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What started as an OCF Benching Team forum goof, and then morphed into a MythBuster’s style mystery, turned into the following laugh filled, sub-zero experiment. The proper way, if there is such a thing, to take a GPU to sub-zero temps is with a purchased or custom built DICE/LN2 GPU pot. There are many fine examples of such pots readily available on the internet. The problem is that most of them can be a fairly expensive purchase for the average fellow who just dumped all his money into new hardware, or the average bencher who just killed half of his. So the quest emerges…
What is the cheapest way to get a video card into the sub-zero range?
Sure, you could wait until winter and move things out to the garage provided you live in a climate that has winter. Will it be colder? Sure. Will it be sub-zero? Probably not. Obviously LN2 is out of the question. It’s expensive, hard to contain, and downright dangerous if misused. So what are we left with? Dry ice, also known as DICE. It’s as cheap as $1.00 a pound, easily accessible, safe, and can potentially get you into the -70 °C range! Now we just have to figure out how to get the dry ice in contact with our GPU long enough to run some benchmarks.
Got a sandwich bag and some spare time?
Then you are all set for GPU DICE cooling on the cheap!
And that is the cheap way to take your video card sub-zero.
-30 °C for the price of a sandwich bag, some tape, and a scoop of DICE!
I’m betting that you are wondering where all the sweet scores are? Me too. This particular card honestly didn’t bench a great deal better at -30 °C verses 50 °C where it normally operates at, much to my dismay. As a matter of fact this might have been my best run: 1470 marks in Vantage. I’m really hoping the i7 at 4.7 GHz didn’t bottleneck it.
You might think that I have absolutely nothing to show for this foray into sub-zero cooling, but you would be wrong. What we have gained in sub-zero sandwich bag DICE pot fabrication techniques far outweighs any elite scores or gold medals. Plus, this was a whole lot of fun! I hope you agree.
Disclaimer: No ATI 4550s were harmed in the making of this article. This was a bad idea, under no circumstances should any reasonable person ever attempt something this insanely foolish. If you need help or advice trying, feel free to post below.