How can a PC be functioning when it's submerged by mineral oil?

ChoGGi

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Why would they fail?

It's a method of cooling, though I've heard the oil creeps up whatever cords you have coming out of the tank.

It's kinda messy and awkward, so it isn't really a big thing for personal computers.
 

michalrz

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Oils like mineral oil don't conduct electricity, just like distilled water.
They're used to cool transformers and such.
 

Happy Hopping

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first of all, won't the oil choke up the axial of the fans? I'm quite certain that too much oil blocks the mechanics rotation of fans

and what about oxidation?

and is the PSU design to be soak up w/ oil?
 

ChoGGi

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It'll likely have to draw a bit more juice to spin up, but once it's up to speed I doubt it matters much other then wearing down the motor slightly quicker.

I would assume you need oxygen for that.

For a home-oriented product doubtful, if you want to spend more money there are commercial solutions with oil immersion.
 

M76

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Seen a build like that many years ago. It's messy, the fans eat a lot of energy and can't move enough sludge, so it's not very efficient cooling. It's more of a design thing. Eg you want your computer to look like an aquarium.
 

Happy Hopping

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and what's the point anyway? Surely any fluid bearing fan has no sound. I' ve been using Noctua for 4 year, as the PC is running, it's 100% silent, so what's the pt. of this tank of oil? not to mention any RMA of any components is out of the question
 

Guarana [BAWLS]

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you can cool mineral oil better than air.
It's been done for years, but it's also a highly niche market.

You can cool products better overall in oil than you can with air or water.
 

yowen

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To those asking "what's the point?", I'm sure you guys have hobbies that others don't understand. Either way the answer is "because I can and because I enjoy it".

I remember years and years ago seeing someone that coated every component in silicone and actually submerged their system in water, it actually ran for some time. I'm pretty sure they used old parts, just to see if they could do it.
 

N4CR

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The blue smoke doesn't mix with oil, so it works.
 

CaptNumbNutz

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Oil does not conduct electricity and liquids in general dissipate heat much better than gases like the air you breathe. Mineral oil even more so. Mineral oil is also a non-toxic, non-corrosive, and sterile lubricant used in food preparation equipment and even baby-oil.

It's a pain to work with, but in the end you can simply dunk almost an entire PC in it and every single component would be cooled much more efficiently than all but the best water cooling setups. Mineral Oil setups can also be near silent depending on whether you set them up with external pumps.

There are only 2 components I could see mineral oil destroying:
1. Mechanical hard drive that didn't have it's vent holes covered. This would result in oil getting inside with the platters and heads, and I don't think the heads would do to well with the extra mechanical resistance.
2. Optical Drives. The laser light would likely be rendered completely ineffective trying to go through oil. You likely wouldn't submerge an optical drive anyways so this would be a moot point.

Why would someone do this?
Because they can. It's a challenge. People enjoy challenges. It's not meant to be a practical setup.

and what about oxidation?
You have to have oxygen in order for something to oxidize. Anything covered in oil no longer has a surface exposed to air, therefore it can't oxidize.
 
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polonyc2

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There are only 2 components I could see mineral oil destroying:
1. Mechanical hard drive that didn't have it's vent holes covered. This would result in oil getting inside with the platters and heads, and I don't think the heads would do to well with the extra mechanical resistance.
2. Optical Drives. The laser light would likely be rendered completely ineffective trying to go through oil. You likely wouldn't submerge an optical drive anyways so this would be a moot point.
he mentions both those things in the video...he has both of them as part of his setup but they are not submerged in mineral oil
 

CaptNumbNutz

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he mentions both those things in the video...he has both of them as part of his setup but they are not submerged in mineral oil
And? I didn't watch the video as I'm not giving that guy anymore ad revenue.
 

Happy Hopping

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but there are far easier way to cool PC. The trouble and time spent is not worth the few deg. of temperature drop. For e.g, what happens if the component fails? How does that guy do a RMA under warranty?

