Strip Out The Fans, Add 8 Gallons of Cooking Oil

VIDEO 18 TO DOWNLOAD: Fascination Surrounds The Oil PC

The Do-It-Yourself Oil PC: Pour eight gallons of vegetable oil into the running benchmark operation and the silent Athlon-FX-55 system is ready. A GeForce 6800 Ultra as well as other components are included.

Our video 18 follows a completely new approach to the cooling of a high-end PC system: eight gallons of oil are poured here into a specially prepared case with powerful components. And all that during benchmark operation!

The videos from the Munich-based THG lab have been followed by a wide audience ever since the first film in 2001. As we did for our previous films, we offered Video 18 in three different formats from the get-go. All the while, we've always attempted to achieve an optimum picture quality with a comparably very low bit rate.

In order to cater to the wishes of a few readers who don't want to install an additional video codec, we offer the new video in WMV9 format for the MS Windows Media Player as well as for Apple in Quicktime format (H.264).

Apple has caught up with its Quicktime format (7.0.3 Pro), which is much easier to operate than the competition. The video was coded with H.264.

In addition, the file is compressed with a ZIP packer so that, as a result, a 20 MB file is ready to be downloaded. A playing length of three minutes and 45 seconds with stereo sound results in an average bit rate of 5.7 MB/min, or 93 kB/s.

Our preference for the DivX codec has changed, since the new version 6 is less suitable for encoding than its predecessor 5.2.1. Thus, for this video the "old" version was again used for now. The market for compressing procedures is transforming altogether in that the Microsoft WMV9 codec is displaying good characteristics similar to the DivX 5.2.1 and is much easier to handle. Apple's Quicktime Pro 7.0.3 has also really caught up and now works with the modern H.264 codec. The handling is the easiest thing in the world and clearly better than for DivX or WMV9. You can convince yourself by simply downloading the Apple version of the video.

The new video can be downloaded here:

If the video doesn't play, then you can download and install either DivX Player, MS Windows Media Player or Apple Quicktime Player.

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Technical data THG video Oil PC
Video resolution540 x 432 @ 25 fps
Aspect ratio4:3
Color depth16 bit
Audio signalStereo, 16 bit, 48 KHz
Bit rate audio96 kBit/s (12 kBytes/s)
Bit rate video650 kBit/s (81 kBytes/s)
Total bit rate746 kBit/s (93 kBytes/s)
Compression videoMPEG-4 DivX, 5.2.1 Pro codec, 2 pass, bi-directional encoding
Compression audioMPEG-1 Layer 3 (MP3), Fraunhofer
Color spaceYUV
Run time3:45 minutes
File size20 MB
  • jayh619
    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?
  • 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
  • logicmoo
    "On the 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?
  • creepster
    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.
  • kitchenappliances
    Fantastic. I hope health and safety didn't see that?
  • davea0511
    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.
  • OnyxxOr
    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
    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

  • 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).
  • 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.
  • why not use synthetic motor oil?, miniral oil has trace minerals that can stick to surface (non-conductive but it looks ugly)