Make your own free website on
Motor Oil Cooled PC

Welcome graphic

June 27, 2009

My name is Paz Hameiri.
I have built a motor oil cooled PC.
No, I do not have spare time.
No, I do not have cash to spare.
Why I did it ?
Curiosity and fun.
Three years ago I bought a new computer. My old computer made a lot of noise, so I bought a quiet case and power supply. The case and power supply cost me about 200$ more than a conventional case and power supply. It was worth it - the computer area became quiet.
6 months later I decided to put my old computer back in use, as one computer wasn't enough for me, my wife and the kids. It was noisy, but as the old computer wasn't used often, it was bearable.
Lately I noticed that our old computer is used more often, so I've decided to look for solutions to make it quiet.
My criteria for a solution were:
a. It should be quiet.
b. It should cost up to 100$.
c. It should be safe for children.
d. It should be esthetic.
e. It should be interesting to work on.
Purchasing a new case and power supply was out of the question - It cost too much. Replacing the old fans with better fans or with passive heat sinks wasn't good enough - It left me with my old power supply, which was noisy. The overall cost of solutions of this kind was just too high and wasn't so quiet. Water cooling was too expensive, too loud and too scary (Mixing water and electronics - What if something goes wrong ?).
I first encountered the idea of passive oil cooling three years ago at TOM'S HARDWARE GUIDE ("Strip Out The Fans, Add 8 Gallons of Cooking Oil" by Frank Vlkel -,1203.html).
I liked the idea, but sealing a case with lots of silicon seemed more appalling than appealing. Later on I saw some remarks over the internet which pointed out that cooking oil get rancid pretty fast. That was literally appalling, so I forgot all about it.
Lately, when I searched for new ideas, I encountered the work of Puget Systems ( Their ideas seemed more realistic to me, as they didn't build their own case and they logged their work. The second part was the most important part - It gave me the confidence that it won't blow up after two weeks.
I only had two problems with their design:
1. They used mineral oil that is given as a laxative to horses ?!
2. Their system cost around 150$ - Too expensive for my goal.
So, I built my own.
Motor Oil Cooled PC
My old computer contained:
a. Intel Pentium III Tualatin CPU 1266MHz.
b. Asus TUSL2-C motherboard.
c. 384MB SDRAM.
d. NVIDIA GeForce 6200 with 256MB RAM.
e. Intel PRO/100+ Network adapter.
f. 5 USB 2.0 ports card.
g. Western Digital 80GB hard drive WD800JB.
h. NEC ND-3500AG DVD Burner.
I started with Puget System's concept - find a case - don't build one.
I bought:
1. A plastic box (Curver's Optima box) - 17$.
2. 20 U.S Quarts (19 liters) of 10W-40 SJ Semi Synthetic motor oil - 60$.
3. A small plastic plate to cover the oil, so I won't get oil waves when I move the box - 5$.
4. Some switches, LEDs, screws and other hardware - 20$.
Total cost: 102$.
I took my old case, saw it at the right places, assembled everything and voil:


I'm not a chemist. I tried to find out what will be the effect of the oil on the plastic box, without success. From what I understand the worst thing that can happen is that the oil will slowly erode the plastic, making the box' structure weaker over the years. I gave this a lot of thought and came to the following conclusions:
a. It may happen. It may not happen. Without knowing the exact formula of both plastic and oil - no one can tell.
b. At worst - the structure will get weaker over years. I intend to use the computer for two-three years.
c. A backup plan is needed.
What I did was to fill it up:



And put it in a backup box:



And that's it.
The outer box cost 10$.
It's used for:
a. In case of an oil leakage - it will collect the oil until the leakage is noticed.
b. On transportation - the box that is moved around is the outer box. The inner box isn't under direct pressure.
c. The oil might get hot - The outer box is between my children and the hot oil.
d. If cooling won't be sufficient, the gap between the inner and the outer boxes may be filled with water. This way the water will transfer the heat to a larger area (The outer box is bigger than the inner box).
It cost me 10$ more than I intended to spend, but a 19 liters oil spill in the living room will cost me much more.
The result is great - It is extremely quiet.
It is so quiet, it makes me wonder if my newer computer case is noisy.
I tested it a little to see how high the temperature might get.
When the CPU is 100% loaded and the memory is heavily used, the motherboard temperature got up to ~55C and the CPU got up to ~70C. Ambient temperature was ~35C. It took the computer 8 hours to reach these peek temperatures.
Additional thoughts
I intend to do some over-clocking, and see what I can get from the hardware. Another thing I'm considering is installing Windows 7 and see if there is any change in performance.
Besides that - who knows ?

