Art on the Outside, Power on the Inside
A custom-made desktop PC should be as unique as the person who built it. From commercially-available cases you can use in your own projects to custom mods from chassis artists, these are the coolest-looking PC cases, concepts, and mods we've seen so far this year.
All Images Credit: Tom's Guide
Donkey Kong Case
This mod’s design harkens back to Nintendo's 8-bit classic from 1981. Built by Thermaltake's U.S. team and based on a Tower 900 chassis, the Donkey Kong PC has original Nintendo glass and stickers, an eighties-tastic blue paint job, and a cooling pipe layout that looks just like the ladders and planks in the game. It also plays the Donkey Kong theme song.
TTower 1O1 (Taipei 101 Case)
Belgian Mike Petereyns' custom case brings new meaning to the term "full tower." Like many of the mods showcased in Thermaltake's Computex booth, it’s based on the Tower 900 case. This one is made to look like world-famous skyscraper Taipei 101. Green-tinted windows and green coolant match the color scheme of Taiwan's most famous building. A spire on top of the case completes the look. Unfortunately, unlike the real building, there's no Din Tai Fung restaurant in the base.
Winbot. It’s a case, and it’s a robot, sort of. It has a plexiglass dome, with aluminum structures that can support an E-ATX motherboard and 340mm-long graphics cards, and it has eight PCIe slots and four HDD modules--but it’s much more than that. It has a dual camera module that lets you make gestures (to, say, move the case on its axis, electronically), or to allow for facial recognition (for authentication, mainly). If you’ve got an Amazon Alexa, it will assist with voice recognition, as well. You can command Winbot to take photos using its camera. It’s unclear if In-Win will take this case to market, and if so, when, and at what price.
Inspired by Crossout, a popular post-apocalyptic MMO, the WarCar looks like a jeep that's ready for a fight, complete with dual machine gun turrets and a skull on the front. Unlike most mods you see, this car was built from scratch and not based on an existing commercial chassis. Designed by a modder named FUXK, this chassis is about the size of a child's electric car so it would take a fair amount of work to transport it to your next LAN party. It also makes a point of hiding its motherboard. When we saw WarCar in person at Colorful's Computex 2017 booth, we had to look under the canopy just to see that there were components inside.
The Quadstellar follows Deepcool’s Tristellar case from 2015. Where the Tristellar had three distinct compartments joined at the center of the case, the Quadstellar’s four compartments flow into each other much more. The device now has room for an ATX motherboard and four dual-slot graphics cards. The motherboard spans from the core of the chassis into one of the compartments, with the graphics cards all located towards the center of the chassis. The additional three cabins consequently offer room for a 280-mm long ATX PSU and up to nine 3.5-inch hard drives, or twelve 2.5-inch units and the cooling hardware.
There’s room for up to a 360mm radiator up front and a 240mm unit at the bottom. The front air intake also has a neat trick up its sleeve: When the internal case temperature rises, it will open up to allow for more air flow.
Modder Ronnie Hara of Japan took a Thermaltake Tower 900 and turned it into a metallic steampunk masterpiece. The case has elements of copper, silver, and leather to give it that high-tech 19th century look. We particularly like the giant purple cooling reservoirs inside that make the components look more like a mad scientist's lair than a PC. A bas relief Aorus logo adorns the left side to let you know that some of the components inside from Aorus / Gigabyte.
H.R. Giger-Inspired Case
Artist H.R. Giger's creepy monster designs inspired the look of the Xenomorph from the Alien Movies and also this case. Designer Ron Lee Christianson used a Thermaltake Tower 900 chassis and added the haunting head, bones, and body parts with custom-sculpted foam and epoxy clay. Christianson was inspired specifically by Giger's 1977 book “Necronomicon.”
Corsair Concept Slate
Want one PC for streaming and another for gaming? This giant tower case has room for two different, discrete computers inside, each with its own power button, liquid cooling system, and collection of storage drives. The entire Concept Slate case is made from glass and aluminum with room for over 30 different case fans and three different radiators. As built, the prototype on display at Corsair's Computex suite weighed around 150 pounds. There’s no word on when or whether this is coming to market.
