My Minifridge-Watercooling Idea (Ultimate Dormroom Solution)

The alternative to direct air cooling

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TBSN
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My Minifridge-Watercooling Idea (Ultimate Dormroom Solution)

Post by TBSN » Wed Feb 28, 2007 12:53 pm

O.K., I could be insane, but I thought I'd just introduuce this little idea I have to see how feasable it would be.

I would set up my computer with a watercooling system, and put the AC pump, radiators and reservoir in the fridge, via holes drilled in the side or back of the fridge (I have a really old minifridge that I use, so I'm not wasting any money if I screw it up).

Naturally the computer would have to be right next to the fridge, but that would be OK because my dormroom is pretty small anyway. The idea would be that the watercooling would be greatly improved because of the refrigeration, and it would also act as a way to silence the pump and the fans of the radiator.

One major problem is that there would have to be air-flow for the radiator, which would mean making a bigger hole in the fridge so the fan could bring air through the radiator. Since it is in a fridge though, a single 120mm fan radiator would probably be enough though. And the exhaust of that fan could possible go into the case, but I don't want the fridge to loose all of its ability to hold in the cold, otherwise the compressor would always be on and that would negate the whole Silent PC goal of this...

Another alternative would be to have the radiator on/ in the case, and just have the pump/ reservoir in the firdge, which would necessitate much smaller holes in the fridge (just hoses and the power cable for the pump).

Please tell me what you think! I've never done watercooling before; this is just an idea I had randomly thinking about the build I'm going to do in the coming months.

Alec Ross
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Post by Alec Ross » Wed Feb 28, 2007 1:49 pm

It's not a bad idea, the problem is that fridges aren't as good as you think.

A fridge, especially a little dorm-room bar fridge, is designed to take a couple of cubic feet of air at 25 degrees, and cool it to 5 degrees-ish. It's not designed to deal with the heat put out by a computer, which is on the order of hundreds of watts. Putting your radiator in a fridge would likely make it overheat, as the insulation of the fridge walls would have a greater effect than any refrigeration you got out of it. if you were to put just your res in a fridge, that would probably work a little better- especially if you leave the fridge on while the computer is off (but then you have to deal with condensation if your water is much cooler than the surrounding air.)

In short, it's probably not worth the time, effort, added resistance in your loop (from all the extra tubing you'd need) and cost (running a fridge 24/7 uses quite a bit of power.)

Cheers

TBSN
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Post by TBSN » Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:16 pm

Hmm, good points. IDK if the fridge would be too weak; it can make ice easily and could easily get the volume of liquid used in a WC system very cold, so if it were being circulated I would think that it could at least keep it cool. Another possiblilty would be to use a passive rad in the fridge, so larger holes would be unnecessary. Oh, and since it's a dorm I don't care about power usage :)

Anyway, this is mostly a theoretical problem, so I'm just curious about whether or not this is feasable right now, rather than whether or not it is practical.

Thanks

Erssa
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Post by Erssa » Wed Feb 28, 2007 3:42 pm

I couldn't have a fridge in my room, they are so loud.
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angelkiller
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Post by angelkiller » Wed Feb 28, 2007 3:53 pm

First let me say I have no experience, I'm just giving an completely uneducated opinion.

Ok, I think it's a great idea. Especially if you put fans on the radiator inside the fridge. If ambient case air can cool a radiator, refrigerated air can do it even better. The air will be cold instead of warm.

Better yet, why don't you put your whole PC in the fridge? :lol:

TBSN
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Post by TBSN » Wed Feb 28, 2007 4:23 pm

angelkiller wrote:First let me say I have no experience, I'm just giving an completely uneducated opinion.

Ok, I think it's a great idea. Especially if you put fans on the radiator inside the fridge. If ambient case air can cool a radiator, refrigerated air can do it even better. The air will be cold instead of warm.

Better yet, why don't you put your whole PC in the fridge? :lol:
Yeah, that idea even crossed my mind. I could just take the frame of a PC case, with the components and mobo mounted on it, and see if it fits. There would prob be space for a few beers in there too... condensation might be kind of bad though...:)

It was a spur of the moment idea, but there is no way i will actually be doing this. I just don't have the experience (or money, probably) to do a liquid cooling setup, let alone retro fitting it into a fridge. Thanks for humoring me though, and maybe one of you ambitious case modders could turn a minifridge into the coolest, quietest PC ever, with room for some food! That would be bad-ass.

