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Build Your Own: Making an All in One Computer

written by: Jon Cevski•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 6/4/2011

This is a guide to building an AIO PC. This This PC will have all the characteristics of a modern desktop PC but much more clean design and be a lot cooler looking.

  • slide 1 of 9

    The How To Process, step by step...

    An all in one PC is a computer system that combines all of the computer parts and the computer monitor in one enclosure. Usually, the whole thing looks like a LCD desktop monitor but is bigger at the back so that it can fit the computer motherboard, hard drive and eventually an optical drive. There are a lot of commercially available All in One's, but the price tag is a little bit steep.

    So, is there some way that you can build your own? Yes, there is.

    I assume that you have experience in building computer systems, and are skillful with power tools.

  • slide 2 of 9

    Step one, finding a LCD Computer Monitor

    Monitor 

    First thing you have to do is choose a computer monitor. You can buy a new 22" LCD computer monitor for $200 or you can use an old one. Try to get a full HD computer monitor so that you can watch HD movies on the PC.

  • slide 3 of 9

    Step two, choose a motherboard and a processor

    MSI H57M-ED65 Up 

    The second step is to choose a motherboard and a processor. There are a lot of options here, but if you want to make your AIO silent, then use a choice like Intel's Atom motherboard platform, which comes with a built in Atom processor and a built in Graphics Card, which don't require the use of a noisy cooling fan. The price of the Atom Platform is around $100. If you want more a powerful solution, with a stronger CPU and a dedicated Graphics Card, or want to use parts of an old PC, select your choice.

    Here are the next steps.

  • slide 4 of 9

    Step three, building a stand

    ain5-unpainted-base 

    You have to build a stand. It has to be solid so that it can support the whole weight of the PC, and it has to fit in with the overall design. These images are from Victorian AIO PC build process. You can find out more about the construction in the link posted in reference.

  • slide 5 of 9

    Step four, mount the PC monitor in the front

    ain8-all-in-one-base 

    Here is the computer stand with the PC monitor mount on it. You have to fabricate some kind of mounting points on the computer stand so that it will hold the monitor in the front and the motherboard in the back.

  • slide 6 of 9

    Step five, attach the motherboard

    ain12-mother-board Attach the motherboard to the back and mount the CPU, RAM, HDD and the graphics card.

    Make sure that none of the wires are touching the fan, and check to make sure the back of the motherboard is not touching some metal part; you don't want to burn out your motherboard.

  • slide 7 of 9

    Step six, make a casing

    ain13-knick-knack-shelf The next step is to find or make a casing for the PC. You can make it from scratch or use some old furniture.

    This was an old liquor cabinet. Cut off the parts that you don't need and then clean and paint all of the parts according to your taste. After the paint is dried, fit the casing on to the computer stand.

  • slide 8 of 9

    Finished Project

    ain25-desk 

    Your finished PC should look something like this.

    The total cost of a project like this will be around $ 500 for a medium power solution, less if you build it from spare computer parts. It takes time and skill to make one, but the pleasure and satisfaction that this home built All in One PC will give you is priceless.

    ain23-back 

  • slide 9 of 9

    Reference

    Monitor and motherboard images from manufacturer.

    All other images from http://steampunkworkshop.com/victorian-all-one-pc