Starting a new project...

artimaeus

Apprentice
Original poster
Apr 13, 2016
30
11
I've been building computers for a while now, but haven't ever built one for myself. I wanted to do something unique, and I also had some interesting requirements.
-Portable
-Reasonably quiet
-SLI capable
-Easily Upgradable
-Perform well

I thought laptops may be the way to go, but I really like the upgradability and customization of desktops. Also, a huge reason why I want it to be portable is so I can take it over to my friends' houses. Then it hit me. My new project will be to build a completely portable desk setup. The desk, the monitor, the tower...everything. So i immediately got to work trying to figure out how this could possibly work (Still in concept actually). I've gotten a little ways, but I'm still figuring some stuff out. For example, I prefer air cooling to water cooling because of the lower maintenance, but aesthetically and from a smaller form factor stand point, water cooling seems to make more sense. Like I said, still figuring a few things out.

It's basically going to be a computer-in-a-desk, with a monitor attached with a vesa mount, with telescoping/collapsible legs that fold underneath the desk. It'd have an inset area in the front middle to house the mouse and keyboard. The rest of the desk's surface would be a sheet of lexan glass. The body of the desk would be made of 4.06mm Aluminum 6061 T6 (happen to have some laying around)that I'd probably anodize black. The monitor would fold downwards onto the desk and be held in place by a strap. To top it all off, it'd have a handle on the back side to carry the whole thing. Current estimates are at about 40 lbs. for the total weight. The total size would be just larger than a 24 inch monitor and about five inches in thickness.

I'm currently trying to figure out how Google sketchup works so i can post pictures and design ideas. Any thoughts, critiques, or concerns are welcome of course.
 
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Phuncz

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Water cooling isn't necessarily better for SFF, it depends. Air cooling can work just as well, looking at the S4 Mini for example, but also the DAN A4-SFX and Ncase M1. The latter I've personally tried both and I choose air cooling in the end, for reliability and noise (pump). A pump, a reservoir and tubing also require space. Doing a custom loop will also costs a pretty penny with two GPU blocks.
I don't see it as clear-cut that water-cooling is defacto better, as it depends on your case design. Since you're designing the case, you'll have to choose early on what direction you want to go and it's at this point where you'll decide what will work best in your case.

Make your desk-build as flat as possible. Many people tend to forget ergonomics when talking PC desks, Most people don't sit comfortably at a 200m thick desk, or you need to place the PC part at the end and have a desk that's deep enough. Having a flat design by using PCIe extenders would als have the benefit of having all the air exhausts on one side, making it easier on manufacturing and cooling. Then you could also point the exhaust towards the top so as not to have a 40--60°C hot stream of air constantly rushing over your legs.

These boards would have been perfect for that aspect in mind: https://smallformfactor.net/forum/threads/asus-b85m-view-paker.82
If they only had enough PCIe 3.0 lanes on the bottom slots (usually PCIe 2.0 x4, sometimes PCIe 3.0 x4). I haven't found one yet, because all of this PIO (Parts In One) stuff seems to be based in Asia for internet cafe use.
 

artimaeus

Apprentice
Original poster
Apr 13, 2016
30
11
Thank you for your feedback! It definitely sounds like air cooling is the way I want to go. I've found a friend who does 3D modeling who should be able to help me get some drawings. I was thinking about using the Noctua NH-C14S since you can put the fan on the bottom side of the heat sink to save a little on the height without giving away overclocking room. That'd end up being 127mm vs the normal 142mm (planning on mainstream i7).

As far as using PCIe risers, I've found a few, but I'm not familiar with either of the brands and the reviews seem mixed.
bottom slot: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005FEGXXY/?tag=theminutiae-20

Top slot: http://www.googleadservices.com/pag...ahUKEwiz1MvCpc7PAhVCHT4KHamXDB0QvhcIQg&adurl=

I'm thinking about the MoBo being horizontal with the GPUs being stacked vertically to save on space. Also, stacking them means I don't need a janky SLI bridge. As far as thickness goes, It looks like I should be able to keep it at or under 5 inches for total thickness. Not sure if that's within a comfortable range. Any other thoughts you'd have would be invaluable.
 

EdZ

Virtual Realist
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May 11, 2015
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If you're looking to stack the GPUs, then watercooling may be worth a second look: you can move the GPUs closer to each other (down to a single slot spacing with full-coverage blocks) without worrying about reduced airflow.
If you're sticking with air cooling, it may be better to place the GPUs flat and side-by-side, and use a flex SLI bridge. That way they can both 'face up' along with the motherboard to allow ventilation to all be on the same side of the desk, and reduce the maximum thickness of the desk. A thinner PSU (e.g. 1U, FlexATX) would be needed her to avoid a 'lump'.
Another potential design is an 'inset' desk: stacked air-cooled GPUs on one edge, an SFX PSU on the other edge, and a thinner section between where the motherboard sits. The screen would then fold down 'into' this area. The 'thick' components could also be placed in a hump at the 'back' of the desk next to each other, with the 'front' being thinner.
 

GuilleAcoustic

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I was thinking about using the Noctua NH-C14S since you can put the fan on the bottom side of the heat sink to save a little on the height without giving away overclocking room. That'd end up being 127mm vs the normal 142mm (planning on mainstream i7).

The first gen NH-C14, with only the bottom fan fitted, is slightly slimmer at 105mm. That's what I'm using at the moment.
 

artimaeus

Apprentice
Original poster
Apr 13, 2016
30
11
Hey! So I've got a pretty good idea of what my scope of work is, but I'm having an interesting time trying to find a monitor mount that can rotate the monitor 90 degrees forward so that it becomes horizontal. The 'googles' and amazon.com aren't the most helpful for this unfortunately.
 

iFreilicht

FlexATX Authority
Feb 28, 2015
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Hey! So I've got a pretty good idea of what my scope of work is, but I'm having an interesting time trying to find a monitor mount that can rotate the monitor 90 degrees forward so that it becomes horizontal. The 'googles' and amazon.com aren't the most helpful for this unfortunately.

Really? "Rotating VESA mount" and "Swivel VESA mount" turned up very good results for me. Are you searching for a mounting plate adaptor or an arm?