Briefcase PC

Hello there thanks for taking a interest. so as the title says i want to build a briefcase PC but I am a bit concerned about thermals in a small case.

the reason I want a briefcase is more power to do stuff and be able to move it easy, I have a laptop fore the lighter stuff.

Specs [planed]

  • Distro Arch

  • Micro ITX

  • Ryzen 3700x

  • RX 5700xt

  • ram around 16 to 64 gb

  • PSU over 600w

  • M.2 1TB

*Inside 440×310×130mm
*outside 470×355×150mm

The internal design.

the top lid is going to have a screen attached to it. would it be possible to have the screen be powered by the psu?

over the other part of the case there is going to be a plate to close of the motherboard and gpu so i can place a keyboard and mouse over it.

was planing of having a left and right output for the air creating a negative pressure in the case. no fans for the input air just holes for the air to come in.

one thing i want to be able to do is to close the case and still run the computer.

so my questions is.

  • is there fans that can create a high enough negative pressure?
  • can the psu power the screen?
  • is there any way to solve the thermals? (without crazy stuff)
  • can i passively cool the motherboard removing the fan on the board?(not the cpu)

thanks for any replies ^^


Unlikely with that CPU/GPU combo the mod alone would use a decent amount of power mainly in losess and fluctuations and distance of cable etc…

I would cautiously run what you want but keep a very up to date kernel (hence why I use fedora)… Like say kernel 5.1.16+ would be good :slight_smile:

Maybe the PSU can work it really depends on the wattage and whether or not you have multiple rails. I just dont think that kind of modification is a good idea.

What you could do is mount the PSU for the monitor inside the briefcase somewhere… and have the wires come in and out… in an organized manner

I would strongly advise against this. Though you state mini ITX not sure if there will be a fan? However the power requirements and heat output of the PCH for PCIE 4.0 has risen… Solving thermals I would definitely say liquid cooling is the best route … like an AIO with a thick radiator… and maybe have two. One for the GPU and one for the CPU not sure if there are kits to do it with a GPU yet… but then mount the rads side by side and exhaust out

Possible yes.
Good solution no. There are ways but as heim said it has its own issues if you live in a military area you might be able to grab a gaems case for cheap basically a portable console (itx PC) play area with screen and they are air travel cleared cause military aimed product. They have nice solutions for this particular idea. Dunno if that info was helpful but a good place to look into screens, if you aren’t chopping up a monitor.

What is your budget, this is not something you buy one piece at a time

Sure, the panel is powered by 5V and the backlight depends if it’s LED or CCFL on what the input voltage is, but point is that if you’re up to it you can strip away the monitors integrated power converter and power the panel directly by your PSU.

I was in the making of a similar project but had to bail the build due to some life reasons, and ended up selling the components… :sweat_smile:

As for cooling I think it’s easiest solution is to just have fans blow air in from one side, and out from the other.
Also get a PCIe cable for your GPU so you can lay it flat somewhere.

There are lots of USB powered monitors available these days, so you don’t even need to mess with the PSU if you don’t want to. I am using a cheap one with my PC-in-a-box at the moment, there are far better ones available too.

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Knew there was a simular thread
Sometimes having someone else who did simular can help you avoid any unforseen pitfalls

There used to be PSU’s with a monitor power connector but that was back when I spent more time at computer stores


Thanks for all the replies and support! ^^

I am currently a programmer student and I want something that will look good and be powerfull (don’t like rgb, do not hate me plzz).

the buget is around maybe 1.0 to 1.5k usd. the case is around 30~40 bucks (3.950yen).

i want air cooling beacuse its lighter then watter cooling.

I am currently in tokyo so was going to go to akihabra and look for some cheap parts like psu, screen, keyboard mouse and other things(living in japan tight now).

Again thanks for all the relpies! ^^


Are you an American studying in Japan? If so, that’s pretty cool.

When I did this a couple years ago I ended up grabbing a monitor with a standard atx power supply plug and then bought one of these cable to power both. That could be an option to look into. Good luck on your project! p0060062-other01-l


A complete desktop monitor will have a lot of extra bulk vs a replacement monitor/laptop panel. I have a similar box that I put a PC in ages ago when flat panels and LED monitors weren’t a thing. I got my hands on a 19" 16x9 desktop monitor recently and it’s still too big. I could however mount it on the outside and use laptop hinges. Open the case to pull out the keyboard and mouse, close case, lift lid on top like a laptop. It would take a lot of custom work to make that look good and durable for transport.

Also a quick note - it is my understanding that the number one cause of PSU failure is shipping. Large capacitors and inductors pulling a couple G’s one way and then the other can break them free from circuit boards.

You can find display driver boards for screen panels that run off 12V which can be supplied by a PSU. An LED panel in the 19" and under range likely won’t draw more than ~18 watts (1.5 amps on 12V rail). If they sell panels like those in Akihabara then bring a tape measure and see what they have that fits. Find some model numbers and look them up online at ebay, aliexpress, or wherever and make sure you can find a display driver board.

It can be hit or miss though, as I bought one for a screen I had to make it run off of 12V and it would never control the display. The original 120v one worked and I didn’t want to hack it apart. Lots of successful YouTube videos on it from people like DIY perks. Not so many fail videos.

I love these kinds of projects, but making them is a labor of love. If you don’t really enjoy DIY stuff and don’t have much experience then dumping that much money into a failed project will thoroughly sour you against future DIY stuff. You may be better off finding someone throwing away a PC and hacking that thing to bits as a practice run so you can make cheaper mistakes and not have an expensive paperweight.

@Goalkeeper I am swedish =P

@KleerKut i was thinking on offcusing on the case first with screen, air flow and the inside layout before buying parts. i have a gpu laying around a 960 g1 fans 3x so if this fits anything will. after i have done the case i will order the parts so if there is anyrhing new i can get that instead =P

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My own “briefcase” build thread

2 fans (maybe at an angle) should be plenty to keep it cool. It depends on how you lay out your vents (and sizes) though.
In terms of air pressure in computer cooling applications, “pressure” is relative. Any fan will do.

The fans on the boards are mostly to keep the “chop saw cuts in aluminium” and “co-designed by fisherprice”-look.
Get a heatsink that is rated near the requiered heat load and use some proper heatsink compound and care to mount it to the chipset.
Fischer ICK PPC51 could work

Hiding a powerbrick somewhere is not too hard. Getting rid of the bulk of a “normal” monitor is though.

Adafruit has this:
Wich needs this driver to form a nearly 10" screen. Not sure if that would work for you.