How To: Build a mineral oil cooled computer

Build a mineral oil cooled computer

How to Build a mineral oil cooled computer

Build a mineral oil computer aquarium. It cools the system while giving you something to look at.

The setup is quite simple -- with a few cuts to the top brackets on the aquarium, and an acrylic panel cut to provide a flat base for the motherboard to rest on, there isn't much else that had to be done in terms of assembly. If we had to do it again, we'd find a better solution for the power supply -- it is a bit clunky down in the bottom of the case. If you're adventurous, you could always remove the housing from the power supply. There is a real risk of shock if you don't handle it properly, but without the housing, the power supply would look much more at home in a system like this. We also didn't intend to run the system with fans, but once we saw them spinning slowly in the oil, we just couldn't resist keeping them! With the oil, they made no noise at all. In our follow up in a few months, we'll let you know if the slow spinning eventually burns out the fans.

18 Comments

Thats a great idea! I forgot about mineral oil being non conductive... haha, you guys rock!

how does it work ? ... i dont get it but i wanna do it ....doesnt it mess up your system if its filled with a liquid :S

no, the reason why most liquids will ruin a computer is because they are highly conductive (meaning they will channel electricity) leading to shorts and the like. mineral oil is non conductive, so no electricity will pass through it. however, i doubt that if you try to pull your parts out, you'd be able to use it for any other computer.

So if i bought a cheal new set up and tried it out it wouldnt mess it all up ?

it's worth it, if only to build a cool server for music / netflix.

yeah, you better be happy with the way your hardware setup is, because its fixed the way it is from then on. It might be possible to use something like kerosene or another "dry" solvent to remove the oil, but of course that would take some research... to quote plucky duck "this is a job for...someone else!"

what are the advantages to this does it keep your computer from overheating

can mineral oil sustain aquatic life? I've done a little research and found that it can be used as a pesticide so I would guess this isn't possible, plus the fish food could cause some trouble.

hmm.. when it's time to clean the computer.. would you pressure wash it with mineral oil as well? o.o

Allistaire - you should'd really not let the oil be exposed to the air. If you make sure the oil doesn't get contaminated, you won't have to ever clean it out.

He should have left the fans off. They're going to burn out. Don't need ém anymore either. Probobly runs perfectly silent.

Im curious to know if its necessary to even have fans on there. That PSU fan looked like it was trying really hard just to turn. I wonder if a plain heat sink would suffice.

Anyhow Ive never actually seen a mineral oil cooled computer, I gotta say its really tempting to make one. Do you suppose the mineral water gets dirty after a while?

I have seen this done, but in a cheapo fish tank, the guy said it worked great. I am also concerned about the fans, they will burn out, and if they do and left in there who knows what else they could damage. what about a submersible pump that just moves the liquid around. Is mineral oil flammable?

it can burn at 170c, which your system will melt way before that happens.

I also do not think air bubbles would be wise, it would make your system run hotter because of all the tiny bubbles that would then cling to the metal parts.

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