Computer submerged in mineral oil

the_hutchthe_hutch Banned Posts: 827
So I've started researching the idea of submerging your entire computer rig into mineral oil for cooling and overclocking purposes. Has anyone actually done this. The idea of sticking hardware in any kind of liquid makes me nervous...even if the science does "make sense..."

This is an example of a company that sells kits...Mineral Oil Submerged Computer; Our Most Popular Custom PC

I'm more interested in doing a custom build that actually looks like a computer and not an aquarium. But SO MANY questions about differences in performance.


  • Node ManNode Man Member Posts: 668 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Of all the ways I could tell my girlfriend that I destroyed the carpet, i don't want one of them to be: "The oil filled fish tank cracked open while i was placing my computer in it".
  • TheShadowTheShadow Member Posts: 1,057 ■■■■■■□□□□
    You might want to check out this detailed article of one that still looks like a computer. 4k for the cheap model but it may give you some ideas.

    Exclusive: Oil Immersion Cooling Goes Mainstream with Hardcore PC's Reactor | Maximum PC
    Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of technology?... The Shadow DO
  • the_hutchthe_hutch Banned Posts: 827
  • powerfoolpowerfool Senior Member Member Posts: 1,649 ■■■■■■■■□□
    With the power available in today's systems, do you really think that you are going to get much out of it by overclocking? If you get an Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition, I tend to think it wouldn't be likely. It is six cores and has hyperthreading... and if you aren't using all of the cores and have a high intensity task, it will reduce the number of cores in use and self-overclock.

    If you are intent on doing this, you don't stick the entire thing in mineral oil, just the motherboard w/ CPU and maybe your power supply. Unless you are running a SSD, you wouldn't want to think about your hard disk... and even then, I don't think I would want to chance it. The thing is, a platter-based hard disk with moving components could actually benefit from reduced heat in standard operation, not even considering an overclocked situation. It will extend the life of the drive, that is for certain. Equallogic, who were acquired by Dell a few years ago, did a study and found heat to be the leading contributor to premature disk failure. They have the fans cranked up on their units and if you pull and HDD directly from a long running unit, it is cool to the touch. From this perspective, perhaps an HDD would benefit from being separated for the rest of the system that is constantly generating heat.

    That's awful extreme, and if you do it, you HAVE to post some pictures. As much as I may have sounded like a downer, because it isn't very practical, it is still very cool.
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  • TheShadowTheShadow Member Posts: 1,057 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Not sure what your point is. Please follow the last links that I and the_hutch posted, the hard drives are encased separately. The overclock argument is the same one used for the last 20 years with every chip introduction. Until answers arrive instantaneously with universal sub-second response time faster systems will always be wanted at a reasonable price performance ratio. As far as price, a stock IBM-AT cost 6K in 1985 dollars (mine is in the garage) to which I eventually added a 1100 dollar 1Gig disk drive. This oil filled unit is relatively cheap by those standards.
    Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of technology?... The Shadow DO
  • tpatt100tpatt100 Member Posts: 2,991 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I have seen mineral oil systems a few times over the past few years. I tried overclocking back in the K62 and Celeron days. I never noticed the difference and back when I did it it always seemed to benchmark slower than an actual CPU rated for that speed. If I got it 100-200 MHZ faster it still didn't reach a CPU rated at 100-200 mhz faster.

    People do it as a hobby, there is no "logical" reason for it but then again it's for the people who like hardware and talking about scores on the hardware sites.

    Water cooling was "hardcore" back when I followed pc hardware but its worked its way into regular computers, my desktop has it and I didn't even realize it.
  • DevilsbaneDevilsbane Member Posts: 4,212 ■■■■■■■■□□
    It would be very interesting to run some performance testing on your system, submerge it, and then run the same testing. Even without overclocking, heat tends to slow things down. The performance increases would probably be minimal, but it would still be interesting to see.
    Decide what to be and go be it.
  • RoguetadhgRoguetadhg CompTIA A+, Network+. Member Posts: 2,489 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I've also looked into the mineral oil. I would rather not have my computer parts under oil - One, it's a hell of a lot more messy.

    Watercooling has only made it way into normal computers with the advent of closed Watercooling loops. The art and hobby of watercooling is still there. Such as "The Mod" with Watercooling&Heatsink working together. One drawback, you can't get below ambient temps. Sub-Ambient Watercooling temps leads to their own separate problems - condensation on the plumbing.

