Integrated PC desk build

Discussion in 'Technology, Gaming & Phones' started by Nighthawk, Wednesday 13th Jun, 2018.

  1. Nighthawk Club Manager Club Staff

    The below is a copy and paste (roughly) from overclockers forum - this was a project which took me over the course of about 4 months or so for the main structure when I was signed off work, doing it in dribs and drabs whenever I found the strength, but seeing everyones response to my picture on @Heckler thread - I thought why not. I started this around May 2018 - and "finished" to where it is now, ummm, a few weeks ago. Its still not finished.


    It's had been around 5 years since I last built a PC for myself. My trusted Antec 1200 custom build has proven very reliable over the years and had gone through a few revisions, however, now I am bored. And I want a challenge. I have always liked the idea of an integrated PC into a desk. I am bored of building computers in the sense as to where I have built so many, I needed a challenge. Watercooling isnt hard anymore either so I decided to try something new. You will have to excuse the pictures initially as I never planned to actually do a build log, but the ones so far will give a good idea of my plan. The colour scheme is white with blue coolant and accents

    So, I had a very boring, very normal desk which was still perfectly decent enough, so I wanted to use that as a frame work. This was how it used to look


    So I started to mess about with sketchup, went through a variety of designs, before kinda half settling on this.




    Got to building the carcass out of 2"x2" lumber, and bought some 16mm boards. I have quite a bit of experience with vinyl wrapping and decided that the desk and the vertical mounts would be vinyl wrapped in automotive quality gloss white wrap. Sides were created, and desk secured with the carcass.



    VESA mounts were bought and mounted on the backboard however I wanted a contrast in colour so a "fake wall" was created to set off the monitors away from the backboard as well as providing a comfortable way of hiding the VESA mounts.

    A small frame was built out of the 2" bits of lumber and some hardboard attached to it. I primed the hardboard with automotive quality primer using my compressor to prevent the dust from the hardboard preventing any panelling from sticking to it. I then used some wood quality floor vinyl panels to place over the hardboard to give what I hoped would be a nicer finish. You can see here how the desk has already been partially vinyl wrapped.



    Anyway, the vinyl flooring proved to be useless and would not stick properly even when using contact cement, so I ripped it off, bought some pine boards, and stained them. This gave a much nicer effect.


    The top of the desk hadn't been vinyl wrapped as I was still wanting to cut out holes in it, and the backboard too. So I installed a recessed wireless phone charger, a 3 way toggle switch for LED lighting which is going to run behind the false wall (white lighting for desk work, and red lighting at night time when working on PC or gaming), as well as a nice chrome cable through for keyboard and mouse. A USB socket has been installed in the backboard as well, this will be hooked up to the motherboard front USB pins.



    I then decided that I didnt like the design of the case, so redesigned it and mocked up a quick design.


    Last edited: Saturday 5th Jan, 2019
    legend-ary likes this.
  2. Nighthawk Club Manager Club Staff

    I took one of my many spare cases I have lying around and drilled all the rivets out to give me access to the rear IO tray. I also removed the motherboard tray in the same way and both were painted gloss white with my compressor using automotive paint. The rear of the case was then routered out and an old AMD MB and 285GTX mocked up just so that I could get the sizes right. The case is 450mm wide by 160mm deep by 550mm high. This was because I originally was going to place a single 240mm rad at the top of the case for cooling the CPU however then decided that I am going to mount it, and the GPU rad at the top of the backboard instead as I had no way of accessing the case internals if I sealed the top of it with a rad.

    Cooling is going to be at the bottom of the case with 2x 240mm white led fans, and at the top, with the same set up in a pull push format. The case will be made shorter as the need for rads is no longer necessary. Components on display will be the MB obviously, the GPU which is currently a 1080, will be mounted in a vertical riser. Both the CPU and GPU are currently watercooled anyway. The SSD's will be on display as will the reserviour.

    I am still undecided if I am doing a dual loop - something I havent done before and want to do it just for the sake of it, so not sure yet how many res's I will have or the exact layout of the piping as of yet, but the res will be a Phanteks Glacier 160 if dual loop, 220 if I stay with a single. If I go dual loop, I will throw purple scheme into it as well. The piping will be going through the backboard up to the top of it for the rads, so I will be using hardline at the front of the case (again, never used it before), but probably sticking with flexible hosing behind the desk as I have all the connectors, piping still etc.

    I am wanting to custom braid the PSU cables, again, either white and blue for a single loop, or white, blue and purple for a dual loop. Never braided before so again, something I want to try. I need to start mocking up PSU placements behind the desk.

    GPU will be cooled by a 480 slimline rad, CPU 240 if using dual loop. If a single loop, I will like them together, so the system will be cooled with both of them.

    So, this is where I now ask for opinions

    1 - single or dual loop?
    2 - colour scheme - thoughts?
    3 - I want to make my own cables. I know I can rip apart the existing ones and sleeve them, but I would rather just make my own, just for the sake of it. What gauge wires do I need for the 24 pin, 8 pin ATX, and gpu and sata power cables?

