Skip to main content

Gigabyte’s Custom PC Houses Fish Above a Submerged System

There are case mods that attract attention with bright LEDs and custom-cut cases, and then there are those that attempt something truly different and daring.

This system we saw at the Gigabyte/Aorus booth at Taipei 101 here at Computex definitely falls into the latter category. It combines an immersion-cooled PC with a small school of guppies living in a state of what appears to be ignorant bliss above a sunken (and spinning) Aorus GTX 1080, and with a matching motherboard as the backdrop.

According to a Gigabyte rep, this in-house-designed system, which has no official name, has its components submerged in a non-toxic, non-conductive 3M liquid that’s typically used to keep data centers cool. While we weren’t able to confirm the exact liquid used, it’s probably a derivative of the company’s Novec line. Both the graphics card and the motherboard (which hides behind the fish and a separate pane of glass) are submerged in the liquid. And, to be as clear as the liquid itself, the system was powered up and running during the demo.

There’s no protective barrier separating the 3M liquid below from the water and the fish above it. But the density of the cooling liquid keeps the fish (and their leavings) safely in the water above, and a carbon filter system installed on the side keeps the environment clean, just like any other aquarium setup.

To further ensure the safety of the fish (and the submerged PC, we suppose), a custom cooling system using a trio of in-line CPU coolers pumps the 3M liquid out of the system for cooling and temperature monitoring, making sure the water above the liquid remains an optimal temperature for the fish living above. If the 3M liquid got too hot, it would turn into a gas and bubble up through the water. That would probably be bad for our finned friends, but the water would likely heat up to deadly levels before that happened anyway. Let’s hope Gigabyte was extra careful about choosing reliable components for this setup. 

We’re always wary of situations like this where animals could be subjected to unhealthy or dangerous conditions for the sake of some wow-factor at a tech trade show. But we were told by Gigabyte that these fish had been living happily in their unusual home for two months so far, and that not a single swimming resident had died.

That’s certainly a better track record than we remember from our own attempts at creating fish habitats in our homes in decades past. Maybe next year Gigabyte will take this idea to the logical next level: A fully submerged data center, protected by sharks—possibly with laser beams. Now that’s the kind of data security we could really get excited about.

  • badirontree
    laser sharks !!!
    Reply
  • Pompompaihn
    This would drop some jaws if you managed to haul it into your LAN party night...
    Reply
  • Gadhar
    I don't know if I believe this....seems fishy
    Reply
  • Kahless01
    looking at the pic it didnt look like there was anything between the top and bottom layer. then saw they indeed just let the water sit on top of the whatever the hell theyre using to cool the pc part. very nice.
    Reply
  • BulkZerker
    Shame they couldn't get a setup that would keep that bottom piece of the aquarium clean. That fish poop buildup is rather unsightly.
    Reply
  • Charles Ward
    I saw things similar to this in the 80's at one convention I was working at our Olivetti both showing off the ETV 260. And next to us a now defunct Canadian Clone company that use to show off its pc's and MB's running under water. I remember that one well, as it was around the time the first sound cards came out. And that booth had one blaring "You spin me right round baby right round" pause..repeat.. non stop 18 hour days 3 days in a row.. was ready to walk over to the booth and strangle them...


    Back then Maxum? I believe that was the company name had a coating they used to make electronics water proof, and an additive to water that made it non conductive. Although doubtful fish would like that additive. Even back then thought cool, and the market for this is?
    Reply
  • stdragon
    21030036 said:
    Shame they couldn't get a setup that would keep that bottom piece of the aquarium clean. That fish poop buildup is rather unsightly.

    Depends. That fish poop might actually float above whatever that liquid is at the bottom. Effectively in suspension that can later be scooped up with a net.

    Truth be told, that heat would kill the fish no doubt. Looks cool, but yeah, not sure it be very habitable for the fishies.
    Reply
  • maryfinelli
    "We’re always wary of situations like this where animals could be subjected to unhealthy or dangerous conditions for the sake of some wow-factor at a tech trade show."
    Thank you for your concern about the harmful exploitation of animals.

    "But we were told by Gigabyte that these fish had been living happily in their unusual home for two months so far, and that not a single swimming resident had died."
    Would Gigabyte actually admit if the fishes were distressed by the set-up? What a barren situation for those poor animals.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    21030295 said:
    and the market for this is?
    The market for submersive liquid cooling is data centers (as the article mentioned) and HPC. Several months ago, I remember reading about a HPC conference where numerous vendors had such systems on display (i.e. scaled up, sans fish).

    The fish tank, if it serves any useful purpose at all, could just be there to show how safe the stuff is. I imagine they probably did it for the "wow" factor. Too bad about the fish poop layer and different IoR of the two fluids - it would be really neat if there wasn't an obvious boundary between the two.
    Reply
  • Krazie_Ivan
    i was a big fan/purchaser of Gigabyte mobos for 15yrs due to reliability, but i'll be using a new company for a while.
    ...basically however long it takes for the damage they and other mfgs did to the industry by hopping onto NvPP at the expense of consumers. quietly joining was one thing, but the blatant "not for gaming" fiasco was just insulting.

    respect your customers, while you have them.

    (interesting tech from 3M in the article, btw - just to stay on topic)
    Reply