What is PC Sleeper?

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When building a computer, your choice of components is arguably the most important decision you can make. But the form factor and case you choose shouldn’t be overlooked, and one of the more interesting “themes” you can choose is the Sleeper PC.

Related: Where you should brag when building a PC (and where you shouldn’t)

building a sleeper computer

A sleeping PC usually refers to a powerful computer presented in a modest box or container. The term originated in the automotive world, where sleeper cars are high-performance cars that look natural from the outside. Under the hood lies the true story, and the same goes for the PC world.

There are many different types of sleeper PCs, from old beige boxes of Windows 98 days to powerful hardware built inside old console cases. Many of these enclosures required significant modification for use with modern computer components such as all-in-one coolers and graphics cards that were much larger than they were a decade or two ago.

Some devices require the use of atypical parts, such as Mini-ITX or Mini-ATX motherboards. Builders often have to be creative in locating components such as graphics cards, particularly when building in a chassis that has been designed with specific hardware in mind.

Since airflow is an important consideration for any high-performance gaming PC, some builders will create additional vents to aid in cooling. These projects are generally not recommended for those who lack experience building computers, but once you understand the basics, you should be able to try a sleeper build.

Related: How to Manage Computer Fans for Optimal Air Flow and Cooling

Why build a computer to sleep?

Building a sleeping PC can be a fun project for someone looking to push boundaries in pursuit of a certain aesthetic. This can quickly develop into a hobby because the results can be very impressive.

Adding RGB lighting and custom paint jobs to standard PCs is a creative endeavor, and sleeper PCs take this a step further due to their custom nature. Choosing a can or caddy can present obstacles, but the results are always unique. The end goal is to build something that looks somewhat ordinary, at least from the outside.

It’s also a fun way to make more use of your old computer cases and console attachments. The retro aesthetic of vintage computer cases is appealing to many, and these parts are cheap and readily available at thrift stores and at second hand markets. You may already have a case in mind, sitting in an attic or basement. If it needs cleaning, check out our guide to removing that yellow spot on older devices.

Once your device is built, you can show it to YouTube or communities like r/sleeperbattlestations.

Build your own computer

If you’ve always dreamed of building a computer, there are plenty of resources to help you out, including our five-part guide. Once you hone your skills, you may want to try building your own personal computer.

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