A curious case of computer cases


While reality indeed has its limits, the world of the imagination is boundless. We see it in so many games—not only from developers, but also gamers. Countless mods, creative kills, even “the clever use of game mechanics” – imagination pushes us all beyond our limits. But is this the only area where gamers’ creativity can bloom?


Let’s talk the computer case: A big steel or aluminium box housing the “organs” of your computer. A bit of plastic here or there… a flashing led light… and that’s it. Boring, isn’t it?

Well, some people got tired of boring cases and customised their towers. And the results are amazing.



Computer casings available at retail stores are more and more futuristic, but that isn’t enough for some people. The easiest method of adding that extra wow factor is, of course, an LED light. Add a fancy plexiglas tower and you have yourself a nice set. Led lights use 90% less electricity than standard bulbs and boast a 10-year lifespan. Add to that their lower heat emission and a wide range of colours and voila, unleash your imagination. And if plain see-through plexi and led don’t go far enough, you can go for the stained glass effect.


Build me up, Buttercup

If you don’t like LED lights, you may choose to become Bob the Builder and create something yourself. The easiest “build” is, of course, to glue something to an existing casing to make it look better. But remember – the sky is the limit. You could always use LEGO blocks and become a bit more creative. Not only do you get a tower that looks good, but you also get to have extra fun building it. Just remember to take into account all that heat the computer gear kicks out!


So, what image are you going for with your tower? Want your PC to look like a car engine? That can be done. Dying for your tower to do double time as a mini garden for your plants? No problem, but watch out when watering them. Here too the heat emission comes into play—after all, you want your plants to grow, not fry, right? Inspiration can be found anywhere really. Are you an architect deep at heart? Why not create a tower inspired by a real-life counterpart, then?


Dat retro feel

Lost in the fantasy world? Dreaming of neo-Victorian times, industrial steam powered machinery? Fan of art nouveau? Or maybe horror makes you hoot? Or maybe, on the very outside chance you’ve dedicated your life to Penjing—or tray scenery, as some know it—and you spend your free time tending your bonsai tree. Again, your tower can be the perfect complement to your hobby or interests. This is of course a task for somewhat more experienced designers, but… Go for it!




This is not the tower you’re looking for

You can turn pretty much anything into a computer case: An old microwave, that bed frame your aunt left you, a piano. Hell, you can have at it with a barbeque grill, and be making smart burgers in no time flat if you hack your fans just so. I personally have a coffee machine plugged into my PC, so whatever floats your boat, I guess. This again leads us to the problem of heat emission. Current gear usually has a fan system that prevents it from overheating, so I’m afraid the grill is nothing more than a fancy prop and nothing more, sorry.


Skill level: over 9000

Sometimes you see projects that are so much more than *just* a PC tower. These qualify as art, a testament to the dedication of the creators and sure proof of their passion. I can only dream of having a tower so complex and detailed. Some designs are simply breath-taking. Sure, if you have a bigger figurine, turning it into a casing is not THAT much of an issue, but in some cases it still requires a lot of skill to turn it into a proper, well-functioning tower and to keep the figurine—or whatever you chose as casing—intact. This is some serious business and top-level skills are involved.




All your workstations are belong to us

Sometimes it is not just the tower that gets redesigned, though. Sometimes the whole workstation becomes so much more than a tower + screen and some peripherals. And here’s where we kind of reach a wall. Because sure, some workstations are absolutely awesome and proof that their creators are passionate geeks or nerds—and that’s awesome. But then again…


We also have a PC built into a table with a touch screen (as much as I love the look of it in Hawaii 5-0, I can’t imagine working at a flat number like that for 20 hours without ending up with contorted wrists or a twisted spine). We have a workstation powered by bike pedals (why?? Why would you do something like this? I know people skip the leg days at the gym but this is definitely not a station for someone who works at a PC for hours) or a workstation that turns around as you move the mouse or computer controls. Don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine playing any other game on it. Unless it is solitaire. Think Assassin’s Creed where your whole workstation moves right along with your character. That Leap of Faith will be…memorable.


32Show me what you got

As you see, I could give countless examples of really interesting designs and more or less brave ideas-turned-into-computer-cases. But instead I’m sending it over to you – show me your customized towers! Maybe you already have one, or maybe you saw one somewhere. Or just maybe you’re still drawing it up in your mind, but you haven’t got round to bringing it into the world just yet? Let us know in the comments!


Picture sources:
http://wonderfulengineering.com, http://www.g69t.it, http://www.homedit.com, http://www.psdeluxe.com, http://www.zonajugones.com.jpg, http://bit-tech.net, http://nfc-systems.com

Joanna Kubizna
Journalist, geek and occasionally a nerd. A trained scientist with multiple degrees including a PhD, she’s addicted to coffee, and passionate about sharks, writing and gaming. She’s also an editor, blogger, researcher and the author of multiple scientific and games-related articles. Gamer since the age of 7. Coffee fuels her insomnia, she never sleeps.