World's Coolest Personal Computer

A PC maker submerges its computers to raise their clock speed


By dunking the guts of its computers in liquid, Hardcore Computer, in Rochester, Minn., says it can dampen (yes, that’s the word it uses) temperature spikes, raising both reliability and performance through ”the fastest sustainable overclocking available.” Overclocked video cards and other components run at roughly half their normal temperatures.

Cofounder Chad Attlesey says that the speed of its flagship computer, the Reactor, is matched by hobbyists using liquid nitrogen but that their systems can’t run with overclocking for long periods of time. “The original Hardcore prototype has been running error free in my office for over four years.”

Hardcore’s proprietary polymer-based Core Coolant doesn’t conduct electricity. Therefore it can safely bathe the entire Reactor core without risking short circuits or corrosion.

Powerful circulating-style pumps from Laing Thermotech (better known for its spa pumps) and thin-fin skived copper heat sinks dissipate heat via a radiator with four 120-millimeter fans on its plenum. For rack systems, the pumps convey the warm fluid so waste heat can be dissipated or put to work.

The company is initially targeting thick-wallet gamers, but Attlesey says that its overclocking can still make the Reactor a bargain—despite prices that start at US $3000 and top out at $11 000—for medical imaging or military simulation. “Analyses that take 24 hours, we’ve been able to run in 2,” he reports.