Improve your RTX 4090's thermals by playing in a -53°C snowdrift

苏打baka by her gaming PC in the snow
(Image credit: 苏打baka)

What's the best way to improve your gaming PC's core temperature? I dunno, take it out in a blizzard? Chinese content creator 苏打baka (the name apparently translates to 'sparkling idiot', for the non-weebs) is aiming to prove you don't need LN2 to get your high-end CPU to sub-zero temps. Traipsing through the Northern snow drifts of China's Mohe city, temperatures hit a record-low of -53°C which has made for some ice-cold PC gaming thermals.

Rather than bundling up inside with a nice cup of tea, 苏打baka decided to use the sub zero temperatures to their advantage, taking an Intel Core i9 13900K and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 combo gaming PC into the snow for a quick session (via WCCFTech).

One of our main concerns where the Intel Core i9 13900K is concerned, was with its core temperature—"Hot" being a major downside we listed. In testing we saw it climb to 94°C max temperatures, and while that's still lower than the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X's 96°C, it's going to be a cause for concern if you're really pushing the boundaries of what this CPU can do for extended periods.

Nvidia's GeForce RTX 4090 does a little better at least, with 66°C max temps. Still, it's enough to say you're going to need some immense cooling to keep up with a machine packing this top-tier combo.

Initial testing of those -53°C winds of Mohe managed to drop an Intel 2nd/3rd Gen CPU gen CPU down to -2°C as a standard operating temperature. And even when faced with an AIDA64 benchmark stress test it topped out at around 3°C with no cooler at all.

Then came the Intel 13th Gen monster, which they tested with an AIO cooler. For a short time anyway. That subsequently froze and became totally useless, but when replaced with a Noctua NH-P1 passive heatsink, and a bizarre, whining array of tiny industrial fans, the CPU dropped to around 10–15°C. With that kind of headroom, 苏打baka saw the chip itself run up to 6.18GHz, despite the max P-core Turbo frequency being rated at 5.8GHz.

Frozen CPU, SSD, and motherboard from sub-zero testing

(Image credit: 苏打baka)

As for the RTX 4090, well that stayed at around -40°C temperatures, with a maximum temperature of 30°C under full load—which was achieved through playing *checks notes* Minesweeper?

A strange choice of game, and probably a joke considering the jump in temperatures. Either way, this at least confirms the creator's not such a sparkling idiot after all. If you're having temperature issues, just fly out to northern China for a spell. Easy.

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Katie Wickens
Hardware Writer

Screw sports, Katie would rather watch Intel, AMD and Nvidia go at it. Having been obsessed with computers and graphics for three long decades, she took Game Art and Design up to Masters level at uni, and has been demystifying tech and science—rather sarcastically—for three years since. She can be found admiring AI advancements, scrambling for scintillating Raspberry Pi projects, preaching cybersecurity awareness, sighing over semiconductors, and gawping at the latest GPU upgrades. She's been heading the PCG Steam Deck content hike, while waiting patiently for her chance to upload her consciousness into the cloud.