Briefcase PC

Breifcase PC

I waited a while to post this article because I was trying to find the build-in-progress pictures. I finally found them, but unfortunately they don’t show as much as I’d like. Anyway,I built this briefcase PC a few years ago. A friend of mine had recently built one, but rather sloppily. I wanted to see how stylish I could build a breifcase PC. At the time, I had just upgraded / replaced my old desktop and was planning on making a secondary PC out of the left over parts. Instead I decided to use them for this project.

First I went to local thrift stores and found a nice Samsonite case. They don’t make ’em like this anymore, but this case is nice and sturdy. Next I measured everything and started building mount points for the PSU, DVD drive, and of course motherboard. I used some scrap foam board to make flaps to mount the hard drives, which secured them in nicely. This makes them easy to remove, and keeps them in place because (not shown) there’s a bit of material blocking them from swinging out on the bottom.

Hard drive mount points keep them snugly in place, while allowing easy access.

Hard drive mount points keep them snugly in place, while allowing easy access.

On the back of the case, I cut a large hole for hot-exhaust air. Not show: I eventually put a nice screen over it. Also on the back I added two sturdy metal coat-hanger hooks so the power cable could be tidied like a vacuum cleaner.

Back of the PC

The hot-air exhaust opening, (which I put a screen over later) and the cord-tidy like a vacuum cleaner can been seen on the back.

Next I got some foam board and cut a surface bonnet to hide the electronics. From a local electronics store I picked up a couple extra fans, some fan grills (with air filters!) and a nice giant red button for Power. For the fan grills, I put one over the CPU fan (which already have it’s own fan) In one way this is better than a traditional PC case because the CPU has direct access to cold air since this enclosure goes directly above the CPU fan. The other grill (the top one) I installed a fan beneath that blows directly on the GPU. This may have been unnecessary, but since this is a homemade case I didn’t want overheating issues. No heat issues so far, so it seems to be working just fine, albeit noisily. I also picked up a wireless keyboard and mouse combo that fit nicely inside the case when it’s closed.

The Top

The top foam-board bonnet, with two air-inlet grills, a giant red power button and a compact wireless keyboard and mouse.

I drilled a couple holes on either side of the case and hand made some custom bonnet pins to keep the top on when I don’t need to service the electronics:


Thse bonnet-pins will keep the top on securely.

Below you’ll see the GPU installation which was kind of tricky. First I had to goto a specialty part store to find a GPU riser-card. Riser cards are meant for servers which are typically very flat. They take a PCI-slot, rise it about an inch and turn it 90 degrees, so you can lay a GPU flat. This was necessary because the GPU would be too tall to fit in the case standing up-right.

Another problem, though, was there was no clearance for a full VGA cable to be plugged in. To fix this issue, I got three 90 degree right angle VGA adapters and put them together in series to create a 180 degree “u-turn” connector. This gave me plenty of room to plug in a VGA cable on top of the card.

GPU Installation

The GPU with it’s right-angle PCI riser card, 180 degree VGA adapter and additional FAN.


Below you’ll see the final interior build:


Final set up inside with the PSU, GPU, Mobo, Hardrives, DVD Burner all mounted and ready to go!

For the final touches, I bought a cheap 1080P monitor with a small bevel. it fit the case perfectly! Who knew they made suitcases in 16:9 aspect ratio?! I also found a cheap bluetooth speaker from a thrift shop to salvage the speakers for the top of the case.

So here it is, all done! The final monitor installed, the speakers on the bonnet installed, and everything cleaned up.

All Done!

Breifcase PC all done, with final monitor, speakers, and everything cleaned up!

July 5, 2014 at 11:08 pm | Other Projects


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