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A Real Tabletop PC 177

Xunker writes: "Sure, your modded case-with-window from ThinkGeek looks cool on your desktop, but it's nowhere near as cool as this case that turns your PC into your desktop. Drive bays, casters, fan ports and a glass top so you can see everything. With some uncontrolled overclocking you could probably use it to keep your tea warm, too."
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A Real Tabletop PC

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  • by DanCracker ( 245857 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @09:10AM (#2913033) Homepage
    I will not be impressed until I can fit a PC into my coffee mug. With overclocking, my java will never get cold.
    • Re:Coffee Mug Case (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @09:25AM (#2913083) Homepage
      No problem, they've fit pc's into coffemugs cince 1998.

      It's called the DIMM pc. from a company called emj [emjembedded.com] you can get a 386 or 486 monster, and I believe a 586 is right arount the corner.

      Hell with the dimm pc in the tiquit [go.com] format I can fit the pc, storage and power source in your coffee cup.
    • I was pretty impressed, but not because this is a revolutionary idea or something that's shocking really, but because I've been looking all over for something like this. I'd probably never really get one, I just always thought having your machine built into your desk would help cut down space.
    • Hmm. Use some of that fabric they use to make computerized clothes out of, and use it as a coffee cup cozy.

      I want to make a PC Case out of One of these [thinkgeek.com]
    • Yep, it fits. Given that the iPaq has a faster processor and more memory than the computer I owned previous to my current one, I'd say we're pretty much there. (Yes, my mug is large. Anyone with a small one isn't addicted to caffeine enough.)

      Now, anyone want a slightly damp, previously working iPaq? Going cheap!


  • by Steve Cox ( 207680 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @09:10AM (#2913038)
    Before I followed the link I thought - "Cool! What an ace idea!".

    The I followed the link. That is one ugly lump of metal.
    • Not only that, where's the monitor? Am I missing something? This thing should have a flat screen just under the glass, no? Maybe with a setup so the screen can be angled from 0 (flush with desk) to 90 (sticking straight up) degrees... ditto keyboard/mouse: where are they?

      That said, it's being billed primarily as a server, so these considerations are not exactly high on the list, I guess.
    • Plus...it's almost $500 + shipping from Japan. I think I could attach a 2U case onto the bottom of an Ikea table for far less than that (and it would look much cooler too).

      I bet we see a /. hack in a couple of weeks that is far cooler and much cheaper. Imagine if the cdrom was popped up through the table before ejecting. All the hookups (monitor, usb, sound etc) could be accessible through the table to keep things neat. Those of you with too much too much time/creativity...here's a challenge for you!
  • Nice bit of kit, just price tag... i dont think the common slashdotter will be able to afford this (i know i cant :()
    • Re:Fancy (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Nice bit of kit, just price tag... i dont think the common slashdotter will be able to afford this (i know i cant :()

      True, $450 is a lot for a case but it could be worse.

  • Tron 2002! (Score:3, Funny)

    by bdavenport ( 78697 ) <spam@sellthekids.com> on Monday January 28, 2002 @09:14AM (#2913049) Homepage
    jebus - now the MCP will become a reality. nice work guys....
  • I like how they aknowledge that it's not a novel idea ... but then push that they can do it with *quality*.
  • by TurboRoot ( 249163 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @09:16AM (#2913058)
    They ripped off my computer!

    My computer [theshop.net] has been my computer for the last 2 years. It is a pentium 233MMX with 64 megs of ram and 2 hard drives. It has a DSL "bridge" above it.

    It was built into my desk and has survived 2 moves and lasted a long time.
  • mirror of images (Score:5, Informative)

    by hitchhacker ( 122525 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @09:17AM (#2913059) Homepage
    here []

    and here []

    these are the largest images I could find...

  • by Monte ( 48723 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @09:17AM (#2913062)
    I'd be more interested in a case made out of that new-fangled transparent concrete. Granted that maintenance would be a bitch, but talk about uber-l33t!
  • by hughk ( 248126 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @09:18AM (#2913063) Journal
    Back when I first started learning computing we had access to an IBM 1130 at a local college. The main unit consisted of a selectric typrewriter built into a desk containing instead of a drawer unit a removable hard-disk and the processor/memory (a princely 16KB of memory.

