How to Build a Fish Tank PC

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Blu3Otaku

"The loudest element was actually the oil pouring back into the case from the radiator, which was like a pleasantly babbling brook."

I built from scratch an oil submerged PC back in 2008. I routed the cooling to where the pump sucked the oil from the tank around the GPU, out to a three fan radiator, then back into the case to a water block directly on the CPU. I simply left the exit port on the waterblock open so the oil could exit into the tank. This setup allowed the cool oil from the radiator to be put directly on the CPU. With more time and money I would have continued the setup from the CPU water block to a GPU water block before exiting back into the tank. Having the oil exit within the tank would eliminate the noise of oil pouring into the tank.

Motherboard, GPU, PSU and extra fans were all submerged. As far as overclocking, I don't remember exact numbers but I was able to achieve significantly higher clocks than stock and even watercooling as the oil also helped cool the motherboard and other areas which regular water cooling does not. Temps stayed consistently around 30C.

Just wanted to share how one can go one step further with additional water cooling parts. One could even do a closed loop water cooled setup within an oil cooled setup.

Funny story. The only mineral oil around here was horse laxative at the local tractor supply. I bought 8 gallons worth.

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firefox91

Need to see, but hardly practical. The expense and weight issues make other means of cooling so much better. This just looks neat.

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Electrik

"and Puget warns against overclocking systems in the oil due to heat concerns."

Then, what is the point of an oil immersion system?

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Eoraptor

mainly as a curiosity piece... though a bit of digging around their site turned up a 9x120 radiator specifically rated for cooling high-output setups... so who can say?

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AFDozerman

Always wanted one of these, but they're so expensive and time consuming that I just don't think it's worth it.

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SirGCal

The gotcha to these are when you need to change something. Getting the mineral oil off... It's all an 'Ohh Lookie!' system... I'm not a fan of mineral-oil submerged units of any kind. Heavy, turn yellow after a while, leak, and hard to clean after the fact. What's the point? If it was at least dead silent that would be something, but they are not.

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Peanut Fox

This makes me wonder what happen to the folks at Hardcore Computer. The ones who put together the Reactor, the fully submerged desktop PC.

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surfinsam

Found them:
http://www.liquidcoolsolutions.com/

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Peanut Fox

Wouldn't have guessed they'd move to servers.

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ZombieKiller

Have a quick question, though yes it's unrelated to this article I really need help.
I recently moved to a new house and found that not a single outlet has a ground. Every outlet is only 2 prong, so I replaced them with GFCI outlets. I have a really expensive gaming PC ($4,000+) and was curious if it's OK to use it on a GFCI outlet? I have used many other electronics without any problem, every game console made within the last ten years, flat screen TV's, sound system, and actually have used a cheap Micro ATX PC, and several laptops. I am also using surge protectors on everything. I'd just try my Gaming PC as I'd think it'd be OK, it's just with it being so expensive I'd like to be sure that it's going to be OK before I plug it in. Thanks.

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NavarWynn

Given the age of the wiring, and the high load you intend to use, I would recommend renters insurance. So if you burn the house down at least you'll get a check to replace your $4000 pc.

Aside from that, you also need AFCIs. Probably more than GFCIs. Not the same thing, though they can be used on the same circuit. An AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) can detect when you have wires arcing on the circuit (which often goes unseen), and cuts the circuit accordingly. A tripped AFCI is a warning flag that something is very wrong in your wiring. GFCIs do not protect you from this kind of problem, they only detect difference in flow (if OUT doesn't equal IN, it trips - what happens when you drop a toaster in the bathtub). So your wall could be smoking and a GFCI won't trip.

Neither need a ground line to function properly. Neither provide any sort of surge protection either. Without a grounded line, a surge protector will not offer actual protection, since they are designed to sent the overage to ground. That said, running a ground line to copper pipes usually is adequate.

Also, your wiring is likely from before the 70s (ie 40+ yrs old), as, since, grounded outlets were a code requirement.

