Rid of Condensation
Whenever you cool something below the ambient
temperature, you always have to worry about condensation, and since
your using a peltier you have to worry even more since your CPU can
go below 0ºC. Since we
don’t wont to invite water into our computers to fry our
components there are a few simple steps that we can take to avoid,
or at least fight off condensation.
seal your peltier unit and copper cold plate (I’ll explain what
this is later in the article) in CLOSED cell foam or a neoprene.
The closed cell foam or neoprene seals your processor and
peltier from outside air that way you don’t have condensation next
or close to the cpu.
Now there are other places that we have
to stop condensation from forming and that is on the backside of the
CPU, and the backside of the motherboard or slocket.
try and stop outside air from reaching the back of the CPU, we want
to take a silicon-based rubber sealer (the more silicon the better).
And place a bead of silicon around the outside of the socket
and around the inside. This
will stop the outside air from getting next to the backside of the
CPU and will help prevent condensation.
Also take a piece of closed cell foam or a neoprene
and put in the middle of the socket, this insulates the backside of
the cpu from out side air that may get in and condensate on the
backside of the cpu.
Ok so with the CPU pretty much
insulated now we have to focus on the back of the slocket or
motherboard. This is a very important step. You need to either take
a neoprene patch (I would only use a piece of neoprene patch, I
wouldn't use closed cell foam.) bigger than the area of CPU and glue
it to the back of the motherboard or slocket. This would insulate
the back of the motherboard or slocket from condensation, because it
gets quite cool as well… Or you can get a can of "conformal
coating silicone spray" and spray the back of motherboard or
slocket heavily. This will have the same effect of insulating the
backside of the slocket or motherboard and preventing condensation.
Also to help keep your CPU warm boot
into the bios and turn off ACPI, or at least set the throttle/duty
cycle to the max it will let you, on the BE6-2 the max is 75%. This
will keep you computer from going into power saving mode and prevent
your CPU from going below 0.
Ok early I mentioned a copper cold plate, so what is
it? Well you never want to have direct contact between you CPU and
your peltier for a couple of reasons. One Peltiers fluctuate in the
amount of heat they can remove, so you need a buffer zone to keep
cooling your CPU in your peltiers weaker moments, which is exactly
what the copper cold plate does. The second reason why you use a
copper cold plate is you need to spread the heat load from the
relatively small area of the CPU die, to the whole peltier for max
Pic ripped from 2CoolTek.com
Now that we have covered all of the
hardware things you can do to prevent condensation, lets look at the
software things to stop condensation.
You don't want to tempt fate and let
your CPU run at idle with your peltier running this will cause your
CPU temp to drop down below 0ºC, which could allow condensation to
form. So what is the solution to this? Well there are many programs
on the net that will allow you to run your CPU at 100% CPU load one
of these is the distributed.net
client for RC-5. This little baby tries to break RC-5 64 bit
encryption by brute force. It will eat up all of your spare CPU
clock cycles keeping your chip warmer. Which lessens the chance of
condensation forming… While you're at it why not sign up for the
gideontech.com RC-5 team?
Another program worth taking a look at is Mother
Board Monitor (MBM). This little gem is one of the best
monitoring programs around and it also has a handy function built
into it its called CPU Heat up, what does it do? Well if your
processor falls below a certain temperature that you can set, it
creates a thread in the cpu which use 100% of the operations which
causes you cpu temp to warm up and after it reaches a temperature
that you can set, its stops the thread and everything goes back to
normal, that way if the program that you are using to keep your cpu
temp up for some unknown reason crashes, well you won't end up
risking frying your chip… MBM also has a shutdown function that
will turn off your computer automatically if your CPU gets to hot,
so lets say that your peltier fan dies, and as you CPU temp slowly
rises, MBM can turn off your computer before it gets to hot to fry
Note: MBM 5.x doesn't contain the CPU heat up
function to my knowledge, only MBM 4.18 and lower contains it and
you have to read the readme on how to enable it…
Ok now that you learned something about peltiers
(hopefully) lets put it to good use and do some overclocking and
extreme cooling. :-)