See how the i9-13900K and RTX 4090 perform when it’s -63F outside.
WTF?! PC gamers often joke that seasonal temperature changes have a noticeable effect on the internal temperature of their systems under heavy load. The recent record cold spell in northern China allowed the content creator to take this idea to the extreme.
Chinese hardware enthusiast and content creator 苏”baka recently posted a video (below) of her testing a PC outdoors at -63 degrees. The experiment resulted in some fun hurdles and workarounds.
Last Sunday, the northern Chinese city of Mohe published the aforementioned temperature is one of the lowest in China on record. To see the impact of extreme weather conditions on a PC, Baka tested a rig containing an Intel i9-13900K and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 outside for two nights.
Anyone who has used tools like MSI Afterburner or CPUTemp knows that graphics cards and processors get very hot when doing intensive tasks, sometimes reaching 100 degrees Celsius. PC builders and tuners often spend a lot of money keeping these components cool. This task is often made easier in winter when the ambient temperature is cooler, but how cold is too cold?
Baka started by testing another PC in the cold without built-in cooling, which ran at around -1.8°C. After a few minutes of stress testing the AIDA64 with heatsink, the maximum temperature reached 3°C.
When Baka tested the 13900K/4090 system under similar conditions with the 4090’s AIO cooler, the GPU stopped working because the liquid coolant had frozen. This is where everything went crazy.
Baka then installed a passive GPU cooler and attached the tower next to a fan array the same size as the tower. When she turned everything on, the cooling system sounded like it was about to take off from the runway.
Under these conditions, the processor reached 6.18 GHz at about 15°C, and the graphics card maintained a temperature of -40°C with a -18°C hotspot. In the October test, the same processor achieved a record overclock of 8.8 GHz using liquid nitrogen cooling, which can reach temperatures as low as -196°C.
One would imagine that the best software to launch the 4090 in sub-zero weather would be an infamous high-end game like Crysis, Microsoft Flight Simulator, or perhaps Portal RTX. Baka chose Minesweeper.
The video doesn’t say much about how other components, like the motherboard, RAM, or SSD, held up in the cold. However, Baka promised that no equipment was damaged during the test.