Further, this is the reason that people outside the IT world see people in the IT world as nerds instead of normal people.
 

ryan_975

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You have to have oxygen in order for something to oxidize. Anything covered in oil no longer has a surface exposed to air, therefore it can't oxidize.
No you don't. Oxidation is the removal of electrons from a molecule, so you just have to have a substance with a high electro-negativity. Fluorine will actually oxidize oxygen.


but there are far easier way to cool PC. The trouble and time spent is not worth the few deg. of temperature drop. For e.g, what happens if the component fails? How does that guy do a RMA under warranty?

Further, this is the reason that people outside the IT world see people in the IT world as nerds instead of normal people.
It's not done for the practicality of it. It's done because it can be done, and it's different. If a component fails, you're probably SOL. I don't think any manufacturer out there is going to replace something that has been submerged in oil.

The reason those in the IT field are seen as nerds is because we are nerds. We take great interest in non-mainstream activities and tend to not to be interested in participating in social activities.
 
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You have to keep something like this tightly sealed too. Water will condense out of the air on the surface, bringing contaminants with it. And the circulation of the oil, even if just by simple convection will mix them in. If left long enough, it'll eventually accumulate enough water and contaminants to short the system.
 

spugm1r3

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I think the point of mineral oil over conventional cooling means is not as much to lower your main components temperature a few degrees, rather to lower the temperature of the components traditionally ignored by conventional means. Every electrical component in your system produces heat, and heat is stress, stress breaks components, and broken components mean system downtime.

This isn't new, by thew way. A coworker of mine (formerly known as Dr. Freeze) was doing this back in 1999.
 

Guarana [BAWLS]

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but there are far easier way to cool PC. The trouble and time spent is not worth the few deg. of temperature drop. For e.g, what happens if the component fails? How does that guy do a RMA under warranty?

Further, this is the reason that people outside the IT world see people in the IT world as nerds instead of normal people.
do you think about what you say, or do you just type in stream-of-consciousness?
 

Saturn_V

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This isn't new, by thew way. A coworker of mine (formerly known as Dr. Freeze) was doing this back in 1999.
I saw my first oil-immersed aquarium PC at a LAN party in 2004. It made as much sense to me back then as it does now. (but I get the "because I can" reasoning)
 

Archaea

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Linus did a series of videos on this.
His conclusion was it was definitely not worth the effort. he got a hairline fracture in the aquarium from moving it, and oil dripped out all over everything. It was a big mess.
 

modi123

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Come talk to me when you use something less harsh like vegetable oil. That won't go rancid.. fo' sho. *cough, cough*.


Source (2006/Athlon FX-55)
 

BigJayDogg3

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but there are far easier way to cool PC. The trouble and time spent is not worth the few deg. of temperature drop.
The same could be said for custom water cooling with hardlines and compression fittings. You could use tygon and barbs. The same result was achieved. Why go through the extra trouble?

For e.g, what happens if the component fails? How does that guy do a RMA under warranty?
Some people don't really care about RMAs. I bought the card, I'll use it as I see fit, and if something happens, I'll take my lumps and buy a new one.

Further, this is the reason that people outside the IT world see people in the IT world as nerds instead of normal people.
And we will continue not caring. I live my life for me and mine. I don't really care what my neighbors or randoms think. A lot of people's problem is they care more about a "look" than actually enjoying their life. I'm over that.
 

acascianelli

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Why bother with fans at? Just get the biggest heatsink you can and run it passively submerged, get a strong enough pump to keep the oil circulating and worry about cooling the oil.

I've never attempted this cooling, but that would be how I would try it. I imagine you need a pretty large volume of oil to make it work.
 

Happy Hopping

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The same could be said for custom water cooling with hardlines and compression fittings. You could use tygon and barbs. The same result was achieved. Why go through the extra trouble?


Some people don't really care about RMAs. I bought the card, I'll use it as I see fit, and if something happens, I'll take my lumps and buy a new one.


And we will continue not caring. I live my life for me and mine. I don't really care what my neighbors or randoms think. A lot of people's problem is they care more about a "look" than actually enjoying their life. I'm over that.
I am not a fan of water cooling neither. Wet Water by Zalman, the chemical inside is banned by govt. of California, as the govt. said that substance will cause cancer.

