I’m a startup founder and my industry is infamous for overtime work and high financial risks. Hence, I’m overwork and underpay but luckily I’ve saved enough money to sustain a decent living in Singapore. And no, there is no man behind supporting my lifestyle, I have skills and I utilize them to sustain myself. When I am not working, I trade in the stock market and/or build a computer briefcase then finally write technical articles about them.
I always believe that if you want to be a great technopreneur, not only that you are required to have a set of technical skills but also you must know how to prioritize your tasks and responsibilities. As an experienced technopreneur, I learned to drop down distractions and I stay focused on success-oriented things.
When the lockdown was announced in Singapore, I wasn’t worried that I will get bored at home. I grew up at a boarding school away from my family and hence, I learned how to be creative when I am alone. I don’t feel lonely or needy, but I find it as an opportunity to utilize my time and skills to build something useful.
Here I am sharing with you how I built my third briefcase pc (pink version for gaming).
Materials to use to build a briefcase pc:
- Balsa wood
- 3” screen monitor
- AMD RYZEN 5 3500X 3.6GHZ
- 35MB AMD CPU (6C/6T)
- GIGABYTE B550 AORUS PRO A
- WIFI AM4 ATX DDR4
- CORSAIR VENGEANCE LPX3600416GB (2X8GB) KIT CL18 DDR4 (RYZEN)
- ADATA XPG SX8200 2TB PRO
- 2 PCIE NVME SSD
- THERMAL TAKE TOUGHPOWER
- GRAND RGB 650W 80+ GOLD FM (10 YEARS)
- MICROSOFT WINDOWS 10 PRO
- OEM 65BIT
- MSI RADEON RX 5600XT MECH
- 0C 6GB GDD56 PCI-E (4.0)
GIRLY GIRL AND TECHY HACKERISH.
These are high-end gears and components. When I say, “high-end” it doesn’t mean it is expensive but the specifications are good and relevant for gaming. It also means the GPU is high and can process a lot of video games which can help you speed up your game to the next level.
I bought the motherboard, graphics card, processor, power supply, and heat fans.
Step 1: Purchase a briefcase
I was thinking to buy a pink makeup briefcase however, most makeup cases have 2-4 layers which means it will be impossible for me to install the motherboard and power supply inside. There is no enough space.
So, I bought a black briefcase from Aliexpress and viola it arrived in Singapore after two weeks from China.
Step 2: Prepare the tools
I have basic tools that are good enough to fix whatever needs to be done at home such as screwdrivers, pliers, craft knife, fine sharpie/pencil, wireless USB dongle, small screws, extra computer speakers, hot glue gun, and etc.
This is the reason why I don’t have long nails. So, to all techy ladies out there if you are planning to build your briefcase pc cut your long nails because darlings, you will ruin your fancy gel nails.
Step 3: Meal-Prep & Patience
If you are thinking to build a briefcase pc expect you can’t get it done within 24-hours unless you’re an engineer, you know what you are doing and you have nothing else to do other than to feed your hobby then I guess you can build it easily.
Before anything else prepare your meals for 2-3 days, if you indulge in junk foods don’t buy Cheetos that will stain your fingers. haha
Above all, you must have a lot of patience. To engineer a briefcase you can’t be impatient, and whine because there are a lot of technical issues to work on. You won’t be able to fix everything in one day. It does take some time to do it.
Step 4: Preparation
4.1 Before you layout everything, you must first take everything out of the briefcase. Remove the padding and whatever is inside your briefcase. You won’t need them anyway.
4.2 Prepare the basic tools ready – power supply, motherboard, hard drive, and speakers, etc.
4.2 Don’t forget to message your mates that you are not missing and that you are just busy building something at home. Haha.
4.3 Take selfies (optional).
Step 5: Lay It All Out
Okay, after you clean and prepare everything time to take the components you will be using and plan the layout of how you want to place them in the briefcase. Make sure the arrangements will work in wiring, USB ports and etc. Personally, I like the power supply place on the left then the motherboard and graphics card in the middle, fans on top, and speakers on the wall.
Please note, no matter how you want to layout your briefcase pc your components still have to be connected to one another. Therefore, it is better to plan the layout and be structured. You don’t want to dig so many holes but the wiring and components can’t connect together. Measure like an engineer is key.
Step 6: Build The Components
WARNING: DO NOT DO THIS AT HOME IF YOU HAVE NOT DONE ANY PHYSICS CLASS OR YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW IT WORKS. IT CAN BURN YOUR HOUSE! The power supply contains components that operate at very high voltage.
