Jump to content


 


Register a free account to unlock additional features at BleepingComputer.com
Welcome to BleepingComputer, a free community where people like yourself come together to discuss and learn how to use their computers. Using the site is easy and fun. As a guest, you can browse and view the various discussions in the forums, but can not create a new topic or reply to an existing one unless you are logged in. Other benefits of registering an account are subscribing to topics and forums, creating a blog, and having no ads shown anywhere on the site.


Click here to Register a free account now! or read our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.

Photo

Building A Mineral Oil Submersed Computer


  • Please log in to reply
37 replies to this topic

#1 rokittman

rokittman

  • Members
  • 215 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Burlington, Kentucky
  • Local time:10:03 AM

Posted 06 February 2012 - 06:25 PM

So I've been watching numerous videos on the net about building a mineral oil computer. If you're not familiar with this, the concept is simple and genius. All your computer parts, Mobo, processor, power supply, audio/video cards, cabling, even fans. Everything except your hard drive and CD drives are assembled inside a fish aquarium and submersed in mineral oil.

This is possible because oil doesn't conduct electricity, so it doesn't affect the electronic components. But what REALLY intrigues me about it are two major advantages to this kind of system. Your computer will NEVER overheat and dust will NEVER become an issue inside the case. And one other thing. Because heat can never build up in this system, you can overclock the shat out of it with no harmful side affects.

At least this is my understanding of this technique. You can also add fans to circulate the oil along with lights and bubblers to add some really kool affects. I've seen some beautiful and hilarious mods done this way. Of course, if you ever have to work on it or replace parts, you'll have one helluva mess to deal with, and I'm sure they are heavy as hell. But I think those small inconvenience would so be worth it. Here are a few links showing you the process.





So, I wanted to see if others here have done this and can offer me some advice, or share your experience. Post pistures of your oil rigs if you have them.

Thanx for reading,
- Dean -


BC AdBot (Login to Remove)

 


#2 the_patriot11

the_patriot11

    High Tech Redneck


  • BC Advisor
  • 6,763 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wyoming USA
  • Local time:08:03 AM

Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:56 PM

Ive never done it, but have considered it, it does indeed have its benefits-though, it like any other cooling system does have its limitations-there will be a point where it will no longer disappate heat. I would make sure to insert your cards into the slots before adding the mineral oil-I don't imagine them working properly if you get mineral oil inside the slots, since you need some electricity to conduct.

picard5.jpg

 

Primary system: Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, Processor: AMD Phenom II x4 945, Memory: 16 gigs of Patriot G2 DDR3 1600, Video: AMD Sapphire Nitro R9 380, Storage: 1 WD 500 gig HD, 1 Hitachi 500 gig HD, and Power supply: Coolermaster 750 watt, OS: Windows 10 64 bit. 

Media Center: Motherboard: Gigabyte mp61p-S3, Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+, Memory: 6 gigs Patriot DDR2 800, Video: Gigabyte GeForce GT730, Storage: 500 gig Hitachi, PSU: Seasonic M1211 620W full modular, OS: Windows 10.

If I don't reply within 24 hours of your reply, feel free to send me a pm.


#3 BlackSpyder

BlackSpyder

    Bleeping Big Rig


  • BC Advisor
  • 2,456 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Huddleston, VA USA (Home Sweet Home)
  • Local time:10:03 AM

Posted 06 February 2012 - 09:06 PM

You would have to seal the expansion cards to the slots if I'm not mistaken and possibly around the CPU and any other connections. Mineral oil is very thin and can seep into almost anywhere. Aside from that it is viable and the cooling ability could be pushed higher with a radiator and pump to further cool the mineral oil.

Posted Image




#4 rokittman

rokittman
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 215 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Burlington, Kentucky
  • Local time:10:03 AM

Posted 07 February 2012 - 08:18 PM

...like any other cooling system does have its limitations - there will be a point where it will no longer dissipate heat.

I would think that limit would be very hard to reach considering the amount of mineral oil in the tank ~ We're talking GALLONS here. I've read nothing to that affect in the forums about this. Your processor would have to get crazy hot to heat up all that oil enough to have an affect on performance. Added to that, you have fans and bubblers circulating and dissipating the heat.

You would have to seal the expansion cards to the slots if I'm not mistaken and possibly around the CPU and any other connections. Mineral oil is very thin and can seep into almost anywhere. Aside from that it is viable and the cooling ability could be pushed higher with a radiator and pump to further cool the mineral oil.

