The teams were given three hours in which to prepare their hardware, cooling and operating system for the sub-zero fun that would follow later in the day. During this period, they had to complete any hardware modifications, while also setting up their operating system for benchmarking.
Although they were allowed to optimise the operating system, they were not allowed to modify the actual benchmark software in any shape or form.
The first phase of the set up period was to test whether or not the hardware they’d been given actually worked.
At this point, if any of their hardware was damaged or dysfunctional, they were entitled to a free replacement – poor overclockability was not a reason to change hardware, though.
Liquid nitrogen was off limits because it was important that the hardware wasn’t subjected to low temperatures until it was ready for it. There were a few hours of preparation required before liquid nitrogen would start flowing freely; but that didn’t stop some of the event crew from testing everything was working as it should...
A few of the teams test-fitted their cooling tubes, while others focused on just testing their hardware was working sufficiently well. Some went as far as testing the limitations of the BIOS and the overclockability of the components before modification.