There once was a time when the act of modifying a computer case involved putting a few stickers on it, or, for the more daring, adding some of your own artwork with a permanent marker. Today, PC case modders are only limited by their imagination. Almost anything can be modified to house a computer, while some cases can be altered to such a point that they end up resembling works of art, rather than a container for a series of components.
The last few years has seen the case modding community really take off, with hundreds of examples of the most mind-blowing rigs appearing. These machines are a real testament to the builder's engineering skills and creativity; no longer are all PCs judged only by what's inside the box, but the also the box itself.
There's so many incredible examples to pick from, this list could have reached over 100 entries, narrowing it down to 20 wasn't an easy task. Elements such as design, looks, hardware and construction difficulty were all taken into account when deciding which cases to include.
With amazing PC's built by fans slaving away alone, to teams of specialists creating computers for hardware companies, here are 20 of the most amazing case mods you'll ever see.
20 - Edelweiss
We start off with a case mod that may be six years old, but is still an absolutely beautiful piece of work. The Edelweiss, created by Pius Giger in Switzerland, was first constructed in 2006, but rebuilt and updated in 2009.
With its large, exterior reservoir catching eye straight away, the Edelweiss wouldn't look of place sitting in Doctor Emmett Brown's lab. The whole system contains some heavy duty water cooling apparatus - although whether the tubing to that exterior hard drive serves a function or is just for aesthetics is unclear. For more images of this beauty, click here
19 – Asus Rog Maximini
With the advent of Mini-ITX motherboards, PC’s can now be crammed into the smallest of housings. This example, created by modder Reapervon using components from PC specialist Asus, shows how a complete and fairly powerful gaming rig can be contained in something as small as a RC sized car.
A lot of thought has gone into the layout and design of this case; by placing the power supply unit in the boot, motherboard inside the car and graphics card in the ‘engine’, the space available has been perfectly utilized. And as for the impressive specs of this little racer: A Maximus VII Impact motherboard, Intel Core i7 4970K ‘Devil’s Canyon’ CPU, an ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU mini, 16GB of Kingston DDR3 and an Intel 730 Series SSD.
18 – Hulk
Not only is this case awesome because of Hulk’s hand bursting through and grabbing Ultron, but the work on the inside is equally as impressive. The water cooling set, power cables and even the fans all come in the colors associated with Bruce Banner’s alter-ego: green, like his skin, and purple, like the pants he seems to permanently wear.
This PC also packs a Hulk sized amount of power: an i7-5820k, MSI X99S MOBO, MSI R9 290X Gaming 4G GPU, three 120GB SSDs, and a gamma-irradiated (possibly) THIRTY TWO Gb of DDR4 RAM! Hulk Smash!
17 – The AT-AT
Is there anything that adding a Star Wars theme to won’t make better? No, no there isn’t. And when it comes to PC case mods, there are few as impressively geeky as this AT-AT. There were actually a number of Star Wars cases to choose from, including R2-D2 and even a Millennium Falcon, but for my money the AT-AT takes first prize for the Empire in this category.
Created by modder Asphiax, the case uses an elaborate watercooling system to keep its Hasbro plastic body from melting. It boasts red interior lighting and the lasers on the head even light up; you’re never too old to appreciate flashing lasers on Star Wars models.
16 – Hellboy
Shown here on display at Computex 2014, this Hellboy case from computer hardware company Gigabyte would be a great PC for fans of the movies/comics. The steampunk design is awesome, while the digital front panel is perfectly incorporated into the case’s theme - it even has a matching golden display. And what better way to add a finishing touch to this case than a huge bust of Ron Perlman’s Hellboy sitting on top.
As for what’s sitting beneath the man/boy/demon : a tiny, Mini-ITX motherboard, along with a i7-4790S processor, a 128 Gb SSD HD, and a GTX 770 GPU.
15 - Wall-E
Possibly the cutest PC case ever constructed, this brilliant recreation of Disney's Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class, or Wall-E, is incredibly detailed, right down to the dirt that covers the robot's frame. There's even a domesticated toy cockroach that was added to the build!
The whole thing was designed and constructed a few years ago by a Russian modder, so the component specifics are unknown. What is known is that it took 18 days to complete and the majority of Wall-E was created using precisely cut processed metal sheets.
14 - Mineral Oil PC
Fool your friends into thinking you own a fish tank filled with computer components by creating a submerged PC. You may wonder how a something like this doesn't electrocute you, destroying your hardware and house electrics in the process, it's because the case is filled with mineral oil. This odourless liquid does not have free electrons, which have to be present in order to conduct electricity, meaning it's non-conductive and 100% safe to your hardware.
