Gaming laptops have been around for a few years… but for the most part using one involves sacrificing some performance in the name of portability.

So one gamer decided to build a unique portable gaming PC that packs the power of a high-end desktop into a luggable case. It’s called the Nuclear Football, and it consists of a modified Pelican 1525 case that’s been stuffed with desktop PC hardware, a liquid cooling system, and a 23 inch monitor. There are also cut-outs in the case for ports.

While the whole thing looks both awesome and kind of ridiculous, redditor /u/thegarbz says it’s actually cheaper than a laptop with similar specs, and it has a larger display than you’ll find on any notebook.

The computer includes an AMD Ryzen 5 2600 desktop processor, an NVIDIA Geforce RTX 2070 Super FE graphics card, a Gigabit B450-i Aorus Pro WiFi motherboard, a Corsair 600-watt power supply, 16GB of RAM,and a 256GB SSD.

The display is a Dell 23 inch monitor that fits into the top of the case so that Pelican 1525 can be opened like a laptop.

And the most unusual thing about the system (which is likely where it draws its name), is the water cooling system which is made from a series of components from EK-Vector and Alphacool. You can find details in the reddit post describing the system.

Overall, the cooling system helps the computer maintain temperatures around 38 degrees Celsius (100 Fahrenheit) while gaming, or about 44 degrees Celsius (110 Fahrenheit) under full load.

Unlike a laptop, the Nuclear Football does not have a built-in keyboard, it requires a wired or wireless external keyboard. And it’s designed to be plugged in, not to run on battery power — it’s portable in the sense that it’s designed to be easy to move from place to place and to set up in seconds, but it’s not designed for gaming on the bus or train.

But for folks like thegarbz who spend a lot of time in hotels, it provides a full desktop gaming experience on the go… assuming you can get it past airport security.

You can find more pictures of the Nuclear Football at imgur.

via HackADay

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18 replies on “The “Nuclear Football” is a one-of-a-kind portable, liquid-cooled gaming PC”

  1. That thing is stupid af. The concept behind is rather interesting, but how he decided to have everything exposed is rather risky is any form of water or anything magnetic falls into it while it’s on he is so screwed it will destroy everything.

  2. “And it’s not designed to be plugged in, not to run on battery power” I feel I read this wrong, but, its supposed to be plugged in right? And not used on Battery power?

  3. If you have to guess at where the name came from (especially if that’s your guess), you clearly didn’t even Google the phrase ‘nuclear football’. Look it up, it lends a level of badarsery to this build.

  4. gaming with all that neon colored led in between you and the monitor looks like a non starter for me – the concept is great, but the execution is somewhat lacking imo

  5. Must stop that nuclear missile… stop turn the plane around I brought my gaming rig.

  6. Don’t like concept of liquid cooling. On-chip cooling is the future, but Intel let us down at CES.

    1. The grandiose assertion of “x is the future” carries the implication that I’m a bad person if I don’t do, use, or accept x, so I had to look this up.
      As far as I can tell, most methods rely on liquids (some of which evaporate). To have on chip cooling using a conventional heat sink, you’d need to shape the heat sink not just for the socket, but for the particular model of de-lidded CPU. That may be viable for laptops but not for the build-a-desktop market, which this is.
      Maybe there’s a market for extreme overclockers but they’ll be using liquids anyway, as would the server farms that the idea was made for.
      I suppose that would make it on the CPU manufacturer to supply the heat sinks with the CPU as a complete package, but that would require CGA sockets instead of LGA ones and make CPUs cost a lot more.
      It might have a place in graphics cards.
      In any case, it’s clear why he went with custom loop liquid cooling here. To save on vertical space, have the heat all come from one spot, work around the terrible airflow his case has (without cutting big holes in it), and possibly do sustained overclocking.

      1. Thanks for reply, i dont know if you’ve read eetimes article on this (search -chip micro-convective cooling). As for implications, you’re not bad person, but Intel? We want something to make up for poor fab performance, I was really hoping but maybe its just much too early.

    2. Liquid cooling is just as good at cooling as air coolers but liquid coolers prefferably aio’s have a lot more heat capacity because of all the water and they also take up a lot less space…

      1. I’d agree that AIO’s have a lot more heat capacity, but I disagree they take up a lot less space. They just shift it to a different location.
        They also have at least 2 more critical points of mechanical failure that are not easy to deal with: Pumps and leakage.

    1. Would you even want to? I can’t imagine putting a liquid cooled PC in checked luggage and expecting it to arrive with no leaks. And if you tried to take it carry on, that’s your one allowed bag.
      It reminds me of ACME Portable’s machines a bit. Those might fare a bit better. And be less likely to be presumed to be full of some kinda drug fluid or liquid explosive.

      1. I’d assume he has a drainage port to drain it empty before leaving for the airport.

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