Building a wall computer

Written by Martijn Braam on 2016-11-21

A few months ago I got the idea to build a wall mounted art/computer thing after seeing a picture of someones watercooling setup mounted to a wall. As base for my build I used my office computer. It's a old MSI board (P55-GD65) with a first generation Intel Core i7 860. I've connected an SSD to it and it's as fast as the zenbook I use on the go. Fast enough.

The full specs.

  • Intel Core i7 860 @ 2.8 Ghz (4 cores with hyperthreading)
  • MSI P55-GD65 mainboard
  • 8GB DDR3
  • Nvidia GeForce 750 Ti
  • Crucial BX200 480GB SSD
  • Maple cutting board

The board preparation

I've found a (very) old cutting board at the attic from my parents. It's a very heavy maple cutting board that's never used because they've dropped it and the top three planks broke off.

I laid out the general layout of the parts on the board and drawed the required holes for the fires. I put the holes as much under the parts as possible and let the wires come from underneath the parts themselves.

After drilling the holes I sanded down the top to remove the big scratches and the markings I drew on. After drilling the holes I routed out a lot of spaces on the back for the cables. The boards are oiled with danish oil after that which hides the very small scratches left after sanding.

The next problem is figuring out how to actually mount the parts to the board. This is a long way of using the supplied screws to mount the parts in the housing following the ATX specifications.

The first part I mounted is the power supply. There are no screw holes on the side I wanted it mounted and it's not a great idea opening up the power supply and put conducting screws in it. The solution I settled on is using velcro to mount the it. This way I can completely hide the mounting and still have the power supply easily removable.

I've used some actual velcro® instead of the chinese knockoff stuff I normally use. My experience with the chinese stuff is that the glue on the back of the velcro stops working after a few days which is really bad in this situation since the power supply is mounted above the large cpu cooler. If it falls it wil probably snap the cpu part from the mainboard.

As a test I put the power supply on the board in roughly the right spot and had it hanging for a few days. The official velcro stuff doesn't seem to come of so I continued building the PC.

Putting it all together

After I confirmed the PSU won't drop I put the final build together. This was on a sunday which is was slightly problematic since I didn't have the correct spacers for the mainboard and no stores (nearby) were open.

The spacers I ended up using are some nuts that are sanded down to not short contacts underneath the mainboard.

The rest of the build is cable management and cutting cables. I didn't use a modular power supply since those aren't modular enough or have the wrong connectors on the wrong cables. I used a cheap power supply and just removed the connectors that aren't used. On the end of the two sata/molex power cables is an old molex connector (technically every connector on the power supply is a molex connector). Those aren't needed so I cut them off.

I also only needed only two sata power connectors so I removed the other connectors on the cable by simply snapping them off.

The last thing I removed is the GPU power connector since this is my office computer and I won't need a GPU that needs more than 75 watt to function.

That's about everything about the build. The storage drives are put on a spacer so they float above the cutting board so the cables can vanish underneath them. The drives are also mounted with velcro so they are easy to swap if needed.

The only thing that hasn't been done yet is installing the power button (the last hole left on the cutting board) and mounting the board on a wall.

I also want to move the GPU to the space to the side of the mainboard with a PCIe riser cable but for that I need a better and more expensive riser cable from molex (~$80) instead of the cheap ribbon cable from ebay that I tried it with.