This is a little quick and dirty guide on how I prepare my motherboards, using Vaseline, for XOC (extreme overclocking).
For this guide I’ll be using the Z170i Gaming Pro mini-ITX motherboard from MSI. It’s a nice little mini board like this:
Personal note: I will be using this one on the Godlike OC Competition – you can catch my stream replays over here on my channel
I will be preparing this board for use under liquid nitrogen. This entails the following steps:
- Stripping the board off of some components (mostly radiators etc.)
- Putting a nice layer of Vaseline all over
- Heating it up to spread it nicely
- Putting it all back together
If you have any questions about the process, use the commenting system here, or right under my video on YouTube.
Step 1 : Preparing the motherboard
I always recommend you to work on a nice soft surface. This protects the boards but also avoids it to move as you are working on it and avoids unnecessary stress on the board.
So let’s start by removing the few heat-sinks around the board. We need to start on the back of the board for that.
The reason why we do this is because we want to get Vaseline everywhere, especially around that mosfet area. This will insulate the components from any moisture that might build up during the overclocking session.
This board is quite straight forward. It’s just two screws on the back for the mosfet and two screws for the chipset heat-sink. Ones that is off, we can flip the board around.
In my case the chipset heat-sink went straight off, and same goes for the mosfet.
Note: You will notice that the mosfet has some small thermal pads. Just make sure your get all of these off so that nothing is left on the components.
Step 2 : Spread Vaseline on the motherboard
Now its the fun part. We need to coat the whole board with a layer of Vaseline. What you want to try to avoid in this step is to not put any Vaseline inside the memory slots. It’s something quite personal and there are some overclockers who cover the whole thing when there are slots not being used -But I do like to keep clear off putting any inside both memory and PCI-E slots.
Everywhere else on the motherboard as pretty Vaseline friendly. I use this kind of paint brush (see above) which I’ve cut a little shorter to get a better control, and then you just paint it onto the motherboard.
We will use a Hair-drier in the next step, once we’ve got a nice layer everywhere, to melt the petroleum jelly into all these tiny spots where the brush might not be able to get.
Keep in mind, you want to avoid to get anything into the memory slots. If you are not too much in control of your brush, you can tape them up during the process, just to be sure.
A board of this size is very likely to get a lot of moisture on it, especially if you are working in more humid environments like me, so you can’t have too much really of this everywhere.
For the more difficult areas like on the side of the board there (see below – between the memory DIMMs and the ATX power connector / SATA ports), you can use a silicon spray or a syringe with some Vaseline in it.
Then flip the board around and repeat on the other side.
Tip : One method you can use is to go from left-to-right and then alternate with up-and down. This will help to get it into all the little spaces between the pins.
Step 3: Heat the Vaseline with a hair dryer to melt it
Now the final preparation step. Grab a regular hair dryer and blow it onto the motherboard. This will melt down the Vaseline on the motherboard and allow it to really spread evenly.
Ones the back is done, flip the board around and repeat on the front side. When you are done, I usually give it another last little brush of fresh Vaseline around the mosfets – as it’s really important to make sure that you have adequate coverage over these components. This is where if water gets in, you will have some big problems! (not pretty stuff, trust me)
Step 4: Assemble the system for LN2
So that’s about it for the Vaseline part of the preparation. Your board is now ready and it can be prepped “as usual” for liquid nitrogen. This includes all the usual water absorbent paper towels etc.
Oh and yes: Wait a little bit for it to dry and don’t forget to put the heat-sinks back on 😉
Thanks for reading this guide. The original version of it was publish on my personal website. I’m an Elite Overclocker from South Africa and I stream all my overclocking session live twice a week on my Twitch Channel. You may also find more content and videos on my YouTube Channel or Facebook Page.
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