When it comes to cooling a high-end PC, water is as complicated as you want to get, as liquid nitrogen is just not practical in the slightest for everyday use. If water isn't to your liking, you could always snap a brain circuit, build a wind tunnel and shove your PC's exposed bits inside of it.
Mike over at Total Geekdom wanted to find out how far he could take air-cooling because, well, he could. The contraption you see here is the result. Wood was used for most of the construction, tied together with aluminium trimming and braces and transparent polycarbonate fashioned into windows. The original plan called for four separate fans -- two intake and two exhaust -- but Mike ended up using just a single large one capable of pushing 2200 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air at 24km/h. A lovely touch is the retro-looking control panel; I could stand next to it all day and fiddle with those buttons.
The wind tunnel design minimises the amount of dead space and maximises the coverage of cool air over hot components. Mike's final version allows the air passing through the central part of the enclosure to hit 14.5km/h and 1200cfm at the fan's lowest setting and he's keen to crank up the speed. Right now, the extra breathing room created by the wind tunnel has allowed him to overclock the system's Intel 3770K CPU to 4.5GHz, up from 3.5GHz (3.9GHz with Turbo Boost). Mike's confident he can reach 4.8GHz with some tweaking.
The whole point of the endeavour is to create a system that can monster through work units for the Help Conquer Cancer, which makes use of distributed computing, much like [email protected] According to Mike, his overclocked machine can get through 40 units in the time it takes a regular PC to do one.
Talk about productive.
Images: Mike, Total Geekdom