A Beginners Guide To LN2 Benchmarking – Subzero Series

If you are reading this, then maybe you are ready to make the jump into subzero benchmarking or just interested in a simple how to. Subzero benchmarking is where you use LN2 (Liquid Nitrogen), DICE (Dry Ice), Phase change units or even, for those daring enough, LHE (Liquid Helium). The main focus of this guide is to show you what you need to start of on LN2 or DICE. We will look at what is needed and some terminology on CPU and Graphics subzero overclocking and benchmarking.

Gigabyte Z97X SOC Force

We will not be doing any actual subzero overclocking and benchmarking, as they will be covered in future articles in our Subzero Series in. We previously posted an article showing you a comparison between standard cooling and LN2.


To get started you will need the following items:

  1. Hardware
  2. CPU LN2/DICE pot
  3. Insulation Materials
  4. LN2/DICE Supplier

For computer hardware, older generation is a cheap fun way to start. For example a nice P45 or X48 LGA775 board and a bunch of Core 2, Celeron D and Pentium sck775 CPU’s, which if you search eBay or technology sites, you’ll be surprised what you can find. This goes the same for AMD, such as AM2 and AM3 hardware. The main point here is that you dont need the latest and best hardware on the market to start Subzero Benchmarking.


There are numerous pot manufacturers out there, such as der8auer and Kingpin. New pots  can be expensive, so you might want to check out technology sites and marketplaces for someone selling used pots. The pots we will look at are from Kingpin Cooling, as we have found these pots professionally made and can do the job well. Pots from der8auer are of great quality as well and are not to be dismissed.

First we will start with some terminology on cold bugs.


Because Intel CPU’s suffer from what is known as Coldbug (CB) and Cold Boot Bug (CBB), these temperatures must be monitored constantly with a digital thermometer and a K-Type bead probe, which all LN2 pots have a hole at the base to insert the probe. AMD CPU’s can handle what is known as a full pot, by that I mean they do not suffer from these bugs and can handle temps to -196C, which is the boiling point of Liquid Nitrogen in an ideal situation. Around -180C approx is roughly the boiling point on Liquid Nitrogen at sea level. CB and CBB can vary from chip to chip although the delta between the two is pretty close. When a CPU hits its CB point, the system will shutdown whilst with CBB the CPU will not allow booting due to cold. To warm the pot up a hand held blow torch is used and is what is known as pulling the pot up. To get temperatures back down, LN2 is poured which is known as pulling the pot down.


This pot is what is known as a fast pot, this means you can lower temperatures rather quickly, whilst on the other hand under load temperatures will rise rather quick. The best use for this pot is on CPU’s that can handle a full pot (i.e., no cold bugs).

Subzero Beginners Guide-1

As you can see, the pot comes with backplate, mounting rods and mounting hardware to screw the pot down much like with standard cooling hardware. The pot is also modular, which means it comes in two pieces, the copper base and the top.

Please see The Kingpin Venom Product Page for more information and pricing. Note the pot comes in a range of colors.


This pot is a slow pot, it is designed for CPU’s that require stringent temperature control such as CPU’s that suffer from coldbugs. The pot is referred to as a slow pot because it takes longer to cool down, but also longer to warm back up due to the large copper mass, which is why it is easier to control temperatures.

Subzero Beginners Guide-9

Once again the pot comes with all mounting hardware. Below you will see the pot assembled.

Subzero Beginners Guide-10

Please see the Dragon F1 Extreme Edition Product Page for more information and pricing.