There are quite a few builds of this kind, and they all look particularly impressive, but it's this example from modder Andrew Mollmann (legoman666) that really sticks out. The case is handmade and Andrew had many issues to overcome - including a soaked bedroom floor when it started leaking gallons of oil - but in the end he created something amazing. The Sin City poster on the wall also gets him some coolness points.
13 - Minion
Not wanting to be outdone by Wall-E in the cuteness stakes, here we have a case based on the always-eager-to-serve Minions from Despicable Me (and later their own movie, of course).
Built by Ronnie Hara, the minion's color scheme continues on the inside of this modified Cooler Master Cosmos II case. The rigid watercooled tubing and reservoir is filled with bright yellow fluid, while the MSI motherboard, R9 270X HAWK GPU and HyperX SSD also come in matching shades of yellow.
12 - The Devastator
If Hellraiser's Pinhead was a fan of PC games, then this would be the rig he'd own. The aptly titled Devastator, from Russian modders Wehr Wolf, is a case mod that seems to combine elements of cyberpunk, car engines, and Hell itself. Being from Russian builders, details regarding the case are thin on the ground, what could be found had to be translated from a German site by Google - always a reliable way to gather information.
The cooler system on the top is actually a functional piece which uses a special attachment to keep it in place. It has three power sources and eleven pumps, while the hard disk activity is shown through a vacuum tube oscilloscope at the front. It's also suspended on springs, has wheels, and is covered in chains. Practical AND scary.
11 - The Dreadnought
"In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war" or so the cheery saying from the Games Workshop 40K universe goes. One of the war machines from this world is the mighty Dreadnought - think ED209, just a lot tougher and with more weapons.
This particular model of Dreadnought contains a fully functional PC inside it, rather than a fallen Space Marine's sarcophagus. Built by 40K fan and modder Pinchillo, the minigun on this enormous case actually spins round, while the exterior red lights add to the overall menacing effect. It may be a bit impractical, but who cares! It's a Dreadnought!
10 - Wall Mounted PC
It may stretch the classification of a case mod, seeing as this PC isn't really in a case, but when it comes to modding your own computer, you won't find many better examples of creativity and engineering than this wall mod.
While there are a handful of wall mounted PCs about, none are as clean and aesthetically pleasing as this one from Canadian modder Show4Pro. It took him 4 weeks and over 100 hours to complete the project. Time well spent, some would say, as it's both a beautiful and powerful show piece. With 2 HD7970 GPUs, an i7 950, 4 SSD, 4 HDDs, and a Asus Rampage III Extreme holding it all together, it's no wonder there are three monitors being used in this incredible setup.
9 - The LANboy Apocalypse
From BIll Owen and MNPCTech comes the LANboy Apocalypse. This case follows the theme of a makeshift post-apocalyptic nuclear fusion generator. That huge fan behind the stainless steel, radiation marked radiator has 11 switchable LED color modes. As well as the various switches, faucets and pipes, the computer's power supply is located on the exterior roof of the case.
As for what's inside, there's a i7 970, an EVGA X-58 Motherboard, 12 Gb of RAM, a SSD and a GTX 560. More images and a breakdown of this excellent build can be found here.
8 - Steampunk Frankenstein
There are a huge number of talent modders that have given their PCs a steampunk makeover. Picking one out of all of the amazing examples available wasn't easy, but in the end it just had to be the Steampunk Frankenstein by Dana Mattocks.
At 8 foot tall and 400 pounds, this is surely one of the largest and heaviest computer case mod ever assembled. With its numerous brass valves, gears, clock faces and dials, this is a steampunk machine Jules Verne would be proud of. It also has a huge water cooling system inside, keeping this massive machine from overheating.
7 - Battlestar Galactica
This amazing case is the work of modder Boddaker, and is based on the Battlestar Galactica television series (the newer one, obviously, not sure what one based on the 70's show would look like - get on it, modders).
The case is designed to resemble the ship from the show, with armour paneling, side engine pods, and even a landing strip on top with sequentially flashing lights. But one of the coolest features of this case is the three 2.5 inch LCD screens on the front, which give a readout of the system conditions (fan speed, temperature etc). There's even huge, 10 inch LCD screen in the side of the case that shows episodes of the show - perfect for when you're waiting games to load. The final, beautiful touch to this case is the motorised side door that slides back to reveal the water cooled components inside.