In-Win "The Floating"
Letting it all hang out, the Floating is an open case with RGB-lit structures to which you can attach to your PC parts. The case is made of reflective tempered glass. On the upper left side, there’s an LED readout of sensor metrics (temperature, fan speed--you know the drill). Other structural parts are made of aluminum, and being an open case, it can support pretty much any number and size components you can throw at it. At Computex 2017, The Floating showcased an Asus Crosshair VI motherboard with individually addressable RGB lights, coupled with In-Win’s Aurora fans that have their own individually addressable RGB lights, and all of the components sitting on structures outlined in, you guessed it, addressable RGB lights.
Pirates of the Caribbean Case
If watching five different movies with Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow character isn't enough for you, you can always make your PC look like this one. Based on a Thermaltake Tower 900, Modder Corey Gregory's case comes complete with a sunken ship inside, a skull on top, and seaweed accents sprouting from the top. We particularly like the rusty aesthetic that makes the panels look like the sides of a pirate ship.
Death Race Case
Designer Suchao Prowphong modified this Thermaltake Core WP 100 case to look like one of the cars in the Jason Statham movie “Death Race.” The machine-gun turrets and steel aesthetic are meant to remind you of the way prisoners in the film built their cars out of metal scraps. To be fair, this chassis is much cooler and more memorable than the film.
TitanFall 2 Case
Inspired by the popular first-person shooter game, Jesse Palacio's TitanFall 2 case has a number of great design elements, including a series of sci-fi-style dials on the bottom and and a battleworn aesthetic that makes it look it has been through war. The name "Liberty" emblazoned near the bottom is a tribute to the artist's grandmother.
Robot / Motorcyle Case
Chassis Artist Siwasak Sirisomboon modified a Thermaltake Core X5 case and turned it into this futuristic device that we can't fully describe. Depending on how you view it, this chassis either looks like a battle robot or a Tron-like motorcyle. Either way, the eerie green and red lights give this computer an attractive sci-fi aesthetic.We particularly like the two coolant reservoirs on the front and the sleek black "head."
MYTHRA Spaceship Case
This PC is ready for an epic StarCraft campaign or a real trip to Alpha Centauri, whichever you have time for. Built by Brazilian artist Maciel Barreto from a modified Thermaltake Core X71 chassis, the computer is meant to look like a spacecraft that uses plasma as an energy source. The case also features a Tesla sphere with glowing purple bolts of energy that looks like some kind of hyper drive. The bottom front surface has a touch screen which you can use to control the fans and lighting. You can see the MYTHRA (spelled there as MYTRA) in action in Barreto's YouTube video.
Cooler Master MasterBox Q300T
This steel-framed chassis takes Fat Joe's advice and gets your computer to lean back at a 45-degree angle. Shaped like a cube, the Q300T almost appears to float as it sits on its base platform. Glass panels adorn every surface and let you see all of the component and lighting goodness you choose to put on the inside. We particularly like the angled front, top and bottom surfaces. A set of handles makes it easy to carry this case to LAN parties.
Cryorig Taku Case
A throwback to the days when desktop computers sat horizontally under your monitor, the Cryorig Taku is designed to save space. This thin chassis has a slideout drawer but packs enough room for a mini-ITX motherboard with full-length graphics cards and three storage drives. The legs leave room for you to store a keyboard underneath while a monitor can sit on top of it.
Corsair Concept Curve
Built from pricey carbon fiber--and by “pricey,” we mean a cool $10,000 worth of carbon fiber just on this one prototype--Concept Curve has curved tempered glass to give it the feel of a luxury car. Just a prototype right now, Curve is based on an existing Corsair Graphite 780T, but Corsair built it to show its chops working with different types of materials.
Calyos NSG-SO PC
This chassis acts almost entirely as a heat sink, and it uses phase change cooling for the processors. The cooler uses a capillary pump to send a few grams of pentafluoropropane through the cooling loop. It becomes vapor thanks to the heat source, and as it passes through the radiator it returns to liquid form and travels back to the pump. This means no mechanical or moving parts and no fans. Even the PSU (from Seasonic) is fanless. The case weighs about 22 kg, and that includes the chassis, cooling, and tempered glass protection. Its dimensions are 537 x 495 x 276mm, and it’ll set you back $675.