Bringing a PC to Taiwan on My Flight

Hey guys -

I wonder if any of you have done this? Any tips? Any customs problems? Any “this looks like a bomb, please step this way we’d like to insert a gloved finger somewhere…” problems?

Does the temperature/pressure in the hold affect lcd monitors?

It’s my work PC, and I can’t risk losing it or any of the information on it, so I plan to:

Remove from tower case:
Hard drives, optical drives, graphics card, raid card, power supply unit, ram, fan.
(leaving only the mobo internally - might be a minor ball-ache to remove - Dell inspiron 530).
These components I will then bubble wrap, box up, tape securely and take in my hand luggage.

In the tower case:
Cover the mobo with bubble wrap and fill the case with clothes/whatever light packaging. The case then to be put in the main hold luggage in a large suitcase.

(Have to take the monitors too, I think the widescreen I have is still over £200 in Taiwan…so they’re coming)
With 5mm ply between them, facing each other, bubble wrapped, taped and again surrounded by packing material in the hold lugggage.

If anyone’s had any good or bad experiences with any of the above - please let me know.

I have to carry the important stuff like hard drives in my hand luggage I think - it would be D-Day if I lost them.

The only thing I’m really worried about is the lcd screen in the hold luggage. I suppose if the mobo or tower case bites the dust I can get another?

Ah - the other thing - has anyone packed their PC, only to find it’s been rifled through the other end by airport security? I can take a roll of parcel tape to re-wrap stuff in my hand luggage if they want to turn my case out I suppose.


Yes i’ve done exactly what you are attempting to do. I’ve done it twice actually, both from the states and back. To me it sounds like you have everything in order. You did exactly what you can do. Definitely bring your packing tape. Most likely you won’t have to open it, but I had to and it was a right pain in the ass. They made me yank out the entire thing and open it. (which i had stuffed with underwear and socks) They had their own “inspected” packing tape i had to use though. So actually you might not want to use your own. Once they saw that tape on there i ddn’t have to open it again. This was back in the states, and i’m not sure how strict security is at the europe airports.

I didn’t think it was too much of a hassle though. I went through security relatively fast after that first incident. I was nervous about putting my hard drives through xray, but they were okay on the other side. Definitely put them in your hand luggage.

When I arrived in Taiwan my box was beat up to hell. I could tell they just tossed it around. All the corners were smashed in, and there was even a gash in the box. I was like WTF!? and quite upset. When i got into my house in taiwan i set the computer up and it didn’t turn on. I had taken everything out …except the cpu. Which i was too lazy to take out because my aftermarket heatsink / fan was a bitch to install. So…broken cpu, which was my fault, but everything else made it through the journey okay. I didnt’ even take my powersupply out. (bastards heavy!) so you’re already a few up on what i did.

Your cpu, i am pretty certain will be okay. however i have the same concern as you…those monitors. I didn’t bring my monitors, opting to sell mine back home and buy here. but if your monitors are really nice, i’d try to bring them. I don’t really like the monitor market here (unless you’re happy with 24" TN panels)

The problem with the monitors is that airlines often stack hundreds of luggage on top of each other. Combine all that weight at high altitudes where it’s cold and it could result in cracked boards or screens. I think this is the worst case scenario though. I think you’ve done pretty much every precaution i can think of. More so than I did and I ended up just fine.

You could also ship the monitors to Taiwan through fedex or something; though, who knows if they’d handle the packages any different. :aiyo:

Never had a problem doing what you propose.

I did as I said above, apart from removing the mobo from the case and bubble-wrapping/carboarding along with the hard-drives, graphics card etc and taking in hand luggage.

Heathrow turned out my hand luggage and laptop bag with all my gubbins in it, but only to x-ray separately and didn’t unwrap any of it.

Put it all back together here, and apart from what must have been a random loose connection inside (usual process with a pc - disconnect all usb cables not required, check all cards/ram pushed in securely etc), all is working fine here.

Both screens okay, slight dink to the tower case, but apart from that - hunky dory.

Mucho relief!


Note: Bubble wrap is not anti-static. Theoretically you could damage the more delicate of the electronic components.

So, if you can, get some of these silvery anti-static bags (computer shops should have tons of them as garbage) and place all components in there before bubble wrapping.

Other general notes on what you plan to do, some from my adventures when privately shipping a PC to the US, others from my work experience:

Yes, definitely remove the heavy stuff like HDDs (unless they are screwed directly to the metal of the case) and especially the CPU cooler. Depending how the latter is fixed, it could cause the motherboard to break (almost literally).

In case your mainboard breaks, NO, you can NOT easily get a new one. The only “easy” way (as in: replace and you are good to go) is to get a exactly same replacement part from DELL. If you can’t get that, you can not just place any similar mainboard in there and expect everything to run as before. To the very least, your windows (probably OEM version with a special activation, bound to special DELL BIOSes) will not run easily (eg. without registration, or even legally) with the new board. Etc. Etc.

If shipping, a relatively safe bet is to use the original packaging of the PC (valid for shipping packaging of complete PCs from top manufacturers, not valid for example for packaging of just a case you bought seperately)

Yep, temperature and pressure in the cargo hold are OK for electronics. Allow them to slowly warm up to room temperature for a day or so after landing, and you will be fine. In this time also most moisture that maybe built up inside should be gone.

“I can’t risk losing it or any of the information on it”? If you don’t do it already, START BACKUPING now. Buy a USB disk, and use some free backup tool regularily. Start before you move. Examples: … -programs/

And just on a side note: Dell inspiron for work doesn’t sound like a perfect fit for your application. Dell has lines for consumers, and lines for business. For business try to stick to the business lines (doesnt matter if HP, Dell, Fujitsu, Lenovo, …) - especially if you say stuff like “I can’t risk losing it or any of the information on it”.

So try Optiplex instead next time. Those business / corporate PCs are not 100% failsafe either of course, but they are designed much more thoughtful in the details. Most people probably can’t tell the difference (“LOL the have both 1.33GHz, so they are the same”), but there is :wink:

Hey Olm -

Yah, backup I agree (call me a belt and bracers chap, but I had one stored in the UK before leaving, and one on an external hard-drive also carried with me in hand luggage.) I’m an incremental, on-site/off-site/online storage backup fiend!

Still would be a ball ache to re-install tons of software regardless of backed-up files / recovery disk etc - I reckon about a week or two of my spare evenings would be up the spout! :wink:

Anti-static bags great idea - didn’t realise bubblewrap wasn’t antistatic, but looks like I got lucky… :slight_smile:. I think if anyone else were to try this, and used anti-static bags, putting only the empty case, and monitors in the hold, they’ve a fair chance of happy days the other end.

Thanks for tips re optiplex, but never used Dell support, and the Inspiron isn’t exactly a ‘strict’ workhorse. I do play around on it as well - seemed a pretty good buy at the time for 600 squids tbh. Think the monitors alone were going for 250/300 at the time. Only real issue for me is that the bios is locked down.

Might bash the bios or slip another mobo in there at some point, but I digress - hallelujah, it’s working after the flight - main thing!

*Oh - sidenote - we had to get 220/240V looped off the air-con in our apartment - Taiwan being 110V. Might sound stupid, but I’d only ever used my phone charger and laptop here before - which obviously (I had nooooo idea…) can handle UK or TW voltages…


Stripped out before bubble wrap!

Putting it back together again - there was a lot of bubble wrap and cardboard in the bin by this point - just make sure you don’t do what I did - use anti-static bags as Olm suggested -