New liquid cools hot gaming PCs

Hardcore Computer developed Core Coolant, a new liquid to cool its high end gaming PCs.

Hardcore Computer has developed a new liquid to cool computer components inside a family of monstrous PCs it created for gamers, and the company hopes to attract interest for the coolant from other parts of the IT industry that grapple with heat, such as server makers.

PC parts, especially chips, give off a lot of heat while they're running, and companies have come up with dozens of ways to cool systems over the years, from using fans, heat sinks, liquid coolants and more. Yet heat continues to have the upper hand. At server farms, for example, companies often spend more money on electricity for air conditioning and other cooling systems than on the servers themselves.

Hardcore Computer developed the new cooling liquid, which it calls Core Coolant, out of a waste product from petroleum. Core Coolant is non-combustible, non-conductive and is safe enough to drink, according to Chad Attlesey, chief technology officer of the company, in an interview at the Storage Visions conference in Las Vegas.

He said he's actually had to drink it in demonstrations before and agreed to for IDG, but said it's like drinking castor oil. It doesn't taste good.

Looking at the gaming PC it's designed to cool, the Reactor Extreme, it's clear why the company needed something radical to control heat in the system.

The Reactor Extreme comes with an Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 microprocessor, which runs at 3GHz and has four processing cores, three Nvidia GeForce GTX 280s graphics cards, 4GB of RAM and requires two 650-watt power supplies. It's the hottest and most expensive computer in the Reactor family, at US$6,462, and a nightmare for heat.

To keep the computer cool while it's running at full speed, Hardcore Computer immersed the Reactor Extreme's motherboard, including the microprocessors and other chips, in four and a half gallons of Core Coolant. That's the wet side of the PC, and it's protected by a clear plastic casing made from the same material used in visors worn by astronauts in outer space.

A radiator designed for the Reactor Extreme sits behind the motherboard on the dry side of the PC.

Attlesey said the coolant is being reviewed for use in a few enterprise systems and the company hopes to find more customers in the server market for the liquid.

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Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service
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