Thursday, October 30, 2008

Puget Systems DIY Mineral Oil PC Mod

Puget Systems, developers of the mineral oil cooled PC have announced plans for a DIY Aquarium Cooling mod.

With over 1 million views online the Puget Systems video for the "Mineral Oil Submerged Computer" or Aquarium PC has sparked a lot of interest over the years. So much so that Puget Systems has developed two do it yourself kits so the home modder can have their own oil cooled Aquarium PC.

As part of the development, testing and quality assurance process for the new Aquarium PC kit, Puget Systems has been running their own Aquarium PC -- a plexiglass enclosed, mineral-oil submerged PC -- for well over a year and with no ill-effect on the hardware.

Having created two revisions of the aquarium computer, and observing their operation for over a year, we have gained extensive experience in building aquarium computers. We know first-hand how it takes endless hours to determine what parts you need, find a source, and wait for them to get in. What's worse, with something this customized, it often takes multiple attempts to find the parts that fit properly and work just right. After building our second revision of aquarium computer, we realized that we've done all of this work, and that we should share it with everyone!

By offering these DIY kits, we are saving you very large amounts of time spent on research, ordering, and mistakes. The end cost of the project is much lower, because you can get in the right parts, the first time. Since we are ordering in the parts in bulk, we are able to get the parts cheaper, which allows us to make the margin we need to fund the project, while continuing to offer them at a lower price than you'd get if ordering them one at a time from various sources. It's a win for everyone! We are offering the kit in two separate modules: the main aquarium module, and a cooling module. We also offer all the components for sale individually on our parts store.
The basic aquarium module which is meant for low end systems comes equipped with all the parts necessary to mount your computer hardware will set you back $312.50 . [View Details]

The cooling module which features the addition of an external radiator, is described as having been have verified to provide adequate cooling with the most extreme hardware on the market today (Intel QX9770 CPU, 8GB DDR3-1600 RAM, NVIDIA GTX280 video card). It will cost $375 [View Details]

Puget Systems is nice enough to add the following warning to their site for anyone wanting to order their products:

WARNING: Submerging your hardware in mineral oil will void your warranty. Do this project only at your own risk. Puget Systems is not liable for any hardware problems, or damage to your personal property. Mineral oil is very difficult, if not impossible to clean from your components once they are submerged.

While the setup looks pretty cool, $300 seems pretty steep to me. As you can see from the video and images the setup is fairly bulky. Your hard drives are not contained within the tank itself so you'll be dealing with an external mounting solution which likely means eSATA. Another concern would be making upgrades or changes to your system. Imagine the mess created when you want to add or remove hardware.

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