The MetalFish PC chassis and aquarium hybrid has been tested by a Japanese tech site. PC Watch’s Satoshi Hinuma felt an uncomfortable mix of inner healing and PC component / fish anxiety, from the finished build. Additionally, the chassis and fish tank hybrid had to face further natural challenges in Japan, where earthquakes and tremors are a somewhat common occurrence.
Back in August, we first reported on the MetalFish Y2 Fish Tank Chassis. In case the name hasn’t already given it away, this was a hybrid Micro-ATX PC chassis and fish tank. Readers had concerns for both the PC components beneath the fish tank and for the fate of the fish being warmed up in the aquarium. So, it is interesting to consider the first professional test results from the MetalFish chassis, with the added concerns of unpredictable earthquakes.
Firstly, it's obvious that the PC section of the Y2 Fish Tank Chassis isn’t very large (about 12 liters), but the PC build didn’t look overly complicated or restricted when using compact and SFF-friendly components. There is even a PCIe riser cable included so you can fit a modestly sized graphics card beneath your aquarium. When the PC is fully built, owners still have pretty easy access to the PC components, as it is possible to slide out the motherboard and components tray once a few screws are undone.
With the PC build layer complete, the reviewer started on the aquarium section. We’ve summed up the major concerns and worrisome observations from this part of the build process, below:
- The acrylic top panel had cracks through the screw holes.
- There is a choice between fish tank insulation or more appealing RGB LED views.
- Fish tank top LED brightness was quite high and not adjustable – it is not integrated into the PC’s RGB LED controls.
- Airflow perforations in the PC case intensified the worry of spills and splashes from the aquarium above.
- The glass water tank weighed 12 kg (26.5 lbs), add in the recommended 10-12 liters of water and you have a fragile box weighing in at about 24 kg (53 lbs), making moving or repositioning the PC very precarious.
- Earthquake region locality amplified water spill worries -- even light tremors could cause spillage.
Some Tom’s Hardware readers were apprehensive about a PC under stress, perhaps gaming or processing video for several hours, heating up the fish in the tank above. PC Watch checked what might happen with some thermal readings.
MetalFish supplies a white heat insulator sheet to sit between the acrylic panel topped PC and the aquarium section. However, this seriously dims the LED lighting ribbons that would otherwise shine upwards through the water. During tests, it was observed that the upper (aquarium) compartment of the Y2 Fish Tank Chassis rose 1.4 degrees Celsius (from 25 to 26.4) after 30 minutes under load, without the insulation sheet in place. This test appears to have been done without water in the tank, but is still worrisome if you are working on the PC for hours at a time.
Video closed captions with English translation are available
In its conclusion, PC Watch doesn’t recommend this hybrid case be used with the aquarium section full of marine life, with the leakage, spills and earthquake concerns high on the negatives. Instead, it is suggested the top tank be used for a small garden / terrarium.
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Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.
That the japanase way to cook fish. Put a rocket lake cpu and a gtx 480 and it's done, meltdown fish vuala.Reply
Fragile little thing.Reply
I'd also worry about splashing water while cleaning it.Reply
As for heat rising through the aquarium floor, I think they could've minimized that by adding some active cooling between the acrylic ceiling of the PC section and the glass floor of the aquarium. Even so, you still would want to put fish in it that are good with water temps above room temperature.
An interesting concept might be if there were some tropical fish that actually needed warm water, and you ran the PC's water cooling lines through the aquarium section (in heat-exchanger fashion, so there'd be no mixing of the cooling vs. aquarium water). The PC would effectively be a water-heater, although you'd need a thermal probe + some software to throttle the CPU/GPU clocks if the aquarium water got too hot. You'd also need a background mining job (or a backup heater) to kick in, when the water gets too cold. Better yet, this could also serve as a solution to the splash hazard posed by all of the holes in the base - just don't have any holes!
I really think this kind of thing would be much better for a lizard or snake. A tarantula could work too, or frogs or turtles.Reply
Basically, a terrarium. This is not really a good aquarium.
It would most likely be terribly small, but as I think of it perhaps aquaponics could be part of the mix somehow. Perhaps the computer placed in the greenhouse also has something small growing in it. Just kind of thinking out loud.
Except that a full tank of water would help keep itself cool, by conducting the rising heat out towards its walls and the surface. If you had no water in the glass section, then it would get hotter overall, plus there would be even hotter hot spots.ezst036 said:I really think this kind of thing would be much better for a lizard or snake. A tarantula could work too, or frogs or turtles.
Basically, a terrarium. This is not really a good aquarium.
I'd be very nervous about using this for anything living, even plants. Reversed with the PC on top and water on the botton.... ah... but then cleaning it becomes an issue, especially if you live where there's a lot of lime scale. A good gaming session would heat that up. There are 400W hot plates out there.Reply
Talk about water cooling lolReply
"Honey, where should we put the aquarium?"Reply
"How about stacking it on top of some electrical components, like the the computer?"
"Good idea, babe!"
Having both kept fish and worked on computers this sounds like a "Ask Mr. Lizard" episode of putting nitro and glycerin in a blender and hitting the button. "We need another Timmy!"Reply
Just like mineral oil or dorm fridge, this thing is at best just a show piece.Reply
Not a daily driver.