You may be right about sealing the cards. I did see in one video, I mod was using silicone caulk around some components, but I can't remember which or for what reason. I'll have to look around some more. I'll post what I find. Thanx for the input guys.

#5 the_patriot11

the_patriot11

    High Tech Redneck


  • BC Advisor
  • 6,763 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wyoming USA
  • Local time:08:03 AM

Posted 07 February 2012 - 08:57 PM

It is extremely effective-Im not saying its not, but keep in mind the highest overclocks on record have been done using liquid nitrogen for cooling, mainly because that is the only thing that can keep a CPU cool at 7+ ghz. I can see the mineral oil, especially with fans and radiator, being very very effective-even more so then traditional liquid cooling-all Im saying is don't go trying to break any world records with it-theres a reason the world record breakers didn't use it.

Also keep in mind, that mineral oil is definetly thicker then air, and fans arent designed to move it-so they are likely to burn out faster then a fan inside an air cool cased-the same goes for the fan in your PSU, and with the mineral oil replacing components can be more difficult-you have to remove the fan and the wire its connected to, clean the connectors from getting any mineral oil on them, reattach the fan and reseal it and reinstall it. The easiest method would be to take any fans that your planning on using for water movement and either plug them into a molex connector straight from the PSU, or connect them to a third party fan controller located outside the tank, and not attaching them to the motherboard fan controllers to make it easier.

picard5.jpg

 

Primary system: Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, Processor: AMD Phenom II x4 945, Memory: 16 gigs of Patriot G2 DDR3 1600, Video: AMD Sapphire Nitro R9 380, Storage: 1 WD 500 gig HD, 1 Hitachi 500 gig HD, and Power supply: Coolermaster 750 watt, OS: Windows 10 64 bit. 

Media Center: Motherboard: Gigabyte mp61p-S3, Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+, Memory: 6 gigs Patriot DDR2 800, Video: Gigabyte GeForce GT730, Storage: 500 gig Hitachi, PSU: Seasonic M1211 620W full modular, OS: Windows 10.

If I don't reply within 24 hours of your reply, feel free to send me a pm.


#6 rokittman

rokittman
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 215 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Burlington, Kentucky
  • Local time:10:03 AM

Posted 08 February 2012 - 02:40 PM

I can see the mineral oil, especially with fans and radiator, being very very effective.All I'm saying is don't go trying to break any world records with it. Also keep in mind, that mineral oil is definitely thicker then air, and fans aren't designed to move it-so they are likely to burn out faster then a fan inside an air cool cased. And with the mineral oil replacing components can be more difficult. You have to remove the fan and the wire its connected to, clean the connectors from getting any mineral oil on them, reattach the fan and reseal it and reinstall it. The easiest method would be to take any fans that your planning on using for water movement and either plug them into a molex connector straight from the PSU, or connect them to a third party fan controller located outside the tank, and not attaching them to the motherboard fan controllers to make it easier.


I'm not really concerned about severe overclocking. I'm just thinking that if I were to build this and can't afford the top-of-the-line components I would like, it would certainly make the power I CAN afford go a bit farther. And I'll be the first to admit, I know little to nothing about electronics. But in order for a fan to burn out, doesn't it have to overheat first? And is this possible submerged in oil even if it's not running at it's intended rpm?

I do like the idea though, of making as many of the connections I can on the outside of the case to keep oil infiltration to a minimum. There are connections that cannot avoid coming in contact with the oil. Namely CPU, Ram, audio/video cards, etc. And according to an employee at Puget, none of the oil systems they build or sell use sealant of any kind to isolate these components from the oil. Here is the reply I received from Richard @ Puget:

Hi Dean,

We don't have a lot of experience with tanks that are not the model we sell. The model we carry is a single acrylic piece, so there's no rubber or seams to deteriorate. We've never used silicone to seal the CPU or PCI slots in any of our aquarium systems. They've all worked just fine. Circulating the oil is probably not enough to keep a modern computer cool, unless you've specifically bought extremely low heat components. You should really consider pumping the oil through an external radiator. I want to emphasize how important it is to monitor the temperatures in your system, if the oil gets to hot it can lead to a tank failure, and that's a real mess. You can buy mineral oil online fairly easily. Here's the link from our aquarium computer page: http://store.steoil.com/categories/Crystal-Plus-Tech-Grade/CP70T/
Good luck. Come back with pictures when you finish the project!
Richard



#7 the_patriot11

the_patriot11

    High Tech Redneck


  • BC Advisor
  • 6,763 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wyoming USA
  • Local time:08:03 AM

