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Strip Out The Fans, Add 8 Gallons of Cooking Oil

Strip Out The Fans, Add 8 Gallons of Cooking Oil
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Common sense dictates that submerging your high-end PC in cooking oil is not a good idea. But, of course, engineering feats and science breakthroughs were made possible by those who dared to explore the realms of the non-conventional. Members of the Munich-based THG lab are only too happy to confirm this fact. And not only did we find that our AMD Athlon FX-55 and GeForce 6800 Ultra equipped system didn't short out when we filled the sealed shut PC case with cooking oil - but the non-conductive properties of the liquid coupled created a totally cool and quiet high-end PC, devoid of the noise pollution of fans. The PC case - or should we say tank - also offered a new and novel way to display and show off your PC components.

Remember our Record Attempt: The 5 GHz Project when we went to cooling extremes with liquid nitrogen, Build Your Own XGA Projector! or the PC that manages with just 37 Watts of power? And don't forget the Espresso machine in the PC case. And now? Many hours of work along with preparation time coupled with numerous glitches are behind our new one-of-a-kind specimen.

Initial attempts with oil in a plastic container.

Technically, our attractive high-end PC can keep up with the best of the crop as far as performance goes - minus the noise, of course, associated with an extremely loud standard 08/15 case. Indeed, the large volume of liquid guarantees absolutely silent operation - no fans are running. And even under maximum load the three major building blocks remain sufficiently cool: processor, graphics card and chipset.

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  • 0 Hide
    jayh619 , May 17, 2008 1:50 AM
    does anyone no how long a computercan lst doing this? like after six months of being submerged and the oil was rinsed out. would the computer still work without the oil? or would the oil would decrease the computer's components life spans? Or increase it?
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    Anonymous , June 14, 2008 12:47 PM
    ive seen some run for a year at 80 degrees C with out anything cooling the oil but with a zalman water cooler hooked into it to cool the oil it will run at 30c for as long as the cpu lifespan
  • 0 Hide
    logicmoo , July 2, 2008 4:46 AM
    "On the motherboard http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motherboard in the area of the CPU base, the oil is responsible for increasing the capacitive resistance between the individual wiring. In short, the oil acts as a dielectric material. Since very high frequencies occur on the motherboard, the capacitive resistance goes down. Accordingly, this then influences (or tampers with) the digital signals, particularly in the area of the CPU base. After all, 939 pins are located there in a very tight space."

    This is the first article I've seen mentioning the sealling of he base of the CPU. Other's some in the forums are concerned that there is not enough cooling flow under sockets.. since liquid is thicker than air it tends to want to create hotspots here. Air will swell and vent heat more. This article notes that they "had" to seal the base for stability. I understand the dielectic effect. But anyways for a socket 775 anyone know for sure what we should do?
  • 1 Hide
    creepster , July 8, 2008 1:32 PM
    Why not use mineral oil, or better yet, transformer oil? It would have better electrical properties than cooking oil, and probably better thermal properties, too.
  • 0 Hide
    kitchenappliances , August 11, 2008 12:59 PM
    Fantastic. I hope health and safety didn't see that?
  • 0 Hide
    davea0511 , August 24, 2008 10:03 PM
    I can't imagine those leads are long enough to cause any kind of capacitance issues. Furthermore, I can't imagine that silicone is going to keep oil out of there for very long. Dozens of others have done this without sealing off the CPU with no ill effects. Pugetsystems oil computer for example.

    Anyway, I'm curious about the long term effects. This project was started a couple years ago. Is the computer still running, or did they decided to can it. Seems like everyone that does this ends up draining it before it get's a chance to fail from oil-related reasons. Pity - It would be nice to have some data to see whether it really could be a viable solution for a silent PC that would last literally for as long as the cpu transistors normally last.
  • 1 Hide
    OnyxxOr , August 25, 2008 9:42 PM
    Another note on the silicone... I noticed the only long term oil setups use seemless tanks (i.e. no silicon sealing in the actual submerged part of the tank). I've done some research on silicone and the "service" temperature range is listed at -50 to 150 celsius. However, one can understand normal silicone usage is for applications that experience far lower in use and/or continued temperatures (Fish tanks, showers etc).

    Before considering that I purchased a tiny (15 litre) fishtank for a low end setup that was built/sealed with silicone, so I guess I'll soon know xD (hopefully not by it falling apart and spilling oil all over my carpets lol).

    I have an existing 3 foot tank which I intended using for my 'production' system which will be more than double the power in every sense :D  - and big enough for a whole bunch extra cold cathode's and led fans (for the looks of course ^^). I may reconsider that after some testing.
    I'll do my best to pop back and post on this new consideration to let you know how the silicone behaves under extreme usage.

    Oh and another thing, on the mineral oil... in all experiments the folks mentioned difficulty in getting hold of mineral oil. I initially thought the majour problem would be in the fact that it's classed as a known laxative and any distributor would be hesitant handing over that much of it for legal or safety reasons. Turns out most people don't even know what it is xD!! That got me onto some research into it's common consumers, and in so doing found a bunch of alternative names for it, which I DID see at some stores.

    I'll list them here for acedemic interest but please keep in mind that common or trading names may differ from region to region so ask the right questions (Low viscosity, high flash point, no electrical conductance) AND test it in a controlled outdoor enviroment on smaller (cheaper) components before going the whole way :)  That said, mineral oil also goes by the following names:

    White oil
    Nujol
    Paraffin oil (Not normal paraffin, like for lanterns, far as I know)
    Baby oil xD (Yep, though I'm suspecting the fragrance additives may have some unwanted properties, probably mildly corrosive)

    Anyways, happy modding for now

    l8r,
    OnyxxOr
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 29, 2008 12:49 AM
    now i can overclock the living daylights out of my machine, and use the heat to deep fry some fish. Increasing my enjoyment (and that of my computer), as well as shortening my life (as well as my computer).
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 4, 2008 3:03 AM
    Cooking oil will turn rancid rapidly when exposed to air and heat. It will stink.

    Don't use a food-based oil if you do this.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 12, 2008 8:00 PM
    why not use synthetic motor oil?, miniral oil has trace minerals that can stick to surface (non-conductive but it looks ugly)
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    Anonymous , September 28, 2008 1:27 AM
    motor oil would work as faras i can tell, im off to thestore to pick up all of my instruments needed to build the worlds fastest pc EVER! hahahahahahahahaha :D evilish grin:
  • 0 Hide
    computabug , March 31, 2009 3:05 AM
    aww the links to the downloads are not working anymore :(  Can someone post them up again, or even on some other host like Youtube? Wait, I should go check if it's already there first lol ^.^
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 11, 2012 4:00 AM
    A PC and deep fryer for my fries all in one machine. What happens if I use Petrol or Diesel instead of cooking oil? Will my computer go faster?
  • 0 Hide
    SR-71 Blackbird , September 7, 2012 1:37 AM
    This topic has been reopen by Area51reopened
  • 0 Hide
    SR-71 Blackbird , September 7, 2012 1:37 AM
    This topic has been closed by Area51reopened