These are almost certainly every gamer’s fantasy come true: custom PCs integrated inside desks! When it comes to gaming settings, this is the pinnacle of individuality and aesthetics accomplishment.
Before you can call yourself the happy owner of a computer desk, however, there are a few obstacles and difficulties you’ll have to overcome.
There are a number of other options you may pursue.
- Build everything from the ground up with this do-it-yourself desk computer solution.
- Customize an existing table with your own information.
- Purchase a pre-assembled PC desk and just plug in your computer components.
There will be a solution that is suitable for you based on your making abilities, patience, and financial constraints.
First, let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of using a desk computer, and then let’s talk about the three different “computer integrated into desk” options you have.
After reading this post, you will discover some fantastic resources, like battle stations and YouTube videos, that will serve as both inspiration and instructional tools.
Pc built into desk
1.RED HARBINGER CROSS DESK (DISCONTINUED)
As we said before, the world of retail desk PC cases is littered with designs that have been discontinued. Notable vendors such as Red Harbinger, which introduced a sleek desk PC case to the market in 2012 but went out of business three years later, were among many that failed.
Their design was ahead of its time and continues to appear contemporary now. If you’re fortunate, you may still be able to locate a Red Harbinger Cross Desk in good condition on eBay, Craigslist, or related discussion groups online.
2.LIAN LI DK-05F
In the year 2020, Lian Li will introduce three new desktop PC cases. The DK-05F, the company’s flagship model, is a 55-inch-wide motorized desk that can accommodate two computer systems. The iron legs, aluminum chassis, and full-glass surface of this high-end standing desk case set the tone for elegance and durability. The case has enough space for a complex water cooling system, and the case’s unique electrochromic glass allows you to choose whether to hide it or show it all off depending on your preference.
A liquid crystal film is sandwiched between two layers of tempered glass, which is transparent when the switch is turned on and immediately opaque when the switch is turned off. This function is ideal for concealing your components if you ever feel self-conscious about your untidy wires or how intense you are working on your project. We think it would be a fun party trick as well.
While the DK-05F’s modular internal architecture makes it simple to construct, it is not especially simple to access after it has been completed. The top cover glass on AK Mod’s DK-05F model, which we highlighted before, is “extremely hefty and needs several persons to handle,” according to AK Mod.
3.LIAN LI DK-04F
This is the DK-05F’s younger brother, the DK-04F, which measures a little over 39 inches wide and is much less expensive. The fact that it is only capable of supporting a single system means that you will be without the second set of USB and audio I/O ports, as well as the extra motherboard tray. As a consolation, you’ll have extra space on your hard disk now.
The smaller version supports six 3.5-inch hard disks and three solid-state drives (SSDs), while the larger DK-05F only supports four drives per system. All of the other features, including the switchable smart glass, remain essentially the same as before.
The Hydra Desk is an earlier, bigger desk PC case with a 59-inch widescreen that can handle two systems. A smart installation location for four radiators may be found in the right leg of the structure (pictured above). If you don’t like the standing desk functionality or foggy glass of Lian Li’s DK-05F case, the Hydra Desk case is a good option to consider.
5.VECTOR DESK MINI
If the aforementioned desk PC cases are out of your price range, there is an older and much less expensive alternative. In the United States, the Vector Desk Mini (VDM01) by Vector Custom Designs sells for between $500 and $700, depending on where you live in the globe and whether or not it is currently in stock. With dimensions of 29.5” by 23.5”, the smallest computer case on our list is nevertheless a spacious computer case.
pc built into desk Pros And Cons
- A desktop computer looks really fantastic! Consider the responses you will elicit from your circle of friends.
- It’s light and doesn’t generate nearly as much heat as a tiny case would.
- There is a lot of room.
- You have the ability to be imaginative.
- It is possible to utilize water cooling.
- You save the space that would have been taken up by a desktop case otherwise.
- Cable handling is a breeze.
- It was enjoyable to construct.
- If you decide to construct it yourself, it will take time, effort, and patience.
- You’ll need some power tools, some ideas, and maybe some assistance to get you through such a job successfully.
- It may be very expensive/the cost of a PC desk is more than in a typical situation.
- Depending on how you construct it, it may be difficult to clean.
- You won’t be able to bring it to a LAN party, and moving may be a hassle.
10 basic steps to building your own desk PC
Step 1: Create the workspace of your dreams
First and foremost, you do not need 3D modeling software or any particular expertise to do this task. All we have to do now is make a few choices and sketch it out on some plain old paper and a pencil. It is possible to print free graph paper from the website printfreegraphpaper.com to assist with the measurements and dimensions. This link will open in a new tab.
