PC cooling using 1000 ft^2 geothermal

Are you still using heat sinks and fans to cool your computer? Lame. Tearing up your property to bury geothermal coils is definitely the way to go. [Romir] has been working on this for about a month and is just getting back data from the first multi-day tests. Take some time to dig through his original post. It includes something of a table-of-contents for the 35 updates he’s posted so far. Closed loop cooling seems to be trendy right now, we just didn’t expect to see a system this large as part of a personal project. The last one we looked at used just six meters of pipe.


  1. Polymath says:

    Now if only I had a track shovel… that’d take forever by hand out here. We’ve got 2″ of dirt then its lime stone for 20′. Pretty sweet idea though.

  2. mrgoogfan says:

    overkill much?

  3. grovenstien says:

    why not use the heat to better use by storing it in a hot water tank or similar? Since your doing all that heating anyhoo!

  4. osgeld says:

    in other news, a man murders his wife after she decided to move the computer room to the other side of the house

  5. Rachel says:

    This would be much more useful as a ground source heat pump for the house’s heating and cooling. It seems like a waste to use it only for a computer.

  6. adamziegler says:

    Huh… I am a color blind, and cannot tell for sure what I am looking at. I would think a system this larger would flat line the CPU temp… or maybe he still has yet to connect the CPU?


  7. urlax says:

    Well, while it’s a great thing, he shoudn’t have realy done it for the environment.. the emissions of the shovel would take years to compensate with a heat pump..

  8. HIrudinea says:

    Fly, meet sledgehammer, mabye he can dig up the back 40 to cool the GPU on his Xbox360.

  9. A_Blind_Man says:

    If he has conected it to the cpu (i am assuming he has) i think his temp is flatlined, but swings with the Enviro temp more than anything. also he has not posted a cpu temp graph there

  10. You guys are missing the point.

    The man has a backhoe.

    ’nuff said.

  11. Jay says:

    This is all fine and good, but I’m not seeing a stress test graph.

    It does no good if it keeps it COLD at idle but does no better than normal watercooling at full load…

  12. derp says:

    I loooooooove the use of geothermal for computer cooling. when i buy a house i’m setting that up.

    Free cooling, come on.

    Of course it’ll be less efficient because of increased pumping power requirement, but at a loop that long it’s gonna stay cold for a long long time.

    The next step would be to make an underground reservoir as well. :D

  13. Steeve says:

    Pretty stupid. If he would recycle the heat or something, but I don’t see any reason why it would be necessary to destroy your backyard just to cool 1,4 kW. The bottleneck is going to be the heatsink on the CPU anyway, not to the radiator. 1,4 kW? Just regular air cooling after a primary liquid cooling cycle would do!

  14. I has always annoyed me that I’ve got to cool my server room — even in winter — but the waste heat is hard to sue for anything. This spring I plan to build a powered duct from the server room to another part of the house so at least I’m not dumping waste heat outside.

    The other one that annoys me is running my AC and Fridge with their big condenser coils throwing off large amounts of waste heat while not 50 yards away I’m running a pool heater. I’d love to extend the coolant lines the fridge to the condenser so that the condenser could be outside, and submerged in a heat transfer tank with water as it circulates through the pool filter. The same idea would hold true for the air conditioning.

    On the one hand, the pool water flowing so quickly would much more efficiently cool the condenser coil and I’ll bet the fridge would run more efficiently.

    On the other hand, the corrosive effects of the chlorine would probably play so much hell with the system as to remove all benefit.

    Frustrating problem. I just hate wasting all those BTU’s.

  15. jim says:

    Is it just me or is his geothermal cooling system in fact just an underground heat store that’s slowly but surely accumulating the heat it’s supposed to transfer.

    Methinks circulating the water through a conventional radiator would be more efficient and cost effective.

  16. rd75 says:

    His geothermal cooling system IS a conventional radiator. It’s simply radiating heat into solid earth instead of gaseous air. The lack of ability to circulate the medium with a fan is more than offset by the size of the radiator and medium itself. As the heat transfer efficiency gets higher, and the medium larger, the input heat becomes less significant as compared to its “temperature inertia”.

  17. barry99705 says:

    Would probably work better if the loops were in a decorative pond in the back yard.

  18. 24601 says:

    He’s putting the tubes 12 feet down into the ground, far enough that seasonal variability is very small, perhaps less than 10 degrees either way between winter and summer.