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Eoraptor

If your house has old two-pronged outlets (especially not polarized ones) it indicates that the house wiring is at least thirty years old. That means several things:
1.) The wiring itself is probably old, and the connectors at the breaker/panel and in the walls likely oxidized to some extent. That means a greater chance of sparking/arcing under load - wall fire.
2.) Even if the wiring in the walls is in good shape, the layout of the house was probably designed to support no more than 100 amps/ 30 watts. That means that modern electronics, which are designed for 122 amps are going to over-load it. That means a number of things including heating up the wires in the wall (possibly to the point of melting) and also generating a lot of electrical interference which will kill your wifi and any cordless landlines range.
3.) if you have circuit breakers at all, they are probably old, and old breakers tend to not pass the wattage they are listed at, which means they will trip early and often... or conversely, they will not trip at all and you're right back to that over-loaded/overheated wiring issue.

in short, you need to get a licensed electrician in to look in to rewiring with proper up-to-code wiring and outlets from the service box all the way to the outlet if you want to avoid frying your equipment or even your house. It ain't cheap or easy, but your gear will thank you.

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Electrik

I wouldn't worry so much about the ungrounded outlet as I would circuit capacity. I my experience, two-prong outlets tells me the service is very old and probably not 200 amp, possibly 100 or even 60 amp. A GFCI won't make any difference, but it will add some protection to you and give you a piece of mind. Your problem is that big machine may trip breakers/blow fuses.

A $4000 computer is probably a powerful beast, and the capacity in your house is probably limited. You need to find out EXACTLY what else is on the same circuit as your computer. It's a simple matter of turning off the breakers (or unscrewing fuses) one by one and seeing which outlets/lights still work. Turn devices/appliances off first, turn off a breaker then grab a lamp and start plugging it in to different outlets.

In old houses, one breaker or fuse could power 2 or 3 rooms, power and lights. See what else is on the same circuit and try to isolate that big beast to a circuit with a small load, such as bedroom lighting and clocks; keep it isolated from other circuits with high end computers, large LED televisions, microwaves and other large loads,etc.

See what I'm saying? A branch circuit, consisting of a single breaker feeding a single pair of wires can loop from room to room feeding both lights and outlets in those rooms. I can't explain it better than that. The goal is to isolate that big machine away from other big loads as much as you can.

If you physically want it in a particular area, run an extension cord from a circuit with a lighter load.

Call your landlord for help and explain your concerns, he should be willing to help and no, he is not required to upgrade the service unless you are buying the house. Good luck and be careful.

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Renegade Knight

The ground is about safety. Not so much operating your computer. I've used computers on grounded plugs where my Ground was not connected to the plug extenders I was using. By plug extender I mean those gizmos that turn 2 outlets into 6.

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tom_m

Replacing the outlets won't help, because you don't have a ground wire attached. You need to have an electrician come in and set that up for you. They should probably give the whole residence an inspection, since two-prong outlets indicate a pretty old setup. Old/frayed wiring in the walls can start a fire, and they need to confirm that there's actually enough amperage coming in from the street to operate things like washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, and microwaves.

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ZombieKiller

Hey, thanks for the response! I'd have them replaced with proper grounds but the house is a rental and the renter won't allow anything to be done to the house, including having grounds installed. So in a case like this what do you suggest I do? Thanks!

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Jacob Stanbery

Well if it's old enough to not have any grounded outlets whatsoever, chances are that it's probably not up to code. If you can look up the building codes for your area and see what the house doesn't meet, your landlord is required by law to fix the problems. In the meantime, you *should* be okay without being grounded, but with an expensive system like that, it's probably a bad idea.

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germanogre

Same problem at my apartment. I moved all my stuff in and had half of it in place before discovering that only one outlet (in the kitchen) is grounded. Had to buy a bunch of adapters.
I cringe a bit during bad storms, but I've lived here 5 years, and have never lost any electronics due to power surges.
My electricity is pretty stable, however. Your results may differ.