Or I could just empty the fridge out, build a computer inside, make precise holes for the drives and rear I/O stuff, and seal the door. That would be one huge, heavy case. but imagine that, you could have a giant RAID setup in there, all kept at a chilly temperature. And I'm not footing the electrical bill here anyway.

See this fridge is just getting me carried away. I'll go build a decent air-cooled setup like all the other commoners...

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Post by PopCorn » Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:09 pm

if u put the whole thing in the fridge all u would have to do is drill like a 1" whole in the back so u could run your video, network, keyboard and mouse cables though it... then fill the hole back in with cocking or sumthing so its air tight... you wouldmost likely want a wireless keyboard and mouse
And with that being said I have always been a bit proud of my 1337 computer sk1llz

TBSN
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Post by TBSN » Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:35 pm

If it were airtight, how would cooling work? Would water cooling be necessary, or could there just be heatsinks with fans (re: normal air cooling)? I wonder how fans would work in a sealed box... interesting.

If it were to be a "closed" system, with no air in or out, then there might as well be very few fans, or non at all. Actually I think an entire computer, including the PSU and everything, would create too much energy (heat) for a fridge, no? It would be interesting to find out.

I still love the idea of having a computer in the fridge, while still being able to use it for a couple sodas or something... It would just be awesome....

JohnnyWakko
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Post by JohnnyWakko » Thu Mar 01, 2007 3:22 am

Image

Or better still

Image

These MOFO's posted a write up:

http://www.overclockers.com/articles975/index.asp
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TBSN
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Post by TBSN » Thu Mar 01, 2007 5:35 am

wow, I'm glad that idea didn't pass my brain's "quality control" and will never actually come to fruition. If you have to tear apart the fridge, whats the point? Or, more importantly, if you can't keep beer in there anymore, what's the point? :)

JohnnyWakko
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Post by JohnnyWakko » Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:28 pm

BANG! Shot down! hahahaha. :lol:

Nice try though.
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migueld
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Post by migueld » Fri Mar 02, 2007 2:05 pm

I'd try a passive rad instead of a regular one, mainly for convenience and I think it could even cool better because there would be a larger metal area exposed to the cold fridge.

Slaugh
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Post by Slaugh » Sun Mar 04, 2007 12:42 am

Here's an article about that: Extreme Water-Cooling Using Refrigeration

...and here's the finished product:

Image
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Post by HammerSandwich » Sun Mar 04, 2007 8:11 am

A couple years ago, my full-size fridge stopped working correctly, running non-stop to achieve cool - not cold - temperatures. I traced it to a bad switch that left the lights on when the door was closed. That's 30W.

jaganath
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Post by jaganath » Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:44 am

Here's an article about that: Extreme Water-Cooling Using Refrigeration
That's actually pretty cool (no pun intended). Well-documented project.

wussboy
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Post by wussboy » Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:59 am

Maybe I'm wrong here, but the noise of the compressor on the refridgerator will likely be much louder than your computer. All your efforts to "muffle pump and fan noise inside the fridge" would be wasted because the fridge would run more often and create way more noise then the fans and pump ever did by themselves. Your replacing one noise source with another much more abrasive one.

In my opinion, it's hard to get quieter than air cooling. It can be done with water-cooling, but unless you're willing to get a little crazy (passive radiators or giant reservoirs) you're wasting your time.

Don't get me wrong, I love watercooling. I've done it before and I have evil schemes for doing it again, but you're missing the forest for the trees.
Everything is exactly what it seems.

jhhoffma
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Post by jhhoffma » Wed Mar 07, 2007 6:44 am

Ditto wussboy.

I've never come across a fridge--normal, mini, micro, or otherwise--that put out less noise than any quiet PC I've built. And mine aren't that quiet. The compressors are usually much louder than any low-flow water pump. Plus when you introduce a heat source in the fridge, it will have to run more often (or continously) to keep cool; definitely not quiet.
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Post by reyn116 » Sat Mar 10, 2007 10:24 pm


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