  19. jeditalian says:

    nice claw. people in cities would require a building permit for a task like that.
    you should try to dig a hole so deep that it resurfaces elsewhere, if you just dug at the right angle away from houses, and then come back up somewhere.. if it collapeses you just built a nice drainage ditch so your house wont flood. and maybe your own grave but thats why u need a Technodrome or whatever.

  20. strider_mt2k says:

    No time for inappropriate baffling singsong, Neddy…

  21. Davo1111 says:

    Seems a little overkill. He could have just fed the cord into a pond/watertank etc.

    nice digger btw

  22. pookey says:


    Or, “… in testimony before a grand jury, a drug cartel informant described the cartel’s practice of “cooling my computer,” crime world jargon meaning digging huge trenches in the front yard to lay pipe to cool a gaming machine, trenches that coincidentally provide an outstanding place to dump bodies and hide large weapons caches…”

  23. pookey says:

    @Andrew Pollack

    I’m with you. I used to live in Michigan where winters get very cold, and it annoyed me that electricity was used to create a cold spot inside my fridge, inside of a house that I used electricity to heat, in an environment that was cold.

    A truly “green” fridge would feature a couple of filtered dryer hoses that could connect to the outside world. Any time the outdoor temp was lower than the fridge thermostat setting, the fridge would circulate outside air (with dampers and a low power fan) in preference to firing up an energy-intensive compressor. Needless to say, this model of fridge would only sell in higher latitude areas.

    I now live in the desert in the Southwest. It’s retarded to pay $$$ to pump heat out of the interior of my fridge, into my living space, and then pay again to pump the heat from my living space to the outdoors. A green fridge for this area would feature a couple of hoses that would let me vent waste heat directly outdoors. (Ideally, the heat could be used to pre-heat water flowing into the hot water heater, but hey, you can’t have everything.


  24. hemisphere says:

    And what was the overall cost of the project?
    I’m just fine with normal watercooling for PCs.

    You should rather put in efforts to find out how to cool the entire house without air conditioner or invent a new type.
    I have now a new air conditioner with inverter but it ain’t save that much of an energy.
    Basically I spend the price of the device over a summer for electricity bills :(

  25. alex says:

    I think its brilliant, perhaps its a bit overkill, but go big or go home!

    Seriously, if every project was designed for ‘just enough’ or ‘common sense’ then think about what we wouldn’t have. ie: pyramids, manned moon missions, dubai towers, twinkies…

  26. zno3 says:

    I’m still using fan cooler, never been used water block too, so what was this, if it’s cheaper than water cooling then I’m in :D

  27. lwatcdr says:

    It would seem to me that this would be better if you used it for your home AC and heating.
    Of course it did get me thinking. I have seen some desks that used concrete for the desktop. Now if you embedded lines in the concrete you could use your entire desktop as a heatsink.
    So the longer you worked the warmer you desk would get.

  28. Evan says:


    I’ve had the same thought about the fridge, but I’m not sure that it’s actually so beneficial in the cold-climate case.

    Sure, you’re running in inefficient compressor to cool off the fridge — but the inefficiencies are also heating your house. If you use outside air to cool the fridge, your heating system would just need to pick up the slack. (I suppose this could theoretically still be a benefit if you have non-electric heating.)

    If you want a really efficient fridge, you could do what this guy did and turn a chest freezer into a refrigerator: http://mtbest.net/chest_fridge.html

  29. D- says:

    To each their own I guess. I could put a 1/4 mile of pipe in a loop om my property. I wished I could because, it would basically eliminate using refrigerated AC in the summer, and greatly reduce how much I have to spend to heat my home in the Winter, Here a ditch which can cut a ditch 6′ deep with no problem, no need for a backhoe. Anyway these projects aren’t about being “green”, just someone with enough money to take a hobby or passion past the extreme.

  30. Eric says:

    Few months late to comment, but whatever.

    I could see someone rigging their loop to a full scale industrial cooling tower.

    “Hey man, I got my rig to idle at room temperature and it cost me a little less than six mil.”

  31. george says:

    having followed the build from start to finnish i can tell you that it is capable of providing 1000w of cooling power at a 1degree delta and as it is buried 15′ down the soil temp never rises enough to llower this allowing the pc to run on 100% literally forever with all the components having there own block.

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