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Hello everyone. I have long been intrigued by (and occasionally considering the purchase of ) what are typically called 'Desk Cases:". That is to say, desks designed to house a full enthusiast-grade PC (or more!) inside them. While there have been some ostensibly mass market-ish offerings such as a few from LianLi, (notably the DK-05 - http://www.lian-li.com/dk-05#/ms-2/1 ) the majority of this market seems to be projects by semi-bespoke PC modding and case shops. For example...

Red Harbinger's "Cross Desk" - http://www.redharbinger.com/shop/cases/cross-desk-usa-only/

Hydra's "Slimdesk" - https://www.hydra-shop.com/products/slimdesk - and "Hydra Desk" - https://www.hydra-shop.com/products/hydra-desk

I remember seeing Red Harbinger discussed a few years back but I'm not sure if they have gone into a lull, but it seems that Hydra, based in Italy and with products manufactured there, seems to be currently active with even Newegg carrying their Hydra Desk which should save USA-based clients a buck or two. They also seem to have reasonable pricing and be open to modding, customization etc... given what I see on their webpage (at least in English). Now, I may be missing some others but those two should provide examples at least.

Being that CaseLabs is a boutique shop capable of high-grade fabrication using aluminum, tempered glass and other such materials, while also offering a proven track record in PC enclosure design and relationship with the enthusiast community, recent posts here on OC.Net about favorite features and future cases caused me to ponder - Would they be interested in making a "desk case"?

I've been considering the role of a "Desk case" which for me must meld the experience of a high-end, easily expandable, customization ready PC case with the latest in desk features in terms of function, ergonomics, space and customization. CaseLabs has already shown their proficiency in creating enclosures for the former so I figure they could design for the latter with time and interest in doing so. Overall here's what i'd be looking for...

For the PC case type features it would be pretty much be what many people know and expect from CaseLabs, plus some of the requests that we see made in threads here and anticipated in refreshes/next gen products. Materials wise, I am thinking that CaseLabs strong, high quality aluminum would be the best compromise between durability and weight for the body of the desk, while tempered glass would be desirable for the top of the desk itself. "System case" level customization options would be appreciated, similar to Mercury, Magnum, and Gemini, with many "built in" feature as possible. such as being able to configure the desk to handle a single motherboard versus multiple ones, different cooling setups and room for them, and cut-outs for horizontally aligned front-facing or vertically aligned top-facing 5.25"bays (plus of course FlexBays elsewhere!) Of course, for some options that would require major changes users could choose them at build/order time and/or buy the components and accessories much they could as any other CaseLabs "system" case. Thus, it would be great to see the desk case built with the same modular design full of user replaceable panels and often tool-free (or few tool) assembly that CaseLabs has already pioneered. Extra features such as discrete cable routing for both interior PC components and through/behind the desk itself for monitor cords and other exterior components, mounting locations for accessories, RGB accent lighting hardware controlled or optionally able to plug into motherboards and other lighting components, and more could be included, ensuring it compares favorably to existing entries in the market.

One place that CaseLabs could potentially lead the market is by going above and beyond with not just the PC case features, but those directly pertaining to being a fantastic desk. Take away the PC focused features in even some of the best of the market like the Hydra and you're left with a very nice, yet simple aluminum platform desk with a glass top - a good start, but perhaps we can do better? By adding both ergonomic and use-of-space features, it will be a PC case desk unlike any other produced to date. Ergonomics would be a great place to start, making the desk that is comfortable and ergonomically viable in addition to a first rate PC case. This could be offered by a number of design features known for good ergonomics (perhaps a "cut out curve" design in the front to allow users to sit in close enough without the arms of their chair banging into it etc). One of the most notable features would be to allow the desk to be height adjustable for various seating/standing postures, similar to the LianLi DK-05; whether other adjustments would be possible would come down to a number of factors. Another place a CaseLabs desk could perhaps rise above is by offering shelving modules. Consider the design of the IKEA "JERKER" desk, which is an old-favorite among enthusiasts for its space, configuration, and most importantly mods/options/accessories. These can range from additional "bar" style shelves that can be applied atop your main shelf unit, an assortment of "swing out" platforms on adjustable arms, and at the time even magazine/book/CD holders. All of these, as well as the desk itself though simple come from the main side "legs" which have a ton of bolt holes to allow height and location adjustable mounting for various features. Perhaps an "extension" to the built in (powered, height adjustable legs) added to the top could allow users who wished to have additional storage, platforms etc.. to use them. Offering accessories like the "swing out" platforms, making the extension itself (as well as a few locations on the back of the desk itself) compatible for the attachment of VESA monitor mounting arms, additional full-length shelving, and others could allow users to change from a basic case desk to add a lot more space if they wished. I am also sketching out how some "drawer modules" could add storage space as well. Building in other convenience features would round out the experience.

Now I grant that it may or may not be feasible to offer all of that in a single case, though I do think it would be a worthy attempt to push the limit. Would CaseLabs be open to making some sort of 'Desk Case" and if so, are there any other features or considerations that are desirable? I figure its at least worth a discussion
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Thanks for your time in writing this detailed post! A desk is something we have toyed around with in our heads, but never really put pen to paper on it. That being said, we have actually manufactured custom desk enclosures for our OEM accounts. Some of those desks have even found their way to NASA believe it or not! They weren't very pretty though, rather boring and purpose built.

I won't say it will never happen, but it's not something we are currently working on.
 

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Thank you for your reply!

I don't know if you could go into any more detail, but its neat that you already made some desk cases for OEMs - especially NASA! What purposes were they built to serve? Space saving etc..? You mentioned they were kind of "boring" in design, but did they have any particularly notable features or functions? Given that someone was willing to commission them specifically, I expect they had to suit some need that wouldn't have been served as well by a stand-alone case.

I am sure you have quite a bit on your plate as it sounds the 2018 lineup/upgrades are impressive, but if you get a chance to play around with designing a next generation desk, I think there's an enthusiast market for them, especially if they could advance beyond even the best of today's offerings like the LianLi DK-05 and Hydra Desk in modular design, ergonomics, and functionality. If you need a tester don't hesitate to ask
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I'd also be interested if anyone on the forum has a desk case, either one of those I listed or another entry? What do you like about it and what do you dislike/would want to see improved? Those without a desk case but interested in the concept, what kinds of features would convince you to purchase one?
 
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