The big picture: There are several gaming laptops out there that could achieve what the Nuclear Football was built to do, but its creator wanted an experience that comes with a bigger display while costing less than laptops with comparable specs. Hence, a custom-built liquid-cooled PC inside a Pelican 1525 case that now serves as a portable gaming rig to keep you entertained during your travels.
Unlike the original briefcase accompanying the US president, this Nuclear Football is more likely to set off an atomic bomb in Fallout 76 rather than authorizing one in the real world. Its creator, who goes by the name of 'thegarbz' on Reddit, goes into detail on how his traveling routine led to the creation of this custom-built PC.
Inside the Nuclear Football is an AMD Ryzen 5 2600 and an Nvidia RTX 2070 Super FE, along with 16GB RAM fitted to a Gigabyte B450-i Aorus Pro Wifi motherboard. The 256 GB of NVMe storage might seem inadequate, but then its owner is a "bit of an addict and a completionist," so only a few games are installed at any given time.
Powered by Corsair's compact SF600 PSU, the components crammed inside the luggage case call for some proper thermal management. That's handled through water-cooling the hardware with Alphacool parts, Noctua fans, EKWB blocks, and a custom fan controller with temperature display and PC link.
The display comes in the form of a Dell 23-inch monitor, chosen from among 45 displays, for its thin bezels, beveled bottom edge, and front-accessible buttons. It's fitted to the top of the case so the build opens up like a laptop.
Given that the bottom side of the case is occupied as well, there's no room for a built-in keyboard inside. However, the front features plenty of ports for connecting peripherals, including a VR headset for enabling the full desktop gaming experience.
At 12.1 kg, the Nuclear Football is strictly meant to be used on a desk, and its portability is also affected by the lack of an on-board battery. It is, however, convenient to lug around most places and, more importantly, highlights the flexibility of the PC platform and users' creativity in designing a machine around their use-case.