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Innovative Case Configuration Eliminates Water Leak Worries

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September 27, 2006 9:45:10 AM

Since I'm a case modding aficionado, I've often wondered why I've never seen a case like this for liquid cooled systems.

It's really very simple. Little more than a desktop (not tower) case turned upside down. There's no reason why the mobo has to be facing up. Set it on the "ceiling" of the case facing down! That way you can set up all your plumbing on the "floor" of the case and if there's a leak, our old friend gravity will pull it down to the "floor" and nowhere near all those expensive and easily-shorted electronics.

Whaddyathink? Can I apply for a patent? Sell it to Thermaltake? Retire to Fiji? :D 
September 27, 2006 10:28:02 AM

You're crazy. That makes too much sense. BTW, life is no fun without risks.
September 27, 2006 10:46:26 AM

This idea could never take off. Without the motherboard at the bottom there would be nowhere interesting for the dust to settle on.
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September 27, 2006 10:47:54 AM

Good luck, but you'd better have a strong case since you'll be shifting the center of gravity.
September 27, 2006 11:04:50 AM

Yes, they have think of it I'm sure. That's why they develope them non-electrical conductive fluid for the sole porpuse of pc water cooling. I'm using the FluidXP + and have tried it on my old pc and poured a good amount on the mobo while it was running. As it was advertise the liquid did not short out the mobo and it was running like it is. Sure it is costly to buy this fluid but you would only need to refill the water cooling loop once every year. You can use distilled water and flip your case upside down and people in lan party would think your crazy. :D 
September 27, 2006 11:30:32 AM

It would be fine if it wasn't for the fact that the water is going through under pressure - so whilst a simple leak would cause no problems, anything more than that would still be an issue.

Oh, and the fact that the heat from the processor would get transmitted into the socket rather than out of the board.

Apart from those practical considerations, it could work!
September 27, 2006 11:46:05 AM

Good and bad idea all in one.

If you put it like that, you won't be able to see the sexy inside of your super cool gaming rig. Unless you have a perspex case which I don't like coz you can't really hide the wires. Even if you do then you'll still be looking at the bottom of the mobo. What's the use of water cooling if you can't show it off?

On the bright side, it is water cooling so the HSF won't be pulled down straigt to bust the mobo and like you said it will keep water away from the parts.

All things considered, I don't think it's a great idea. Nothing wrong with the logic but I just don't see it happening.
September 27, 2006 11:46:18 AM

Hmmm.... liquid under pressure and heat rising into the board... good points...

Ok, crazy idea number two. Design the world's craziest motherboard. CPU socket, GPU socket, Northbridge and Southbridge on a small daughterboard-like thingy. All the rest of the circuitry, RAM, busses, etc. on the main board. Connect the two boards with a big muther cable. Then the daughterboard can be subjected to all sorts of crazy cooling. You could even separately encase it to avoid condensation and peltier it or whatever.

Hey I may not be practical, but I am imaginative! :D 
September 27, 2006 11:52:55 AM

Quote:
Hey I may not be practical, but I am imaginative! :D 
You can say that again.
September 27, 2006 12:01:11 PM

it's a good thought but you might also think that the pump now gets the liquid from the cpu or gpu or... by gravity and has to pull it back there giving it some speed. while this usually it's the opposite making it suck the water from the cpu by a depression and giving it a small speed cause gravity does the rest. if i'm wrong i'd like someone to correct me cause my fluid mechanics lessons have a bit rust. :tongue: :wink: i read some time ago that there are some sprays that makes the components impermeable. it may be a easier solution. are you from spain (aficionado :tongue: )??
September 27, 2006 12:06:11 PM

Looking inside PCs reminds me of The Naked Lunch author William Burroughs' comment the first time he saw a hard drive. He thought that it would be a glowing crystalline dilithium-type thingy. When he saw that it was just a metal whirring box, he was heartbroken. I don't know why PC electronics still look like Soviet-era components. I had to almost take a hammer to the Molex connector on my 6600 card to make it fit, and every time I have to remove the PSU plug from my mobo I need to use two, count'em two needlenose pliers. Wires, plugs, jumpers, connectors that you need to have two extra fingers with five joints each to plug in and out... Anything that you look into in order to show off shouldn't look like the inside of Sputnik, it should at least "look" like Chief O'Brien's isolinear chips, or HAL9000's memory. Lovely translucent plexi interior-lit modules fitting into elegant servo slots. If you're gonna drop a few thou on a new system to wow the chix at the LAN party, the least you should have is something that looks better than the guts of an old Intellivision! :lol: 
September 27, 2006 12:07:54 PM

Heat isn't affected by gravity, heated AIR rises. Heat flows to wherever a cooler area is. The air around the processor would rise as it heats up, but that wouldn't be a sigificant amount and the air in a case is always moving anyway.