    TEC / Peltiers can provide the below ambient temps and keep a computer working daily. If you want to ring out every last drop of performance, you'll going into realm of overclocking for the numbers. Benchmarking. With that - Nothing beats N2O (Liquid Nitrogen). This is used for competitions, for the lowest possible temps, and the highest possible scores. Of course, these badboys are made just for the benchmark - nothing more.

    Otherwise, performance wise, I'd still just put my computer 'under water' with a custom watercooling loop
    In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
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  • tpatt100tpatt100 Member Posts: 2,991 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I would just like the ability to install a SSD drive in my head and set up caching so stuff I don't find interesting but need access to quickly is readily available.
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    That system is a beast

    Thanks for sharing!

    tpatt agreed!
  • RoguetadhgRoguetadhg CompTIA A+, Network+. Member Posts: 2,489 ■■■■■■■■□□
    @tpatt100: I agree. It takes me atleast 20 minutes to boot up in the morning.

    I might need more RAM.
    In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
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  • MentholMooseMentholMoose Senior Member Member Posts: 1,524 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Full submersion doesn't seem beneficial enough to justify the cost and complexity. For one thing, to overclock the CPU, videocard, and RAM, you don't need to cool the entire motherboard. You can put heatsinks or even water cool the few components that do need cooling (the chipset and whatever else actually gets hot). Additionally, the coolant temp will still be near ambient, similar to higher-end liquid cooling systems.

    If I had a lot of time and money to dedicate to overclocking, I would go with a sub-ambient solution. The hassle and risk of condensation with a sub-ambient rig is probably comparable to dealing with a full submersion rig, but sub-ambient cooling will provide far superior overclocking potential. For the lowest temps (around -100C) and highest potential overclock you would use dry ice or liquid nitrogen, but these are only usable temporarily, for example during a few benchmarks. Chilled liquid (around 0C) or phase change systems (around -50C) are more suitable for long-term, day-to-day use.

    If you are just looking for decent overclocks and not a lot of cost or hassle, water cooling is the way to go. Water cooling is easy and affordable now. Long gone are the days of piecing together a rig from aquarium parts and a heater core from a junkyard. icon_lol.gif Decent water cooling kits or even the good closed-loop kits can provide good overclocking gains with high reliability and low cost. I guess a submersion rig has an extra coolness factor, but I've seen some fantastic-looking custom water cooling rigs.

    One last thing to consider is that not all components are equal, and the actual limits of CPUs, RAM, videocards, chipsets, and so on can vary. Using extreme cooling for overclocking is not much use if you don't take care of the other variables that impact the results. For example, if you have an extreme cooler but your CPU has an average or poor limit, you might find that someone with a golden example of the same CPU can overclock it higher on a $30 HSF. Unfortunately it can take time and money to find those golden components that let you get the most out of your cooling rig.
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  • DevilWAHDevilWAH Member Posts: 2,997 ■■■■■■■■□□
    By far the biggest improvement to my PC performance during my golden days of over clocking was 3 X 10K raptors in RAid 0.

    In terms of fan verses Water cooling, I was able to get very close to water cooled systems in benchmarks and in terms of every day usage there was negligible difference (83fps looks identical to 90fps i assure you)

    If you are going for the benckmark figure then you want phase change or some thing like Liquid Nitrogn. At these kind of temps and as MenthoMoose says with a Gold sample of the hard ware (some compinies sell special editions that are guaranteed good overclock) you start to see the benifits of it.

    As always to make a cooling solution that is provided the level of cooling to make over clocking work, you could afford to by wice the CPU/Graphic pawer in the first place and avoid all the hassle.

    On the other hand playing with over clocking is kind of fun :)
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  • TheShadowTheShadow Member Posts: 1,057 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Being from the generation of liquid cooled mainframes, I don't hold the view that overclocking is the only reason to look at alternative cooling methods. Continuous high intensity calculations is another reason. Intel seems to be investigating oil cooling for potential future servers. As component density increases, cooling becomes problematic. Those working in large data centers may see this go mainstream soon rather than just a market niche. Here are some preliminary results of their studies from last August Intel immerses its servers in oil — and they like it! — Tech News and Analysis
    Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of technology?... The Shadow DO
  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAMod Posts: 4,133 Mod
    It looks really cool but I don't think I would do it even with all the disposable income in the world. I game some but I've never deal with lag or overheating issues with my desktop so I think it would be overkill for me.

    Nifty concept though.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
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