Today I want to talk a little about case mods, and most of you won’t need any kind of introduction to case modding anymore, but I need to kick off with some obvious mods before I can talk about the mods that I like to address here. So here goes.
Getting The Right Case
It all starts by getting the right case for your build. Pick whatever brand and model you want, but remember this. You may want to add water cooling or a second power supply, and thus think twice before you order one.
This is probably where most people start. With cable management. Simply put. Re-routing the cables inside the case in such a way that it makes them almost unnoticeable. This is also probably one of the, if not the most inexpensive things you can do. To stop the cable clutter. Something that can be done by everyone. All you need are a couple of ty-raps and possibly a few rubber grommets. Well that and a little time.
The next thing you may want to look into is a modular power supply, in case you don’t have one yet. You know. One where you decide which cable to use, when you need them. Less cables will most certainly help you to reduce cable clutter so if you plan on buying a new PSU… get a modular one. And don’t forget to think green – too much Watt is not only overkill, making it more expensive, but just plain silly.
This may be news to you, but more and more people replace the factory cable sleeves, which are usually black, with something that fits their builds colour scheme. This is a cosmetic only thing, like most of the mods, but there is one thing that you definitely should keep in mind: Don’t mess with the airflow (example below)!
Note: Computer case designers do think about the airflow, and thus when you start to mod your case and F up things in a bad way, then your motherboard and processor end up running in a hotter environment.
A Colour Refresh
A nice colour on the inside, or parts of your case can make a huge difference. All personal preference, but this is where you are in control. You decide what colour(s) you want and where to put them. This can be a simply DIY job with help of some spray cans, or you visit a professional painter. Powder coating is my kind of thing and thus that is what I usually end up doing. Just go with whatever works best for you. After all. You are paying for it.
Replacing the stock fans is another great way of adding something of your own preference to your build. Getting rid of the factory noisy black by replacing the fans with some great looking coloured ones will change the looks of your rig right away.
Fancy a few LEDs in your case? Go get some and enjoy the red, white, blue, green or whatever colour it is that you want for your build. Again. It’s all a personal preference, but some people can’t do without a few LED strips. Whatever works for you…
Your case may not come with a window or you may not like certain drive bays. Or your rad/fans don’t seem to fit. Time to get your hands dirty. To use a rotary tool and cut out the pieces that you’d like to see removed. Want a window in the side panel? Go use Google and see how this works, because that involves far more than I like to discuss here.
Water cooling not only looks nice, but it also gives you the option to overclock your rig. Sometimes far more than the usual air coolers. However. Not all cases have room for radiators, pumps and reservoirs and thus the big question is… is your case ready for water cooling?
Ok. So now we have mentioned a few of the obvious mod candidates, yet none of them make me really happy. I mean look at the PSU. Not a single cable sleeve colour can hide the cables, but I want them gone. And I mean all gone.
Now look at the fan headers on your motherboard. I don’t want to see them. I want them removed. All of them.
Next up. The 8/24-pin headers on the motherboard. Do I need to say more? Yup. I want them removed as well. I just don’t want to see them anymore. Seen them long enough.
Are you nuts? How should this work? Hey. I told you so (see title) this is extreme case modding done the Pike way. No ordinary mods here, but anyway. Let’s talk business.
We start with a PSU mod. Remove the PSU casing and turn the print 90 degrees so that the modular connectors face outward to the motherboard tray – we want a new cut for the cables. Then move the power connector and power switch to the new back side of the power supply. Wait! Why don’t you use a nice sleeved cable and a grommet instead? We don’t necessarily need the power connector/plug. I think that this mod will look awesome.
Last but not least. Put a new cover on the PSU and we are done. Well. Almost. We also want to paint it (see also header removal) to match it with the colour scheme.
The next thing I want to do is to remove the 8-pin and 24-pin connectors from the motherboard – move them to the backside of the motherboard. Then shorten the PSU cables, and make them match the mirrored cable order.
Same kind of deal for the fan headers on the motherboard. Much simpler and less dangerous. But another kick ass mod.
We could do the same for the SATA connectors on the motherboard, but this also requires some custom SATA cables. Not impossible, but a little more daunting.
Moving the connectors to the back of the motherboard does require one additional change and that is that we need a new motherboard tray. This enables us to have only the openings we need for our motherboard. All the rest is gone. No more dust vents.
No More Water Cooling Hoses
I never really liked the water cooling hoses. Whatever colour they are I just don’t want to see them in my build. I want metal tubes. Pipes with as little fittings as possible. Combined with a water block that allows me to connect the pipes on the side of the water block rather than the top. This way you only see a few centimetres. All the rest is hidden behind the motherboard tray. And I want to use the same kind of pipes for the pump and reservoir. To hide as much as possible.
I hear you think. What about the GPU blocks? What about them? You think that we cannot hide them 😉
So what do you think?
Oops. It is getting rather late here, and I have work to do tomorrow… later folks!
Update: Fixed a few typos and change some of the lines – it was getting late yesterday. Ehum. Rather early this morning.