    Of course, it didn't have the natty glass cover and its processing power was somewhat small compared to the average pocket calculator, but it was a desk. It was also IBM's first real foray into the world of the minicomputer where they were looking for a form that could even go into an office (with a/c of course). Of course, when you added a line printer and a card-reader, this rather defeated the object as they were each larger than the desk.

    I'm fairly certain that Digital also had some early systems in the desk type format.

  • Reminds me of these fancy japanese restaurants where they cook you meal ON you table :) Looks like having the news AND breakfast at the same time @ 2500MHz
  • About this? It has some geek potential, but to be using it as a server? I don't think many of us would be doing this. Perhaps nice to show off but that's about it.... Or at least not put it to serious use.

    Ah well... it does look nice...
  • by filtersweep ( 415712 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @09:24AM (#2913076) Homepage Journal
    but the case is the least of my concerns. Sure it it the ugliest part of a PC, but what about the monitor, and some sort of input like a keyboard? Cord management? I can always hid the case relatively easily. Let's see some monitor mods that aren't done with a shotgun.

    I like the opposite end of the spectrum and wish rackmount cases were cheaper! I'd put everything I own in racks if I could.
    • but the case is the least of my concerns. Sure it it the ugliest part of a PC, but what about the monitor, and some sort of input like a keyboard? Cord management? I can always hid the case relatively easily. Let's see some monitor mods that aren't done with a shotgun.

      To complete the picture, include all wireless periphials, keyboard, mouse, etc... that would eliminate some cordage.
    • Amen!

      Cord management on the PC and my audio set up is nightmare. Lets see some bluetooth implementations or something.
  • by Ukab the Great ( 87152 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @09:24AM (#2913078)
    If you made it a big bigger, painted it green and put a net in the middle, you'd never need Pong again.
    • Bah, no built-in joystick, can't install MAME and play Ms. Pac Man.

      OTOH, might be cool to set it up with "Tron" sounds (though the desk is still too small)

      "End of Line."
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This will never catch on. It's just another prototype which will die out. Computing is about portability from 2000 and on. It's not about modding your table for christ sakes.
    • Errr ... no.

      They've been selling that style "case" for over two years here in Japan. I can't see the one in the article, it's slashdotted, so I might be talking out of my butt, however I saw something like that at least two years ago in the T-zone. Sold for 100.000 at the time though ... WAY to rich for my blood.
  • I hope that no coffee can be spilt there! I can't see the amount of overhang from the picture, but if it doesn't, the first spill could be the motherboard's last!!!!
  • Construction tips... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LeftHanded ( 160472 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @09:32AM (#2913104) Homepage Journal
    This is an interesting case, but it wouldn't be difficult to recreate it. Start off with an industrial strength work table. Add some high quality casters so you can move it around. Glass table tops can be obtained from a craft store like Michael's [michaels.com] or a place that sells custom cut glass. Plexiglass would also work, and has the advantage of being lighter. The keyboard tray is also easy; Home Depot [homedepot.com]/Lowe's [lowes.com]/your hometown hardware [heavener.com] sells the mechanisms for that. PC Mod [pcmods.com] sites can get you the fans, motherboard offsets, and suchlike (or simply buy a cheap case and raid it for parts). This goes for drive bays and such as well; many cases these days come with a cage for several drives. Et voila! Fit, assemble, and you've got it. You get the joy of construction, and save money too.
    • You could skip a CRT and head straight to flatpanel to save some of that precious desktop space.

      Add a few carefully chosen items with the money you saved in making your own desk, like a translucent USB hub or a set of Harman/Kardon Champagne speakers (save even more space, only 3.5" squared), and you'll be ready for the next SciFi Channel Original casting call.

      The only real problem I could forsee with this desk would be trying to use an optical mouse with it.
    • Random thoughts... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by s390 ( 33540 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @10:20AM (#2913268) Homepage
      about such tablecase system design, esthetics, usefulness, and construction:

      The example at hand appears, um... less than sturdy. The top appears to be a U-shaped frame with the "bottom" of the U at the back of the desk. The legs must be welded to this U-frame (it would be downright flimsy if they were just bolted somehow). I'd like to see some spreader beams just above the casters, plus some braces or cabled braces tensioned with turnbuckles. A hefty spreader beam at the front below the system case would help keep structural alignment too. Sturdy is good, in an office space.