Posted 08 February 2012 - 08:52 PM

not necessarily-the mineral oil is thicker then air, so it causes the fan to work twice as hard as normal to move it, causing faster wear and tear. Think about it like this-if you have a fan going, and you stick your finger in it (hehe ouch) it will slow the fan down. Now, chances are it won't break instantly, in fact if you just put your finger so its not all the way through but just so each blade hits it, it will slow it down. Ultimately, it will break however. mineral oil wont slow it down like your finger would-but it is constant. With that being said, Im sure their not going to break in under 2 weeks-you will still probably get at least a year + out of them without any problem (probably longer, just not as long as perhaps one moving air) and since it is in mineral oil-if one goes out, theres no emergency to get it fixed it won't be overheating any time soon. Ive even read a few articles where people with mineral oil have been able to boot up without the CPU heatsink and still maintain safe temperatures-though I would caution against doing that, simply the cases ive heard of have no independent verification, and having the heatsink on it certainly wont hurt.

These people are also the experts-an external radiator really is the best option. With that being said, with all the money your pouring into the tank and external radiator, I think it would be just as cheap and practical to go with a conventional computer. I mean serious, heres an example of an radiator you can use (the cheapest) which is $45, now add in the tank and all the mineral oil and your probably looking at around $100 total. or you could purchase a cheap mid-atx case for around $20 and liquid CPU cooling set here for another $70. so for about the same price you can have a normal computer thats much easier to upgrade, that you don't have to worry about accidently breaking the glass and getting mineral oil all over, or anything else. With that being said, the mineral oil does create an cool feel of originality to it that normal computers dont have.

Edited by the_patriot11, 08 February 2012 - 09:00 PM.

picard5.jpg

 

Primary system: Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, Processor: AMD Phenom II x4 945, Memory: 16 gigs of Patriot G2 DDR3 1600, Video: AMD Sapphire Nitro R9 380, Storage: 1 WD 500 gig HD, 1 Hitachi 500 gig HD, and Power supply: Coolermaster 750 watt, OS: Windows 10 64 bit. 

Media Center: Motherboard: Gigabyte mp61p-S3, Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+, Memory: 6 gigs Patriot DDR2 800, Video: Gigabyte GeForce GT730, Storage: 500 gig Hitachi, PSU: Seasonic M1211 620W full modular, OS: Windows 10.

If I don't reply within 24 hours of your reply, feel free to send me a pm.


#8 dewalt

dewalt

  • Members
  • 86 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:09:03 AM

Posted 09 February 2012 - 12:53 AM

rokittman or the_patriot11:

I'm a chemical engineer and could probably estimate how much heat is generated in your system, but a question if I may; what is the purpose of the oil bath? I see the phrase "overclocking" mentioned. I use computers a lot for several high level simulators, but don't often get inside the case so don't know what is trying to be accomplished. Just curious. And what is "overclocking" and what does it gain you? I would think this system could be frought with problems and unknowns. It seems that you are trying to get rid of heat and if I were doing this get rid of heat thing, I would see if I could find a cooling device that could be placed on the chip or wherever to get the cooling. I think these devices work the opposite of a thermocouple where when you run power through it, you get a cooling effect, very small refrigerators can operate on these things.

Anyrate, just curious.

dewalt

#9 rokittman

rokittman
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 215 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Burlington, Kentucky
  • Local time:10:03 AM

Posted 09 February 2012 - 05:37 AM

patriot,

I'll have to look around some more and see what the average longevity is of oil computer fans. I would think the largest ones would last longer. I would still want as many fans, bubblers, heat sinks and radiators as I need to keep the temps down. I would imagine you could opt for no fans at all it you had good circulation in the tank. And speaking of the tank. I wouldn't even attempt this with a standard fish tank. I would go with a single piece acrylic tank like they use at Puget. Not only do they look much nicer, but there's much less chance of tank failure. No seams to burst and no rubber or silicone to break down.

dewalt,

I idea behind the oil bath is probably 80% aesthetics and 20% necessity. Number one, mineral oil computers look kool as hell, especially when you add lighting and bubblers and decoration. The biggest advantage for me is the reduction of common computer problems caused by heat and dust. Submerging your components in oil eliminates those issues when done right. Computers now for many people are more than just a machine to perform tasks. They represent a sense of pride when you build one yourself and we place much more importance on their appearance than we ever did in the past. As far as over clocking. It's done by changing your computers default settings in order to make it run much faster. This way, you can get better performance than you normally would. Here is a link that explains it better than I can.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overclocking

Doing mods like the mineral oil computer and overclocking is much like when we used to pimp out our cars when we were younger.