    Oh, and these arrived today.


    The desk, at this very moment in time, looks like this - the case is just sitting on the desk awaiting parts before I know the depth of the new fans so I can trim it all down to size and work out cable routings (which will be behind the MB and placements of SSD's and res's.


    I always liked a two monitor setup, I often work on one screen and watch movies etc on the other, or have a browser on one, office on the other etc​
    Last edited by a moderator: Thursday 3rd Jan, 2019
    legend-ary likes this.
  3. Nighthawk Club Manager Club Staff

    At the moment, my Antec1200 has a dimastech momentary switch for power in red, but I am thinking that that won't go with the colour scheme, so thinking about maybe a blue switch for the power, mounted along side the front USB ports on the back rest where the monitors are. Thinking of putting the reset switch there too - Any thoughts?

    Hoping to rip the desk top of later tonight and get that vinyl wrapped as well as starting to plan out where I am going to mount the PSU. I think cable management will be the easiest possible that I have ever had in this build.

    So just did a small amount tonight. Took the desk apart again so that I could wrap the desktop, thought I would take a few pictures just to show the mounting of the monitors. The back panel has not yet been wrapped.



    For those eagle eyed, yes, that is a draught protector for letter boxes.

    Whilst it was apart, I decided to start with some of the wiring for the toggle switch. The toggle switch is next to the wireless charger and will control two seperate circuits, the one will control white LEDs providing an integrated desk lamp, and the other one will provide probably red led's, to act as back lighting for the monitors for the night time gaming sessions.

    240v to 12v transformer attached and plugged into the sockets which are underneath the desk. 12v wire run to some chock blocks (as I know them to be) and then the live wire subsequently sent to the common of the switch. Two more positives run from the remaining poles and secured back to the blocks awaiting me to get the led strips and wire them in. Ran a length of conduit and shrink wrapped it all together just so that its neat, even though it won't be seen.


    Everything then connected up awaiting testing


    Started then on vinyl wrapping the desk, and after a short time, it ended up like this





    A quick check to make sure the switch was wired up correctly


    Just to give an idea of what it looks like at the back within the carcass...


    Cable management, I am predicting, is going to be really easy​
    Last edited by a moderator: Thursday 3rd Jan, 2019
  4. Nighthawk Club Manager Club Staff

    New parts!!



    Must say that that Phanteks Glacier res is absolutely gorgeous
    legend-ary and Pete at H-Tune like this.
  5. Nighthawk Club Manager Club Staff

    So got some more energy today to work on this. Backplate completed with cable cut outs, as well as passthroughs for the inlet and outlet tubings. Fans installed in their correct orientation, with the wiring going through the wood and out of the back to ensure a completely clean and wirefree fans. Everything vinyl wrapped with the same automotive quality Airlease white gloss wrap as the desk.


    Got a new power button which will light up blue when the PC is turned off. Ill mount is next to the usb sockets




  6. Nighthawk Club Manager Club Staff

    Quick pictures of me just mocking things up with an old broken AMD MB with serial ports and a ex WC 670 GTX. The res is hardtubed up now to the passthrough. Custom brackets made to hold the res in place as the one they provide is just massive and ugly. DDC pump attached and recessed into the case.



    The MB will be an MSI Gaming 9 ACK which is in my current system going on, so red accents will be obviously present.

    Pondering on whether it should be left black, or painting gloss white? Im thinking gloss white, or maybe alternating it between white and blue to coincide with the coolant colour.
    Last edited by a moderator: Thursday 3rd Jan, 2019
  7. Nighthawk Club Manager Club Staff

    Just a minor update - fan cables extended and resleeved for the radiators so that they could all reach the phanteks hub.


  8. Nighthawk Club Manager Club Staff

    Tubing is now popping into place with a nice sound (damaged two o rings when I took a closer look at my previous efforts) - small bits at a time for me. Radiators are all plumbed up now, "case" onto desk, everything is ready to go, just need to strip down my current build, open and clean the blocks up, reinstall everything and hope no more major adjustments are needed. PSU mounting in place, all fans wired up to their respective hubs, just need to wire up new power switch up too.

    Still struggling to work out the case loop atm​
  9. Nighthawk Club Manager Club Staff

    Spent the weekend finishing sleeving cables and completing the wiring. The 6 fans on the 480 and 240 radiators were connected up to the Phanteks hub, and the 4 led fans for the "case" connected to a 4 pin PWM hub, both of which are being controlled by the built in hardware monitor of the MB.

    First time I have ever used hard tubing, so it was a learning experience. I have some more on order now as I am not too happy with a couple of bends. Anyway, Antec 1200 stripped down, and waterblocks for the GPU and CPU also stripped down for a good manual clean with a toothbrush and toothpaste. The temps were fluctuating before hand and I knew that one of the blocks was clogged up but didnt clean them as I knew I would be pulling it all apart shortly anyway. CPU block was pretty dirty.... This is why you need to service watercooled systems. The waterblocks get gunked up and block the channels, causing restrictions, and therefore temperature hikes.