What will the overall form of the design be? Will you construct a simple rectangular deck, or will you add a knee cutout to provide more legroom for your employees? We chose the knee cutout option, but the final decision is entirely up to you and what you believe will provide you with a more comfortable workplace.
After that, what will the measurements be? The standard desk size is about 60 inches broad, 30 inches deep, and 30 inches high (or more). You should personalize this to your liking, however, the following are some basic recommendations. Please refer to the preceding article for more information about desk PC size considerations.
Another decision to be made is what size and shape will be used for the top of the glass cabinet. These factors may seem apparent since you may be tempted to assume that the measurements of the glass top will be the same as the overall desk dimensions; nevertheless, you should take the time to examine them before proceeding.
A hardwood top for at least a portion of the desk will be required if you want to include any unusual built-in peripherals such as a flush mount Amazon echo or a concealed wireless phone charger.
If you want to be able to attach your monitor(s) to your desk rather than having them sit on top of it, mounting them to wood rather than glass is both simpler and safer.
Those wires coming out of the rear of the motherboard and graphics card must be routed out the back, and if those components are flush with the back of the desk, you will not be able to push the desk all the way up to the wall as you would otherwise.
Ensure that you have a power button in an easily accessible place on your computer. We looked at a variety of options and eventually decided on the KNACROOpens (which can be found in a new tab). on Amazon because we liked the concept of drilling a hole in the front panel and then screwing it into place to give us a really customized look.Opens in a new tab (there are pictures later in this article).
What about front-mounted I/O ports like USB 3.0 and microphone/headphone jacks? Are they supported by the motherboard? We discovered a low-cost one on AmazonOpens in a new tab. that we used for our construction (you’ll see it lower down this article). You should think about whether or not you need this functionality at this time.
Finally, you’ll need to decide how you’re going to tackle the legs. There are many options. Prebuilt desk leg sets are available on Amazon, and you may want to consider purchasing one of these instead of building your own. A unique option could be to use a desk stand that can be adjusted in height for both sitting and standing. Whatever method you choose, you’ll need to come up with a solution so that you can include it into your construction schedule….
Please have a look at some of my previous design articles for some inspiration and thought.
Here’s what we came up with.
It was my intention for the glass top of our case to be 5.5 inches shorter than the depth of the case itself. This enabled me to cut a 1X6 and place it on the top of the rear of the cabinet. In addition, we constructed a fake back on the interior of the case under the 1X6 board. In the process, we built a big pocket in the rear of the box, which allows for lots of wire routing and management in addition to providing a place to attach our twin displays and (in the future) our Amazon Echo. It has a clean appearance, and you would never guess that there is a tangled mess of cables going through the rear.
The next consideration is airflow. What method will you use to circulate air around your structure? Check to see that cold filtered air is being drawn in and heated unfiltered air is being expelled before proceeding. I’ve written before about the difficulties we had as a result of this. What I suggest is a direct route between the intake and exhaust, to the degree that this is feasible. Pulling air in from the front and exhausting it out the rear is the preferred method. If your intake fans will be on one side of the machine, the exhaust will be on the other. There is a lot of discussion regarding airflow these days, but that is what I would suggest. We didn’t do this, and it was quite a struggle to find a way to balance everything.
More information on designing an efficient airflow design may be found in this blog article.
Now that the airflow has been determined, we can go on to determining where the components will be placed. The motherboard and graphics card are the most significant of these components. Alternatively, you could use an extension cable to connect the GPU to the motherboard, as you would in a normal desktop case design, or you could attach it next to the motherboard using a bracket. This was accomplished with the help of a Thermaltake 300mm extension cable. To learn more, please visit this page. This link will open in a new tab. to keep up with the most recent Amazon pricing This is a personal design choice, but it is one that you will have to make a decision on.
You’ll also have an unlimited amount of hard drives, depending on the capabilities of your motherboard and your budget. Make a plan for where these components will be located in relation to the motherboard. (See my article on Best Practices for further information, particularly the section on component proximity to the motherboard and why it matters.)
Finally, think about how you’ll organize your cable routing. It was determined that it would be best to elevate the motherboard, graphics card, and hard drive atop sheets of frosted acrylic with the use of stainless steel standoffs that are often used for sign installation. These were discovered on Amazon.
If you want to use liquid cooling, you’ll need to prepare for the installation of reservoirs, radiators, and pumps, which is not as tough as it seems since they may be put on the other side of the system from the motherboard. Consider how such components will be installed, even if they are not required.
