If you have a very powerful computer running at high loads, it will heat up fast. To dissipate that heat, you need to have a capable cooling system. Most of the time, that’s accomplished with heat sinks and fans. But very hot computers require liquid cooling to pull heat away from the CPU and GPU. That is done with coolant running through tubes that pass through heat sinks before traveling to a large radiator. But it would sure be nice if you could just drop your computer in a tank of water — which is what Frank Zhao has done with his Aquarium Computer.
The computer isn’t actually submerged in water — mineral oil is used instead. It looks like water, but doesn’t conduct electricity, making it safe for electronics. And this isn’t the first time a computer has been completely submerged either. It’s a somewhat common setup, and Zhao himself has built one in the past. But his new build looks extremely clean, and takes into account lessons that Zhao learned with his first aquarium-based computer. That computer eventually failed due to a crack in the acrylic tank that caused the oil to burst out, and was running too hot before then due to improper cooling.
Zhao’s new version is built inside a high-quality glass aquarium, with the parts attached to a custom laser-cut ABS mount. The components are also upgraded, and include a 6-core Intel Coffee Lake CPU, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and a Samsung 970 Evo Plus SSD. Those are kept cool by circulating the mineral oil through a fan-cooled radiator. Finally, some RGB LEDs and aquarium decorations complete the look. The result is both a powerful computer and home decor rolled into one.