Computer Desk… Literally

This piece of furniture begs the question, why think of a desk and a computer case as separate things? It combines Ikea furniture with electronic hardware to create the ultimate command center.

First the obvious parts: there’s a nook for the computer case that hangs just below the desktop off to the side, and the twin displays are mounted front and center. The divider between the cabinet pieces was cut away to allow the monitors to be wall-mounted. But things start to get interesting to the left of those monitors. You can see a series of dial displays in the door for that cabinet. Those meters were sourced from the MIT Flea Market and after a bit of alteration they display CPU load information fed to them by  an Arduino board. This also drives some LED strips which are mounted behind the frosted glass panel that we guess could be called a back splash. The heavier the load, the better the light show.

All of the power management is taken care of in the cabinet to the right of the monitors. The top row hides a printer, external hard drive backup system, and several gaming consoles. Heat will be an issue so exhaust fans were added to each of these partitions. They’re switched based on a temperature sensor in each. It’s a lot of work, but the outcome proves it was worth it.

[via Reddit]

28 thoughts on “Computer Desk… Literally

  1. The one thing that really surprises me about this setup is that a guy who has clearly put considerable time and effort, and some cash, into his computing setup is content to have such comparatively limited screen space and no visible provision for expanding it without modifying the existing furniture. When I see a Mac Pro, even just sitting under a standard desk, I expect to see some monitors of commensurate expense and power…

  2. “Ultimate”?!?!! What? how? when? why?!!! Because it’s a Mac and arduino? Faark! you hipsters gotta be hip :/

    I think his description is more honest and fair: Desk with Meters. And on that level I say: nice, love the meters.

  3. You noticed that too?

    Well… I wouldn’t mention that ONE flaw, on account of the otherwise flawless build.

    The Arduino mentioned could maybe be replaced by a standalone micro, but unless the desk is essentially finished, I don’t see that as a flaw, as desks like this are almost never finished.

    I think it is an excellent build. It has a smooth, professional look; and wouldn’t seem out of place alongside any of the video editing suites where I work.

  4. When I hear “computer desk” I think of the old MDSI Compact 2 from work. A full sized 1970’s desk with a rackmount behind a smoked glass door. Inside is a DataGeneral Nova 2 and 8 inch floppy drives and core memory.
    Next to it is the power supply, a big black steel box just shorter than the desk with an integrated tape rewinder, short enough to put an old paper tape punch/reader. Next to that should be a DEC LA36 DECwriter II Terminal.

  5. “This piece of furniture begs the question, why think of a desk and a computer case as separate things?”

    Because a desk is built to support things on it and better ones have separate height adjustment for monitors and the main desk portion.
    A computer case is built to support components in it, allow to build a sufficient airflow for them, grounds the components, protects from static electricity and dust, and can be easily moved.

  6. What’s this like for OH&S?
    I’m thinking the monitors will be too high, the top of the screen should be level with your eyes, so unless you’re really tall, you may start developing neck/back issues due to constantly looking up at the screens….

  7. I didn’t even know that mac user realized that they had cores. As long as it “just work”.

    Seriously the whole thing isn’t that hackish, I give props to the guy that wrote the code for the meters.

  8. I like the “clean” look, but this is hardly even a hack! What was the qualifying thing that made it a hack? The arduino driven dials?

    Also, what the hell is with the speakers at the top? I know this criticism is off-topic, but seriously? Doesn’t putting the center channel up there defeat the purpose of having one in the first place?

    1. I also noticed the positions of the speakers are terrible, also look at the subwoofer that is to one side of the listening position, that’s about the wrost place to put it audio-wise.

      Being up doesn’t defeat the *whole* purpose of the center channel, though. It sill helps improve the localization and reduce the directional smearing and comb filtering caused by the same signal reaching each ear twice at different times (which is what happens when you only have two speakers and play a sound between them).

      This is just pedantry though, the guy is clearly not an audio enthusiast (which is fine) and that room looks like really crappy acoustics anyway.

      Also, Hack a Day left the “one hack each day” format a long time ago, now it’s more of a general interest site and things like this fit in just fine.

  9. Im sorry but that is not a computer desk. At best, it’s a computer ENHANCED desk with compartments for all the stuff.

    I’v yet to see a good and nice computer desk where it’s not just a desk with a huge bump on it.

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