How cold is to cold? Computer in the gargae canada


Apr 4, 2011

There is always so much talk about to hot for computers but I am wondering about to cold.

I haven't done it yet but I am thinking of putting a computer in my garage.
I live in ontario, canada so it gets cold outside.

but... the garage is ofcourse sealed so I dont think it get much colder then -10C lets say and some heat from the house gets in there since its attached and all.

I am wondering if anyone out there has some info about this? Its somewhat damp on the floor in there and well its freezing but the computer I am guessing would put off some heat and its not freezing all the time, mid day , sun etc.

So.... do you think that a PC could run ok in there.

And should I overclocked the heck out of it.


The colder the better , you will just have to get some real long extensions for you monitor , keyboard and mouse. You can't make it too cold for the computer , haven't you ever seen some of them benchmark contests where they use liquid nitrogen to cool the cpu down to -100c or more.
Will be hard to type with gloves on'-). Most consumer electronic parts will only be rated down to 0C (some go lower). When I build circuits for a customer to be used outside in CAN I have to make sure I spec parts down to -40C. Unless you know what the specs are on all the electronic components .....


Jan 16, 2006
I worked at a UPS warehouse in north west PA. We ran computers all the time in below freezing conditions. Not below 0 but probably in the high 20's. Never had any cold related problems. They werent anything fancy, mostly off the shelf type HP's

There may be problems with condensation (water) inside the case and on the components, if only on for a few hours each day.

If the computer is on 24/7 (server ?) this is unlikely to be a problem as the heat from the CPU will keep things warm.

Mike Barnes


Oct 25, 2011
The only problem is condensation of water inside the case which might short circuit your system and possibly cause sparks and destroy it (in extreme case).

If the temperature is below -10C the moving parts like fans will get stuck due to ice formation. So, if you keep the case warm and less humid, there wont be an issue.

And NO, you cant overclock your system crazy high just because your atmospheric temperature is below -10C, because your cpu will get heated up so fast that the cold air wont be enough to cool it down at that same heating rate.
That is the reason why liquid nitrogen/helium is circulated directly through the high conductive CPU heat sink so that the CPU gets cooled fast. No problem if the CPU is cold initially. It will turn on and give out heat as long as no short circuits happen due to water condensation/leakage.

Hope you are clear.

Agree 100% ^^^, -10C is cold for cold start up 's as per manufacture storage only is OK,but not for regular run.

Check the manufactures web for storage and operating temps.

It will shorten the life span of some parts. Some fans and PSU, mobo's have a small amount of the fluid inside that is thicker in the cold temps than in the room temp.

Sure, nothing will happen, till it does.

A 24/7 run is OK.


I have a PC in my garage (in UK) with the cabling going through the wall into my house, now were alot milder than Canada but we ive still had -16C in there last winter, i may add this is an always on system, its been there for 2 years without issue. I do have some serious dust filters on all intake fans and the case is well sealed to prevent dust, dirt, flies and spiders etc etc. Oh and i disagree with the above statement about OCing, i have a PII 955 in this with a Hyper212+ with double fan set up OCd to 4.1ghz and it still runs 10C cooler than any of my PCs in the house, so yes OC the hell out of it. As its pretty obvious if the ambient air temperature is lower, then the cooler the air going across your CPU heatsink, therefore the cooler it will run, just make sure you have good air circulation, i modded a cheap case to give a cheap bottom to top air flow with 2 x 120mm fans in the bottom (filtered) and 2 in the top also meshed to stop the creepys getting in.

PS do it and enjoy it, if you run the cables through the wall dont forget to make sure you have all the cables through before you fill the hole full of silicon (i speak from experience).

I know, u bug proofed it, but did u checked if any of them made it through? : ) Good job!


Apr 4, 2011
Thanks for all the replays.

I was thinking of putting somewhat of a server in the garage and I was going to run it 24/7 but it really only would be storage for my movies collection.

Good tip on the dust covers.

I'm not 100 sure on the temps just going from what I think it gets to from last year in there.