Build Log! Build Log! Build Log! Build Log!So, last time I was spending much time here I had teased about another crazy idea for a build that got put off again and again and again. Well, it's still being put off but the idea has evolved and I figured I'd go ahead and put it down "on paper" for some feedback.
Laptops are great for using anywhere but they're under-powered, more expensive, and not really upgrade-able. Desktops are just about anything you want them to be, but you're stuck to using them in only one place... at your "desk." My goal with my last build was to make something as good (and cheap) as a desktop, but more portable. The result was very good and my kids love it, but it is still quite heavy, and just a BIT cumbersome to move from room to room or take along with you.
My goal still is something nearly as practical as a laptop, but using somewhat normal (translation: way more powerful and cheaper) components. I have ended up referring to it as a "Tabletop." You still have to plug it in the wall (no battery pack) but it does nearly everything else like a laptop, except fit in your lap.
I originally planned on using a custom built enclosure with a Thin-Mini-ITX MoBo and some creative modifications to an array of Pico-PSUs and a couple of "modded" power bricks. However, with the trend in newer hardware being towards lower wattage, it's suddenly feasible to build a pretty powerful computer (compared to a laptop) by using a single traditional PSU that's not TOO big.
My wife will probably be the next one in the house to have a new computer and she has been using the same big screen Toshiba laptop for years. With her, the bigger the screen the better, so that gave me the thought. A 1U (x11") server chassis is just about the size of a 21" inch (16:9) screen. I think you know where I'm going with this. There are decently reliable 1U Flex-ATX PSUs available with ratings of 350W (and even some 500W out there). Now that doesn't sound like much, traditionally, but with this generation of low-wattage components it's a game changer. With current CPUs in the 35-65W range and a GTX 1050 Ti at only 75W, 350W seems like plenty to work with and 500W even better!
So, once I have the means (money) I'm going to be starting to experiment by getting an old server blade, screen, and fabricating some hinges, etc. Stay tuned.