Let’s just get right out and say it, best wall-mounted PCs are sick. If you’re spending $1200+ on a decent gaming PC, it’s something you want to be proud of and show off. There’s a reason the industry has a shift to glass-side panels and RGB, well, everything. And what’s a better way to showcase your pride and joy than to mount it right on your wall.
Best Wall Mounted PC can get pricey and require tons of planning and attention to detail to make them look like a work of art. Currently, the only mass-produced cases that come wall-mountable are from Thermaltake’s P line. These cases are beautiful but come with a relatively hefty price tag for a case that comes with no RGB lighting or fans. Sure, you don’t need the fans because the case is open air, but it’s about the principle that you’re paying a lot more for a case that is made out of far less physical materials.
In a normal PC build, the first step everyone seems to take is to choose their motherboard, processor, and graphics card. However, for a custom wall-mounted PC, the first step should be choosing the case (or base material), so you can ensure component size & weight compatibility and accountability.
As mentioned, the most popular out-of-the-box solution for this is to buy the Thermaltake P3 or P5. If this isn’t what you had in mind, you have plenty of custom options.
What if I don’t want to buy a premade case?
Whether you want something custom, or are just looking to save a few dollars to complete your rainbow PC dream via RGB Ram, there are many different options.
If you’re a normal person who didn’t spend $300+ on a 3D printer you’d use twice you still have a few alternatives.
Best Wall Mounted PC : Choosing the Base Material
Since wall-mounted PCs are generally open to the air (and thus air circulation isn’t a huge concern), the base of the PC can be built out of a variety of materials. The most common being steel, aluminium, plastic, and wood. The thickness of the base needed varies from material to material, but we’ll go into this in Part 3.
- Steel & Other Metals: If Steampunk, or just plan old rustic is your style, you can use just a simple steel sheet. A similar design can work with both aluminum or copper, depending on your budget and intended design.
- Design Idea Feebie: a polished copper metal base with attached gears, a clock on the PSU, and metal piping for water cooling would look absolutely insane on the wall.
- Plastic: If you’re going the plastic route, you’ll probably need to go acrylic for its strength and ability to be drilled. The big concern with a plastic base is making sure the plastic is strong enough to support the PC, and not too brittle that it cannot be drilled into without cracking or shattering. With that in mind, the thicker the better here.
- Design Idea Freebie: a clear thick acrylic base could be fitted with a RGB light strip on the back for a low budget RBG customization. I’d probably go for the Philips Hue Strip for the Smart Home integration abilities.
- Wood: Technically any wood piece large enough and thick enough for your components could work for a computer. There’s plenty of videos out there of people making PC cases out of wood, check them out for some ideas to steal. However, you should stay away from particleboard and strand board for structural integrity.
- Design Idea Feebie:Your best choice here for aesthetics and strength is to go for a thicker plywood for a low budget option, or heading to a local lumber yard for a solid single piece of wood for a more premium base. If going the wood route, spend the $15 on a decent stain.
Best Wall Mounted PC : A non-metal case? Do I need to worry about grounding?
Nerd alert, but no not really. Obviously keep yourself grounded while building the PC to avoid ruining any of the components. This could be tricky if you build in a non-metal case, so be smart about your surroundings and avoid unnecessarily touching anything. If you have questions here, check out this guide on how to keep yourself grounded while building a PC.
Modern day computer parts do not need to be in a metal case. This concern dates back to when more analog parts were used, which can generate harmful radio frequency interference that can damage sensitive electronic parts. Today, any such parts in the components you purchase should be individually encased by the manufacturer. The PC itself does not need to be grounded inside of metal.
So complicated answer simplified, unless you have running analog electrical equipment sitting around your house (looking at you hipsters), you almost certainly don’t need to worry about this.
Best Wall Mounted PC : Designing the Layout
The coolest part of designing an open case is you have complete flexibility to organize your components. Most modern cases have lead us to believe that our motherboard must be in the top left, with the PSU underneath and hard drives located to the right. However, your custom wall-mounted PC is a blank canvas ready to be redesigned in whatever ridiculous way you want.
A general psychics note here, the farther your components protrude from the wall (depending on how you mount the graphics card and power supply) dictates how thick your base must be and how deep your mounting screws must be.
Planning for cord management
If you place the motherboard in the top left, note that this means the cords will run down the left side of the computer. So if this isn’t the vibe you’re looking for, you may want to lower the motherboard to the bottom left of your base or even flip it 90 degrees.
If you don’t plan on placing your motherboard towards the edges of your base material, drill holes in the base for running cords behind the computer. If you do drill holes for cord management, the power supply should be directed to have the inputs for the power cables facing the opposite direction of the center of the board.
