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Building a mobile desktop

Last response: in Systems
April 10, 2012 3:33:03 PM

Hello, I am an 18 year old American with a bit of a problem. I am attending university out of the country in the EU. My father said he would pay for a laptop for me, but only something very cheap - around 400 dollars. However, I already own an Asus Transformer, which in all honesty will accomplish nearly the same thing for my studies (taking notes in class, browsing websites, etc.) as a new laptop. He said he would not allow me to pay more for a more powerful laptop. My solution is to instead build myself a cheap, portable desktop with the capability to play games. I would bring it in my carry-on on the plane, and I already have a monitor in my destination which will work very well. I own a Radeon 5670 GPU which is in my current desktop that I could just put in my "portable desktop". I was wondering if this was a feasible idea for those of you experienced builders. I plan on using a slim-tower with a micro-ATX motherboard. If there are any slim-tower cases which support full ATX motherboards, then I would not even need to buy a new processor and motherboard,as I could just transfer my computer into a smaller package.

Basically my questions are: Does anyone have experience attempting something like this, and is it feasible? What Processor/motherboard would be the best if I were to buy a new micro-ATX setup? Most importantly, what cases will be able to fill my requirements? I haven't had much success locating such a specific type of case.

Thanks for your help!
a b B Homebuilt system
April 10, 2012 4:11:05 PM

I agree with above poster, a carry on might be a bit of a stretch. I think we could build you a compact microATX system without a problem. It's the carry on part that's difficult.

I again second the above poster on the NZXT Vulcan. It's an excellent case. The 5670 is a semi-capable GPU still, I think we can use it.

What are your system specs? You might be able to carry everything over asides from a new case and motherboard.
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April 10, 2012 7:04:31 PM

I am fairly certain there is no problem with carrying on a desktop computer. You are allowed to keep one in a check-bag, and if it fits in your carry on there is no reason why they'd refuse you.

While I appreciate the help, the case you linked to is hardly any smaller than my current case. When I said "slim tower" I meant the slim-case form factor, which is similar to the Dell Inspirion 620S desktop series. The NZXT is 7 inches thick, and I was looking for something around 4. I am not looking for an amazing desktop, as my current computer has an Athlon X2 processor, 6 GB DDR2 RAM, etc. That is absolutely fine for my needs.

However, my computer has an ATX motherboard and I suspect that the slim case I am thinking of will likely only support micro-ATX. I do not know if this is possible, but a motherboard with enough room for 2 PCI-e slots so I can crossfire my 5670 would be awesome, though not required.

a b B Homebuilt system
April 10, 2012 8:10:15 PM

It's 7 inches because that's the ATX spec. To fit a standard size PSU in there, you need a case that conforms to ATX spec.

Here's the bad news about mini towers like those. They often come with crap power supplies. Granted not all of them do but alot do.

Here's a quite skinny case that comes with an okay PSU: Definitely enough for a 5670. Not sure about two, though.

Here's another, more expensive type: that quality PSU could do 5670 CFX for sure. You'd just need half-height ones.
April 10, 2012 9:14:27 PM

The first one you linked still feels a tad bit wide, but the second one is very intriguing. I will definitely keep that under consideration because it seems to be exactly what I'd want.

However, while Googling around I found this:

Would this case be able to fit my needs? Would you trust the PSU?