      Second, the airflow doesn't look well thought out. The disk drives appear to be mounted against the front sill of the system case with no air inlet. You won't get away with mounting several high-rev SCSI disks in there without risking overheating and shortened MTBF. The fans don't look up to cooling anything hotter than a Celeron or Duron.

      Where are the AGP and PCI cards? The system case doesn't look tall enough to hold either. Is the case designed for onboard graphics, sound, NIC, and modem mainboards? Well, that's rather, er... limiting. This thing looks like something you'd give a teenage kid - a cool-looking desk PC with low-end components for AOL, IM, CDs, and MP3s.

      However, the concept of computer systems integrated into furniture, for home or office, is... intriguing. Herman Miller (modular cubicles) should jump all over this idea. Look for end-tables with multimedia digital-convergence PC-based systems hidden under their tops, tucked behind clean looking woodwork, plastic, or metal structures.
    • by 87C751 ( 205250 )
      Glass table tops can be obtained from a craft store [...] Plexiglass would also work, and has the advantage of being lighter.
      I'd probably use polycarbonate (Lexan [polymerplastics.com]) instead. Acrylic (Plexiglas) tends to scratch easily, where polycarbonate holds up a lot better under abrasion. That's why machine guards are more often made from PC than acrylic.
  • ...The old 'Cocktail' cabinet style video games they used to have.....If a flat, wide, LCD or gas Plasma screen (for people with $$$), was laied on top, now that would be a great system to play the 'ol Packman on!
  • by Zillatron ( 415756 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @09:34AM (#2913111)
    Would it keep cool if serveral fans blew in and there were many small holes in the top? If so just a few mods and it could be really entertaining. [airhockeystore.com]

  • video games in the 80's used to come in table versions too

    we had a table version of Missile Command in our pub.

    was great. I used to get the piezo sparker and clock credits up on it and play all day

    (the machine was provided by a video game rental company and we didn't have the keys)
  • Waterproof? (Score:1, Funny)

    by lexcyber ( 133454 )
    Is the table waterproof? And is there any fish that
    survive in mineral oil? - In that case you can
    make a pretty cool aqarium.

  • This [planet.nl] is still the most creative use of a computer case that I've seen. Mmmmmm.... beer.
  • great... (Score:3, Funny)

    by sluggie ( 85265 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @09:50AM (#2913166)
    but how do i take it to lanparties? ;)
  • Besides the fact that I don't find it aesthetically pleasing whatsoever, it's just not big enough for me.
    The only monitors I use are at least 21". Combine the desk space taken up by the average 21" crt, add in a keyboard, mouse, speakers, microphone, phone, and you are well out of desk real estate. The novelty of having a glass top quickly disappears when you realize that you'll be covering the entire thing with other devices.

    Instead, I use a Jerker-series workstation desk from Ikea. The tabletop is big enough and strong enough to hold 2 21" Sun monitors (each almost 90lbs), 2 keyboards & mice, router, stereo receiver, plus it has a nice overhead shelf that I have speakers mounted from, and side shelves that hold my printer, phone, scanner, and CD/DVD players. Its not too bad looking, and it has space for everything I need, which is much more important to me than anything else.
  • I've always wanted to buy a black leather recliner, gut some of it and turn it into a computer case. Have a lcd screen on a swivel that can be stored in the arms (like some trays on air planes). Just kick back and surf,game whatever.
  • Great. I mod, there for I buy ThinkGeek.

    And I'm supposed to envy this desk over my home-modded mid-tower? *cough*

    There's a slight difference here. I can fit a full sized computer into mine just fine, not with just a limited selection of components. Not to mention I can also fit two 19" Sony CPD-G400's on my desk to boot!

    Not to mention the looks, thanks who ever mirrored those two (forgot your name already :-\) On one hand I've got, good looking window that's suited to my tastes (I chose a Biohazard symbol) OR I can buy there desk and have.. uhmm.. four posts and a plastic top.

