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Mineral Oil Aquarium PC Now Allows EATX Mobos

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 73 comments

The latest version of the Aquarium PC allows for EATX motherboards and ten gallons of oily fun.

Looking to build a wacky new rig to leave your pals in awe? Wanting something other than the standard chassis? Puget Systems has released a new version of its Aquarium PC DIY kit, allowing system builders to construct a mineral oil-cooled rig within a 10-gallon aquarium.

According to Puget, Aquarium PC V3 is a big improvement over the previous kit, now allowing for full EATX motherboards. The larger system also provides enough space for the builder to mount the power supply on the motherboard tray itself, making it easier to maintain the PC. Puget said that it even has twice the cooling power than seen with V2.

But how does this setup work? "The cooling module pumps the mineral oil through an external radiator, which provides excellent and quiet cooling," Puget said. "We have verified adequate cooling with the most extreme hardware on the market at the time we built our test system."

The test system included dual Intel Xeon X5677 CPUs, 12GB of DDR3-1600 RAM, and dual ATI 5870 video cards.

Puget also provides a warning on the kit's product page, claiming that--in addition to voiding the warranty--mineral oil is very difficult (if not impossible) to clean from the components once they're submerged. System builders wanting to take the chance will need $671.46 to get started. For more information, head here.

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  • 24 Hide
    loomis86 , July 30, 2010 11:23 PM
    wotan31Guess you've never heard of condensation before, eh? Your idea will fail miserably. Engineering is definitely not your subject, lol.


    it is my subject.

    And no, condensation occurs only on surfaces EXPOSED TO AIR. Submerging in oil solves that problem. I can't believe I even wasted time responding your post.
  • 17 Hide
    Anonymous , July 30, 2010 11:26 PM
    Uhh, you wanna explain how water is going to condense when there isn't any water to condense in the first place? If you submerge something cold as hell into a tank full of oil, there is no water in that oil, and therefore no water can condense on the cold object.

    I would learn some basic chemistry before I start bashing someone about their engineering potential there wotan.

    And as long as you kept the temp above freezing point of mineral oil.. Something like -30 degrees F then it should be fine.
  • 12 Hide
    azcoyote , July 30, 2010 10:31 PM
    $671.46? That had better come with a drain basket and a frozen bag of Jalapeño poppers.
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  • 11 Hide
    shadow187 , July 30, 2010 10:29 PM
    The first review on the HD5970 Sapphire Edition 4GB on Newegg stated something about submerging in mineral oil. I didn't believe it.

    Gotta love what Enthusiasts will do.
  • 12 Hide
    azcoyote , July 30, 2010 10:31 PM
    $671.46? That had better come with a drain basket and a frozen bag of Jalapeño poppers.
  • 8 Hide
    loomis86 , July 30, 2010 10:33 PM
    Good idea.

    However I think they are going about cooling totally backwards. I would take a freon unit from an old drinking fountain and submerge the evaporating coil in the aquarium. Then circulate the oil around in the tank. Use two drinking fountain units if necessary, and try to keep the aquarium oil below room temp. Then overclock the p!ss out of it.
  • 4 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , July 30, 2010 10:53 PM
    Now THAT is friggin cool.
  • 5 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , July 30, 2010 10:54 PM
    loomis86Good idea. However I think they are going about cooling totally backwards. I would take a freon unit from an old drinking fountain and submerge the evaporating coil in the aquarium. Then circulate the oil around in the tank. Use two drinking fountain units if necessary, and try to keep the aquarium oil below room temp. Then overclock the p!ss out of it.
    Does mineral oil coagulate at a certain temperature?
  • -8 Hide
    retardedspleen , July 30, 2010 10:56 PM
    loomis86Good idea. However I think they are going about cooling totally backwards. I would take a freon unit from an old drinking fountain and submerge the evaporating coil in the aquarium. Then circulate the oil around in the tank. Use two drinking fountain units if necessary, and try to keep the aquarium oil below room temp. Then overclock the p!ss out of it.


    condensation?

    The reason oil works is cause it doesn't transmit electricity. Add some water to the mix... things may change.
  • -5 Hide
    wotan31 , July 30, 2010 11:01 PM
    This whole thing seems kind of stupid. Once you submerge your components, you'll never be able to resell them, or revert back to air cooling - like the article says, it's nearly impossible to clean the oil off. You'll be stuck throwing them in the trash at upgrade time. Furthermore, you've now made your PC a permanent fixture in your home. You cannot take it to a lan party, to a friends house, or anywhere! Even from one room to another will be a big hassle with spilled oil no doubt. What an awful concept.
  • 10 Hide
    mrecio , July 30, 2010 11:06 PM
    wotan31This whole thing seems kind of stupid. Once you submerge your components, you'll never be able to resell them, or revert back to air cooling - like the article says, it's nearly impossible to clean the oil off. You'll be stuck throwing them in the trash at upgrade time. Furthermore, you've now made your PC a permanent fixture in your home. You cannot take it to a lan party, to a friends house, or anywhere! Even from one room to another will be a big hassle with spilled oil no doubt. What an awful concept.


    LOL man this is not for practical use, this is for enthusiasts. This looks cool and is fully functional and enthusiast does not know what the word convenient is. If you expect this thing ti be practical or mobile then im not sure what to tell you.
  • 3 Hide
    thekitty , July 30, 2010 11:21 PM
    Dude, it's Puget, not pudget
  • 24 Hide
    loomis86 , July 30, 2010 11:23 PM
    wotan31Guess you've never heard of condensation before, eh? Your idea will fail miserably. Engineering is definitely not your subject, lol.


    it is my subject.