Here’s the final design we came up with for how our system would appear, as well as the proportions we anticipated.
Step 2 – Select your construction materials
For a DIY Desk PC case construction, there are reasons in favor of and against using metal over wood. Unless you have extensive experience dealing with metal, I strongly recommend using wood. It’s simple to cut and simple to put together. If you have the necessary abilities and tools to construct anything out of metal, go for it. A wooden case, on the other hand, is ideal.
Now, if you are going to build using wood, there is still the issue of what kind of wood you will use in your construction. There are beautiful furniture-grade timbers available, as well as plain old plywood and MDF. MFD has a lot of attraction since it is usually extremely straight and has a very smooth and constant surface pattern, which is something we didn’t have with plywood for our initial construction. (For additional detail, see my article on the pros and cons of MDF vs plywood for a desk PC construction.) Alternatively, you may paint the desk first and then add a carbon fiber pattern vinyl wrap to the inner bottom of the desk, which is what we did in this case. Due to a large number of reviews, the most of which were favorable, we decided on the VViViD XPO Black Carbon FiberOpens in a new tab. model for this review. Despite the fact that it was not the cheapest brand, I wanted to guarantee quality for this part of the construction since, after I had fitted the PC components, I didn’t want to be concerned about having to take them out due to the vinyl wrap beginning to roll up on the corners or losing adherence.
Even though dealing with MDF requires certain precautions, like the necessity to do so in a well-ventilated environment and keeping it away from moisture, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do so. You don’t even need to stick to a single kind of material in your design. You may use MDF for the bottom and side panels and furniture-grade wood for the rest of the structure. This is your workstation. Build it exactly as you want it!
Step 3 – Calculate the supplies needed, and then go to the local hardware shop
It’s time for us to figure out what materials we’ll need for this project, except computer gear.
There are methods to get creative with the desk design so that you only need one sheet of 4X8 wood, but my suggestion to you is to not sacrifice design quality in order to achieve this objective. If it is necessary to purchase an additional sheet of plywood or MDF in order to construct the desk PC case of your dreams, you are just looking at an additional $20-$30. Don’t attempt to save money by using less material while creating the desk since the savings are so little. Because you are constructing the desk yourself rather than purchasing a pre-assembled desk PC case, you are already saving a significant amount of money.
Step 4 – Gather your tools
It’s time to get to work now that your supplies have arrived. For suggestions on low-cost Amazon solutions to any of these that you do not already have, please see my list of Recommended Tools. The following are a handful of the most important tools you will need:
- A tape measure is a tool that is used to measure anything.
- The framing square, often known as the speed square
- Screwdriver with an electric motor
- Drilling using an electric motor
- a saw with a lot of skill
- Wood glue is a kind of adhesive that is used to hold wood together.
- Safety Goggles are required.
Additional tools that are suggested to make the construction process a bit simpler are as follows:
- Table saw (also known as a table sawn)
- Miter saw (also known as a miter saw or a miter saw)
- Nailer for the Finish (I prefer to use a pin nailer style finish nailer.)
- Machine tool (drill press)
- sander with an electric motor
In the absence of these suggested equipment, you can still construct a desk PC case, but you will have to spend a bit more time making your cuts straight and fastening your construction. Despite the fact that they are suggested, you should not rule out the possibility of building one just because you do not have these tools. Make a commitment and follow through with it!
Step 5 – Measuring twice, cutting once is a good rule of thumb.
It’s at this point that we realize the devil is in the details. Accurate measurement and exact cutting are essential for successful construction. Let’s start with the most important component of the project: the desk base.
Begin by marking the depth of your desk by measuring in from one of the broad edges toward the center. Rep this procedure for the other end of the board, and then for the center.
Take something with a straight edge that is as least as long as the board and line the edge up with the markings once you’ve marked these regions. Draw a line along the length of the straight edge, tracing against the edge, to give you a full cut line, while holding the straight edge firmly in place.
Do the same with the desk’s sides, determining the width and marking it from one side edge. Do this for each and every cut you’re going to make. The rear and front panels will then need to be done in the same way. The interior height of the desk where the computer components will be placed may be adjusted to your liking, but you should make sure that it can fit the highest portion of your construction. For us, this meant 120mm fans on the sides of the desk, but we were utilizing an extension cord to put our graphics card horizontally next to the motherboard. If you want to attach the graphics card directly to the motherboard, it will stand vertically, requiring more depth.
Take your time tracing out all of the cut lines for each component of the construction. To be safe, double-check your dimensions to make sure there aren’t any mistakes.