Heatsinks with heat pipes wouldn't work well upside down since the condensed liquid flows back to the bottom via gravity, but a water block would work fine.

The water in the system is under pressure from the pump, so a leak would spray all over the place.
September 27, 2006 12:09:51 PM

Don't know much about fluid mechanics, boro169. All I know is that if I idle my car on a steep hill, the rad doesn't overheat, so the water pump must be keeping the fluid flowing somehow!

I'm Canadian, but I've been posted all over the freakin' world, so I picked up a thing or two here and there. You in Spain?
September 27, 2006 12:23:38 PM

Daughter board idea would probably not work, since there would probably be extra bandwith limitations in there due to the seperation, and more costly to make since your making two boards... shrug.

Upside down case... not many people buy horizontal desktops these days anyways, home user wise anyways, and buisnesses would definitly not go watercooling. Always need to think of a target market for your goods.

But interesting ideas, keep them coming.
September 27, 2006 1:32:13 PM

Quote:
But interesting ideas, keep them coming.


OK, but this one is copyrighted, trademarked, patented and my partner is an attorney who dines on BBQd small children so anyone who steals this is going to spend the rest of their lives swimming through their subpoenas. :lol: 

Agreed on the daughterboard's bandwidth problems through the cable. So you take your average mobo as mounted in a normal tower case. Relocate the CPU, GPU, and both bridges to the top front corner of the mobo. Don't litter the circuit board in that area with all sorts of crappy 1960s bits and bobs. Make that quadrant of the board jetblack and glossy. Now set up an octopus-like set of polished heatpipes to attach all four components to a humongous HSF not too different from a Tuniq Tower 120 with the fan in the middle where we can't see it. However this fan blows downwards from the ceiling into the case where back-mounted fans blow out. This HSF is much bigger than the Tuniq (!!!) and has bright-edged metal work all the way around the exterior fins that just shouts BLING. Think Escalade Grille and you're getting close.

We're not finished yet. Now design the tower case so that the entire area where the optical drives now sit is translucent plexi/lexan/whatever. Move the opticals down a bit for clearance. The top of the clear section is a fine metal grille for direct ventilation. Position the mobo so that the jetblack top front quadrant and giant HSF is clearly visible through the clear section. Interface a CPU activity monitor to a series of cold LEDs and Neons in the clear section that change color with the level of activity. A nice cool blue for idle, through green and yellow for just messin' around and fiery red for pedal to the metal.

So now you have a fairly normal desktop case with this absolute killer techno-display and light show that would get Hiro from Heroes laid by the entire Cheerleading squad at the next LAN party!

Case/mobo manufacturers, this original Orsino design can be licensed to you for a "nominal" royalty. Kindly contact my attorney partner for details.

:lol: 
September 27, 2006 2:23:20 PM

I just had a huge headache trying to picture that in my mind...

You need to mention that the mobo better be steel reinforced to hold the weight of that huge tower, or have supporting structs (rubber covered steel reinforcements). Also, little kids who are prone to seizures would have a field day out of you...
September 27, 2006 2:28:40 PM

I would be concerned with the following:

a. If all the cards are hanging upside down, I would be very concerned with them working loose after a time. Since only one end is held in place by a screw, the other may start to settle down and pull the card out of it's socket. This would especially be true of a heavy video card.

b. Heat does rise and so all the hot air would rise to the board surface. I think you would find that even with fans, the temperature of your components on the mother board would rise. With the fact that the surface of the motherboard looks a lot like a city street with heatsinks and components sticking up all over like buidlings, heat could easily get trapped and build up. Normally the board relys on some convection to carry the hot air up and away and pull in cool air to take its place. With the motherboard upside down, convection would be working to hold the hot air in.
September 27, 2006 2:32:34 PM

Quote:
Heat isn't affected by gravity, heated AIR rises. Heat flows to wherever a cooler area is. The air around the processor would rise as it heats up, but that wouldn't be a sigificant amount and the air in a case is always moving anyway.

