Computer case question

Every few years or so I like to build me an awesome PC to do word processing and surf message boards. I’ve always put it in a computer case. I know the FCC requires manufacturers to put their computers in a case, but what will happen if I don’t put my computer in a case, but rather just put them in open air on metal shelving? Easier to cool and clean for dust. Will it interfere with my cell phone? Other drawbacks?

You’ll drop something metallic (like a paperclip) on the motherboard and fry it.
Also, how do you plan on keeping everything from sliding around? I doubt that you will have any significant interference issues (the frequencies are all too high), but I don’t think it’s a great idea.

It may not cool properly with nothing to direct the airflow. Most devices won’t have a problem because they have their own shielding, but anything that has to receive radio frequencies might have a problem. Radios and TVs receiving broadcast signals are most likely to pick up interference. If you spill your drink on it you’ll need a new computer.

you may have interference to radio, tv and audio devices that you plan to use in the room.

I did this once when I was poor. Like, components I found on the side of the road poor. Instead of standoffs I just piled everything on some phone books and suspended a fan from the ceiling above the heatsink. It absolutely sucked having to hold the mobo down to plug things in (this was pre-USB, but I can only imagine it’s even worse now) and as stated upthread eventually something will short out.

Cooling might actually be worse on account of the lack of a steady stream of air traversing the case, but I’ll leave that to somebody who knows what they’re talking about. Trust me, the novelty will wear off quick.

Have you considered mounting everything to a board, at least? That way you could pick it up and move it.

You’re not going to have interference issues. If the case was necessary to provide significant RF shielding, they wouldn’t sell cases that are more hole and window than metal.

The biggest worry with not having a case is dropping or spilling something conductive on the computer, as the above posters have said.

There are some beautiful wall-mounted builds out there (example).
Also, Antec makes (or used to make) the Skeletonseries, which is kind of close.

Why don’t you mount it to the ceiling instead? No risk of spilling anything on it.

Mount it on the wall

ETA: Damn…spent too much time drooling

Great ideas!

Once upon a time, I built a computer for a friend. It was a S-100 Super Six (6MHz) Z80 single-board computer with 64K of RAM (the max possible). We hung it on a hook on his wall, attached a S-100 connector to it, and soldered the necessary pins to a 5/12v power supply, which sat on his desk, unenclosed.

It worked fine, and was cheap.

My four current computers have no case, or a case without a top. They work fine, too. Cases are a pain – you can’t add or subtract stuff, so I never enclose 'em. Without an enclosure, ventilation is simple, and no extra fans are needed. Cover them, and you need to force some air through or they burn up.

Been there, done that.

I built 3 puters on the wall in 2009 -2010. 2 Win boxes & 1 Linux box.

Changed them a bit over time but they worked fine until we moved.

Best cooling for HD’s was a fan using rubber bands right below each hard drive. See in pictures. I mounted them that way to keep any vibrations from the drive.

I am always messing with my computers and this got it off the desk, so cat hair cleaning was easier and they would not bother them. Made changing stuff a whole lot easier.

Anywho, never had a computer mess with a TV or stereo. or vice / versa…

I now use SShd’s and cooling is not a problem.
Pictures at the link.

How awesome of a computer do you need to do word processing and surf message boards? Why not have some fun. Here’s someone who built a “Windows XP Box” in a Windows XP box.

I’ve also done Folding@home for at least a decade. Nice to have some real power in the background to keep me in the top 2 percent.

Musicat. CP/M, yes?

Of course! Bring back mono!

You had mono? I’m envious. Back in the day it was master-slave flip-flops and post-mortem dumps. Today its all about “Selfies” and “Likes”. Freaking user base went limp. They deserve to get viruses.

That looks like an excellent way to kill the cat.

I had several open frame computers in ye olde days. Usually I’d put something on top to provide minimal cover. If they boards in slots I’d put a boxer fan directing air onto the boards if they ran hot. The cooling requirements depend on the component density, both internally in the component or externally on the board. If a single component like the CPU was running hot I’d put a makeshift heat sink on it, sometimes a bent piece of thin aluminum stuck to the chip with some heat sink grease.

Here’s a picture of Roger Amidon’s Spider computer. He showed me some pieces of it later on. I don’t recall him mentioning any cooling problems.

No doubt he knew what every cable was plugged into. I’m serious. :slight_smile: