In a world where technology is constantly pushing the boundaries, companies are now exploring the depths of the ocean, not for treasure, but for better heat dissipation for data centers. However on experimental project has taken this concept and applied it to a garden pond, demonstrating the potential of using water to cool high-end PC components.
The watercooled PC project involved the use of an RTX 4090 and an Intel I9 13900k, components that generate over 800 watts of heat. The challenge was to find a way to dissipate this heat effectively, and the solution was found in the most unlikely of places – a garden pond.
The hardware was encased in a clear acrylic cylinder, making it watertight and allowing for rapid heat dissipation. The plan involved building a sealed internal water cooling loop that transfers heat from the components to external copper pipes. These pipes were then cooled by the surrounding water, creating a unique and effective cooling system.
Watercooled PC with RTX 4090 GPU
The components used for the experiment were some of the highest-end parts available, including a Zotac RTX 1490 graphics card and a 1,000 watt power supply. The system was tested in a garden pond, which provided a 2m deep controlled environment for the experiment, check out the results in the video below.
To ensure the system could function in this unique setting, it was connected to a monitor and other peripherals through a 50-meter optical Thunderbolt cable. The system was also made to float independently, with foam rings added around its pole to prevent it from sinking.
The results of the watercooled PC experiment were impressive. Thermal tests showed that the cooling system was very capable, with a maximum reported coolant temperature of just 20.8 Celsius after about an hour. This demonstrated that it’s possible to build a PC that can use surrounding water to keep itself cool.
“Microsoft’s Project Natick team deployed the Northern Isles datacenter 117 feet deep to the seafloor in spring 2018. For the next two years, team members tested and monitored the performance and reliability of the datacenter’s servers. The team hypothesized that a sealed container on the ocean floor could provide ways to improve the overall reliability of datacenters. On land, corrosion from oxygen and humidity, temperature fluctuations and bumps and jostles from people who replace broken components are all variables that can contribute to equipment failure.”
The underwater datacenter concept splashed onto the scene at Microsoft in 2014 during ThinkWeek, an event that gathers employees to share out-of-the-box ideas. The concept was considered a potential way to provide lightning-quick cloud services to coastal populations and save energy.
More than half the world’s population lives within 120 miles of the coast. By putting datacenters underwater near coastal cities, data would have a short distance to travel, leading to fast and smooth web surfing, video streaming and game playing.
Other lessons learned from Project Natick are already informing conversations about how to make datacenters use energy more sustainably, according to the researchers. For example, the Project Natick team selected the Orkney Islands for the Northern Isles deployment in part because the grid there is supplied 100% by wind and solar as well as experimental green energy technologies under development at the European Marine Energy Centre.
The potential benefits of underwater computers or data centers are numerous. They include quick deployment for coastal regions, optimal conditions for hardware longevity, and protection against electromagnetic pulses. This DIY garden pond watercooled PC experiment has shown that the concept is not just feasible, but also highly effective. It’s a deep dive into the future of cooling systems, and the possibilities are as vast as the ocean itself.
Filed Under: DIY Projects, Top News
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