    GPU wasnt too bad...


    Although I did notice something a bit disturbing. I thought something had popped when I disassembled the Antec build and wasnt sure if it would even work but kept going anyway.


    Anyway, starting reinstalling components, and trying to work out the case loop. I knew that I would be running a line close to the ATX connector.




    Loop is going from the Phanteks res which has a DDC pump installed on it (thought I had ordered a PWM one but obviously I didnt so that will be changed at some point), to the GPU, from the GPU to the CPU, from the CPU through the backboard into the "back" of the desk and onto the radiators via an inline filter, a flow meter, coolant sensor and the drain port. Took exactly a litre of Mayhems X1 UV Blue to fill it. The two monitors, the blue one is measuring the coolant temp with the white one measuring the air temp within the case.


    So I thought I had planned the tubing out correctly, but obviously I didnt as I ran into a slight clearance issue which prevented me from attaching the front back on, as subsequently, meaning I couldn't attach the top either as I've designed it to slot into the front "screen". Oh well, so that will be corrected when I get the PETG delivered (which should have been today but no luck)


    On saying that, I put the screen on the best I could and rested the top onto it just to get an idea of how it will look. So with the top not on properly, nor the front screen, this gives an idea. And the GPU is running fine still, I've been testing it, and its as though nothing is wrong, so not sure what the blown bit on the board is about


    I am also awaiting a white 8 pin PCI-E cable, and recreated a loom for the power switch using old front headers.

    Apologies if I am not explaining things properly
    Last edited: Friday 4th Jan, 2019
  10. Nighthawk Club Manager Club Staff

    Small changes - replaced the PCI-E with a white one and replaced the one remaining SSD data cable with a white one too.

    Decided to redesign water loop to allow for window clearance. Unfortunately, one of the compression fittings I had had its o ring too damaged to use, so had to temporarily bridge that using old barb fittings and flexible hose. New parts already on route so that flexible tubing and its attachments will be going. Just needed the PC operational. I will probably follow the same route with the hard tubing as it fills up that space in the case. Also got some white sleeving on route as well to sort out those black cables for the fan controllers.

    Wired up power button to desk, initially had the led in it just wired to the power led, but then changed it to the hdd led so it now flashes with hdd activity. Some pictures


    Just testing it



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  11. Nighthawk Club Manager Club Staff

    The above is a direct copy from Overclockers Forum - the desk has since gone through a few alterations already. The piping is now complete - (first time using PETG piping - again, just wanted to try it).

    It currently stands like this: And yes - thats my matrix screensaver




    Those temps are at idle. Blue is coolant temp, and the white is the ambient temperature of the case
    Last edited: Friday 4th Jan, 2019
    honda_saj and SayamaAccord like this.
  12. SpeedyGee Club Manager Club Staff

    England Speedy Birmingham
    Awesome work @Nighthawk.

    I'm going to have a proper read through of this later on when I'm on my laptop.
    honda_saj likes this.
  13. honda_saj Club Veteran ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    United Kingdom saj east london
    nice work :GoodJob::likeit:are you running standard or overclocke at those temps ?
  14. Nighthawk Club Manager Club Staff

    Approximate 12% overclock on GPU, and around 10% on CPU. Slight increase on memory as well, but its really not needed. Unless you are benchmarking - you won't notice any real world differences.
    honda_saj likes this.
  15. honda_saj Club Veteran ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    United Kingdom saj east london
    Nice do you use for gaming or just general use, i built a watercooled pc years a go intel celeron 3.20ghz overclocked to 4.00ghz lasted 5 years. Then i oveclocked a intel duo core, i thinks its time to build a new pc :crazyeyes:
  16. Nighthawk Club Manager Club Staff

    Mainly for gaming, but I use it for video encoding as well. I built it because I was bored - been building PCs since 2001 ish, need to ramp it up again for the next build. Probably do full MB waterblocks and probably dual loops. I overclock the correct way - by adjusting timings and current flow directly within the motherboard rather than cheating and using software
    honda_saj likes this.
  17. SpeedyGee Club Manager Club Staff

    England Speedy Birmingham
    Really interested in the vinyl wrap.

    Which wrap did you use? And how was it to work with?
    honda_saj likes this.
  18. Nighthawk Club Manager Club Staff

    It was full proper automotive quality wrap - something like £8 a metre, but I think it was 1500mm wide. Actually really nice to work with, you need to use a specific catalyst designed for automotive wrap on the edges to prevent it from peeling up - and its been fine ever since. The sun on it all day in summer did nothing to it, and it literally just wipes clean.

    Thats the stuff
  19. SpeedyGee Club Manager Club Staff

    England Speedy Birmingham
    Cool, I'll book mark incase I need it for a future project. :Thumbup:
  20. Nighthawk Club Manager Club Staff

    They have some pretty funky film wraps - ones with metallic flakes - glitter, gemstones, chrome, and even cloth vinyl, as well as privacy, anti static films etc etc,