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It's what's outside that counts: The coolest and craziest case mods from Computex (pictures)

If you have top-of-the-line hardware, why stick it in a boring black box? These modders have taken their passion to the extreme with custom lighting, liquid cooling and extravagant cases, reminding us that sometimes, consoles just don't cut it.

claire-reilly2
Claire Reilly
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1 of 38 Aloysius Low/CNET

The ultimate in build-your-own

Ever since hardcore gaming fans started building their own PCs, there has been a solid core of enthusiasts who have ditched the rule book and taken their PCs to new heights. These case modders keep the same guts inside the machine, but they go above and beyond in reshaping what happens on the outside. And at Computex in Taiwan, they were out in force.

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2 of 38 Aloysius Low/CNET

Performance speeds

While DIY PC builders are concerned about processor speeds, there are some that are more focused on lap speeds. If that's the case, why not build your gaming machine into your very own racing set-up?

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3 of 38 Aloysius Low/CNET

Full metal jacket

There's no better way to destroy your enemies on the battlefield than to covert your PC into a tank, throw on some machine guns and let the metal do the talking. Sure, it mightn't help in-game, but you'll look cool!

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4 of 38 Aloysius Low/CNET

Staying cool

If there's one thing that unites all the professional mods on the Computex floor, it's their cooling systems. And while a few fans (or six) can play a part, there's nothing quite like liquid cooling -- especially when it comes to looking cool as well as keeping hardware from overheating.

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5 of 38 Aloysius Low/CNET

Liquid cooling

We love how this mod blurs the lines between the structural frame and the liquid pipes. Although we certainly couldn't be trusted to keep this one clean!

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6 of 38 Aloysius Low/CNET

Mod wars

You know better than to trust a strange computer, but at least R2-D2 should be familiar.

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7 of 38 Aloysius Low/CNET

Heavy metal

Made by German modder Ali Abbas, this tank-like rig is inspired by "muscle steel and sex appeal." Say no more.

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8 of 38 Nic Healey/CNET

Ghostbusters

Recreating Ghostbusters HQ in perfect detail, right down to the Ecto-1 parked out the front, this lego mod was one of the standouts of the show. We really, really wish it was actually slime cooled, but that might have melted the plastic.

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9 of 38 Nic Healey/CNET

Ghostbusters

Bonus points for spelling out the name of your sponsor on the side in Lego.

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10 of 38 Aloysius Low/CNET

Captain America

Created by Thailand-based case modder Jengki WMP, this nod to Captain America looks more like a set piece from "Captain America: Civil War" than a functional PC.

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11 of 38 Nic Healey/CNET

Captain America

On the reverse side, Cap's shield covers all the internal mechanisms of the PC, though it's unclear whether these modders were able to source real Vibranium for their build.

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12 of 38 Nic Healey/CNET

D-Frame

This open-air chassis from D-Frame shows just what a difference the hardware makes. A fairly bare-bones structure on its own, the frame becomes a whole new machine depending on how you fit it out inside.

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13 of 38 Aloysius Low/CNET

Lego a-go-go

While it's technically not kitted out with PC hardware, we'll give this Cooler Master case mod a pass cause we have a soft spot for Lego! Clear a few of those minifigs out and you've got yourself plenty of space for a CPU and graphics card.

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14 of 38 Nic Healey/CNET

Gigabyte on show

With all the action up front and all the ports around the back, you wouldn't know that this futuristic green and black space machine on show at Gigabyte was actually a PC boasting an Intel Core i7 processor and Geforce GTX graphics card.

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15 of 38 Claire Reilly/CNET

WMD

Described as a "weapon of mass distraction", the WMD was shown off at the Republic of Gamers event at Computex, care of Aussie mod team, Team Down Under.

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16 of 38 Nic Healey/CNET

WMD

Wrapped all the way around in a bandolier of bullets, there's also a screen on the front of the case showing bullets dropping the ground after being 'shot'.

