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How Cold

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#1
How cold is to cold for a pc?
The Cruncher I won is here and is going into a room that is being painted this weekend. It will be up and running later this week.
I have no more room for PC's in the house, small house and kids just not enough room. I now have 2, the boys have 1, and the wife's lap top.
I do have room out in my shop, but it is not heated. right now its about 2 degrees above zero and will be below 30 for the next for most of the next few months and come January below zero most of the month.
I can put together another cruncher or 2 but they have to be in the shop. So will it be to cold? I thought about putting a heater or 2 out there but that and the PC's is more money than I want to pay the power company.
 

newtekie1

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#2
The components have minimum operating temperatures, but most are 0°C. Also, the parts will obviously warm themselves when the computers are on, so you should be fine. I have a client that keeps one of their computers in a walk in freezer, and the computer has run for years 24/7 without any problems, and the temperature is always ~25°F.
 
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#3
Hard drive failures rates go up as temp go down
 

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#4
Reduce airflow so the rigs warm themselves up? Monitor temps so they don't overheat, but even in even of overheating it will autoshutdown most of the time, so not much worries there.
 

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#5
Hard drive failures rates go up as temp go down
Yeah, that is really the only concern. However, the trend is they drives that don't like cold die in the first 3 months, after that they failure rate for cold temps go down to close to normal levels.

Also, you'd be surprised how much a crunching/folding computer will heat up a small space like a small workshop. It is basically like having a 500-750w space heater running constantly.
 
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#6
Thanks for the info guys. I think after the first of the year I will get another cruncher going, if it doesn't freeze. Then we will see if it can stand up to high 80's with high humidity. I hate this weather, I should have stayed back home in Washington.
 

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#7
Reduce airflow so the rigs warm themselves up? Monitor temps so they don't overheat, but even in even of overheating it will autoshutdown most of the time, so not much worries there.
This..

That chip runs plenty warm so I would just unplug the front intake fan for the winter. Also, you would probably be best to try running with the stock cooler first before putting on that AC Freezer64 one ;)
 
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#8
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#9

Fourstaff

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#10
But can a SSD take the cold?
Not too sure if the solders can, but I am pretty sure the chips itself will be able to stand a bit of chill.
 

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#11
According to Samsung, they SSDs can operate between 0°C and 70°C. So if you leave the machine off for a while and then fire it up it might be too cold, but if you leave the machine running 24/7 I would think the heat generated by the SSD would be enough to keep it above the 0°C mark. If anything, if the machine has been off for a while and it is below 0°C in your shop, open the side panel of the PC and point a space heater in it for a few minutes before turning the PC on to make sure everything is warmed up. After that, with the case closed up, the heat generated by the PC should keep everything warm enough.
 

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#12
I wouldn't be too worried about the cold, but I might be worried about the lack of humidity. One time, back when I had a PIII-700MHz I was clocking it up past 1GHz by opening the outside door that was right next to it. Everything was going good until I had a big static shock in the PC. I shut it off and reset everything back to stock. It ran fine afterwards, but I never did that again :(
 
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#13
I was thinking that a big cardboard box, with a couple small-ish holes in the top, a glass of water under the box w/ PC...should be warm enough to keep water unfrozen and it will add some humidity to the box. Just be sure the glass is secure enough not to tip and no case fans, PSU fan should do just enough.

Just my two cents. Good Luck!!
 
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#14
I wouldn't be too worried about the cold, but I might be worried about the lack of humidity
Good point, it is cold and dry. I shocked my son helping him put on his socks today.
 

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#15
Last year I lost some parts in my office due to keeping the window open (reducing temps for crunchers). I shocked them while working on them.
 

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#16
Yeah, don't work on them in the cold dry air, or keep a humidifier going. Touching the case shouldn't be a problem, because the case is grounded through the power supply. So touch the case before doing anything.
 

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#17
When SSds first came out someone raided like 10 of them and put LN2 on them when they clocked the controller to measure throughput. HDDs are a bit diffirent but they keep themselves warm enough. If you arent or dont want to run something 24/7 consider a lower power state not hibernate or sleep but like lowering clocks etc just so the system stays in op temps. Of course if this is going to be a cruncher you have nothing to worry about the system will keep itself warm enough no problem. except maybe the LCD. I would personally run the machine headless and use tightvnc or even remote desktop to get into the machine if you need it,.
 
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#18
Well as long as you are not watercooling anything, you only risk having issues with the hdd at startup. Keeping the pc open 24/7 should be good enough
 

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#19
Something else to remember; if your using an LED or LCD monitor they are not suppose to be subjected to temps below 20 F.
I had an old 19" LCD that I forgot was in storage until the middle of December a couple of years ago. brought it home that year and plugged it in and it had a bunch of blue and red lines running vertical across the screen. That year it had only dropped into the single digits a couple of nights.
 
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#20
Something else to remember; if your using an LED or LCD monitor they are not suppose to be subjected to temps below 20 F.
I had an old 19" LCD that I forgot was in storage until the middle of December a couple of years ago. brought it home that year and plugged it in and it had a bunch of blue and red lines running vertical across the screen. That year it had only dropped into the single digits a couple of nights.
If that were true my laptop at -29F wouldn't have worked, as it was the HDD wouldn't spin up fast enough to start but the LCD worked fine.

I have ran my system in -17F temps and held the GPU under full load at 30F before and it worked fine. Managed to hit almost 1.2Ghz
 
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#21
I live in Québec and was able to make a computer work outside in the shed at -35 celcius. The ennemy of computers are the humidity not the cold itself. As example a cold fan in -35 celcius at dry temp will turn but at -15 in humid temp it will struggle if not already frozen by humidity itself. When you warm up the computer the heat make the cold go out but condensation comes in so when you stop it the condensation is freezing back inside all the computer. That's the problem.