A Case for Case Modding

You can easily assemble a killer configuration for your desktop PC and have it up and running in a matter of hours.  This is enough for most users, but there is a community of tech enthusiasts that have found a way to make mass produced desktop PCs actual works of functional art.

Each component provides unique customization possibilities, but a computer case is always a pivotal part of the PC modding.  Just remember that once you get the ball rolling, it will be difficult to ever stop playing around.

On the case

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PC modding is a fun project, but it is meticulous work, full of details.  Going step by step is a sound choice and the first move is most often the least-likely-to-mess-up one: modifying the case.  This layer keeps all computer components together, and protected from dust and physical damage.  It can be easily renovated and redecorated.  There are no hard rules in terms of the visual appeal you can achieve: You may go bombastic or laid-back, subtle or showy.  Yet, you might find the word “rule” quite a lot when you discuss case modding techniques.

There are no hard rules in terms of the visual appeal you can achieve: You may go bombastic or laid-back, subtle or showy.

Firstly, you should prime the case and prepare it for the paint job.  It is recommended to use automotive spray paint because it gives you the cleanest finish.  You can pick your favorite color, but keep in mind the color of your other computer parts to avoid a visual cacophony.  Do not use brushes, they will leave sloppy brushstroke marks and look like a really amateur job.  A 2K clear coat, provides a perfect finishing touch after the painting process.

Another thing you can do is to make your own logo or graphic for the case.  Think beyond often-used motifs like flaming skulls and get your creative juices flowing.  You will need a roll of vinyl and a scalpel.  Transfer your ideal motif to the back of the vinyl and cut it out.  This activity demands some patience and practice, so do not throw the towel in after a few attempts.  Getting it just right is well worth it, the final effect will wow the tech-savvy and the majority just the same.

Think beyond often-used motifs like flaming skulls and get your creative juices flowing.

Aim for the sky

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When you choose and finish your case project, you can scratch beneath the surface (unless your case project has embedded external measurement units, in which case, you’ll need to get your head around the logistics of which step comes first).

Note that high quality branded components are the easiest to work with, and the least likely to fail on you.

Modding is best done with fresh computer parts – you’re essentially assembling a new desktop PC.  Definitely use new computer parts, they will go a long way performance-wise.  A GTX 960 4G GPU, for example, has an LED logo, which casts some cool light to work around.  If you do not like the glow, you can use colored glass paint to dim it.  Another option is to buy a new LED light, which is pretty cheap, and do a little re-wiring.

Once you get a hold of the basics, the sky is the limit.  To name a few extraordinary examples, there is a wooden case with embedded monitor and keyboard, which emulates the classic appearance of mid-century clunky computers.  A tower case modified so that it resembles a WWII field radio also stands out, it is a real treat for Wolfenstein fans.  Finally, it is worth mentioning the “Fish tank,” a mineral oil-cooled computer case that does not only look stunning, but uses a funky method to cool the interior.

Case closed

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Cutting-edge hardware in modern tech beasts always emit a pleasant purr.  But, you should also complement the functionality with some striking visuals.  Making and owning an epic, home-built computer is a great privilege, but one that requires you to roll up the sleeves.  With a bit of patience, skill and a sense of design, you can let imagination guide you.  Sketch some designs, visualize what you want before you start working.  Take your time.  All DIYs are fun, and this is one that you’ll get to use, and maybe even submit to a competition when you are finished with it.


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