A Water Cooled Gaming PC You Can Take With You

Have you ever been stuck in a hotel room wishing you brought your VR-capable gaming PC along with you? Well [thegarbz] certainly has, which was the inspiration for this absolutely gorgeous mobile rig affectionately known as “The Nuclear Football” that brings console-level portability to those who count themselves among the PC Master Race.

OK, fine. We’ll admit that the existence of gaming laptops means you don’t actually need to carry around such an elaborate contraption just to play Steam games on the go. But if you’re going to do it, shouldn’t you do it in style? More practically speaking, [thegarbz] says the cost of this project was less than what a gaming laptop of similar specs would have cost.

The Nuclear Football features a Ryzen 5 2600 processor, a NVIDIA 2070 Super graphics card, and 16 GB of DDR4 RAM. The water cooling gear is from Alphacool, and includes a custom controller that links to the computer and allows [thegarbz] to monitor temperatures and fan speeds via a widget on the desktop.

While not nearly as mobile, this machine does remind us of the water cooled “Big O” that packed all the current-gen consoles and a gaming PC into one glorious machine.

39 thoughts on “A Water Cooled Gaming PC You Can Take With You

    1. How much liquid does the cooling system hold?

      For the most part I think people freaking out just because something has visible parts is ridiculous. The TSA is mostly undertrained underwear sniffers who only go for the job because they crave power over others but couldn’t get accepted on a police force. It should be disbanded and a few agents (I’m thinking of the ones that destroyed the first RepRap) aught to be dropped out of the last TSA-serviced plane.

      But… I’d probably not let this thing in.

      I see an opaque reservoir that probably just holds coolant but could have two separate chambers for two different chemicals. It’s not hard to imagine someone creating something that looks like a cooling system but instead serves to mix those two substances to acheive some nasty chemical reaction at the press of a button, on a timer or by remote.

  1. I’m sure that flies right through airport security without a second (or third) additional screening.”No sir I don’t have a laptop in my bag that I forgot to remove.” “Oh? Tell me more about this not at all bomb looking contraption no-one has ever seen before.” Looks like a good clean build! When will someone sell this as a case so I can build one?

    1. Fortunately it only needs to fly down the autobahn. My weekly hotel commute is by car.
      Who knows if this project finishes at some point I may put it up for sale to recoup the initial cost.

  2. It seems like water cooling would be a great way to make the thing a LOT heavier and more prone to transportation accidents.

    Properly designed air cooling would probably be Good Enough and much lighter.

    1. But it’ a neat thing to.do, and actually serves a purpose, cooling.

      Along time ago there were articles about cooling powwr amplifiers made with tubes with water. Kind of neat.

    2. Agreed. When I watercooled this build it was for the large part gratuitous. However there was some reasoning behind it too. With a top air intake and top exhaust I was very quickly coming into air re-circulation situations. As you can imagine this case isn’t designed for efficiently removing warm air and there’s no forced draft through it.

      Weight has gone up as a result, there’s no doubt there. The sturdy case however with a very decent handle makes this a non issue, though I don’t think aircooling was “much” lighter. A bit maybe.

      The bigger issue though is the air coolers were just damn noisy, especially CPU coolers on Ryzen CPUs ramping up and down with load is just plain annoying.

    1. 58C GPU on a 43.8C water temperature with the fans running at around 70% during a full stress test.
      Switching the inlet and outlet on a GPU has almost no effect (during the first trial it was actually the correct way around but for aesthetic reasons I swapped it). There’s been plenty of tests about this and it only makes a difference of a degree or two at the most, with the difference reducing the faster you can pump. CPUs are slightly more susceptible but again the difference is a degree or two.

      Several watercooling companies do not even indicate in and out on GPU blocks anymore, and EKWB has an official position on this https://www.ekwb.com/blog/can-i-use-the-inlet-port-as-the-outlet-and-the-outlet-port-as-inlet/

  3. I got one of these cases StrongBox LT Option Computers, it was used for an old JDSU digital tv test set and had a 3ghz P4 in it. Yanked the cards, pulled the MoBo and installed a LGA1155 MoBo with a E3-1240 v3 Xeon. I took apart the power supply and added PCIe connectors for a video card and threw in one of my GTX780s and a couple drives, one with Win10 32 and one with Win10 64. Later pulled out the 1440*900 LCD and scabbed in a 1980×1200 LCD in its place and a SSD. Pretty fast, can play overwatch in ultra settings. When I upgrade my gaming PC I will stick the old 1080 in it.



  4. Please, what watercooling parts, and the case aswell as the LCD screen? Very awesome, currently doing a min itix sporting a x570 I rog strix with a 3800x and gtx 1080 ti/2070 super (I GPU Swap sometimes). Thanks!

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