OC Archeology: An LN2 Cooled, Fluorinert Submerged Rig from the Year 2000

I know today isn’t Thursday (our usual day of the week that we set aside for retro themed musings) but today we just came across a story stashed away on OCTools.com (via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine) that outlines the adventures of one crazy overclocker named Ramil Tranquilino in New Zealand. He came up with the idea of putting a rig together that basically submerges the motherboard, CPU and memory in a substance called Fluorinert, an electronic testing fluid manufactured by 3M. Once completely submerged he then cools the whole rig with LN2.

Being the year 2000, the rig he using is of course proper retro; an Intel Celeron 366, an ABIT BE6-2 Motherboard, Creative 32MB TNT2 Ultra and an Infineon 128MB PC133 memory kit. By the end of his experiment he managed to push the Celeron chip from 366MHz to 650MHz using an FSB of 118MHz. Here's how he did it:

“I need two containers to house the motherboard and the intercooler. These containers need to be made of something that can withstand liquid nitrogen and wouldn't leak. So it was decided to use polysterene. The first box would house the motherboard which will be submerged in FLUORINERT and the other box will house the intercooler submerged in LIQUID NITROGEN. The pump will suck the warm fluorinert to the supercooled intercooler then pump it back to the mobo box.”

However, it turns out that the Fluorinert eventually turns to gel at subzero temperatures!!

“Then DISASTER struck!!! Maybe from the non-stop pouring of the LN2, our Fluorinert turned to gel! Our pump was spurting away because of the air packets when the fluid turned to gel. We had to stop the pump and blow dry the intercooler and wait till the Fluorinert turns to liquid again before we can proceed. After an hour of blowdrying it all turned to liquid again... So we started overclocking once again....”

Thanks to HWBOT member Casanova who dug this article out and shared it on the Overclocking Archaeology forum thread. It’s certainly a pretty far out experiment and well worth a read.

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