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Mineral Oil PC


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Hey Guys,


Just been doing a bunch of research today and I got a solid plan for building a mineral oil submerged PC. Curious if anyone here currently runs one and if they have any pointers? I do plan on going through with this so don't bother trying to convince me otherwise ;) Though I will listen to constructive feedback and suggestions.


For those who are unaware, a PC submerged in Mineral Oil is intended to dissipate heat in a greater capacity than through traditional methods of air and fans. Mineral oil works in this fashion because it is non conductive, so you caa throw your mother board, CPU, GPU, Power Supply unit, even your SSD (not traditional Hard drive of course) in a fish tank full of mineral oil and boom now you chilling at 20 Celsius idle temps.


The major set backs for this set up, is once you go mineral oil, its near impossible to go back, at least with the components you use. Because the mineral oil gets all over the components and is near impossible to get out, quite messy, however they don't harm them. (mixed reports, some say if the oil gets up to 80 Celsius on max load that it can melt away the rubber coating on the capacitors on the mother boards and GPU, and that the fans will burn out from pushing the heavier than air oil around, however I have seen just as many reports from 4 year old gaming rigs running into 0 problems while in oil for 4 years running straight). Whew that was a long parentheses disclaimer...


Anyways, i plan on browsing local fish tanks before I buy any online, its much easier to visualize a physical object when you can physically hold it after all ehh? So the bare bone essentials are:


- Container (prefer see through) that is sealed on all sides and access door on one face capable of holding liquid (aka fish tank 3-5 gal)

- 2.5-4.5 gal of mineral oil (depending on container size)


Boom entry level successful! However many report that for long periods of maxed use age, the oil heats up and doesn't dissipate the heat as quickly. One in depth study I saw was over 4 months, and each day they turned the computer on, ran some sort of program that maxed it out for the day then turned it to an idle state. It would take the computer 12 hours of being maxed to reach 80 Celsius for oil temp, once it reached that temp it never went over 80 and ran like that for days on end without break (obviously not good for normal cooling standards, but they were trying to make a point. It took 8 hours for the oil to cool back down to its normal idle temps of around 25 Celsius. The fans in the computer were just the cpu, gpu, and psu fans no other case fans to circulate the oil. The oil would rise to the surface and cool then fall back down to get heated up again. Theoretically, if you had a real shallow but large container to house the oil, you most likely wouldn't need any external cooling source as the shear size of surface area would be enough to cool the oil fast enough.


Speaking of external cooling, that brings in the pump and radiator:


-Pump capable of pushing the oil through 1/2 inch tubing and a radiator roughly 5-6 feet in length max needed

-Radiator, obviously the bigger the better, or the more copies of smaller radiators linked all together works the same magic.


This is where the money gets involved, in the first stage of a mineral oil implementation the most expensive part is the oil, which can range from 70-100+ for that many gallons. In this second part for a big radiator it can be another 100, easily and a pump capable is a simple 20-30 bucks at most, again tubing a mere 5 bucks. The only reason this scares me the most is it require the oil to leave its enclosure of the tank, I've never done tubing before, it make sense and seems easy enough, but something is always bound to go wrong and I'm not the first person that wants oil to find its way on my desk and or floor. If I do end up going all the way to using a radiator, I would salvage the case fans on my case (3, 120MM) and mount them on the radiator to provide the 3rd tier of coolant, the fans are obviously free from the previous case so this is a no-brainer, just would need to invest in a radiator that is 360MM and has mounting holes for the 3 fans.




-Fish tank (5 gal) = about 40-50 bucks

-4.5 gal oil = about 100 bucks

-5 feet 1/2 tubing (plus fixtures) = about 10 bucks

-360mm radiator = about 100 bucks

-3, 120mm fans = freeeeeee

Total about 250


Why do this you may ask? I already invested in a 2nd GPU to allow me to do Crossfire (it was only 50 bucks and is in almost new condition, couldn't pass up) however my current case does not allow me to use it to full potential. Curently the 2nd card mounts about half an inch from my PSU fan... no bueno. I noticed when running cross fire one of my cards gets up to 80 Celsius in about 30 minutes when I play any game, obviously the temp fix is to take that 2nd card out and go back to how I was. But dang it I want to use it and I want a computer that runs cool AND SILENTLY TOO, plus it looks cool and the fun factor of it being in liquid is cool. So this brings be back around, if anyone has experience with this Id love to hear any pointers or tips or any helpful info. I've heard that mounting the PSU on the outside of the oil cuts down on the heat pretty well, but this reintroduces the noise and dust factor.


I think how I'm going to start is slow, will be a 5 gal fish tank for expansion and more oil flow reasons, and I'll keep my PSU outside of the fish tank for now and see how noisy and dusty it gets and how hot the temps get, will use a thermometer for the oil and afterburner for the chips.




*EDIT* Sorry for no links on info, I'm at work right now and the computers don't keep the browsing history between logins oddly, but honestly if you just Google "Mineral Oil PC" you'll find everything I found haha.

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Guest RET.Maj.ShadowOp=US=
I kinda made this suggestion in passing CPL lol, didn't expect you to actually run with it. Unfortunately other than some build videos and the general theory behind I don't have experience, but be sure to photograph the build steps.
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Haha I got you Sir, I was actually thinking on it heavily anyways because I've always wanted to do it ever since I saw it back in 2008 in my networking class in college. Now I (sorta) have the need, and the alternative (in my mind) is just as costly, so heck might as well dabble in the unkown! But yes I do plan on doing pics, I wanted to do video, but I don't think I would be smooth enough for a video yet. If I happen to do a 2nd build in the future after I've done my first then I would do a video as my comfort of putting it together wouldn't be me tinkering around with hand tools for hours on end lol.
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