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Looking for an unconventional case to show off and a matching cooling solution to go with it? Boutique PC maker Puget Systems has announced a new revision of their unique aquarium PC, which submerges your machine's components in mineral oil to keep them cool – needless to say it's not for the faint of heart. The Aquarium PC V4 is available as a do-it-yourself kit for adventurous users who would like to experiment with alternative cooling solutions.
The company first started offering a DIY kit for mineral oil submerged computers in 2008. Since then, they've apparently seen enough demand for the aquarium PC that they decided to purchase a laser cutting machine to start manufacturing the kits entirely in-house. This allowed them to bring down costs and create a much more finely tuned product.
Puget explains the difference with their previous V3 kit: "Instead of large bulky bracing, we cut it down to only what is necessary. Instead of dual pumps with complicated interconnects, we run a single more powerful pump. This leads to a dramatic decrease in complication, assembly, number of parts needed, [...] and less points of possible failure"
The V4 kit will run you $596 plus shipping and includes a 12-gallon tank and cover, acrylic motherboard tray, 7 slot I/O shield, power cord, power/HDD LEDs, power switch, PCI SATA and power bracket, 3-inch brushed nickel wire handles, hard drive mounts that go above the surface, Watercool MO_RA3 Pro radiator and a radiator stand, submersible Swiftech MCP35X pump, 5 feet of half-inch tubing, and all necessary screws, barbs, and fittings.
Mineral oil may look like water, but it behaves very differently. Since it's non-conductive, the electronics do not short out. Puget says that heat generated by the PC is transferred into the mineral oil at a rate over 5 times better than air. The mineral oil is then pumped through the radiator to dissipate the heat into the ambient air.
Although cooling your system with mineral oil is considered safe, Puget does offer a word of caution reminding users that soaking their hardware in mineral oil will void the warranty on them, and that mineral oil is very difficult – if not impossible – to clean from components once they've been submerged, so think it over before taking the plunge.