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Part 2: 20 Crazy And Unique Case Mods

Project Lament: HellRaiser Cenobite PC

We couldn't have a little Satan and pentagram inspiration without throwing in a bit of Clive Barker. For the uninitiated, this tortured soul is a Cenobite from the author's "HellRaiser" series.

According to the mod's creator, the PC is "professionally designed and hand-built." It is also completely self-contained, fully upgradable, and water-cooled. It features a built-in 6" LCD monitor, remote-controlled UV eyes, and lasers "shooting" out of its head.

So what is inside this freak show? A Chaintech 7NIF2 nForce2 IGP motherboard, an AMD Athlon XP 3000+ processor, 1 GB of Corsair XMS PC-3200 DDR memory, and an Asus GeForce 6200 video card.

As for storage, the rig has a Western Digital SE 120 GB IDE hard drive and for power it uses the 400 W CoolMax Taurus CX Series silent power supply. Logitech 2.0 stereo speakers and a CD-RW/DVD combo drive are also thrown into the mix.

Believe it or not, the modder was asking a whopping $50,000 for this unique rig, but that was back in 2007. Scary.

Compiano

At one time, this expensive PC mod was up for sale on eBay. Yes, there is actually a PC hidden within that 1904 Chickering upright grand piano. However, everything that made this a musical instrument has been ripped out to make way for the embedded 26" wide-screen Philips LCD HDTV/computer monitor and the computer components.

The hardware specs are somewhat sketchy: 1 GB of RAM, a 500 GB hard drive, Windows XP Media Center Edition that can be controlled by a remote, and a wireless Microsoft mouse and keyboard. Naturally the piano's sliding keyboard cover can be pulled down over the mahogany "desktop" like any other key-equipped piano. A semi-hidden panel automatically slides up and covers the screen at the touch of a button.

"Wrapped in magnificent mahogany, the piano’s warm tones and unique features draw one to it," read the eBay description a few years ago. "It boasts superior craftsmanship, as evident in its intricate carved details, beautifully curved keyboard cover, and exquisite legs. It has a charming history, as many antique pianos do. But this one also has a secret."

This high-class PC was originally built for Elton John. When it hit eBay, the piano carried a huge $20,000 price tag.

Autopsy

The inspiration behind this creepy PC case mod by Richard "DarthBeavis" Surroz actually came from his wife.

A veterinarian by trade, Surroz's wife suggested that he try something with an anatomy theme when he began to plan for PDXLAN's case modding contest. Running with the idea and backed by this modding community, Surroz ordered a storefront mannequin and began the transformation.

Unfortunately, the mannequin couldn't house the hardware. To remedy the problem, he bought an additional skeleton and covered it in chrome. He then inserted portions of that skeleton into the mannequin's thighs, back, head, arms, and chest.

Keeping in tune with the overall theme, Surroz didn't simply throw hardware inside the mannequin. Instead, he arranged the electronics to pose as organs when possible--most of the components reside in the abdomen.

Surroz also implemented a liquid-cooling system provided by Tribal Evolution, which was placed in the bladder region--the pump actually serves as the mannequin's "heart."

As for the rig's storage, a hard drive serves as the rig's "brain." LEDs are connected to the Crucial Ballistix RAM via fiber-optic connections, which have activity-powered LEDs and mimic the thought process by lighting up during memory activity.

Mystery Machine

Created as a birthday present for his children, modder "Dracos" managed to replicate the famous Mystery Machine from the Scooby-Doo franchise using a custom case and minimal hardware.

Details on the project are just as minimal, while photographs indicate that the rig sports glowing headlights and figurines of the crew sitting in the "van's" cockpit. The CD-ROM loading tray resides just above the front windshield and features a clear and red lip. On top of the van, Dracos placed two handles for portability. It's also unclear whether the vehicle's wheels actually spin.

Like most PCs, the Mystery Machine offers both exhaust fan ports and a traditional panel with USB, serial, parallel, and other ports on the back. Although the modder managed to install a rear bumper, the pretend vehicle doesn't use rear tail lights--a surprising factor given that it has working headlights.

As previously mentioned, the PC components are rather minimal, with Intel's CA810 motherboard, an Intel processor, and integrated Intel graphics.

Scooby snacks apparently are not included, either.

Mineral Oil Submerged PC

Out of all the PC mods shown in this roundup, this PC playing host to components submerged in mineral oil probably doesn't really qualify as "modded." Instead, it uses a different form of fanless cooling.

Built by Puget Systems, the company sought to create an attractive setup by incorporating an aquarium and clear mineral oil. The company said that other mineral oil-based solutions neither looked good nor performed well. Taking notes from those failed attempts, Puget even sought to better the one we created here at Tom's Hardware by using a clear acrylic case.

"The Tom's Hardware system used a clear acrylic case and they had to painstakingly seal each rear connector to keep the oil from leaking," Puget said. "We wanted to put the ports on top to solve that problem the simple way. Other people have built systems in aquariums before, but they were always oversized and square. When we found the Eclipse System 6 Aquarium, we were excited to see an aquarium that was absolutely perfect in size--you couldn't go any smaller."

To see how this system was put together and its evolution, head here.

Skeleton

The Skeleton mod, created by Bryant Baker of Roswell, Georgia, was one of the many winners in a case-mod contest conducted back in 2006.

As an HVAC tech by trade, Baker decided to use materials from his day job and to mold everything using only a hammer. Most of what you see used in the mod is bronze-brazed, hammer-beaten copper, but the skeleton beast's skull is comprised of bronze-brazed, silver plating.

