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Old 07-28-2009, 06:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default portable desktop

I'm planning on building a special desktop case that's essentially a giant laptop. It's my first build and I know it's mad. I'm shooting for 600mm x 350mm x 120mm, <25lbs. If it's a little over on some of these I'm alright with that. I anticipate the biggest problem being cooling. Hopefully this will be aleviated by the fact that I'm constructing the bottom out of 2 or 3 laptop coolers. In addition I plan on getting cooling accesories for my HDD and RAM, a good (if smallish) aftermartket cpu fan, and maybe some extra chipset cooling. For material for most of the case I'm going to canibalize my current case and maybe buy another cheap one if I need more. There won't be lot of space for cables so I'm anticipating doing some splicing. I have some experience with electric work and some of my family are electricians, so I will be able to do this safely, but I'm not sure if all of the wires in a computer can be cut and put back together at all. I'm going to have a surge protector built in so the monitor and computer can be plugged in and I'll only have the one cable. I have thusfar not devised a plan to make it battery powered, but that's not a big deal. Please share whatever you think of this project whether it's constructive or not. You might save me some time and money if you convince me i can't be done. However, I would much prefer anyone's thoughts on the best way to go about this, or warnings of problems I haven't anticipated. All feedback is welcome. Please share whatever you think of this project. I'm starting to look for a modular PSU, but my other selected parts, buget, etc. are posted already here:
first time build

Thanks everyone.
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Old 07-28-2009, 06:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: portable desktop

can it be done? with a bit of elbow grease, sure. but i don't think it would be practical, unless you are looking to lug around all that weight.

you didn't say what you were going to use it for.
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Old 07-28-2009, 07:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: portable desktop

I thought I mentioned what I was using it for in the link in the first post, but anyway, I want it for video editing, Bluray reading/printing, and some moderate gaming. I know it doesn't seem totally practical, and I realize that. I'm not planning on using it to check my e-mail on a hike. I just want to be able to take it to be easier to transport to film sets. Also, I think it'll be cool, and I've got the time and capability (so I think anyway) so why not.

I've found a couple of modular PSUs. Are these brands trustworthy? Will it be stable with more than one 12v rail?

XION Supernova 800w SLi Modular Power Supply - 800watt, SLI Certified, 80+, Ceramic Ball Bearing Fan, Modular at TigerDirect.com

Kingwin Mach 1 Modular Power Supply - 800-Watt, ATX, SLI-Ready, Quad 12V Rails at TigerDirect.com
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Old 07-28-2009, 07:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: portable desktop

Wouldn't it be easier to just mount an LCD + Keyboard on a Slimline mATX case?
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Old 07-28-2009, 07:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: portable desktop

This is system is $1,385 but it should meet most of your requirements as far as size is concerned. Going with Core i7 is largely responsible for the high price but it is the best choice for video editing.

Newegg.com - Shuttle SX58H7 Intel X58 4 x 240Pin Barebone - Barebone Systems

Newegg.com - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - Internal Hard Drives

Newegg.com - HIS H485QT512P Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported IceQ4 Turbo Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards

Newegg.com - OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G1600LV6GK - Desktop Memory

Newegg.com - Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor - Processors - Desktops

Newegg.com - LG Black 6X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 6X BD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA Internal Blu-ray Burner Super Multi Blu-ray Disc Burner & HD DVD-ROM Drive Model GGW-H20L LightScribe Support - Blu-Ray Burners
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Old 07-29-2009, 09:46 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: portable desktop

I essentially am mounting a monitor and keyboard on a slimline case, but I didn't go mATX because they run so hot. Also, this way I'll have more freedom on the best way to configure the components to hopefully get a more erganomic shape and reduce a lot of the unnecassary weight from the case. I might have to install helium sacks. That's little joke. Thanks for the proposed build but that barebones doesn't really fit in my size parameters. Unless I deconstructed it, but I could pay less for the case if I bought them seperately and got a cheaper case. Right?
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Old 07-29-2009, 11:00 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: portable desktop

Check this out: Suitcase nuke pc mod no average camera case - The Inquirer

Imagine what you could do with one of those huge Camera cases they use for Studio Cameras. Those things are massive.

This is also amusing: Keyboard With Built-In PC | GeekAlerts
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Old 07-29-2009, 11:15 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: portable desktop

That is very awesome. I've been looking for similar projects, but have yet to find one. I'll definitely be e-mailing that fellow. That's essentially what I'm trying to do, but with a more conventional look. This is quite uplifting. Thanks a lot.
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Old 07-29-2009, 11:51 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: portable desktop

Honestly, the hardest part might be making the LCD hinge, other than that, it shouldn't be that difficult. I come from video editing myself, and yeah, it is far cheaper to build a "suitcase nuke" style portable production studio to work on the sets, than a $4,000 production laptop that needs a hvac to keep it cool.

I had some plans back in the days of high school when i attempted to make one (but the shop teacher looked at me like i was joking) I lost the plans, but basically what I had was a square frame made from some 1/4" aluminum angle iron with crossmembers for mounting lugs for mobo, psu, hdd,. cd drive, etc... and the whole thing was to be covered in 1/4" oak plywood with some maple corners for style. Plans also included a lid and latch mechanism which was just under 20" diag (for a 19" widescreen-frame removed) and 2" on the inside for room for the lcd+plus mounting hardware, barn door style hinges that bolted to the rear of the case and the top of the lid, and an old school shed latch for the front, lock included. Didn't think of a mechanism to hold the lid up at the time, but the base being so heavy im pretty sure those little hydraulic rods that hold hoods and trunks up on cars would work decently, or have it at a negative angle __> \_ like most laptops are used and just use some rope or something (inspired from tailgates on older model trucks) to hold it back.
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