Heatsinks with heat pipes wouldn't work well upside down since the condensed liquid flows back to the bottom via gravity, but a water block would work fine.

The water in the system is under pressure from the pump, so a leak would spray all over the place.


FYI Heat is affected by gravity. Gravity is why hot air rises. :wink:
September 27, 2006 2:48:16 PM

Quote:
Heat isn't affected by gravity, heated AIR rises. Heat flows to wherever a cooler area is. The air around the processor would rise as it heats up, but that wouldn't be a sigificant amount and the air in a case is always moving anyway.

Heatsinks with heat pipes wouldn't work well upside down since the condensed liquid flows back to the bottom via gravity, but a water block would work fine.

The water in the system is under pressure from the pump, so a leak would spray all over the place.


FYI Heat is affected by gravity. Gravity is why hot air rises. :wink:


There's no air between the heatsink and the processor. The heat itself isn't affected by gravity. Only once the heat leaves the heatsink and is transmitted to the air, then there's hot air. And that only rises indirectly due to gravity, because it's less dense, cooler heavier air displaces it and pushes it up.

When using a waterblock, the heat is transferred to the cooler water entering the block, irregardless of whether it's above or below. Heat (actually thermal energy) flows from hot to cold. In a tower case, the vidcard processor actually is upside down with it's heatsink below it. Does it not get cooled, or does gravity prevent that?

I do agree that a buildup of hot air could affect other components on the mobo if it was upsidedown with poorly designed airflow.
September 27, 2006 4:38:23 PM

Photoshop of Crazy Case

@Doughbuy:

Yeah, it's hard to picture. I just quickly zapped this together in Photoshop so it's very rough. (And since I'm such a n00b, the forum won't even let me post the pic... :cry:  ) The vertical sides of the open portion of the case are plexi, the top is a thin metal grating, there's a big fan in the middle of the HSF blowing in the up direction, and there are lots of lights inside that change color with the CPU usage. Naturally a matching mobo should be designed that places the CPU/GPU/bridges under that monster HSF!

@Gneisenau:

An adjustable set of spacers attached to a bridge across the middle of the case could hold up the cards. There would definitely be heat rising so the whole case would have to be ventilated along the lines of my 305mm Katrina.

@Cubber:

I hadn't thought that liquid cooling on a video card in the average tower case is upside down. Good catch! :D 
September 27, 2006 5:21:33 PM

Yes, but are they dealing with the Revolutionary New OrsinoTech Patented Case & Mobo??? :lol: 
September 27, 2006 5:27:29 PM

You should market it to them, even if it's only patent-pending.

Send them lots of spam about "Enlarge your case!"
September 27, 2006 5:51:22 PM

Quote:
Send them lots of spam about "Enlarge your case!"


That's it! I'll call it the OrsinoTech Enzyte :lol:  Case!!!
September 27, 2006 6:16:50 PM

Interesting rig, my fellow wind tunnel enthusiast!

"The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind..." - Bob Dylan

:D 
September 28, 2006 1:53:55 AM

Quote:
Photoshop of Crazy Case

..........
@Gneisenau:

An adjustable set of spacers attached to a bridge across the middle of the case could hold up the cards. There would definitely be heat rising so the whole case would have to be ventilated along the lines of my 305mm Katrina.

......


Good Ideas. A brace for the cards and strong airflow would probably take care of my concerns.
September 28, 2006 6:11:15 AM

Great! Now help me raise a couple of mil in financing and let's get this case on the market!!! :D 
September 28, 2006 1:22:48 PM

Why does the mother board have to be flat? Why not give it three 90* folds so the whole thing shapes itself like a rectangular tube? Then your mother board itself becomes the wind tunnel.
September 28, 2006 2:33:29 PM

Yikes. I remember years ago when I asked a local guru about making a mobo that was multilevel to take up less space. He went on for about an hour on all the reasons why mobos have to be flat. I don't remember any of them as I tuned him out and started watching the chicks at the cafe across the street, but apparently there are lots of reasons why all mobos have to be strictly 2D. 8)
September 28, 2006 3:27:51 PM

The main reason is economic, it's far cheaper to make monolithic single-board mobos on the automated machinery that they use. Assembling multiple boards adds labor costs. And the cost of the connection parts as well.