As for the skeleton's spine, that's all refrigerant piping he beat into shape, manually forming "bones." The "on" and "reset" switches are from defective setback thermostats.

"This is my attempt to show off the inside of a computer in a fashion that complements and supports these basic computer components aesthetically," Baker said. "It took about three weeks to assemble and every dime that I got for it came from a birthday gift from my wife--$600.00. This is my main and only computer that I use every day."

As for the specs, the skeleton rig has an Asus M2NPV-VM motherboard with an AMD 64 Athlon 3500+ processor. It also has 1 GB of DDR2-667 RAM and GeForce 6150 integrated graphics.

The rig's DVD-RW optical drive and 300 GB hard drive are suspended from the spine. When the DVD writer or hard drive powers up or goes into "seek" mode, the skull face actually jiggles. Nice.

Tetris

Even for gamers, this case mod might be a little too much.

Tetris was conceived and built by a Spanish gaming clan known as the Planet Express Clan (PEC). Details about this neon beast can be found here, which reveal that the mod is actually comprised of many independent and interconnected PCs, each one built from acrylic panels and lit-up with LEDs.

With that said, Tetris is actually a full-fledged local network mounted into one puzzle display. That also means the case mods sitting at the bottom of the display have to carry the weight of the PCs stacked on top. To make that work, the group had to construct a fortified base to work with the way the pieces fit together.

"With the external frames completed, it was time to begin the internal structure. Each piece would be different, and so each clan member could set the internal system up any way that he or she wanted," PEC said. "Before we could finally start installing systems, we needed the walls of the blocks. The goal was for each wall to be a colored methacrylate, which didn’t exist in the colors we needed. So, we had to improvise and decided to use transparent methacrylate and placed color films on the 30 cm x 30 cm inside walls."

Kratos, God Of War

Now here's a case mod for PlayStation 3 owners and fans of the God of War series: Kratos.

Honestly, it's hard to imagine anyone actually sitting in front of his scowling face and bloodied sword without wondering if the creep is really watching their every move. Even die-hard God of War fans might find Kratos' menacing form a little unnerving, even though he's missing a pair of legs. Hey, we could see this guy coming to life, pulling himself off the table and hand-pulling his upper torso across the floor, sword clenched between his teeth. Creepy.

Unfortunately, very little is known about this mod. A YouTube video reveals the hardware inside, but it seems that Kratos is actually hooked-up to another PC positioned immediately behind his back. Still, the user can access the mod's hardware--what there is of it--by opening an access panel mounted between Kratos' shoulder blades. The mod seems rather recent, as it appeared at Campus Party Brazil 2010.

The Machine - Strogg 1

The inspiration behind The Machine - Strogg 1 stems from popular id Software-based PC games like Quake 4 and Doom 3. However, the modder wanted to steer clear of other id Software-influenced, scene-based PC case mods already on the "scene," such as Project Mars City.

Instead, the modder chose to create something similar to the Strogg in Quake 4. There is also a little Star Trek thrown into the mix, with influences from the menacing Borg "resistance is futile" alien race.

Inside the mod's main component, "Frenkie123" crams in an AMD Athlon 64 3700+ processor, 2 GB of DDR memory from Corsair, two 160 GB hard disks, a DVD-RW optical drive, the Sapphire Radeon X800 GTO Ultimate with passive heat-pipe cooling, and a 400 W power supply.

To accomplish some of the exterior detail work, the modder purchased model parts that were originally used to provide hobbyists with pieces missing from store-bought kits. Two aluminum pipes were also purchased and cut in order to house two fans.

Head here to see the entire construction process.

  • Tamz_msc
    If I sit on that toilet, then there will be hot air blowing over my you-know-what.
    Reply
  • They all seem kind of ugly; except the bottle of Scotch.
    Reply
  • Greg_77
    The bottle of scotch is my favorite. The mannequin cases freak me out lol ;)
    Reply
  • rohitbaran
    First case mod was.... yuk!
    Reply
  • xtc28
    These are cool but impracticle. I wish mine could be added to a list like this. Its unfinishished work but nearly complete.

    You be the judge!

    http://i691.photobucket.com/albums/vv271/XTC29/Deskmod/100_1719.jpg

    http://i691.photobucket.com/albums/vv271/XTC29/Deskmod/100_1717.jpg
    Reply
  • TheStealthyOne
    A fun challenge would be to go to a dumpster, close your eyes, pick any piece of junk at random, and build a system around it. That pizza box rig is impressive lol.
    Reply
  • babybeluga
    xtc28These are cool but impracticle. I wish mine could be added to a list like this. Its unfinishished work but nearly complete. You be the judge!http://i691.photobucket.com/albums 0_1719.jpghttp://i691.photobucket.com/albums 0_1717.jpg
    Uh...Mounting a computer is not a 'case mod'... -1
    Reply
  • Lewis57
    Number 11 was my favourite, it actually made me laugh. I thought I had too many fans in my pc...
    Reply
  • anamaniac
    The second I read the word 'hellraiser', I wanted to Alt F4...
    xtc28These are cool but impracticle. I wish mine could be added to a list like this. Its unfinishished work but nearly complete. You be the judge!http://i691.photobucket.com/albums 0_1719.jpghttp://i691.photobucket.com/albums 0_1717.jpgI'll admit, that's a cool looking setup (I was going to build a wooden one similar for my eyefinity setup, but finances said no), but certainly not a case mod.
    hardcore gaming rig with a SSD an three monitors on one side, and storage server rocking 8x2TB RAID5 on the other with a single monitor?
    Reply
  • Toddosan
    lol this is such a flash back to when case modding first started!!
    Reply