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Transporting desktop on a trip. Need ideas.

By S31ender ยท 10 replies
Sep 29, 2007
  1. Hello. I'm going to be travelling from Vermont to Washington DC and I think I'll be going by Amtrak Train.
    What is the best way to transport my desktop computer? 19 1/3 by 22 by 8 inches is the dimensions, which does fit within amtraks 28x22x14 guidelines. However, I'm worried about shock damage and the like to my semi-high end system.
    Any ideas? What should I be worried about?
  2. gavilan

    gavilan TS Rookie Posts: 62

    Take a laptop instead :)

    No, but seriously, consider the way the components are laid out in the system. Whenever I transport my desktop I always lay it on its side because my CPU has an enormous heatsink which could stress the motherboard to the point of cracking if it were upright.
    But if you are paranoid about keeping it safe (like I would be) your best bet would be to completely disassemble it, pack everything in static-free bags and pack it all in bubble wrap and peanuts. I would leave the heatsink and CPU in place since that is kind of messy to remove/replace, but of course its up to you.
  3. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,425   +112

    There is a backpack you can get for your desktop to carry around. I know this guy who does it for LAN Parties he carries his desktop with him this way to play games with others. Check out LAN Parties sites and gaming.. Make sure you protect the PC at all cost..
  4. S31ender

    S31ender TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, my problem is that I don't have the space to carry this sucker around. It's a full tower case and I can't stuff it in front of the seat for 13 hours. It has to go into the overhead (which Amtrak has told me means it MUST be 28x22x14 or smaller.). As is, it will barely fit. All of which means that it'll be in the overhead getting bounced around. I admit, it's better than being checked baggage, but it's still gunna get banged a little on the railroad.
    Should I attempt to take of my heatsink? It's the stock heatsink for the Core2Duo E6600 so it's not too heavy compared to the aftermarket stuff. I wonder if it'll be fine?
    I'm already pretty sure I'll be removing the videocard and putting it back into it's packaging.
  5. Boogityboo04

    Boogityboo04 TS Rookie Posts: 302

    I have two bits of advice, remove the heat sink and video card, the rest should be safe.

    The CPU heatsink is your major worry, because apart from stressing the motherboard (which it will,) if it falls off there is a chance of major damage from it bouncing around in there.
  6. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    do you have the original box and styrofoam?
  7. S31ender

    S31ender TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes, I have all the original boxes for all the components of the computer. However, it was my first computer build, I had help, and to tell you truth, I'm worried about taking the heatsink off the CPU.
    I'm not the best at that sort of thing. I got it on there fine but, to take it off, clean the cpu, clean the heatsink, then buy some new paste, and reapply everything is going to a little scary. Then I'll have to do it again for the return trip 2 weeks later.

    <-----officially nervous now.
  8. sillydrunk247

    sillydrunk247 TS Rookie

    I recently moved from california to south carolina and then to washington state with one of my comps. It's not the first time I've gone cross country with a comp either. I've never done anything special for them and never had any problems. Just pack something soft around everything so that things like .. monitors arent' slamming against you case and you should be good to go. If you're worried about space on the amtrack.. then is there an address you can mail it to? A reasonably sized comp can be mailed for about $40 + about $3-5 per 1 or 2 hundred dollars of insurance. I've mailed a couple that way and never had any problems.

    And honestly.. the average system is more resilliant than people think. My wife pissed me off so bad one time I picked mine up and slammed it on the ground while it was still plugged in. Dented the heck outa the case, but when I reconnected all the external wires later it fired right up and ran trouble free for 2 years after... don't recommend trying that though
  9. S31ender

    S31ender TS Rookie Topic Starter

    ummm yeah...lol. I don't think I'll be trying that test!

    I knew that a lot of people had be talking about removing the heatsink/fan because of it's weight and worrying about damaging the motherboard or it coming loose and bouncing about.
    I think my question would be, I know many many many people here are running aftermarket heatsinks. They usually are quite heavy. What about the stock E6600 heatsink/fan? Would it be an issue?
  10. sillydrunk247

    sillydrunk247 TS Rookie

    I can't say due to the fact that I'm not familiar with it. I can tell you that the system I slammed down was a dual processor system with overclockers heatsink/fans on both processors. The best option .. well.. most practical I think would be to package it with the motherboard laying flat and mark the package as being fragile with the upside clearly marked. I know the post office pays pretty good attention to that kind of stuff. I would assume that baggage handlers on the amtrak would too (assuming it's small enough for amtrak).

    Fact of the matter is, full systems are shipped to houses and bussiness all the time, with heatsinks and video cards still inside. If cracked motherboards was that big of an issue there would be stories all over the place about it and people would be paranoid to buy a system from online. Since your heatsink is stock and not a heavy duty gamers or overclockers sink .. /shrug .. I would think it would be ok.
  11. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    it would take some considerable force to break the motherboard with the heatsink. If you use the original boxes and styrofoam, you should be ok. Also wrap the puppy in bubble wrap. I move all the time in the Army and I haven't broken any PC stuff yet - though I've had furniture dented and damaged! As a matter of fact, I am moving again in a week to Georgia. I just came back from Iraq 2 weeks ago. I fired up my desktop PC that was in storage for a year and it was 100% ok.
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