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Thread: My Unnamed Theoretical Project

  1. #1
    Mentally Underclocked mDust's Avatar
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    Default My Unnamed Theoretical Project

    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!

  2. #2
    Will YOU be ready when the zombies rise? x88x's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Unnamed Theoretical Project

    Looks awesome; I think probably one of the best thought out full-immersion designs I've ever seen (not that there are that many, but still). Depending on your budget, instead of having to put your HDDs up top with the ODDs and have to worry about cooling them, you could just go with SSDs instead and stick them in the oil as well. With the configuration you're doing, I don't think that the radiator will be necessary, but we all love overkill. The GPUs will work great in that orientation because the fans will push the hot oil out the back of the cards, straight to the top of the vat. Similarly, for the CPU I would recommend one with a very large surface area. You might even be able to get away with not putting a fan on it. Also, for the fans you put in the oil, make sure they're really strong fans. Since they'll be pushing through a lot more resistance than they're designed to, they will have a much higher strain on them. You also might want to undervolt them so they spin slower than normal (especially the GPU fans).

    I love the idea of the water at the bottom; just make sure it's thoroughly tested before you put any components in there.

    Oh, and make sure you clean the components with isopropyl alcohol first to clear off any impurities.

  3. #3
    Mentally Underclocked mDust's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Unnamed Theoretical Project

    My plan is for 2 SSDs in Raid0 for uber maximum awesomeness. I forgot to mention that, and also didn't show the other side of the tank which is where the 2 SSDs are submerged near the bottom/back. And because my budget is limited, I might just get enough hardware to assemble a working computer and add stuff to it at a later point.
    As for the rads, I believe they (at least 1) are necessary, but the fans should be optional. The oil bath is a closed environment so the heat would just keep building up thus cooling the hardware less effectively. That's what I've read anyhow... The Puget Systems rig (which has no oil cooling system) runs over 80Celsius under load, which is not what I want for my computer. I'm not expecting lower than normal temps, but I expect the temps to stay pretty stable even when OC'd a bit and under load. And we DO like overkill...so it's win, win!
    I do like the way the fans look spinning slowly in the oil, so they will stay. I've read that they will be fine and there is no danger of them burning up, but I will be under-volting them anyway--the CPU fan via the bios, and I'll probably use RivaTuner to keep the graphics card fans chugging at about 10-20%.

    I guess I can't embed video from ImageShack? So here (dial up users beware!) is a link to a video I just rendered out. It shows the components a bit, although it doesn't represent specific hardware at this point. It also shows a bit of wave action, but the movement of the camera sort of ruins that experience.
    I also rendered out the following:
    The front:

    This shows the regular, old aftermarket air cooler that I'll have mounted to the CPU on the left and a shiny, modular PSU on the right. I've heard that not having a heatsink on the CPU in the oil will just cause an extreme hot spot in the oil and won't effectively cool it. So I'm thinking the copper heat-pipes will draw the heat away to the aluminum fins which should cool just like in the air, but better. There's also some "illustrated wave action" at the bottom.

    The back:

    The back shows the pump in the upper left, SSDs in the lower left, cold-oil return on the right side (barely visible actually, forget about this), and above the tank is a hole in the back that serves as both an air intake if the fans are running and an exit for a nice, neat bundle of cables.

    The left side:

    Looks like a normal PC...floating in mid-air! At least I hope. I'm not sure what the refractory properties of mineral oil are and I intend for the acrylic plate everything is mounted to to be barely visible.

    The right side:

    Looks like the other side but with different pieces floating.

    (I swear ImageShack is making my vids darker...it's the exact same scene as the stills were rendered from...maybe it's just me though.)

  4. #4
    Will YOU be ready when the zombies rise? x88x's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Unnamed Theoretical Project

    Looks pretty sweet. I don't have any personal experience with full-immersion cooling, but the oil should follow the same thermal behavior of any liquid, so have no fan the the CPU HS (I assume that's what you meant, not no HS) should just heat the oil around it, which will then become less dense than the oil above it and go up, replaced by the surrounding oil, which heats up and...you get the idea. Anyways, I'm sure the fan won't cause any problems, and will do a better job of cooling it.

  5. #5
    Mentally Underclocked mDust's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Unnamed Theoretical Project

    Yep, that's a convection current...I think I got confused somewhere before I replied. My bad.
    I'll procrastinate tomorrow.

  6. #6
    baaah. billygoat333's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Unnamed Theoretical Project

    this looks like a sweet idea. if you start work on it make sure to do a worklog!! we all wanna see this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Omega
    ber is id elicous
    Centurion 5 Mod <<--- ON HOLD FOR THE WINTER

  7. #7
    Anodized sloppyc's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Unnamed Theoretical Project

    Nice. I'd like to try a mineral-oil PC sometime as well. Time, space and budget don't permit at the moment, though.

    Good luck, look forward to seeing this come to fruition.

  8. #8

    Default Re: My Unnamed Theoretical Project

    Sir mDust, there is another modder named mstjuan at the recently concluded CM contest where I was disqualified... Are both of you same (just asking)... I asked because he submitted an entry with almost similar idea as submerged into an oil... I can't give you the link because I hate that place (forum)...For sure it works for him, but what's best you're doing it step by step!!! complete with planning!!! We're both on Unique category...

  9. #9
    Mentally Underclocked mDust's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Unnamed Theoretical Project

    A worklog would be mandatory IMO. Personal finances and some minor planning details are the only obstacles keeping this project in limbo. I'm looking to rectify the situation ASAP...but it may take a while before I can get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by sunny2010
    Sir mDust, there is another modder named mstjuan at the recently concluded CM contest where I was disqualified... Are both of you same (just asking)...
    Nope, wasn't me. I've never participated in a modding competition.
    Oil cooling, although not very popular, is not a new concept. There have been oil cooled PC's around for over a decade, oil cooled computers around since the 80's or so, and oil cooled electronics such as utility transformers have been around for about 40 years...so the concept for this project is not original but the design is as far as I know.

    If anyone notices anything odd within the design I have laid out or a potential problem (other than saying 'the fans will burn out!' hehe, that's usually the first thing people point out) or even something that could be added, go ahead and post it here so it can be discussed. Any and all comments are welcome.
    I'll procrastinate tomorrow.

  10. #10
    baaah. billygoat333's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Unnamed Theoretical Project

    you know what would be cool? get one of those electric trolling motors with the propellers on em to turn this up. that would be wicked. might be a little overkill though
    Quote Originally Posted by Omega
    ber is id elicous
    Centurion 5 Mod <<--- ON HOLD FOR THE WINTER

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