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A computer built into a desk may not seem like the most practical thing in the world, but the point you’re missing here is that it is totally awesome.
Let’s review a few pros and cons of built-in desk PCs:
- Hard to move
- Difficult to upgrade
- Challenging to clean
- Looks amazing
- More space for activities
- Your mom will think your a hacker
Build your own Custom PC Desk
If you find yourself handy, you might give a DIY Desk PC a shot. This is of course how Desk PCs came into being in the first place. There are many examples out there, but most of them have a lot of stuff in common.
Built in computer desk plans
You can draw up your own plans in a 3d modeling software, but for those who are looking to take a bit less of a risk and follow something tried and true there are some options.
You can follow a build log of some one else who gives you details of their build. There are many listed at the end of this article, but one of the most famous may be from Linus Tech Tips (link to plans). Update: Here is a link to his next desk pc build, but no official build plans are included.
Materials you can use to build a PC desk
You can of course go without plans and just draft some up yourself! This list should help give you some insight into what is needed to build a PC into a desk:
This may go without saying, but what the heck: You are probably going to want power tools and some space for this build. I am sure you could do it with all hand tools in a tiny apartment, but give yourself a moment to think over where you are going to build this bad boy and how long it will take you.
A lot of builders will use a material called MDF. MDF stands for medium density fiberboard. It is basically super compressed sawdust which makes it hard like wood, but easier to manipulate.
Along with that you will obviously need screws, nuts and bolts of various lengths all depending on the thickness of your wood and placement of your parts. I’m the kind of guy that just eye-balls it. If you want a nice desk you should not be that kind of guy. You should measure twice, and cut once.
Most people will opt for a glass top to the desk so you can see into the internals. This seems like the most obvious thing to do to show it off, but some people will opt not to. In my opinion you should just hide a case somewhere else and skip the whole project, but your constraints might be special or something.
It seems common to use a lot of fans in the desk. You are going to want to keep air moving in there, and with such a big distance compared to a PC case, it makes sense. The last thing you want is an overly warm computer.
On that note, A lot of people will use custom water cooling in their build as well. This can really set things off visually. You want to look like a mad scientist? Here is your chance.
Custom buttons will also make your desk built more complete. They will allow your desk to feel more like a polished project. It also is a lot easier than lifting up the glass and touching the right pins together on the motherboard.
Some builders also place tiny screens somewhere on the build to use as an information dashboard containing the various temperatures and status of the computer. Depending on the style you are going for this may or may not look good.
Buy one that is already done
Ya’ll got a PC desk case for sale? Yup, you can totally buy a desk that is made to mount your computer inside it. Any they look pretty awesome. Here are a few examples:
LIAN LI DK-05F
This one I found via a Facebook group so it is not very widely known yet. They are based in the EU somewhere and since they are a small operation right now, US shipping could be pricey (probably as much as an entire cheap computer desk). Definitely worth checking out though!
Hybrid DIY solutions with low effort
You can always DIY some of it but not all. Another term for this might be the “Lazy DIY.” This usually involves a desk that is already planned out or even already put together. Ikea is notorious for modern computer setup desks.
Here are 3 desks I found that look like they could offer a good starting point:
In this video here, YetAnotherTechChannel does just that and throws a computer into an Ikea Micke desk drawer. Cut some holes, route some wires, and boom, you have a desk pc.
This concept can literally be done to just about any desk with drawers. Well what if your desk does not have drawers?! Don’t worry friend, Linus Tech Tips has you covered yet again. In this video Linus mounts the internals of a PC to the underside of a standing desk.
Common Desk PC Questions
Depending on the materials you use, or finished desk you buy, you could be looking at a cost of around $300 to $2000 dollars.
As with all computers, you are likely to get some dust build up over time. You can combat this by using air filters on the desk and cleaning it regularly.
As mentioned in the materials section, MDF is a solid choice as it allows for easier manipulation and finer precision cuts.
I am sure you can find someone willing to help build a desk for a fee. You might try asking people you know for recommendations.
A Desk PC is where you some how build a computer into a desk.
You can spend lots of time and money for a truly unique custom PC Desk Case. You can spend a moderate amount of money and a small amount time for a ready solution. Or you can spend a moderate amount of time and a small amount of money for a DIY hybrid solution.
Epic Custom Desk PC Examples
I will leave you with these epic custom solutions to drool over:
If you think I missed something please let me know! Also, new stuff is always hitting Amazon, so you may try searching there for any new pc desks that enter the market.