So, you’ve built or purchased a new desktop PC and you love the way it functions on the inside, but you really aren’t crazy about how it looks on the outside? You’re not alone. PC users for many years have taken to modifying or replacing their PC cases to make them look a little more appealing than they do from the factory.
In many cases, enthusiasts have gone so far as to take a rotary tool to their case in order to install custom fan ports, windows, and even some artistic designs to make their PC look as good as it runs. This may be as simple as buying a pre-built case that shines a bit better than what the OEM has provided, but what’s the fun in that, really?
Here, we’ll talk about some ways PC users have made their system look cooler.
Artistic Side Panels
Perhaps the most popular modification folks make to their PCs involves the side panel used to access the components. This panel is a removable door that commonly sports a small latch or thumb screws that secure it in place. It’s a great canvas on which artists can place some personal work of art that makes the PC stand apart from any other in the room. In addition, some case manufacturers have special edition side panels with artwork from popular video games such as World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, and Guild Wars 2.
When we asked the community about how they modify their desktop PCs, JL Thomas responded: “I have custom painted many, many PC cases… auto body paint works awesome!”
Windows, Lighting, and Fancy Components
If artwork isn’t your forte, perhaps a window that allows you to see some of the inner workings of your desktop tower is more your style? The addition of windows on cases became widely popular in the early 2000s as PC owners purchased acrylics and gaskets, and carved interesting shapes into their cases.
Lights are commonly coupled with windows in order to emphasize the beauty of the motherboard and/or the additional components. CPU fans, RAM, and even the connecting cables have become as valued for their aesthetic qualities as they are for their performance for this very reason. It’s almost difficult these days to find an aftermarket case without at least some acrylic or perspex on it somewhere. Hamlesh Motah, a member of the community, added: “Perspex is your best friend, as well as blue LED and cold cathodes!”
If you really want to go all out, you might want to look for motherboards and add-on components that respond to black lights. Adding a black light to the inside of your case can have a dramatic impact on the overall look and visual appeal of your PC.
Build Your Own Case
For extreme case modders, there’s the option to build your own case from scratch. There are entire communities dedicated to showing off and helping folks with creating their own interesting and unique designs. Whether you want your desktop tower to resemble R2-D2 or a cardboard box, there is really no limit to what you can do with the right components and imagination.
My personal favorite designs are steampunk-inspired and feature a blend of old-world materials such as oak and brass with the modern internals of today’s systems.
Some creative modders have built fully functional PCs into everyday appliances such as microwaves and old fish tanks. I’ve even seen a PC that looked like a badly damaged UPS package, complete with a pop-out DVD-R drive bay that resembled a shipping label.
Either way, modifying or otherwise improving upon the aesthetics of your PC can be a great do-it-yourself (DIY) project that will teach you more about the inner workings of a computer as well as help you get those creative juices flowing for other (perhaps more profitable) projects down the line.
Photo By: Oliver Lüscher