One of the news items that went under the radar at Supercomputing was from CoolBitts. The company focuses on fully immersed systems whereby the CPU, GPU, and all the components are put into a non-conductive liquid. There are two types of immersive systems: two phase, where the liquid turns to a gas on heating and then condenses back into a liquid, or single phase systems that rely on a pump and a radiator to help move the liquid. This is the latter, and if you’ve ever heard of the ‘mineral oil’ PC, this is something very similar, except this is a case and coolant dedicated for immersion systems.

We covered two-phase immersion liquid cooling (2PLIC) previously, where the CPU heats the liquid enough to convert it to a gas in order to move heat away from the system, using the latent heat of change between the two states as the thermal pump. Immersive servers have been improving for the last 20 years, with new techniques and chemicals, however immersed desktop PCs have been limited to single builds, often using oil and forced convection due to complexity. ‘Mineral Oil’ PCs never took off, as it required specialist components beyond just the mineral oil, and plus a lot of care had to be made, such as anti-fungals, to stop other stuff growing in it. Mineral oil is a very viscous fluid at any rate, making convection hard and pumps had to run hard. Rather than going down that route, CoolBitts will sell you a complete chassis, setup, and coolant, to make your home PC offer a fully immersive experience while you game.

The system uses either a mini-ITX or micro-ATX sized motherboard, with the power supply and graphics cards all immersed, as well as the CPU and memory. The rear IO panel is kept out of the liquid, just to ensure connectivity. The radiator hands off the back of the clear transparent chassis, with four fans in place to perform the airflow. The pump sits inside the chassis, and the rear panel has handles to make accessing the system very easy.

The system as a whole is designed to support systems up to 750 W. On display at Supercomputing, the company had a 32-core Threadripper 2990WX and an RTX 2080 Ti on full load, showing 618W peak power draw with the temperature sensors in the liquid showing 30 C after a few minutes . The pump is capable of 3+ liters per minute, and we assume is something like a Liang-D5. The controller and kit for all this monitoring comes with the PCIe set and looks to like it is accessed through a web interface.

The coolant used is called EC-120, from Electrocool. Buying the full kit will give you 5 gallons of the stuff (which at retail is around $500). This is a lot more expensive than mineral oil, but still beats the $300/liter cost of the two-phase liquids used in servers.

The full kit, including the chassis, power meter, rear IO panel, PCIe tray, radiator, pump, fans, and coolant, comes to a rather cool $2450 (+ sales tax in New Hampshire). CoolBitts will also look at custom designs for large customers interested in a specialist build. Though at that price, it might be out of the reach of any casual consumer.


Gallery: ICEbox

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  • Jaaap - Monday, December 30, 2019 - link

    I like how they just dunk the PSU fan in there too.
    Screw the fan and its stall current.
    Reply
  • prime2515103 - Monday, December 30, 2019 - link

    That PSU has a semi-passive mode. Unless the fan speed is based on load rather than temperature, which I doubt, it would likely stay at 0rpm. Reply
  • The True Morbus - Tuesday, December 31, 2019 - link

    The only PSU I've seen (there's more, I'm sure) with a zero-noise mode specifically stated the fan wouldn't spin if the load was below 50% of the PSU's capacity... Reply
  • drexnx - Monday, December 30, 2019 - link

    I like how they're so sure of their seals they put it on a cafeteria tray, just in case it leaks Reply
  • UltraWide - Monday, December 30, 2019 - link

    I had to LOL @ "cafeteria tray" Reply
  • Danvelopment - Monday, December 30, 2019 - link

    If I was going to spend that kind of money, I'd expect a generic back panel with a few of every connection currently available and extension cables and for it to come with a specialised PSU. Then immerse and seal the whole thing after plugging the relevant extensions in (and somehow hiding the irrelevant ones).

    The cables coming from the top are hideous and 90% of this is about image.
    Reply
  • khanikun - Monday, December 30, 2019 - link

    Ya, the thing is definitely ugly. They should have made it wider, so you can mount the PSU off to the side. So you can show off your motherboard and it's components. Then make a hood cover to hide the cables coming off it. Also mix in your idea, so the thing can actually be fully sealed.

    So many ways this could be done and made to look nice. They opted not to do that and just went ugly with it.
    Reply
  • 29a - Thursday, January 2, 2020 - link

    They should call it the Assbox because it looks like ass. Reply
  • MadAd - Monday, December 30, 2019 - link

    "‘Mineral Oil’ PCs never took off"

    I cant see this being a runaway hit anytime soon either.
    Reply
  • FreckledTrout - Tuesday, December 31, 2019 - link

    Make MCT oil PC's and you have a hit. As it heats up you get a nice coconut smell. /s Reply

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