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Thread: Caseless PC?

  1. #1

    Question Caseless PC?

    Oh, glory I have a problem I bet you guys would love! My wife is telling me I HAVE to get this new computer ordered up. So I either order a god machine from someone (who?) or I build it myself (how?). This isn't my first post here about it, but i really have to get moving. Problem is, I have a space in my desk that is supposed to be for a case, it's 18" H x 11-3/4" W x 17" D and is vented. I can't seem to find a case to go in these, so what about a caseless PC? Anybody ever tried that before? Any thoughts?

    I won't even go into my dilemma picking components, it's been years (2002) since I built my current rig and soi much has changed. I did read someone's hardware list here (Don's?), I'll probably go with something like that, but what do y'all think about going caseless?

  2. Default

    just my opinion but if im not mistaken i think the board is grounded by the case so i dont think it would work


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1999
    Warren, Michigan, USA

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Bristol, uk.


    I've run PCs without cases temporarily with no problems. In fact when building a new system, I do this quite often to test all the components before I screw the whole thing together. Never run one that way for too long though due to the risk of electrocution, inquisitive children, pets, etc.

    Q9550 @ 3.78 GHz with Gainward GTX570 1.25 Gig DRAM
    4 Gig DDR2 RAM - Windows 7 64 Bit
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  5. #5


    Yeah caseless isn't a good idea, you run the risk of physically damaging the components, and there won't be any flow of air moving over components that don't have a fan on them, which will at the very least shorten their lifespan. I'm pretty sure you will be able to find a micro-ATX case that fits the bill, plenty of them support full-length graphics cards these days, so you shouldn't be limiting your choice of parts too much. Just off the top of my head I'd say take a look at the Silverstone SG-series of SFF cases and see what you think.


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  6. #6


    Thanks, all. If I went that route, the components wouldn't be completely unprotected, it'd be like mounting one inside a kitchen cabinet. Open the cabinet, there's all the pieces, afixed somehow (not just laying there, I've tested that way too). I probably should have mentioned that I'm a mechanical engineer and so I could handle the ventilation issues, but it is an unconventional route to travel. & thanks for "shopping" for me Jim, I was on the 'egg myself prior to posting. I was afraid if I went micro-ATX that I'd have to sacrifice performance.; all the m/b's that are for big-time gamers seem to be full size... I just can't keep up with it all.

    I'd have to be careful, too, in putting a case in this under desk cabinet space, I didn't starve it's air supply. That's really where this idea was born; there are vent openings in the cabinet just for this purpose, and I thought, "If I mount fans to pull air in, why add the restriction of a case?" The processor and graphics cards would have their own dedicated cooling, etc...

    But spec'ing a new machine is tough anymore. It's agreat help coming here, but all in all, either I'm getting old and grumpy, or there are just too many factors involved, or shopping components on the 'net really is as big a pain as it seems.

    Thanks again,

    Last edited by FS_Talking_Tom; 07-24-2011 at 01:18 PM. Reason: can't type, too wordy

  7. #7


    You're a mechanical engineer? Ground your cupboard as needed and have at it. Be warned that your power supply (PSU), and bottom of the motherboard can get hot. You want positive pressure airflow OUT, this keeps the dust down inside. You want plenty of airflow regardless. Critters like easy access to warm places so plan accordingly if critters are a problem at your local.

    I would get a case with a removable motherboard tray of the appropriate dimensions/class (ATX/mATX/etc.) and mount my motherboard on the tray and mount that on the inside of your cabinet. You wouldn't want to screw the motherboard onto the wood directly because wood flexes and moves with the seasons, don't need to crack your motherboard.

    Good luck and post a pic when your done.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1999
    Warren, Michigan, USA


    Or you could forget about using that cabinet all together and then use a normal tower and put it next to the desk or under the desk.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Imlay City, Michigan


    I have an old case that was stripped of all it's covers and panels that I use for testing components. It has worked flawlessly for that purpose.
    The 1200w test PSU sits along side of it and has a jumper wire with eyelets screwed to it and the frame for grounding.
    I built a system a few years back that was invisibly integrated into a roll top desk, complete with a slot load CD/DVD drive in the valence.
    I'd say you are only limited by your imagination...Don
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  10. #10


    Well, thanks again gents! I don't want to over-estimate my abilities, but at least I have a reasonable idea of how to work with ventilation. The big deal is making sure I have good temperature info from all components. Jim, I've had my current system unit beside my desk all these years and that has to change according to SWMBO! But that first case you selected up there is likely going to be part of the solution, if not the whole thing - it will fit.

    I'm also going for quiet (Don, you've passed along a few links before in that regard, thanks again) and then as you say, positive pressure to keep the dust out.. It's a lot of thinking. (BROWSER CRASH!). Have you ever seen anyone do a dust filter on their inlet? And isn't there a temperature monitoring program out there that checks a lot of components besides the processor/on board graphics?

    Oh, and I'm limited by my imagination... and TIME!

    Thanks again,

    Last edited by FS_Talking_Tom; 07-25-2011 at 11:50 AM. Reason: browser crash, wasn't quite done yet...

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