More Overclocking With LN2
The German regional of Tom’s Hardware’s Overdrive overclocking competition came to a close late last month (see the news post Overclocking Competition: Germany Edges Past USA 8-2 for a breakdown of the scores).
The three members of the team "Benchbros" were declared the winners after a 10 hour competition. The crew, made up of David Schöppe, Manuel Wiesner, and Andreas Bock, produced record results in eight of the ten categories, achieving a clock speed of 5.9 GHz on the Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 and an MSI P45 motherboard. The winning team prepared for the task even before the event. The consensus was that the trio reached the limitations of its P45-based motherboard and processor, though the hand-selected Kingston memory modules running at DDR3-2000 didn’t even come close to their limits.
The MacSafe team chose an unusual strategy—something we didn’t see in the US—cooling the graphics card via copper sheeting, which was affixed to a self-made pot. This picture story chronicles their challenges in building a custom cooling solution for the competition.
Studying Circuit Diagrams
Jürgen Augstein from MacSafe concentrated hard, trying to make the modifications to the MSI P45D3 Platinum motherboard. The necessary layout documentation was provided beforehand.
Working Under Pressure
Division of labor at the MacSafe team: Jürgen Augstein on the left and Dominikus Baur on the right. The duo employed a very creative approach and constructed most of its mods within a short period of time.
More Work, More Pressure
Everything needed to go smoothly. With only 10 hours to mod and benchmark, there wasn’t much room for error.
Tools Of The Trade
Tools everywhere you look: the Dremel came in handy. The creative MacSafe team had to get in a number of time-intensive shopping errands in order to finalize its build.
Built-to-order: here the copper sheet for cooling the graphics card is being cut to size. Copper is an excellent heat conductor and transfers the extreme cold from the CPU pot filled with liquid nitrogen to the graphics chip. The risk of this strategy is that humidity in the air may condense on the components, causing a short.
Attention To Details
Manufacturing the copper cooling sheet took up too much of the MacSafe team’s time, so they only had a few minutes left for running the actual benchmarks.
Just Add Sub-Zero Temps
Nitrogen canisters at the ready: time to get going, assuming the CPU and graphics chip cooler are ready for LN2.
Joined At The Hip
This build is certainly inventive. In this shot we see the CPU pot and copper sheeting, used to draw heat from the graphics processor. Again, we didn’t witness anything like this during our local competition. Linking the two components was certainly an interesting thought, though.
The coupling of the processor and the graphics chip for cooling required a lot of work. At the end of the day, there was no time left for successful overclocking attempts. Perhaps this would have gone over more successfully had the competitors had more time for testing.
Here in the States, our overclockers took the GTX 280s apart completely in order to cool them with custom copper pots.
Too Much Prep, Not Enough Benchmarking
Although it’s ready for competition, this custom cooling solution involving copper wrapped around the GeForce GTX 280 simply took too long to manufacture.