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17 of 38 Claire Reilly/CNET

Coat of Arms

This is one very archaic looking mod for a very up-to-date machine. We particularly love the Joan of Arc vibe -- perfect for slaying one's enemies.

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18 of 38 Nic Healey/CNET

Ghost Rider

The kind of PC that we bet Johnny Blaze keeps in his house between motorcycle stunts, this mod from Asus' Republic of Gamers is dedicated to all things Ghost Rider.

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19 of 38 Nic Healey/CNET

Ghost Rider

At the top, the chassis is fitted out with a detailed and devilish skull...

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20 of 38 Claire Reilly/CNET

Ghost Rider

...While the whole front of the case is left open to reveal the inner workings of the hardware.

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21 of 38 Nic Healey/CNET

Heavy duty

A gaming machine and a forklift for picking up things around your spare room. Double duty!

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22 of 38 Nic Healey/CNET

Alien wares

With LED lighting and a delightfully alien-looking liquid cooling system, this mod reminds us of something we'd rather not see lurking in the outer reaches of space.

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23 of 38 Nic Healey/CNET

Alien wares

The perfect mix of alien skeleton and space ship, with power cables to keep things running.

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24 of 38 Nic Healey/CNET

Steampunk

Our pick of the show, this Steampunk creation is one of the more detailed mods we've seen in a long time.

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25 of 38 Nic Healey/CNET

Steampunk

Part memento mori, part time machine (a dial telling us when we've travelled into the past? Convenient!) this mod wins serious points for its paint job and for the small details around the outside...

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26 of 38 Nic Healey/CNET

Steampunk

...Right down to the clawed feet on the base.

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27 of 38 Nic Healey/CNET

Steampunk

As soon as you put signs on the outside telling us to keep it locked, all we want to do is see what's inside!

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28 of 38 Nic Healey/CNET

Steampunk

A liquid cooling system that doubles as 'fuel' and the potentially deadly cocktail that will end your dalliances with time travel.

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29 of 38 Claire Reilly/CNET

MSI Arcade Dragon

What better than a case that combines old-school arcade gaming in the front with a super modern PC rig in the back?

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30 of 38 Claire Reilly/CNET

Dragon slayer

The silver exterior has an open back and a crack on the side revealing the custom liquid cooling system inside.

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31 of 38 Claire Reilly/CNET

MSI Rock

Dedicated to all things rock 'n' roll, this mod is more mixing turntable than PC, but inside you'll still find all the hardware you'd expect from MSI.

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32 of 38 Claire Reilly/CNET

MSI Rock

At the centre of the case, a mirrored turntable dotted with dragons spins around while rock music plays for all to hear.

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33 of 38 Nic Healey/CNET

Heavy duty

Credit where credit is due: This mod could have just been a plain old black box. But why be so boring when you can add some faux firepower to make it look the part for your next first-person shooter?

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34 of 38 Claire Reilly/CNET

Rocket League

If you've never seen a car play soccer, then you'll really need to start playing Rocket League. And what better machine to do it on than this one, which comes with wheels on the base -- very in keeping with the Rocket League theme.

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35 of 38 Claire Reilly/CNET

Sci-fi Futurism

Designed by German mod team Babetech, the creators of this sci-fi themed mod say it wouldn't be out of place on a space station, "somewhere deep in the galaxy."

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36 of 38 Claire Reilly/CNET

We're going to need a bigger PC

On show at Corsair's event at Computex, this awesome shark case was surprisingly lo-fi, made out of painted polystyrene.

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37 of 38 Claire Reilly/CNET

Titanfall

Created by modders Team Mongoose, this Titanfall-themed mod has been kitted out in its own mech suit exoskeleton to match the Titans of the first-person shooter.

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38 of 38 Nic Healey/CNET

Original pirate material

At just 17 centimetres (6.7 inches) thick, this skull and crossbones PC is thin enough to put on your desk, and its glowing eyes will put the fear of death in you!

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