#10 the_patriot11

the_patriot11

    High Tech Redneck


  • BC Advisor
  • 6,763 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wyoming USA
  • Local time:08:03 AM

Posted 09 February 2012 - 08:10 PM

In all honesty-youd be better off with 1 or 2 radiators, then any fans at all imo, if you notice the designors dont use fans either. They dont last quite as long-and really dont do much good, while a couple really good radiators, placed outside the tank, circulating the mineral oil through them, cooling it, and pushing it back in the tank, would be the most effective method.

Dewalt-overclocking, is changing settings in such a matter to make your computer perform faster and better then it was designed to do, uses more power and one of the bad side affects is it produces a lot more heat. There are multiple methods for dealing with it-larger heatsinks, big fans, liquid cooling, and like what is being suggested here is a unique method submersing the system in mineral oil.

picard5.jpg

 

Primary system: Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, Processor: AMD Phenom II x4 945, Memory: 16 gigs of Patriot G2 DDR3 1600, Video: AMD Sapphire Nitro R9 380, Storage: 1 WD 500 gig HD, 1 Hitachi 500 gig HD, and Power supply: Coolermaster 750 watt, OS: Windows 10 64 bit. 

Media Center: Motherboard: Gigabyte mp61p-S3, Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+, Memory: 6 gigs Patriot DDR2 800, Video: Gigabyte GeForce GT730, Storage: 500 gig Hitachi, PSU: Seasonic M1211 620W full modular, OS: Windows 10.

If I don't reply within 24 hours of your reply, feel free to send me a pm.


#11 dewalt

dewalt

  • Members
  • 86 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:09:03 AM

Posted 15 February 2012 - 05:08 PM

rokittman or the_patriot11:

Thanks for the brief description and also for the website info. Didn't know Wikipedia had such stuff. I use it mostly for chemistry, physical chemistry and process descriptions. And I would agree with patriot11 about the use of radiator(s) as opposed to fans. The fans would be very well lubricated, duh, but the viscosity of the oil is hundreds of times higher than air so the fan motor would draw a lot more power, beyond what it is designed to draw meaning you could have problems with insulation not be heavy enough for the additional power resulting in a shorter life, maybe even shorting out. As

#12 dewalt

dewalt

  • Members
  • 86 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:09:03 AM

Posted 15 February 2012 - 05:15 PM

sorry, I hit the wrong key. But as I had said, I don't get inside the case often, but when I have I know it takes no effort to really spin the fan in the air. I can't imagine you would hardly budge the fan in the oil with the same effort.

#13 DavidWJ

DavidWJ

  • Members
  • 13 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Local time:10:03 AM

Posted 20 February 2012 - 02:47 AM

The biggest downside is once the parts are well mineral oiled it is all but impossible to remove it.. Don't even think about warranty support with your mineral cooled system. A Pump and a radiator will work a lot longer than a 'FAN' which is designed to move 'AIR'.. I really don't think that it is necessary though as convection currents should keep things relatively cool.

#14 rokittman

rokittman
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 215 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Burlington, Kentucky
  • Local time:10:03 AM

Posted 25 February 2012 - 02:43 PM

dewalt,

If you look at some videos of these oil rigs, you can see the fans move a lot quicker than you would imagine. Naturally, they are slower because of having to push a thick liquid. But it only serves the purpose of creating a current in the system and to move the heated oil away from the CPU and other heat creating parts. Not sure of the longevity of these fans, but I haven't read much about them being drastically reduced or shorting out.

I think the ideal setup would be a combination of fans and radiators. The positioning of these is what makes heat removal effective. The fans are placed to push the heated oil away from the CPU and towards the radiator intakes, and the radiators dump the cooled oil closest to the fans moving the most heated oil, and the process continues. The fans work best here because the radiators are not really designed to create much of a current.

And you're right David. Replacing parts would be a hassle. I've never had to wear rubber gloves to upgrade my system before, lol! I have seen systems that minimize that problem by adding a drain plug low on the case. With a little ingenuity, you could easily attack a drain hose to drain enough oil into a separate container. Replace whatever parts you need and pour the oil back in.


#15 Gigon

Gigon

  • Members
  • 1 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:08:03 AM

Posted 06 March 2012 - 04:35 PM

Hey,

I'm in the processes of building one of these myself and was doing some research when I came across this post. I was just wondering if you ever started making one your self and if so how its coming along?




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users