we’re completely familiar with methods that would have prevented condensation from accumulating in fragile areas. These methods include painting the entire board with nonconductive sealant, sealing the entire area around the CPU with nonconductive putty such as kneaded eraser, and filling the LGA with dielectric grease. Unfortunately, most of these solutions cannot be completely removed from the motherboard. While we only needed our system to run for 12-hour intervals, we do recommend most of these precautions for extended use.

The one drop of water that stopped the system had left a trail, starting at the evaporator and running past the round hole in the foam barrier, down the side of our CPU socket, and into the Land Grid Array (LGA). Nonconductive putty was added to fill the gap between the CPU’s heat spreader and socket’s pressure plate.

A new layer of tape seals the CPU area to the reinstalled, custom-cut foam layers. The foam sheet with the round hole was reinstalled over this tape.

A bead of putty fills the space between the evaporator’s mounting block and top foam sheet. These minor changes allowed our system to run eight, but not the full twelve hours between dry-offs.

Removing the CPU after an eight-hour test session revealed drops of condensation on each of its 1366 contact pads. Air circulating under the CPU was the problem, and that problem can be solved by filling the LGA with dielectric grease. Petroleum jelly makes an adequate substitute for dielectric grease when used at moderate to low temperatures, such as those experienced with sub-ambient CPU cooling systems.

As seen in our 2008 Overdrive Competition, applying putty around the CPU socket is another option to further prevent air from getting underneath it. Unfortunately, voltage regulator chokes immediately adjacent to the socket of the motherboard we used today would have severely obstructed such work.

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    Top Comments
  • Crashman
    tacoslavei thought it would perform much better in games
    Check this out:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i3-gaming,2588.html
    For the CPU to become the choking point, you need the GPU to be extremely powerful. Tom's Hardware formerly used unrealistic tests like Half Life 2 at 640x480 just to prove the CPU performance difference in games, but the fact that nobody used those settings eventually lead to the discontinuation of that testing method.
    16
  • dark bishop
    id like to see them try it on the phenom II x6
    15
  • zorky9
    Cooler Master’s reputable CMPSU-850HX

    Did you mean Corsair?
    13
  • Other Comments
  • Poisoner
    Pretty impressive. I wish Athlon II would over clock to 4ghz on air. :(
    10
  • zorky9
    Cooler Master’s reputable CMPSU-850HX

    Did you mean Corsair?
    13
  • tacoslave
    i thought it would perform much better in games
    -6
  • Crashman
    tacoslavei thought it would perform much better in games
    Check this out:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i3-gaming,2588.html
    For the CPU to become the choking point, you need the GPU to be extremely powerful. Tom's Hardware formerly used unrealistic tests like Half Life 2 at 640x480 just to prove the CPU performance difference in games, but the fact that nobody used those settings eventually lead to the discontinuation of that testing method.
    16
  • noob2222
    tacoslavei thought it would perform much better in games

    There was a thread several months ago comparing the Intel Vs AMD platforms regarding the graphic card bottleneck. Suprising enough Intel cpus capped at a certain overclock where as AMD did not, eventually becoming faster FPS but required a much higher clock speed. It was determined that Intel has a limit on pcie bandwidth. Good luck finidng it, its probably over 6 months old.

    back to the arcitle, very interesting, and extremely expensive to even consider doing something like this.
    Quote:
    Finally there’s the expense. Our $900 cooler requires around 480W of power in addition to that consumed by the rest of the PC

    Add in the cost and time required to set this type of thing up as well as coating the MB ... lol, I don't even want to think about actually trying to go this extreme.

    Water is good for me, and if I want extreme, I will wait till winter and throw my radiator out the window while its freezing outside and pump antifreeze through it lol.
    7
  • liquidsnake718
    zorky9Cooler Master’s reputable CMPSU-850HXDid you mean Corsair?

    Nope coolmaster has a whole line of PSU's... they are decent and perhaps compareable to Corsair for albeit a slightly lower price point. But Oc'ing to 5.ghz and above is really crazy stuff here. I am actually happy with 3.0 and above already stock but damn, I dont think i would like to tax my system to 5.0 and above, regardless of cooling! It would cost more, but I do see the sport of it and commend those that take time to reach 5.0 and above figures with regular water cooled systems.
    -4
  • vinehoyle
    Amusing article. However some correcting is needed. The next to last paragraph states the cooler consumed 480W and the cpu consumes according to ur graphic 220w? My math says 700w JUST for the cooler and cpu. This calls in to question ur power bill figures. It's clearly much greater. I won't even talk about once u add things, though it would have been a good idea to calculate that figure too. Simply to show the madness of this project to ur power bill lol!
    5
  • Crashman
    vinehoyleAmusing article. However some correcting is needed. The next to last paragraph states the cooler consumed 480W and the cpu consumes according to ur graphic 220w? My math says 700w JUST for the cooler and cpu. This calls in to question ur power bill figures. It's clearly much greater. I won't even talk about once u add things, though it would have been a good idea to calculate that figure too. Simply to show the madness of this project to ur power bill lol!