You’ll need to consider the design you choose for the legs. We went with a simple triangle form that widens at the bottom. This was my son’s choice. Trace out whatever design shape you selected using the same method as before (unless you are ordering pre-built desk legs).
Step 6 – Now it’s time to cut.
The cutting procedure is the portion of the construction process that will make your heart flutter with anxious dread. If you make a mistake here, all of the effort you spent measuring will be wasted.
Don’t be concerned. Just concentrate.
It’s important to cut your desk parts in the right sequence. You may want to go back and read my article In what order should I cut my desk parts, but in general, I suggest starting with the bottom plate, then the sides, back, and front panels.
A fantastic tip for cutting with a skill saw is to use a straight edge as a cutting guide that your saw can glide against as it cuts, which will assist maintain the cut line straight. There is equipment made especially for this that connects to your skill saw and guarantees that your cut remains true, but we didn’t have one at the time, so we tried a number of different methods. We utilized a piece of crown molding anchored to the plywood using wood clamps for the lengthy cuts.
Crown molding serves as a saw cutting guide.
This worked well, but since it was only anchored on one end, I had to apply pressure to it while we cut through the center part to prevent the saw’s guide edge from slipping beneath it. I used a 4-foot metal level for shorter cuts, which we braced with clamps in the same way we did the molding. It was considerably more effective.
As a cutting guide, use a level.
It’s important to maintain your cut line straight here. It may seem simple to eyeball it and just follow the trace-line with your blade, but it’s all too easy to stray off the path. A saw track is a superior option for ensuring a clean, straight, and accurate cut.
You may wish to secure 2X4s or 2X2s around the underneath borders of the desk’s bottom component, depending on your design. We made this decision for two reasons. First, it would strengthen the structure, and second, it would provide a bigger area on which to attach the sides. Others have glued the sides to the top of the bottom plate along the borders, which is OK, but we decided to construct a skirt around the bottom of the desk to provide approximately two inches of the concealed area beneath the desk for wire and liquid tube management. This is, once again, a matter of personal taste. Make it seem as you want it to.
Take note of how the board on the inside of the knee cutout spans the desk’s breadth. We didn’t install it this way at first, and the desk began to droop in the center, which was just one of the errors we made throughout the construction.
You should also think about holes and slots for your motherboard and graphics card I/O, as well as fans and cable routing. If you’re using liquid cooling, you’ll also need to factor in any holes required for tubing routing. This is very dependent on your own construction, however, let me provide a few pointers based on our own experience.
I simply drew a cutout line on a thin 1/4′′ piece of birch wood using the I/O plate that came with the motherboard as a template for the motherboard’s I/O port slot. I next carefully cut out the hole immediately within the trace line, making it slightly smaller than the plate. I also removed the graphics card I/O slot from the same board. We were then able to create a bigger hole in the case’s real rear and move the thin I/O port board about while mounting the motherboard and graphics card to achieve the perfect fit. The motherboard’s I/O plate cutout ended up fitting so well that the plate actually pushes in and holds in place as it would in a normal PC case’s rear. It’s very lovely!
We used two alternative approaches to fan holes. Because we were intending to cover them with these nice metal plate covers, we decided to carve out a rectangle just large enough for the fans to fit through when there were two fans side by side. Anyway, it opens in a new tab.
We utilized a hole saw to guarantee a clean, precisely round hole exactly the size we required whether it was just one fan or two fans that weren’t resting flat against one other. You may accomplish this by hand with a drill, but a small, cheap drill press is strongly recommended. When using a hole saw, a tremendous amount of torque is generated, and I’ve twisted my wrist and cracked my knuckles more times than I can count when cutting holes in my attic and walls. Drilling using a drill press provides a clean, uniform cut and helps the whole operation run more easily. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on one. We purchased a WEN drill press from Amazon, and it performs well. For the most up-to-date pricing on this drill press, go here opens in a new tab.
Amazon purchase of WEN Drill Press
Drill Press and Hole Saw used to cut holes
In terms of cable routing, we went a little crazy with this one. I decided to cut a hole beneath the motherboard and then use a piece of acrylic and some steel metal standoff posts to raise the motherboard off the bottom. This link will open in a new tab. like I already said. Don’t be scared to use your imagination when it comes to cable routing. In fact, embrace the idea of coming up with new ideas. With the wires from the motherboard looping beneath it and vanishing from view, we were able to route them quietly out of the case to the bottom, where we placed our power supply.
Underneath the desk is a power supply.
We were so taken with the raised motherboard’s appearance that we decided to raise the GPU and hard drive as well. Those sheets of frosted acrylic opened in a new tab when we connected the LED lights to our system. It definitely stood out and became one of the highlights of our construction.
