August 13, 2002
7:59 AM   Subscribe

Tired of your black Dell prefab? Enter the world of extreme computing. Mod your CD drives, find amazing custom cases, and add a window. Timid about hacking up your box? Get inspired by browsing a gallery of "pimp rigs".
posted by xyzzy (28 comments total)
This post was inspired by a new toy I picked up at Ratshack, purely for aesthetic purposes. What have you bought for your inner geek lately? =)
posted by xyzzy at 8:00 AM on August 13, 2002

God I hate my dell, for technical and aesthetic reasons, but I'm reticent to ditch the case if I ever want to re-sell it.

Casemodding is pure geek tomfoolery, its so nerdy it scares even me. I like it, though.
posted by insomnyuk at 8:06 AM on August 13, 2002

Why mod your case when you can buy them pre-modded?
posted by internal at 8:10 AM on August 13, 2002

Depends on how geeky you are, I guess. ;)
posted by xyzzy at 8:12 AM on August 13, 2002

Yes, yes! Glow in the dark components!

I think I've been waiting my whole life for this...
posted by jokeefe at 8:14 AM on August 13, 2002

I've got to say it. This rocks.
posted by Songdog at 8:19 AM on August 13, 2002

I painted a case once... gold sides, blue front (including CD-ROM drive, ZIP drive and floppy), blue LEDs.

Two weeks later the CD-ROM drive died and I bought a new one... so much for that look.

And a few months later (dude!) I got a Dell anyway.

Really though, it was a lot of effort for little gain. When I use my computer I'm looking at the monitor, not the case. I'm glad I didn't go all-out with the original plan, a water-cooled monstrosity done up to look like an aquarium.

I'll admit there are some creative cases out there, but the window-and-light kits just don't do it for me. Like bolting a big spoiler on a Civic.
posted by Foosnark at 8:20 AM on August 13, 2002

The joy of case mods aside, you can get a much better looking cases mod-free: this CoolerMaster, for example. Simple and tasteful shape easy to fit into future space. Yes!
posted by malphigian at 8:26 AM on August 13, 2002

(scroll to bottom)

Wow. It's wacky, sure, but it's some kind of dream of mine... Your coffee's as close as your mouse. That's innovation.
posted by argybarple at 8:28 AM on August 13, 2002

There's an even better picture of my fave here.

I painted a cheap plastic case metallic blue a few years ago before I'd even heard the term "case modding". I even did the front panels of the drives. But I was impatient and did a sloppy job on the painting. Now I'm looking for an metallic red aluminum case that doesn't cost an arm and a leg :)

On preview: argybarple - that's the one I've been linking to also. But between us we found three different links :)
posted by Songdog at 8:32 AM on August 13, 2002

I have modded my case, half for functional reasons and half for aesthetic.

I have an aluminum case, and both the DVD drive and CD burner have cover plates on them made from the blank drive covers that came with the case. When the drawers are closed the drives completely disappear, such that it looks like a smooth expanse of empty drive slots. I did this because I have an autistic son who loves to push buttons, and before I did this he would endlessly open and close the drive drawers. I have also unplugged the reset button, and have the power button set through Advanced Power Management to do nothing once the system is booted. Prior to making these mods, I cannot tell you how many times I was in the middle of writing something only to have my computer abruptly shut down by my son.

On the aesthetic side, I did cut out a case window and add an internal light. The window is actually cut out in the shape of my logo, and I rather like it. Yeah, it's geeky, but I still like it.
posted by Lokheed at 8:32 AM on August 13, 2002

You can buy it all pre-made from Voodoo, Falcon, Ibuypower (in order of price)
posted by stbalbach at 8:40 AM on August 13, 2002

Rice. That's all it is. This case moding behavior is no different than bolting giant aluminum wings on economy cars.
posted by shagoth at 8:47 AM on August 13, 2002

This is a little different, shagoth. These people have no illusions about their case mods improving system performance.
posted by Songdog at 8:50 AM on August 13, 2002

This was always my favorite. They were supposed to overclock the guts of a G4, but I just always thought the case looked totally boss.
posted by password at 8:55 AM on August 13, 2002

I just don't buy the geeky claim any more than bolt on rice is geeky car guy stuff. It's not gearhead overclocking, there is no soldering involved, it's not even software geeking spending time tuning machine performance. It's pure show. There's nothing wrong with show, but it's not geeky anymore than painting blue duck shaped trivets is craft geeking.