    The article specifically states that the "added expense" figures are based on the 480W it takes to run the cooler. It assumes you're already planning to use the rest of the system at whatever speed you can get WITHOUT the cooler, and tells you how much MORE it costs to use the cooler. I think its fairly well explained, but feel free to point out any specific spot I missed, thanks!
    liquidsnake718Nope coolmaster has a whole line of PSU's...
    He's right, CMPSU-850HX is a Cosair model. Cooler Master does have some decent 850W power supplies though, I have one sitting in my liquid cooling bench station.
    3
  • dark bishop
    id like to see them try it on the phenom II x6
    15
  • Moshu78
    I'm sorry but once again, Tom's is testing CPU's while bottlenecking the Video. Can't you guys just use a simple rule like: When you test the CPU, use highest available video power (like Xfire of 5970), and when testing the GPU, use highest available CPU (980X). It's THAT simple. The 3D benchmarks are meaningless, waste of time AND money AND information. I predicted those graphs in the moment I saw you used a 5850 for the tests.
    7
  • Crashman
    Moshu78I'm sorry but once again, Tom's is testing CPU's while bottlenecking the Video. Can't you guys just use a simple rule like: When you test the CPU, use highest available video power (like Xfire of 5970)
    Yes, this is completely possible and highly desirable, please send two HD 5970 graphics cards immediately to the two remaining U.S. test labs that don't have them. And thanks for helping out!
    13
  • siman
    PoisonerPretty impressive. I wish Athlon II would over clock to 4ghz on air.


    Phenoms can reach that, why would you overclock an Athlon II anyway? This is a little pointless toms had to disable hyper-threading. Effectively killing off I'd say 45% of the CPUs juice. Im already running my Phenom II X6 @ 4.5GHz on water cooling. It runs everything vary well and with the money I saved on the CPU, I got 5850s in crossfire. All in a Micro ATX case...
    2
  • Crashman
    simanPhenoms can reach that, why would you overclock an Athlon II anyway? This is a little pointless toms had to disable hyper-threading. Effectively killing off I'd say 45% of the CPUs juice. Im already running my Phenom II X6 @ 4.5GHz on water cooling. It runs everything vary well and with the money I saved on the CPU, I got 5850s in crossfire. All in a Micro ATX case...
    Juice? It obviously saves enough power to drop the CPU temperature, but doesn't have a huge effect on average performance. Check out the benchmark difference between 4.7 GHz at 12-threads and 5.0 GHz with 6.
    0
  • Moshu78
    CrashmanYes, this is completely possible and highly desirable, please send two HD 5970 graphics cards immediately to the two remaining U.S. test labs that don't have them. And thanks for helping out!

    I'm sure Tom's have 2 x 5970 at their disposal and if they don't, just don't start to work if you don't have the proper tools. Cause the quality (results) will disapoint. Come on... I know there are Tom's fanboys on this website, which is understandable, but bottlenecking a stock 980X with a 5850 and then making graphs with how FPS don't change if you increase the frequence is just... sad.
    10
  • anamaniac
    I still run my i7 920 at stock just because I feel there's no reason for me to juice it up some.

    There's a nice German fellow working on a 5 stage cascade at xtremesystems, too bad its taken him over a year and a half without completion. Tom's should go ninja it from him when he finishes and bench a i7-980x and a Atom N270. :)

    Too many of hese 32nm melting below 1.4V (Highest I tried on air for my i7-920 was 1.55V).
    2
  • Crashman
    Moshu78I'm sure Tom's have 2 x 5970 at their disposal.
    I'm pretty certain they have a total of 3 to share between 4 labs, that Chris has two, Don has one, and Paul and Thomas have zero. I'm also pretty certain that Chris uses his two often enough that he hasn't been able to lend them to Thomas, and that Don actually lives in Canada :)
    7
  • haplo602
    simply cool :-)

    however the price/performance/convenience factor completely obliterates the result ... as was expected ...
    4
  • Tamz_msc
    So, the positive aspect of this article is that disabling HT reduced temps by 20 degrees.That's a HUGE decrease.Good job!:-)
    1
  • Reynod
    crashman always gets the best toys to play with.

    :)
    1
  • doomtomb
    Overclocking is OVERRATED and this article proves it.
    -6