Another reason is electrical, anytime a signal path is interrupted with a connector you have potential signal degradation/corruption/wave reflections, etc. to deal with. The wide data busses in use on mobos today involve dozens of wires, you'd need to verify ALL of those connections. If/when Intel works the kinks out of the optical interconnects they just announced, the many parallel connections between areas of a mobo can be greatly reduced and we're going to see some very interesting form factors in the future.

And where would you plug in the cards?
September 28, 2006 3:33:58 PM

Well, let's imagine a folded mobo. Let's make it an upside down U in order to adhere to my "mobo on the ceiling" concept. So now we have one panel of the mobo with the circuitry pointing UP, and then 90 degree folds with one more panel on each side, projecting downwards with the circuitry on the OUTside. On one of these "wings" we have the CPU/GPU/bridges which can be in the highest airflow area and on the other "wing" we have the busses so that the cards mount parallel to the ground like in common tower cases.

However, I can certainly see how the folds would require either connectors or really fancy manufacturing which could slow the whole works down.

You're right. We'll likely have to wait for Intel's opticals!!!
September 28, 2006 4:35:42 PM

"mobo on the ceiling" - wasn't that a Lionel Ritchie song?

If the circuitry and components are on the outside, then they won't get cooled by the wind tunnel on the inside.....

Intel started thinking along these lines with the BTX form factor, rearranging the thermal zones on a mobo.

The move from PATA to SATA is a start in reducing the wiring width of interconnects. CPU's are close to 1000 pins of interconnect now, going to some sort of optical interconnect with a few lines could free up system designers to innovate, maybe standing the CPU silicon upright and cooling both sides of it, that would make a huge difference. The CPU wouldn't even need to be mounted on the mobo, just a few optical cables to go to the CPU/heatsink assembly.

With skinny optical inconnects, various parts of a mobo could be moved to various areas inside a case. Imagine the bizarre formfactors that could result. Interesting stuff to think about....
September 28, 2006 6:34:56 PM

Yes, mobo on the ceiling is where Lionel conceived Nicole. He would have been better off on the counter of a McDonald's. At least that poor thing would have some meat on her bones! :lol: 

OK, you have a point on the components on the outside not benefiting from the wind tunnel. So....

Upside down U like before. All the circuitry on the INside. CPU/GPU/Bridges on the left "wing". All slots on the top, so the cards are hanging upside down. (With a cross-mobo "bridge" rail that has adjustable spacers holding them in). The right "wing" has all the other bits and bobs.

There! Yippee! 8)

I've looked at BTX and kinda shook my head. I can see why it wasn't widely adopted.

I'd love to see a CPU standing up. Imagine being able to air or watercool both sides of the processor. Damn! That would be incredible.

Let's see if we can have a "standing" CPU in our upside down U mobo! Bring on those optical interconnectors!!! :D 
September 28, 2006 6:57:04 PM

She used to have meat on her bones....not that it help her looks or choice of friends.

With the inside U, tall components and the cards will bump into each other. This is an awful lot of complexity for dubious benefit. Just go to a flexible substrate material and roll it up into a tube. :D 

Right wing, left wing, now you're getting political on me! How does one determine if a capacitor is Republican? There's a punch line in there somewhere.

BTX has some advantages, but it's too little, too late, and that big honkin' heatsink I guess turns off some people.

Let's move all the really hot bits outside the case, NVidia has this beast of an external vidcard:

http://www.nvidia.com/page/quadroplex.html

Although I can't tell how it connects, I think there's some kind of PCIe x16 card that goes inside and has a cable to the unit.

How about a CPU waterproofed module you could drop into a small vat of liquid? Warm your coffee! Or Peltier coolers on both sides? If you're external to the case and the power leads into the chip were sealed the humidity wouldn't be an issue, optical doesn't care about water. Although you might need to have a defrost cycle or a handy icepick on a dual Peltier setup 8O
!