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Mineral Oil Submerged PC Case


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--Edit: I just bought an NZXT phantom and a million other upgrades, so I won't be doing this anymore. But if you guys want to discuss the topic between yourselves, go for it. I just don't need an answer personally, as I ended up saving about $400 on a rather large bulk upgrade today.. So I couldn't pass up the full tower.--

 

Here's a sample video of the general idea:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuNkB_8fJeY&feature=related

 

So my question is: As this type of submerged cooling can be hand-built cheaper than any Full Tower+Water Cooling set-up, does it still cool better than modern cooling set-ups? As I haven't been able to find any recent posts since about 2009.

As my signature has said since I joined the site: I'm a craftsman through and through, and I love the hands on work. So something like this is something I would love to try..

But it seems the trend has either died down or something, because I can't find any postings in recent years. So is this idea safe, and more effective than air cooling? Or did it die for a reason?

I'm actually working on a "rough" design to make the aquarium function much like an actual tower (motherboard backplate slider railed into the sides, for pulling the motherboard up and out of the tank), along with fans being bracketed in to improve oil circulation over key components even further.

 

So let me know, is still an effective way to cool a computer?

Edited by dragonsdontfly

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It is not.. A viable option? What's the rest of the sentence?

The problem is that mineral oil does not dissipate heat well.

 

Your system will boot up nice and cool, but as you leave it running and use it the temp will slowly climb higher and higher. Then, it takes ages to cool back down again.

 

Theoretically you can run a submerged pump to an external radiator to try to keep it cool, but I've never seen that done.

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I've seen this done before somewhere else and it was very viable for them, and better than air cooling. The trend probably died because people see it as weird. I do remember that in the setup I saw, the PSU was also in the oil (was cool to see it's fan slow down due to the viscosity) and they did not have any bubbles in the setup. Having bubbles though is probably like whether it is better to have positive or negative air pressure, but more so.

Bubbles could potentially move heat out of the oil more efficiently (would need to test this though, because I haven't a clue where the optimum size and speed would be) but they could also introduce impurities, which could then lead to a short. I doubt a short is likely to happen though, but with impurities comes the possibility.

I do agree with you that adding fans will help. Just like in a water cooling setup, you want the oil moving to pull heat away.

 

Just be careful and have fun with it. Don't be surprised if you see some components hitting higher temperatures than on air. The motherboard and RAM are probably going to be getting more heat from the CPU and GPU because of this, raising their temperatures, but the CPU and GPU should have lower temperatures, if the oil is flowing properly.

 

Edit to comment on Puck's post:

The problem is that mineral oil does not dissipate heat well.

 

Your system will boot up nice and cool, but as you leave it running and use it the temp will slowly climb higher and higher. Then, it takes ages to cool back down again.

 

Theoretically you can run a submerged pump to an external radiator to try to keep it cool, but I've never seen that done.

Very true, though there should be a maximum temperature the system would reach, as the input and output equalizes. That's something oil movement can help with, and definitely a radiator.

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The problem is that mineral oil does not dissipate heat well.

 

Your system will boot up nice and cool, but as you leave it running and use it the temp will slowly climb higher and higher. Then, it takes ages to cool back down again.

 

Theoretically you can run a submerged pump to an external radiator to try to keep it cool, but I've never seen that done.

 

Ah, thank you. So then I guess there is a reason this trend died. Making a loop for a radiator wouldn't be the hardest thing ever, but it defeats the point of this being cheaper than buying a full tower. So yeah, scratching this project idea.

 

--Edit: I'll keep an eye out for any cheap methods to cool the entire tank, but if I can't find anything that could cool the oil itself, then this project probably won't be anything more than a few more notes in my desk.

Edited by dragonsdontfly

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As for this being a cheaper solution, it is not likely to pan out to being efficient. I don't see all the heatsinks that are designed for air working all that great in liquid, but then again surface area is surface area. There are some things that are made possible with this setup that would be interesting. Such as cooling the oil below room temp, could be neat since you don't have to worry about condensation anymore.

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It is not.. A viable option? What's the rest of the sentence?

 

Not a viable option, I answered your question, "So let me know, is still an effective way to cool a computer?"

Edited by Black64

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Okay having been involved with a few of these type of systems builds I can tell you first hand that while they might not keep a system as cool as a more traditional system, they seem less effected by ambient room temp, which is kind of neat. While Puget has claimed in their FAQ that the fans do not die that is not what I have seen. The fans were not made to deal with the pressure the oil puts on them while spinning, they do tend to die quickly. The fin system while designed for air works exactly the same in the oil. Now we did not put a radiator on any of the systems I got to play with, that sounds neat, we did find that a pump to circulate the oil does result in better cooling.

 

Building this kind of system is not about getting great cooling, it is about creating a conversation piece.They are also NOT mobile :cheers.gif

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