Motherboard, video card, etc. c/w 3 yr. warranty. Memory module c/w lifetime warranty. So to me, RMA is important

The other thing is, what if there is a leak, the trouble is not worth whatever the benefit is, and so far, it looks like the benefit is marginal at best
 

VanGoghComplex

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I am not a fan of water cooling neither. Wet Water by Zalman, the chemical inside is banned by govt. of California, as the govt. said that substance will cause cancer.

Motherboard, video card, etc. c/w 3 yr. warranty. Memory module c/w lifetime warranty. So to me, RMA is important

The other thing is, what if there is a leak, the trouble is not worth whatever the benefit is, and so far, it looks like the benefit is marginal at best
Submerged oil cooling isn't necessary at all, and comes with a lot of hassles.

Thankfully, the people who do it don't care. If they did, we wouldn't have all these amazing submerged oil builds to marvel at!
 

Guarana [BAWLS]

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I am not a fan of water cooling neither. Wet Water by Zalman, the chemical inside is banned by govt. of California, as the govt. said that substance will cause cancer.
My USB Cables cause cancer according to California. I'm not really that worried about California.

Motherboard, video card, etc. c/w 3 yr. warranty. Memory module c/w lifetime warranty. So to me, RMA is important
If you do it right, you can RMA anything you watercool still. People do it regularly. Hell, EVGA and other companies sell pre-watercooled products.

The other thing is, what if there is a leak, the trouble is not worth whatever the benefit is, and so far, it looks like the benefit is marginal at best
So you have two choices here:

1) If you don't think watercooling is worth the effort, STOP WHINING ABOUT IT. IGNORE IT.

2) Continue to be annoyed by it. STILL YOU NEED TO STOP TALKING ABOUT IT.

What you think is worth it or not has /nothing/ to do with other people. If other people want to WC shit, let them. That's their thing. Not your money, gear, or anything else. If you don't want to? Don't.
 

Happy Hopping

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There is 2 other problems:

1) what about the smell of a tank of oil?

2) what about dust? There is always going to be dust. When dust ends up in that tank, thru time, say 3 to 6 mth., how do you clean it?
 

ryan_975

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There is 2 other problems:

1) what about the smell of a tank of oil?

2) what about dust? There is always going to be dust. When dust ends up in that tank, thru time, say 3 to 6 mth., how do you clean it?

Mineral oil typically doesn't have an odor, and doesn't rancify the way something like vegetable oil would, so there's no smell to worry about.

If you don't leave your tank open, there won't be any way for dust to get into the oil. But if you do and it does get dusty, just change the oil.
 

VanGoghComplex

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There is 2 other problems:

1) what about the smell of a tank of oil?

2) what about dust? There is always going to be dust. When dust ends up in that tank, thru time, say 3 to 6 mth., how do you clean it?
They're apparently not problems.

It baffles me that this hasn't occurred to you yet, but for all your concerns, people have been doing this for decades.
 

michalrz

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oh i needed this lmao
Please keep in mind I really like HappyHopping, I think he's a cool guy, and his love of animals makes me like him even more.
It's just that... sometimes nerds do nerdy things. Happy you're not far away with your concerns about this method of cooling, but it's just one of those things where we should all go ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

VanGoghComplex

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This actually gives me an idea. I wonder if anyone's ever done a SFF mineral oil build where there's no fans and everything dissipates heat into a relatively small quantity of oil... but that oil is circulated through an external radiator? All the benefits of watercooling but with no need for blocks or plumbing inside the case!
 

Guarana [BAWLS]

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This actually gives me an idea. I wonder if anyone's ever done a SFF mineral oil build where there's no fans and everything dissipates heat into a relatively small quantity of oil... but that oil is circulated through an external radiator? All the benefits of watercooling but with no need for blocks or plumbing inside the case!
not likely. Without something actively moving liquid across a block or heat sink, you'll end up with significant hotspots.
 
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