I'm Srdjan 31 years old from Slovenia and i will share with you my experiences with my first ever desk build, and hopefully not my last
. For the past 7 months i have been building a desk PC from scratch. I did not do a build log along the way as i had no idea how it would turn out if ill even have time finish what i have started, as when i started the build our baby girl was 8 months old and there was always something to do with here. But with the great support from my wife and my friends how actually contributed key parts of the build to me. I actually got the desk and a old PC from two friends and 4x12cm fans from a third friend so that helped me start the project with little initial cost.
Before i start the with the pictures i want to say that when i saw a desk PC two years ago i was amazed of how cool that looked, that you can actually have a PC in your desk and see all the part inside. At that time i was not in the so keen on building it but this year something struck me and i said to my wife i'm going to build a desk PC, as i can take it any longer
At first she did not even know what i was talking about and when i showed her some pictures she said "you are crazy, what will you do with that" hahahah, typical girl
And that its how it started.
The first day i started i took out the components from the donor PC and took the case down stairs to the garage and asked my father in law where he keep's the drill. He looked at me funny (I'm holding a PC in my hands and need a drill
) and he starts laughing what the hell you need a drill for
And i told him im going to build a desk with a PC inside, he smiled gave me the drill and went on his business. But later n he help me in some parts of construction where i needed a extra pair of hands, so i thank him for that.
So the start the first day assembly kinda looked like this
The donor PC was some AMD 2.0 GHz with 2.5 GB of RAM and 200 GB HDD, with no graphic card, so you can see my initial design layout and of course i had to buy the red missile launch switch for the ON/OFF button. I have made some 3D models of the layout how and where everything should be, how high the side of the desk should be and so on. But i had no actual plan how to make it just the pictures i saw on line, sore there was some trial and error along the way.
have added up some siding and the shape of the desk started to appear in from of me, still needed to cut the HDD mount down to size so it would fit inside the desk.
With that done i also sorted out the mounts for the DVD and the fan controller
The Fan controller impressed me as it has 4 fan controls and 2 switches for 5V or 12V current, and that was ideal for making these two switches ON/OFF buttons for the LED' strips that will be installed later. One switch was for blue LED's and the other for UV LED's.
Then the cutting began, have measured out the holes in the front back and side panels, and cut them out
But i ran into a issue of how to mount the fans to the desk. I did make the cut just so big that the 2 fans we held in place, but had to make also some protection. As in Slovenia the PC modding scene is almost 0 and almost non of the PC companies sell any modding parts i wanted to make my own fan grills
and as you see that did not work out as well as i have planed. I did not have the correct tools to cut the steel plate straight
by dumb luck i would say i by mistake came on to a web page of a PC company that was a Phobya partner and they managed to order me 2 240 mm fan grills. I could have ordered them on any other bigger mod website but the shipping cost was big. As by this time the cost of he build have started to raise up. And also where i live there is one PC store with just basic stuff and i have to order all the parts by mail, so the shipping cost was a big problem for me.
In the mean time i found these cool looking PCI slot covers ( of how ever they are called officially) to replace the ugly stock covers, and also ordered thumb screws, but the store sent me 2 different models, as you can see, and when i told them there mistake they send me a new pair of bigger screws for now charge and no shipping charge, that was good
The installation of the front panel was going smoothly, i got a card reader/ USD 2.0 / 3.0 / mic and audio output / mSATA combo, that allows to plug in all your devices in the front, and the mighty ON/OFF switch along with the reset button were mounted.
and by this stage all was going well i maybe spent 3 months working on this so far
I figured this is the final design, now i just have to paint the inside put the thing together and im done in a week or two tops ( was i wrong....)
The testing of the blue LED's went smoothly
and i made a cover from a wood sheet to cover up all the cables that would be running bellow to keep a clean look, just needed to make the holes at the motherboard so the cables could be connected.
(And some of you can already see what is wrong with this cover)
I prepared all for painting, grinding, sanding, cleaning.... From the start of the build i had in mind the color of the inside of the desk, i wanted to make it mat black like the modern PC cases, and also the cases have a small textured feel to them, so i opted to do the same. i bought a textured white paint, it sprays out a grainy texture that when it was dry i painted it over with a mat black paint and that gave it great effect i was looking for
at this stage i was thrilled with my self i got the tempered glass to fit just right and flush with the sides of the desk, all the pieces ware painted all was done just the final assembly
OOOOO HOW WRONG I WAS!!!!
Like i said in the begging the donor PC was not so good, and it lacked a graphic card, and in my design and measuring i did calculate the height for a bigger PC cooler and with that a height for a graphic card but i did no calculate the the PCI-e power cables in most cards come from the TOP!!!! and the desk was to short for about 2 cm, and the glass did not close down. So i had to do the wood frame all over again but now i made it 3 cm taller then before, and that had another problem. With the extra 3 cm the desk was to high to be sitting at it normally. I am almost 2 m high and for me maybe was just right or a cm to high but for anyone else sitting at the desk would not be pleasant. So i had to cut the feet of the desk for about 7 cm, but then for me was a problem that i could not get my legs under the table. And i had to cut a section of the desk out and made a box cover inside the desk that completely changed all the plans i had before.
