The Oil PC

Submerging your PC in cooking oil seems like one of the worst ideas ever suggested, but it’s been done by the guys at Tom’s Hardware. Turns out that oil is a pretty good coolant, and as it doesn’t conduct electricity, won’t short out your components.

The associated Digg story links to a few other people who have tried similar things. My personal favourite is this one – in my opinion, he’s done a better job by avoiding the gratuitous use of silicone sealant and employing mineral oil to improve visibility and presumably reduce the chance of the oil becoming rancid. I also like the airbrick which sends bubbles up through the case.

I’m interested in trying something similar – I replaced my graphics card today and stuck the old card’s fan in a pot of sunflower oil. When I powered it up, it started spinning as normal, although silently and a lot less quickly. I’m not ready to rebuild my main PC in a fishtank full of baby oil, but I’m tempted to drag an old junk PC down from the loft and see how it fares as a silent, oil-cooled system.

Note that it’s unlikely that you’ll end up with a completely silent system – certain components such as the drives and power supply are definitely best kept out of the oil – but you can at least reduce fan noise and maybe even improve cooling at the same time.

Obviously, experimenting with cooling-by-oil-submersion is not without its risks – there’s a chance that you’ll fry (no pun intended) your system and/or end up with a pool of oil on the floor – but you can certainly have fun trying.

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    2 comments on “The Oil PC

    1. Hammy says:

      Hey ho.

      That story is ridiculous. It’s mad what people try. I sorta get the idea but still. I mean on BBC today was some researchers who claim to have bread fluresent pigs. crazy. And on Engadget was a toilet roll holder with an IPOD dock!!!

      Anyway glad to see your keeping yourself busy barny with your own mad cap experiements. I got a good one you could try. Attach some pot puri to your computer case fan so that it blows a nice smell across your desk all day. :-) That was just off the top of my head but I bet if you searched google you might find somebody already tried it. :-)

      Anyway I’m actually at work so should get back to doing something but since its a Friday I just can’t be bothered. I’m on Skype at work (hardhammy) if anybody wants to have a chat anytime since i’m sooo bored. At least I got your blog to read every day, nice one barney.

      Matt.

    2. Chris says:

      Hey, I’ll try and catch you on Skype sometime. Just checked out your site, it’s cool. One thing though – you can change the description of my site now as it’s not as out of date as it used to be ;)

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