    And, to top it all off, I modded my computer my self. Saved a bundle and turned out how I wanted. None of this Pcmods, thinkgeek, etc. pre-modded crap (I won't even mention the 3d people, they suck)
  • In one of my grandpa's Popular Science magazines (when they were still readable, but already going down hill - mid 60s I guess) Some engineering talking to the press "After we designed the comptuer we went right to work on a desktop model." Of course in those days comptuers were big things, 6 feet high, 4 fett wide, and 3 feet deep - about the size of a desk except for height. So the first picture is a computer like that, and the second is the same computer, but sitting on a desk (and taking up all the room so the desk is useless)

  • Does anyone else think this computer is eminently steal-able? Just put a cloth over the top and take it for a walk.
  • Now you need an even bigger table to hide this thing under!!

    I could see applications for this, but certainly not for the home or office. And the only way I could see using it is if you put a nice large flat panel display UNDER the glass to make a work table on which you could display blueprints, plans, maps, and the like.

    The frame maybe wonderfully strong, but I think you could make something yourself that would look much more appealing. Say a nice wooden desk maybe?
  • Yeah, but does it come with a free Apple iAnglePoiseLamp?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    here at my work (a large prepress shop) we have alot of older but really expensive print-industry computing equipment. Among loads of SGI and other more crusty stuff, we have a desk with a drawing tablet built into it. The top is completely smooth, and the only way you can tell where the drawing area is, is by small hash marks in the corners of the rather large square patch. Too bad it doesn't interface to any current standard, but cool none the less.
  • Really,

    I have been toying with the idea of REAL fish in my computer , OR submersing my whloe computer in a fish tank and filling it with water (Well and old computer not my ceuurent beastie)

    DeIonized water carries no current, SO throw it in a tank , fill, and evacuate (i have a nice vacume pump) to keep oxidation from ovvuring thus ioizing the water and zapping everything to hell.

    I know its out there but damm I wanna try, I have also thought of a pseudo variant where I take some of the crystal clear shrink film we use here and "coating" the MB an chips, silicone around the edge to make it appear it is in the water (but actually dry).

    NOW to the fish, Well Im assuming it will, with dissabation carry a temp of around 90-90 degrees, any suggestions on FISH ? Does all the em drive em batty ?

    Any suggestions tips etc, I AM going to try this, how much of a success is another story, I am concerned about the first method leaching toxins into the water, If the fish live more than 3 days Ill be happy , I want to use this at a trade show, Or has it been done ?
    • Well assuming you plan to feed your fish, I would imagine that the water would eventually contain enough salts and other byproducts (from feeding the fish) that it would be come conductive. Unhealthy for the computer...Unhealthy for the fish!
    • Fish need oxygen. That's why most tanks have the little bubble things. If you want to keep the water ion-free, you'd better grow some anaerobic bacteria or something. Though those might not be as impressive at trade shows. ;)
    • by torpor ( 458 ) <ibisum@gm a i l . com> on Monday January 28, 2002 @11:04AM (#2913440) Homepage Journal
      In ionized water, the fish will die in about 5 minutes.

      If they don't, they'll take a shit, and that'll dilute, and your boards will instantly short.

      You'd be better off just doing creative glass work - put the board and all behind the aquarium, fish in front. Clean the glass really well so that you can't even see it through the water.
    • Who says you REALLY have to have an operating PC in the tank. Put already dead components into the tank and "say" that they're really functioning. Then, put the real components somewhere where they really wont get fried by water. :-D
      • This is a better idea (as if this were a good idea to begin with), however, you need to really go for the "it's really working" look. Try running the power and hdd LED leads into the tank (under the gravel) and into the submersed case. Try to keep the case as minimal as possible, preferably ALL plastic. There is all kinds of stuff in a computer that is toxic to fish (lube in CDROM, thermal grease, capacitors, rust, dust, etc.) You CANNOT put copper in the water. So, really, don't put a working computer in a stocked aquarium, that's animal cruelty.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Already did this, and applied for the patent. I'll put pictures up on the net shortly. You can't use di water because the metals on the pc board contaminate it and everything shorts out in about a week or so.