6 - Asus ROG/In Win Transformer Case
Okay, so maybe it's stretching the term 'modded case' a bit, but technically it is a PC case that has been modified... right? Anyway, it's so incredibly awesome that it's getting a place here.
Revealed only a couple of days ago at Computex, this case - from Asus' Republic of Gamers line and with some help from In Win - 'transforms' at the touch of button. The case opens up and the PCs inner workings expands outwards, allowing for easy access to its components. Very handy for those of us who have to pull our PCs apart on the bedroom floor every time they need upgrading, and, of course, it looks amazing while it's transforming. Asus has said this isn't a one off and will become a mass produced model. When it is released, expect it to be one of the most expensive cases available - but can you really put a price on owning a PC that's also a transformer? No.
5 - Project WMD
Were someone to find this in your house they're more likely to call the police than ask how well it handles The WItcher 3. Project WMD - weapon of mass destruction, is a PC from Australian modder G-gnome. All that you see here really works; the keypad programs the timer to go up/down, it's alarmed and the tubes carry the water cooling fluid, it even slides out of its chassis like a real WMD (I expect). There's also a Fan-O-Matic Pro VFD in the upper window that controls the two pumps and radiator fans in the water cooling system, it also monitors flow and temperature, and has four indicator LEDs set into the timer.
The entire stainless steel construction is powered by two PSU's, and most of the build is entirely custom made. The technical skill required to make something like this is truly mind blowing.
4 - Project Snowblind
Looking more like a piece of modern art than a computer, project snowblind is the work of Richard Surroz aka Darth Beavis and mod/cooling company Primochill. Built to celebrate Asus' 500-millionth-motherboard mark, Project Snowblind's case is actually a laser-and plasma-cut Praxis chassis.
Shown off at CES 2015, this PC wouldn't just look at home sitting in a gallery - it's also an absolute beast of a machine. With a Sabretooth Z97 Mark S motherboard, an i7 4790K processor, and the graphical boot of two Asus Geforce 980's behind it, Snowblind is more than likely the most powerful PC's on this list.
3 - Man Of Steel
Superman is another theme that is often used in PC case modding, but this one from MegaSkot stands head and shoulders above the rest. The picture really doesn't do it justice; there are so many brilliant elements to this case.
Virtually every component is colored in Superman's distinctive red, yellow and blue colors. The attention to detail is amazing, even the buttons have kryptonian crests etched into them. And notice the Fortress of Solitude memory crystals sitting on top of the hand made case? amazing. Not only does this project show the modder's creativity, but it's a technical marvel as well; those pipes at the back lead to a radiator that MegaSkot built himself, the water cooling setup is beautifully constructed with a with rigid piping and colored fluid, and the matching power cables are so well managed, they actually make the inside of this machine look better!
Living up to the Man of Steel's reputation, this really is one powerful machine: A Fatal1ty X99M Killer Motherboard, i7 5820K processor, 16Gb DDR4 RAM, and two overclocked Inno3D GTX 970's in a SLI setup.
2 - Streamliner
It takes something really special to win the Bit-Tech mod of the year award, especially when that mod doesn't even use a water cooling system (the only one on this list not to), luckily, the Streamliner really is a breathtaking piece of work, which is why it walked away with the prize in 2014.
Built by modder Aio over two years, the case is inspired by several mid 20th century cars, most notably the 1955 Buick and soviet era GAZ-13. Those pistons inside the case really do work, they're turned on by the switches at the front. There's a old style radio on the side, and the quality of the dials, chrome and era-specific detailing is second to none. An absolute beauty of case with some unparalleled craftsmanship.
1 - Darkblade
There's a reason why the number one slot is taken by a case mod that was started way back in 2004 and completed in 2006 - because it's arguably yet to be bettered. The Darkblade, by modder G69T, gained huge popularity from around the world at the time, even getting coverage from some mainstream news outlets. Why was this? Well, just look at it.
Somehow it manages to look like a PC from the far future, even though it was created nearly ten years ago. The construction and use of components is incredible, and while many modern builds integrate water cooling setups into their design, few, if any, do it with as much style as the Darkblade. The multiple displays, lighting, stand, exterior pipes - all these make this my number one PC mod. The ultimate example of engineering combined with artistry.
Darkblade also helped push the PC modding scene into the limelight, and though it may be hitting its decade birthday soon, it is still, for me, the greatest example of what can be achieved with time, patience, creativity, and, lets face it, quite a bit of money. If in the end, though, you create a masterpiece like this, something which people are still talking about many years later, it's worth all the headaches, spent hours and credit card bills.