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Danila Petrova
Danila Petrova

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Computer built into desk PC Enthusiast Trend: Custom DIY Computer Built Into a Desk

How people got into DIY PC building

Building your own custom PC has been a thing for as long as computers hit the market for common users after the mid-’70s (depending on the country). At first building a computer by buying the parts separately and putting it together by hand, started as a clever way to outdo an already built computer, from the shelf at the store, with the goal of achieving better performance for less money by taking away the cost of building and allowing for specialized solution depending on the individual’s specific needs.

And so PC building became a hobby for many, in fact the trend boomed after the first microprocessors hit the market and allowed functions such as computation, text editing, multimedia use, and communication over the Internet (although the Internet did not become the widespread network we know and love today up until the ’90s).

From “going smaller to going bigger”

For a period of time, the trend had declined in terms of followers due to the need for PC mobility and laptops. However, now the rapid advancement of technology calls for hardware that is either not yet available in laptop format or becomes impractically expensive.

Additionally, the price point for parts rather than pre-built computers has tipped the scales once more, making custom computers much cheaper than pre-made ones. With the added bonus of buying only the parts that are actually needed without raising the bar on parts that will not get much use out of is a definite money saver as far as computers go (for example a gamer might not need top of the line sound card for audio recording and editing).

Working for a bespoke software development company and being familiar with multiple tech enthusiasts, having a customized PC has gained traction within the gaming community.
Now we have the opportunity to dip into Virtual Reality, high definition real-time rendering and jaw-dropping video games on the highest settings, as long as we have the right hardware.

Go even bigger with a PC built inside a desk

While getting a fully operational computer to a small and slim design is still very much a goal that is being explored, so is the opposite in the gaming community: creating a complete PC build with an aesthetic purpose that can showcase the setup.

Taking into account that the hardware design has developed in a way that advances both the functionality and the appearance of computer parts, proudly displaying it in a see-through case is something that gamers tend to want. To take it one step further, building a computer inside a desk with a glass topper like a full-on museum exhibit, is a new trend going around. Even though this is not the most practical solution in terms of mobility this is definitely one of the best options to impress with great visual display.

Linus Tech Tips provide one of the most viewed examples so far of a step by step building process in their two-part series "Ultimate DIY Desk PC". They offer advice on how they decided to go about building it and attempted to create a fairly budget solution (as far as ultimate computers can be on a budget go of course).

What to consider when deciding to build a desk PC:

Choosing to buy a PC desk or Build one from scratch - There are PC desks available to be bought, but they are both expensive and difficult to find. Even though it has the potential to be cheaper, building a desk from scratch would prove to be much more time consuming when we include the need to do research for multiple different aspects of the build.

Woodworking solutions - If considering building this type of PC from scratch, woodworking would definitely be one of the most important things to take into account. Either finding someone who can operate machinery to cut and portion the materials, or planning to do this part DIY as well (which might require getting equipped with the proper tools and safety necessities). Buying the right type of materials, deciding on a method to put a ledge that can hold the glass panel(s) in place if the design has any.

Design choices - Choosing an overall aesthetic for the build. Starting with the computer parts for a functional machine (in order to account for them when planning the build). Choosing the materials that will be used for the desk’s surfaces or buying a desk to modify and build upon. Choosing how the finished desk will look on the outside. Planning out the correlation and spacing between each PC component. Accounting for what size of a desk is needed. Coming up with a solution to manage cables, how to connect them, what parts will be visible or hidden, and different ways to conceal them that would not affect the computer’s functionality.

Cooling: As the PC build in terms of parts will vary based on each person’s needs, one thing to be pointed out as especially important is cooling. Many choose a setup with multiple fans to avoid the system from overheating - the air inside the desk case needs to be kept rotating and at a cool enough temperature. And of course, the space in a desk setup allows for elaborate custom water cooling solutions that fit the person’s system requirements. Combined with RGB LED lights in the appropriate placement of the system can be developed to match any artistic style: steampunk, alchemist, spaceship or any other as far as creativity goes.

The ever-changing trend

Computer building has been developing along with the manufacturing process of store-bought products, it is definitely evolving to meet the end user’s needs. This is a trend that will keep changing for as long as there is anything more to be desired from a customer’s point of view. At the very least it is interesting to be aware of the creative solutions people have made with their personal computers!

Do you think this is a cool trend, or do you think that making your computer so heavy by attaching it to your desk is a step back in the wrong direction? What is another cool gaming trend you heard of? Comment with ideas for my new article!

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