      You must use oil. I'm using a high grade mineral oil. For fish, I'm using those magnetic fish that come in the dytoy awaworld tank. To get them to move, you just stick electro magnets in key locations around the tank. The electro magnets are then connected to solid state relays and a micro controller which is interfaced with the USB. The key is the software to trip the electro magnets so that you get the most realistic fish movement possible.

      The cooling is rather fun as well, I'm using a standard motorcycle oil cooler and pump. Everything is sealed in plexy to eliminate contamination. For added effect, the hard-drive is mounted in a gyro type cage. So, as the hd spins it acts a bit like a gyro; a rather cool effect I must say.
    • Maybe this guy in Austrailia will help you make that computer fish tank [adelaide.net.au]. Check out the close [adelaide.net.au] ups [adelaide.net.au].
  • Lego? (Score:2, Funny)

    by sunhou ( 238795 )
    The site is slashdotted so I can't see it. Is it made of transparent concrete Lego blocks, which are able to "trap light" and release it again, and when you look at it from just the right angle, you can see a picture of Calista Flockhart with a cartoon "speaking bubble" containing DeCSS?
  • ... was not even a desk at all. It was some kind of frame that you sat "in", with footrests, and most of the computer components suspended on small platforms. Looked like a jungle gym at a kids playground, but seemed very workable. I think I saw it on discovery channel, and supposedly the mfr. was selling it for around $2-300. Of course, since then, I've been unable to locate one.
    • I read an article about this thing in some trade magazine. Interestingly, it was developed by the same guy who thought up the cubicle, and it was intended to replace the cube - I mean, who needs a 6x8 cube, when you you just roll in huge rows of these things, which I believe took up about half the space.
  • Google cached the site here: Google Cache of the site [google.com]
  • While this thing is rather ugly, it's inspired me to go out and get one of those old cocktail game tables (e.g. Ms. Pac Man), gut it, and mount the board in there somewhere, under the monitor.

    Using a joystick to bang out code might get tiresome, though.......

    - DDT
  • Nice try but.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Andrewkov ( 140579 )
    What is the point of this? Why not just bolt your case to the bottom of any metal table? I really don't see the point of having a glass top so you can see the mobo, if there was a screen under neath, I could see it, but those kinds of desks have been around a while (usually used for kiosks).
    • More to the point, why do we need the table at all?

      Here's my idea: take your favorite swivel chair, and mount your computer underneath the seat, preferably behind the post so that you still have legroom. Add an LCD monitor, a keyboard and a trackball and you're good to go. The power cable might be a problem, but it's still pretty mobile.

  • I couldn't get through, so I wasn't able to read the site, but I did check out the mirrored pics. As everyone has been saying, that's one ugly desk, but still...

    I can't shake the feeling there's more to it. Did the site have any intended purposes? It looks like it belongs in a prototyping workshop. You know, get the PC out of the way so you have room for more PALs and ROMs. There's no way in hell I'd put that thing in my room, but I might put it in the EE labs around campus. It would make it harder to steal the computers too.
  • To bad its been slashdotted, I'd have liked to seen it.

    I had the idea, many years ago, that an "in the desk " PC would be a great idea for the education market. Where's a VC when you need them?
  • I can picture it now. Just unplug Internet- and the Power-Connection and you are ready roll the whole thing to the next LAN-Party.

  • That's nice if you're going for a modern look, but then again so is this [rr.com].
  • Well, technically its not really a "tabletop". More aptly, it should be called a "table-in".
  • This is cool but it must be an ergonomic nightmare!
  • Next step would be the computer so seamlessly integrated into the desktop that you don't even realize its there, unless you need it. I'm thinking touch sensitive membrane keyboard built right into the desk. An LCD monitor you have to fold up to see, otherwise its flush with the desk. CD and floppy drives encased behind hidden panels in the front of the desk. A designated surface of the desk would be the touchpad.

    It could work. I would never use it. But it would be ideal when the computer gets in the way and you need more physical desk space to work with.

  • Otherwise, with the EMF radiation so close to Big Jim and the Twins, I could be creating some really interesting genetic mutations in future offspring.
  • I've always wanted Dillinger's desk from TRON.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.