June 30, 2009

On the last few days I've over-clocked the system.
I've raised the PCI clock from 33MHz to 37MHz and both SDRAM and CPU FSB clocks from 133MHz to 148MHz. This raised the CPU clock rate from 1266MHz to 1406MHz. After thorough tests the system remained stable. Both CPU and motherboard's temperatures showed similar behavior as in the non over-clocked system. So I left the system over-clocked.

July 03, 2009

Windows 7
Today I installed Windows 7. To my surprise it works very well, considering the minimum requirements for Windows 7. The hardware was detected without any problems.

July 10, 2009

Adding a fan !
I got a little worried about the system heating to ~55C. If my children will manage to roll the case, they might find themselves sitting in ~55C motor oil. That might be unpleasant. So, I installed a 12cm fan on one side of the outer box (Cost me 6$).
I know it's a fan, but:
a. It's a big fan.
b. It's a quiet fan.
c. It got the temperature down to ~50C (Which is better than ~55C).
d. The system is still much quieter that a case with 5 fans (Two on the case, one in the power supply, one on the CPU and one on the GPU).

August 23, 2009

Small update
Another month had passed and the system is working fine.

February 17, 2010

The birth of a new generation !


On August 2009 my sister brought me here old computer. It had a Pentium 4 1.80GHz processor installed on an ASUS P4B533-M motherboard along with two 512MB memory modules. It crashed every two minutes and was pretty useless. Windows alerted multiple hard drive faults and since it was old (and her kids wanted a new one) she bought a new one.


I decided to install the motherboard inside my oil-cooling-pc-box and I did several tests to make sure it will function well with another hard drive. I found out that one of the 512MB modules caused windows to crash (and announce hard drive faults – Good work Windows!). So, I bought a new 1GB memory module (cost me something like 60$) and installed it along with the other 512MB module. When I turned the power on I heard a loud "Pop" and smelled the terrible smell of burnt electronics.


This was bad.

I had a new 60$ worth 1GB memory module that had no use anymore, a burnt motherboard and a burnt ego.


I started looking for the burnt component, hoping:

a. It will be the only burnt component.

b. It will be replaceable.

After a quick search I found one component marked "4500" close to the memory modules. A long search on the internet got me a hint – The chip was most likely Vishay' SI4500 MOSFET half bridge IC. When I examined the motherboard it made sense – It was close to the memory' power supply and seemed to be a part of its output.

Now it was all clear – The component was most likely faulty and caused the second memory module to fail. When I installed the new memory module it probably consumed more power than the old module. That was too much for the faulty MOSFET and it left our world with a "Pop".


Guessing it was Vishay' SI4500 and hoping it was the only faulty component, I've decided to purchase a new SI4500. Digi-Key did not have SI4500 in stock, so I defined and purchased the SI4563 instead (cost me 3$). Since I don’t have SMD soldering equipment at home, I used an old solder and a lot of magic and replaced the old component with the new one. I plugged in the power supply and...


It worked!!!


I got a working motherboard and a jolted heart!


And then I found out that the motherboard does not fit into the old box!


There was only one thing I could do – build a second generation oil cooled PC.

I knew exactly what I want:

a. It shall be quiet.

b. It shall be esthetic – much more esthetic than the old model.

c. It shall be built using two boxes – an internal box and an external box.

    The air gap shall be used for quiet air cooling.

d. It shall have a closed lid on it. This was for three reasons:

    1. A closed lid is more esthetic.

    2. A closed lid blocks dust from entering the box.

    3. A closed lid blocks oil smell from leaving the box.

e. The oil from the old box shall fill the new box.

f. Peripheral hardware shall be taken from the old box.


I bought a new plastic picnic cooler (cost me 40$) and separated the external box from the internal box. I removed the insulating foam and installed all the equipment in the internal box. I installed the fan at the side of the external box and installed the buttons on the top side of the internal box. I cut two small cuts bellow the lid to pass the cables out.

A week of work and and voil:




Last two things I have done:

a. Overclocked the CPU from 1.8GHz to 2.16GHz.

b. Installed Windows 7.


The hardware comprises:

a. Intel Pentium 4 running at 2.16GHz.

b. Asus P4B533-M motherboard.

c. 1.5GB DDR.

d. NVIDIA GeForce 6200 with 256MB RAM.

e. Creative AudioPCI card.

f. 5 USB 2.0 ports card.

g. Western Digital 80GB hard drive WD800JB.

h. NEC ND-3500AG DVD Burner.


It is working like a charm since December 2009.


Full name:
Email address: