How To Customize Your PC Case & Achieve Professional Results

THG's Exclusive Interview With Steve Horch, Continued

THG - Right now, what do you consider the most popular case mod to be ?

SH - I think that right now lighted windows are all the rage. I have been doing lighted windows for a little over three years, but only in the last couple of months has it really started to catch on. Three years ago when I started doing windows in cases, it was a big gamble doing a window and getting it to look good, but now it is better because the kits have improved. In fact, I have been producing my own custom window kits (that I sell on my web-site) that I have designed to provide a variety of effects that folks are looking for.

THG - Why do you think that lighted case windows have only started to catch on now ?

SH - Wider availability, for one thing, has led to people seeing more cases that have the windows. People are now able to buy the window kits from an increasing number of sources, which has led to more people giving this mod a try. You can tell it is popular when companies like Chieftec and Antec are now selling pre-made windowed case side panels separately for people who have already purchased their cases. In addition, companies are starting to make cases available in colors other than the standard beige, black, and sliver. This is just an example of another evolution in the marketing of case modding to the public at large. This indicates the wider level of acceptance that case modding is receiving.

The neon lighting in this case isn’t really bright enough to show up well in a picture, and this is a good example why there has been an increased movement toward using cold cathode lighting : it emits more light with a better color cast than neon does.

THG - You touched on the lighting behind the windows, do you think that the lighting effects have progressed as well ?

SH - In the first case mods that I saw that featured lighting, most people were using neon lighting. Neon lighting, in my opinion, does not put out enough light in the bigger cases, which isn’t a problem if you are not really concerned about being able to see inside the case and you are strictly going for the effect. But the use of cold cathode lighting can really light up the entire case. Naturally, this has presented a new problem, which is that many folks who are lighting up the inside of their case don’t spend the kind of time working on the cable management, which then leads to a sloppy look inside the case. One of the biggest tips that I can give anyone considering a window and lighting, is to spend time working on your cable management strategy. I like to try to find as many innovative ways as possible to hide the cables to give the case a very polished look. Consider using wire looms, rounded cables, cable ties, and hidden areas of the case to hide cables and make it look more polished. I use a lot of Chieftec and Antec cases and like to use the areas behind the drive bays and the area behind the power supply to hide cables and get them out of the way. Another important tip is do not use cables that are any longer than you need. Getting that impressive cabling look like a Crazypaint, Voodoo, or Alienware PC is possible with a little hard work, and if you have a window with a light, everyone can enjoy the fruits of your efforts.