A rectangular hole was all that was needed for the front panel I/O port, which I cut with a jigsaw. We ended up with a beautiful clean appearance since the I/O port has a little ring around it. Drilling a hole just big enough for the threaded portion to pass through and fastening it from the rear with the supplied nut was all it took to make the power button. All that was required was a little hand tightening, and it now sits flush on the front panel.
I/O ports and power button on the front
When I cut the holes and arranged them so that the ports were level with the top of the inner bottom plate, there is one thing I wish I would have done differently. I could have run those wires under the desk instead of having them inside if I had placed it lower close to the power button. It’s all about living and learning.
Step 7 – Do a dry fit to make sure everything is in place.
After you’ve cut out the bottom and sides, perform a quick dry fit of all the parts (excluding the legs) to ensure that your cuts are perfect. The term “dry fit” refers to the fact that we are not using glue or finish nails to secure the sides to the desk bottom. We’ll simply use whatever we have on hand to keep them in place so we can make sure the structure is square and level.
While dry-fitting, use any heavy object to keep parts in place.
Step 8 – Sand
You may definitely accomplish this by hand, but I strongly believe in using tools that make the process simpler. Sanding isn’t pleasant, but it’s necessary for preparing your desk components for painting. Simply take your time and gently sand each piece, beginning with coarser grain sandpaper if necessary and ending with a fine 220 grit. Later on, you’ll be grateful for the time you put into this section.
It’s unpleasant, but you must persevere.
Step 9 – Glue, screw, and nail everything together
Following our successful completion of a square and level fit (you did not miss this step, did you? ), it is time to begin putting this baby together. Isn’t it exciting?
Begin with the side and front panels, if you have the opportunity. It was at this point that I utilized a speed square and framing square once again to ensure that I had a true 90-degree angle at the corners and that the panels were standing true at 90 degrees when gluing them on.
Some builders simply use glue to attach the side panels, while others utilize nails and screws. To secure them in place, I like to use a 23 gauge pin finish nailer with a hammer. Pin nailers with a gauge of 23 gauge create extremely tiny, nearly imperceptible holes that may be filled and sanded fast and simply once they are driven in. Indeed, they’re so tiny that you won’t even have to fill and sand them if you don’t want to. For those who do not have an air compressor, a 23 gauge pin nailer on AmazonOpens in a new tab may typically be found for a reasonable price. Even though battery-operated nailers are more costly, they have the advantage of not being reliant on an air compressor for their operation.
Whatever method you choose to secure the side panels, there is one suggestion I would like to urge you to explore when it comes to the corners, and that is the use of tiny metal corner brackets, which are available in a variety of sizes.
This link will open in a new tab. in the upper corners of the panels, where the sides meet They actually tighten up the corners and keep the structure in good shape. We used 12” screws to hold them in place, and we strategically positioned them at the top corners. They are hardly visible until you bend down and search for them, which we did when we put the 3/4” trim around the top edge (more on that later).
Step 10 – Take the final dimensions and place an order for the glass and paint
Now that you’ve completed the assembly of your desk, take a few quick measurements to verify that it is square and level for the last time. Finally, after you are satisfied with the proportions, it is necessary to get the official measurements for your glass. Taking measurements for the width and depth of the desktop is straightforward; nevertheless, it is important to double-check each end and the center to verify that they are both the same size.
We purchased our glass from a local glass business that specializes in window repairs and other related services. A 1/4-inch-thick non-tempered clear glass sheet for our desktop cost about $70 to have custom cut. Despite the fact that we used non-tempered glass for our construction, you should strongly consider using tempered glass.
For additional information on the differences between tempered and non-tempered glass, see the article Best Practices in Building a DIY Desk PC Case.
Let’s go to work on the painting while your glass is being cut. A simple high gloss black spray paint worked well for our desk PC case construction, but there are a variety of other colors and finishes available. Recognize that it will require two or more applications due to the fact that the wood absorbs the paint. It is at this point that you will be able to appreciate the true beauty of what you have accomplished.
In addition, the bottom of the desk and its back that rests against the wall were left unpainted for aesthetic reasons. At the time, it just didn’t seem essential to do so. However, in retrospect, I should have simply gone ahead and done it. It would have given it a more complete appearance on those few occasions when someone is hiding under the desk.
After the painting is completed, it is a good idea to apply a couple of coats of polyurethane to the whole structure. In general, it is suggested that you gently sand between layers of paint. It will give the surface a beautiful sheen while also acting as a protective layer over it.