OOOOOOOO!!!! WATER COOLING, WAITE A MINUTE?!?!?!?!?!?
from the beginning it was planed to be a air cooled desk as it had the side vents already made and room was left for ta bigger CPU cooler and so on. But i decided to water cool this puppy. And before we continue i want to say this is my first time water cooling and i first wanted to even test how water cooling works before investing in any good water cooling parts.
I went online and found a cheep used water cooled case and for €50 it had a case, a pump, a cpu block, a reservoir and on the back the ugliest radiator with 4 x 8mm fans i have ever seen
( pls comment bellow if this is the worst water cooled rig you ever saw). The radiator is so heavy, when i took out the pump the case kept falling over and i had to set it against the wall
had a new problem with my donor PC
the thing was a AMD a AM2 socket and the CPU water block that i got in the ghetto rig was Intel 775, I could not find a cheep used AM2 block to save my life so i rather bought a cheep 775 mother board with a Pentium 4 3.0Ghz HT for €20 and i got a GTX 285 with a water block for €70. So even if the water leaked over the components i would not care
After seeing that water cooling is not such a big problem i invested in some EK water cooling parts, but now i did not go so cheep as i figured if i can cool a Pentium 4 and a 285 i can sure cool a Pentium i7 and a better graphic card, so i got:
- 480mm RAD
- 2L blue UV reactive coolant
- 400 X3 REZ with modded bottom
- 10cm tube to go into the REZ to make a water fall effect
- 4x12cm fans
- 3m of Primochill tubing
- got used compression fittings and had to get new angled fittings to be able to run the loop
had to cut out the back of the desk and make a shelf for the RAD and the pump as i had no where else to put them
Got the UV lights and tested how the cooling liquid reacted to it, and also got a UV reactive plexiglass that has a sweet glow effect under the mouse pad.
Here i think is the most interesting thing about the build, the way the water cooling loop is run. It starts on top in the reservoir and goes through the desk down to the pump, from the pump it goes to the radiator and from that it shoots back up on top to the CPU and GPU and from the GPU it goes again down through the desk in a small bend under the desk and from there it shoots up vertically back to the reservoir where it goes true a 10 cm tube and at the end of the tube the water falls into the reservoir that is filled cca 3/4 of the way to give that water fall effect. And you can actually hear the water falling when the loop is running So its very relaxing
here you can see where the HDD mounts have been put along side the reservoir. On one side there is space for 2x HDD and on the other side for 3 SSD's but mounts have to be added, i put only one at the time.
Also you can see the holes that i have prepared for the cables going to the mobo, graphic card and to the drives on each side.
The slot for the graphic cards is made bigger so the desk could accommodate up to 3 graphic cards
I made textile flees like grommets so that cable holes would be nice and clean looking and that the cable will not go all over the place
As the original desk and the wooden sides i put on were not nearly the same color i had to wrap them in a vinyl mahogany look finish, you can see how i applied that on, and at the end looking good with the glass. ( even thous the glass is dirty...)
Installing the blue LED's, the vent's have blue LED's by default
Mounted the radiator and the pump.
Also here you can see another shelf on the left side of the desk. That is used for the second PSU, yes i have 2 PSU to run a system from 2000 B.C. As the 285 has for some reason 2x 6 pin PCIE connectors and the PSU i got from the donor PC had only 1x 6 pin PCIE!!!!!! so instead of buying a new PSU with more CPU connectors i bought for € 10 a used "broke" PSU, where only the fan needed some oil in its bearing and the PSU works as a charm. But this PSU also had only 1x 6 PCIE connector and it had to be placed bellow on the shelf i had to solder and extend the wires for a good 40 cm for it to be able to reach the 285. And so i had to cut up a even older PSU i had laying in a PC that was intended to be thrown away. Both PSU's have a small number of molex connectors so the top PSU is used to power the devices on the top of the desk and the second one to power the pump and the fans on the radiator and the both together power the 285
Assembling the mobo tray, the connection for the blue and UV LED's, the HDD mounts
You can actually see on this picture how long the PCIE connector cable of the gold PSU is, its all the way on the floor.
installation of the fans and grills with the mat black painted bolts and screw caps
Also you can see the grainy texture of the paint i was saying before.
GIVING IT LIFE!!!!!!
Here now some beauty shots of the S7 Desk
So in closing i would like to say that the past 7 month have been a great experience a big learning experience for me in all sort of areas in wood working, soldering, water cooling, problem solving, design and so on and i must say i enjoyed it a lot.
I know that there is still lots of work to be done on the desk like sleeving cable management on the back, updating the whole system to something from this century, but that was not my intention from the start. I bought a PC almost 2 years ago and then i spent around €1500 on it and it was top for its time. I'm not looking to spend that amount of money to put a the best PC in the desk, just to get a score on 3Dmark or some crazy benchmark in time ill transfer my existing PC into the desk and enjoy it it that way. I'm just satisfied to have made such a mod, and walking away from this project like a winner.
I would like to thank my fiends once again for supporting me with the parts for the build and my family for the support that they gave me to make this possible
And would like to thank you if you read the whole post
Will try to post some more pictures soon