Here’s what I used:
POWER SUPPLY: I bought a brand called Thermaltake, it has RGB 256 colours PSU fan, low ripple noise, fully modular flat cables, 100% Japanese capacitors, 10-year warranty, tough power grand RGB 650W and high amperage single +12V rail design.
POWER SUPPLY CONNECTOR SPECIFICATION: main power connector 24 PIN (x1), ATX 12V 4+4 (x1), SATA 5 PIN (x9), PCI-4 6+2 PIN (x4), Peripheral 4 PIN (x4), and Floppy Adapter (x1).
GAMING MOTHERBOARD: B550 AORUS PRO AC, it has CPU support with 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen Processors, CPU socket at AMD socket AM4, chipset AMD B550 Chipset, Graphics Interface 1 PCIe 4.0/3.0×16, display interface HDMI, memory type duel-channel DDR4, and etc.
It has also 2.5 GbE LAN up to 2.5x Faster than Gigabit Port. The brand Aorus is one of the best gaming motherboards anyone can build for their CPU.
GRAPHICS CARD: I used the AMD Radeon 5600 XT it has RDNA architecture, 7nm GPU, GDDR6 memory, power efficiency, PCI express 4.0 support, video streaming up to 8k, Displayport 1.4 w. DSC, Radeon image sharpening, async compute, Radeon freesync 2 HDR, Radeon VR ready premium, Radeon software, Radeon boots, and day-0 game driver optimizations.
Other components I bought:
- Audio Ports
- Ethernet Port
- Power Connector
- Power Button
Step 6: Build the cover
After I lay out the components and tested the wire and cords together, I draw the layout in plywood to cover it. I put three holes for the fans.
The plywood is not wide enough so I have to make an extra layer and put it together using hot glue.
Step 7: Mount the screen
I bought a 17” monitor and I mount it on the screen. I cut a square size in plywood to mount the screen and I used the glue gun to stick it together.
Next, I installed the display control board and menu buttons followed by installing Windows 10.
After that, I connect all of the components together. This is the second major focus in building a briefcase pc, you need to pay attention to detail and start connecting the wires together correctly. If it is not done right, the graphics card and motherboard won’t work.
Step 8: Cover Panel 1
I used a cover panel with plywood to stand the keyboard, and mouse pad.
For speakers, I used a craft knife to create a small box to place the speakers. I bought two small speakers and I tested them well. It works fine so far. Haha!
For the keyboard, I just bought a standard keyboard to use. To build a briefcase pc, it does not have to be expensive or perfect. The most important are the components to work well and it is functional.
Here's How It Looks Like:
Lessons I learned while building it.
- I learned to be patient because without it is impossible to build.
- Focus is key, especially when building the components.
- Know your materials because if you forget one thing, you might end up doing it again from scratch.
- It is not necessary to build an expensive briefcase pc. Build what you can afford.
- Be structured and work as an engineer.
Purpose of building it.
- The GPU is good and useful for video games (especially in live streams).
- I also built my own server where I keep all work stuff securely instead of using standard memory cards that can be compromised.
- I like using a wide screen when I do FX trading, I am able to read the technical analysis in stock markets because the screen is in high resolutions.
Why I am building it.
- Lockdown (self-explanatory lol).
- I embrace self-compassion.
- I have no date. I date myself at home.
- I’m a contributor to tech articles in tech forums. I find sharing a niche topic will be interesting.
- I’m a half introvert and half extrovert. Obviously, I’m an ultimate geek inside hence my patience to have social interaction does not last more than 2 hours lol. I always like to do my thing alone so when I build a briefcase pc, I find it relaxing and peaceful.
Here’s my lovely bedroom with a view of the garden. I find it peaceful to work from home.
Here’s my apartment and yes, I didn’t bother setting up a living room because I want to have a space to host a live stream. I don’t have a gaming chair yet because I’m slowly building up my gears and I am still undecided about the best specs that are affordable.
I don’t invite people at home as the guests may freak out why I have about eight computers lol but my best friends are most welcome at home and I plan to teach them how to play video games, and how to code, only if they find it interesting and if they allow me to teach them. They are brilliant people that I find so comfortable to hang out with. I sincerely hope that more women will have the interest to build a computer so we can share tips online and learn from each other.
Thank you for reading. You will find more of my updates on Hackerday forum.