Don’t forget that if you mount your base several inches off of the wall, you can also attach components to the back surface. This can be a great option to allow for a smaller base surface area or flexibility for future storage needs. This can be done by using a spacer.
A brief design note: using a 1in long spacer with an appropriately sized hex bolt into a lag shield anchor is a cheap way to increase aesthetics of your computer once on the wall.
Thinking ahead to the wall mounting
When designing your layout, you need to consider where your mounting holes will need to be. Given the weight of the PC, you should definitely be drilling into the studs in your wall during mounting.
Generally, studs are spaced 16 or 24 inches apart. Use a stud detector to find the distance between studs at your mounting location, and plan for this distance in your layout.
Wait, how do I turn the computer on? And what about my USB ports?
When designing a custom computer, the most commonly overlooked problems are wiring in a start button and having your USB ports available. When you buy a premade case, the power button & front USBs are already wired and only need to be plugged into your motherboard.
When designing your own wall-mounted PC you not only have to manually do this yourself, but also consider the number of wires you want going up to your computer on the wall.
On the power button front, you have three options:
- Use a typical power button that you mount directly on the base of your computer or hide on the back. The thing to note here is that you will have to reach up to your computer on the wall to turn your PC on each time.
- Run the power button all the way to your desk. Yes, it’s another cable running down your wall to your desk, but it will save you the reaching up constantly. One of the easiest models to use is the SoundOriginal Refit Desktop Button Switch.
- Use a wireless starter for your computer. Definitely the sleekest option in my mind, w wireless starter handles the reaching and cord issues – just don’t loose the remote.
To make your USB ports more accessible, buying a decent USB hub like the Sabrent 60W 7-Port USB 3.0 Hub to rest on your desk should resolve this issue. This model comes with a 2 foot USB cable, so you’ll likely need to pick up an extender to reach your motherboard. Note that some peripherals struggle to work correctly when using cheap USB extenders, so spending an extra $10 for a more premium option may be way it.
Best Wall Mounted PC : Size & Thickness of the Base Material
When selecting a custom base size for your PC, remember larger dimensions are needed to allow space for the screws to drill into the wall if you are going from a front-mounted approach.
The size of the base you have chosen largely depends on the components you intend to use. You absolutely should map out your components to scale first digitally, or by using a piece of cardboard and a pencil. Make sure you add at least two inches in length of a border around your build area to allow for safe mounting.
We’ll let you go through this process yourself, but here are the biggest factors you should b considering outside of the dimensions of your main components:
- How many hard drives do you intend to use?
- Avoid this issue by using NVMe drives, mounting your drives on the back of the PC, or by using an external docking bay
- Are you going to use any custom decor?
- Additional RGB lights, steampunk piping, etc add additional weight and bulk to the computer
- Are you using any less-typical components that require extra surface area?
- An RGB Hub for example
Best Wall Mounted PC : Special Considerations for the Actual Build
There are a million great PC building guides out there for you to follow. Outside of the normal installation order and techniques, here are the special considerations you’ll need to be thoughtful of.
Pre-drill Holes for Wall Mounting
This one should be obvious, but you don’t want to be making your pilot holes when your base has all of the components on it. First, pre-drill the holes into your base, and then drill the pilot holes into the wall. Make sure they line up before starting the build.
Attaching the Motherboard to the Base
The screws used for this will need to be the exact length of the provided screws plus the thickness of your base. This is the most dangerous part of the mounting process and should be triple measured to avoid ruining the motherboard.
Securing Your Hard Drives to the Base
I’d generally recommend attaching any SSDs or HDDs to the back of the case to declutter the front. This may sound weird, but I’d recommend trying to just use a very strong velcro strip to mount lightweight SSD’s to the back of the case. The melting point of velcro is typically over 100 degrees F higher than the standard running temperature of an SSD, so there are no concerns on that front. This also allows you to easily move the drives in case of a redesign or replacing them.
If you want something more formal, buy a replacement SSD mounting bracket and attach it to the back of your base material.
Securing Your Power Supply to the Base
Power supply’s are generally screwed into the bottom of a PC case from the outside. When planning your PSU location, measure out the distance between bottom screw holes and pre-drill these. You’ll need to cut custom screws for mounting, be sure to remember to add the thickness of your base to your calculation when deciding which you need.
In a normal build, the weight and stabilization of the graphics card is handled by mounting it to the case using a bracket. In an open-air build, you have to make a custom solution for this. If you don’t, your graphics card will fall completely off the wall, and the PCI connector will likely snap.
To mount your graphics card safely, you’ll need to buy a vertical graphics card mount and attach it to your base. How you do this will vary significantly based on the layout of your computer and base material.