I figured after 2 months of membership that it was time to get to work...even if not physically. I don't have the money or tools yet to begin but I'm not worried about that because I don't have the planning 100% worked out yet.
A few years ago I read about an oil-submerged PC and I thought it was the coolest thing...I then forgot all about it until I read about a company that patented the concept (the bastards...next they'll be patenting air cooling as well) and are selling oil cooled rigs for like 14k bucks. Dream on. Anyone that pays that much for it has too much money and no sense of the value of that money.
Anyway, I figured I could do it cheaper than said company and make it look better than just about everyone that has done this before. So, during down time at work, I made some sketches and repeatedly refined different layouts and designs until I found the most efficient combination. I then fired up 3DS Max and modeled out my system to the best of my motivation...which doesn't mean it's very good or well polished.
Basically, what I have come up with is like a fish tank but better:
1) Everything but the optical drives and HDDs (if I include them) will be completely submerged in crystal clear mineral oil. I thought about making a snorkel of sorts for the HDD but I couldn't make it look good, keep it practical, or guarantee the drive's safety.
2) The oil will be cooled passively, for the most part, with 2 360 rads and 6 quiet fans that will be turned on only if passive cooling lags behind heat generation. Hot oil near the top is pumped through the rads and cooled oil is released into the bottom of the tank.
3) The oil tank will be nearly completely sealed to prevent leaks and contamination. I want the oil to remain in the tank and to stay 100% clear at all times. There will be a drain valve on the bottom of the case in the event the oil needs to be drained.
4) I will install permanent cable extensions from the mobo to the tank lid, and all external connections will plug into the lid. This should keep any "oil-wicking" to a minimum while allowing a better seal for the tank.
5) The submerged components will all be attached to a clear acrylic plate that also serves as the mobo tray. This tray is attached to the lid of the tank which allows the components to be removed with dry hands.
6) The top of the tank will be hinged to open to 90 degrees vertical so the components can be lifted vertically out of the oil bath. This should eliminate much of the mess as the parts can be left to drain over the tank and there will be absolutely no reaching into the tank of oil.
7) The back of the mobo will now be the top so most of the external cables are kept out of the oil as much as possible.
I think that pretty much takes care of most of the functionality of the design. Form follows function:
1) The tank itself is two layers of acrylic. The outside layer is generic, clear acrylic and the inside is 2-way mirror acrylic. With bright red CCFL's inside the tank, you will be able to see in but not out...at least not very well.
2) The top of the case (encapsulating the rads, fans, and opticals) will be opaque black acrylic. I thought about continuing with a red theme, but my current case is bright red, so it's time for a change!
3) Undecided on a rad grill...as in I don't know what I'm going to do about their hideousness yet.
4) I thought about cable sleeving with silver mylar (such as this
) to keep everything shiny and reflective.
5) In the very bottom of the tank I was going to dump about an inch of red or silver dyed water! I know what you're thinking, and no I'm not a complete idiot. Oil floats on water, but is heavier than air and so it exerts more pressure on the surface of the water, keeping it relatively stable. With the pump dumping the oil near the bottom of the case, I hope to get a nice, slow, reflective ripple effect across the bottom of the tank. And as for water shorting anything out, the higher viscosity oil will create a non-conductive barrier so I could technically pour water over the oil-submerged components with little to no effect. Before I do risk any equipment though, I will be thoroughly testing this to confirm beyond any doubt that it works.
Anyway, I have some pics and vids of my concept. I'll be rendering out more today or tomorrow.
And here's a link
to the worst quality vid I've ever seen. It wasn't that dark or low res before uploading...but hey, free file hosting!
Comments, thoughts, suggestions please!