Geeking a modern machine involves oscilloscopes and advanced understanding of tech. You like mods, fine, but using terminology to lump it with real hackers, developers, and geeks is exactly the same as riceboy behavior.
posted by shagoth at 8:57 AM on August 13, 2002

Custom paint jobs are cool. Especially when they match your 70s style van. Tom's Hardware Guide has a nice article on doing it yourself. Another good site to buy stuff, PCMods. Finally my nomination for the modding site with the best name.
posted by monkeyman at 9:01 AM on August 13, 2002

I dunno.. I consider it design geek more than anything else.

I know that a window and a reflective DVD ROM drive isn't going to make my movies play faster, but it looks pretty fuggin cool. =)
posted by xyzzy at 9:03 AM on August 13, 2002

shagoth, what I mean is that the modders (some of them, at least) are doing this purely for aesthetic reasons. To dress up the home office, for instance, or (more commonly) to make their like-minded friends green with envy at the next LAN party. Some of these individuals may also be overclocking their systems, but I would agree that "real" computer hot-rodding is completely orthogonal to case modding.

But whether it runs fast or slow, if you're going to stare at it 8+ hours per day, why not have something you like to look at?
posted by Songdog at 9:12 AM on August 13, 2002

Password:that would be a cool G4 case, yes, but apparently the reason it looks like a retro-style microphone is because it is a photoshopped retro-style microphone. Yeah, I was disappointed too. : (
posted by furiousthought at 9:12 AM on August 13, 2002

Design geek? Wouldn't that lump you in with all the people whose houses are filled with handmade duck dolls, copper punch art, faux burma shave ads, and window treatments courtesy of MJ Designs?
posted by ilsa at 9:14 AM on August 13, 2002

I wouldn't hang a Burma Shave ad if someone paid me a million dollars. ;)

Currently, my apartment is decorated in modern cheap. =) Glass desk, black and silver bookcases, and a giant handpainted Japanese fan on the wall. =)
posted by xyzzy at 9:29 AM on August 13, 2002


My company was actually selling these for a while. Not much actual computing power, but it made one hell of a conversation piece. There was also a rOctane CD player.

Custom paint jobs are cool.

But you really need chrome side pipes to get the full effect.

Unfortunately, I have to settle for this.
posted by MrBaliHai at 10:33 AM on August 13, 2002

But whether it runs fast or slow, if you're going to stare at it 8+ hours per day, why not have something you like to look at?

who stares at their cpu? I stare at my monitor... and it happens to be a 22 in. cinema display that I think looks cool enough as-is..
posted by PugAchev at 10:59 AM on August 13, 2002

MrBH: "My company was actually selling (Gaggia Espressigos) for a while..."



50Hz Gaggia CPU (Coffee Processing Unit)
30 ml primary coffee cache
approximatly 1.5l secondary water cache
regulation with thermostat
brewing with water steam
up to two cups per cycle
fully compatible to all usual breeds of espresso

posted by argybarple at 11:01 AM on August 13, 2002

PugAchev - Me too, but some people may take notice of the rest of the room more often than you or I ;) I wonder why we don't see more modded monitors, come to think of it.
posted by Songdog at 12:04 PM on August 13, 2002

7.87'' (width) by 7.13'' (height) by 11.02'' (depth)

small form factor from shuttle computers.

this is my next purchase (ok, i may get the amd version, not intel). combine that with eventual flat screens and wireless everywhere, and my computer room can actually be attractive, as well as functional.
posted by lescour at 8:04 PM on August 13, 2002

Actually, I've modded my monitor to look like a log cabin. The monitor is framed in preserved twigs and branches for that log cabin look and I've made a "stone" foundation and chimney using grey pebbles and white caulk which hides the boring old base of the monitor. The monitor is capped with a "clapboard" and shingle roof. The clapboard is actaully a facade of specialty paper which has the look of old wooden planks and the shingles are carefully cut and stained popsicle/craft sticks. A hole was carved out of the logs so I could easily turn the monitor off and on.

The whole thing is on a base of thick cardboard and attached to the computer with hidden velcro for easy removal should I ever want to sell the thing.
posted by Modgoddess at 3:33 AM on August 14, 2002

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