    And no, condensation occurs only on surfaces EXPOSED TO AIR. Submerging in oil solves that problem. I can't believe I even wasted time responding your post.
  • 5 Hide
    loomis86 , July 30, 2010 11:24 PM
    mlopinto2k1Does mineral oil coagulate at a certain temperature?


    No, it thickens gradually. If it clumped up as you suggest, your car engine would be in trouble in the winter. Big Big trouble.
  • 17 Hide
    Anonymous , July 30, 2010 11:26 PM
    Uhh, you wanna explain how water is going to condense when there isn't any water to condense in the first place? If you submerge something cold as hell into a tank full of oil, there is no water in that oil, and therefore no water can condense on the cold object.

    I would learn some basic chemistry before I start bashing someone about their engineering potential there wotan.

    And as long as you kept the temp above freezing point of mineral oil.. Something like -30 degrees F then it should be fine.
  • 5 Hide
    mjello , July 30, 2010 11:28 PM
    Maybe id put some mutant oil fish from the gulf of mexico in it just for decoration. The best thing about this setup is watching the fans move in slow motion while tiny bubbles rise from the heat sink. ooh this speaks to my inner geek from the good old days hehe. Outragously expensive though. I did it with a 20$ aquarium tank and a car heater radiator. Was back in the dual celeron days.

    I used destilled water and it worked fine with the electrics. However things began to rust and degrade after a while.
  • 8 Hide
    someguynamedmatt , July 31, 2010 12:00 AM
    Actually, I think putting a cooling system in the oil tank is a GREAT idea. I don't know why you people are thinking there would be condensation in it.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condensation
    Read that. Now, condensation occurs when an object is cold enough for water in the air to condense on it. How can water in the air condense on parts that are submerged in oil? Water would condense on the outside of the tank since the oil would be cold, but that wouldn't hurt anything. Like loomis and abel2 said, you're the one who needs to learn about engineering.
    Anyway, if you would be able to get a cooling coil in the oil with the rest of the system, and assuming you have oil that wouldn't coagulate, I'd think you should be able to overclock that think like there's no tomorrow. Not only is your CPU cool, so is the rest of your motherboard... all of it... along with your graphics card, RAM, everything is cold, with no worry of condensation. I'd really think this would be perfect for large amounts of safe overclocking.
  • 5 Hide
    Supertrek32 , July 31, 2010 12:03 AM
    retardedspleencondensation?The reason oil works is cause it doesn't transmit electricity. Add some water to the mix... things may change.

    I suppose water could condense on the surface of the oil, but you could easily seal the system to prevent that.
  • 5 Hide
    duk3 , July 31, 2010 12:04 AM
    I might have to go check that out, it looks pretty nice :D 
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , July 31, 2010 12:09 AM
    Fan-less PC - just add water! No, wait...

    Seriously, ten gallons of mineral oil in a PC sounds like a big fire hazard in my opinion. And what about the fumes from the oil?
  • 3 Hide
    aft_lizard01 , July 31, 2010 12:20 AM
    Just because the system would be submerged in oil it wouldn't make it immune to the effects of condensation.

    Water will still sink to the bottom of the oil because of the simple fact that waters intermolecular forces make it more dense than oil. Cool the oil to below the condensation point of the surrounding atmosphere and water can and will condensate on top of the oil and sink.

    You could of course make it air tight and try and get a vacuum seal though.
  • 6 Hide
    loomis86 , July 31, 2010 12:56 AM
    aft_lizard01Just because the system would be submerged in oil it wouldn't make it immune to the effects of condensation. Water will still sink to the bottom of the oil because of the simple fact that waters intermolecular forces make it more dense than oil. Cool the oil to below the condensation point of the surrounding atmosphere and water can and will condensate on top of the oil and sink.You could of course make it air tight and try and get a vacuum seal though.


    what is the air tight nonsense? Let's say the upper surface of the oil was exposed to air and water condensed on it. The water is heavier and would sink. It would hit the bottom of the tank and STAY THERE. how the hell do you explain any water droplets migrating through super cold oil and attaching to a hot CPU on a main board that is several inches above the bottom of the tank?

    Ok, now lets look at reality. A real tank would have a lid on it and would be sealed up. maybe not air tight but unless you pulled a vacuum on it you wouldn't need air tight. The moisture in the air pocket above the oil would lose all it's water content to the surface of the oil and then condensation WOULD CEASE. The condensation on the surface of the oil would then sink to the bottom of the aquarium AND STAY THERE...until someone tapped a drain valve on the belly side of the aquarium and drained it out, of course. (oh sh!tballs, did I say a drain valve? oh my golly, i must be a fraken genius...or not)

    Now, let's say there is NO DRAIN VALVE. The water would accumulate down at the bottom. Let it stay there. Who the frak cares? If the water level gets high enough to touch the bottom edge of your motherboard, then you can worry. Then you have options. you can stick various chemical substances down there that are hydrophilic to draw down the water level. The simplest one would be a cotton ball on a stick. Jam the stick down to the bottom and let it sit there for a few hours. the oil would leave and the water would soak up. Then grab the stick and pull it up.

    tada, no more water sitting on the bottom of the aquarium.
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