Destruction is Fun:
An Intro to PC Modding
Have you ever been sitting around on the computer and had some sort of
authority figure (parent, teacher, policeman, IRS agent) approach you and
say, "Why don't you do something constructive with that computer!" I know
I have. I am here today to share with you the constructive joy of PC Modding.
(No, Fragging your friends online isn't considered constructive. Fun, but
Modding is the time-honored tradition modifying your computer for aesthetic
reasons. In other words, adding flashing lights, blinking bulbs or sparkly
paint to make it look pretty. Modding changes a computer from a machine
into a status symbol. It's the geek's equivalent of tricking out a car.
There are many ways to do this, from adding fans to cutting holes to installing
blinking lights that don't really do anything. In this article I'll give
you a brief overview of the many types of "mods" you can make to a PC.
Case modding is the result of tech-envy. Take two identical computers.
Same CPU, same HDD, same everything. They may even have same case. Modding
breaks the stalemate. If one has a round window cut into the side and a
neon light bathing the interior components in an eerie purple glow, and
the other has a normal beige case, which one is cooler? The modified one,
of course. Plus you get to cut things. That's always a plus.
1: The Fan/Blowhole Mod
This mod is less for the aesthetic reasons and more for cooling. Adding
extra fans gives a PC individuality (plus, the benefit of a nice, cool
CPU) and, since it is relatively easy, can be attractive to first time
modders. There are two ways to do this: The "fun" way and the "lame" way
(you'll see in a minute why.)
The lame way to add a fan is to do just that. How boring. Just put one
in, and go about your business. This might add a little noise, and move
a little air, but no one else can really tell what you did at first glance
to your PC. Hence this is "lame" because your pals at the local LAN-Party
won't even know what you did.
Remember when I said PC-Modding was a constructive thing to do? Well in
a way it is, but that was mostly a lie to keep The Man off of my back.
The truth is, The "Fun" way of installing a Fan/Blowhole mod is quite destructive.
It involves (everybody gasp) cutting a hole into your computer (everybody
cheer). This is why it's so fun. Because you get to cut something! So,
using your trusty cutting torch (okay, a Dremel tool or hacksaw may be
more practical), you cut a round hole in your case, add your fan, and place
a grill over the hole. Not only do you get better cooling, but a pleasant
breeze coming out of the side/front/back of your case. Won't your friends
2: The "Blinking-Lights-and-Buttons-Oh-My" Mod
Who would have though that ignition switches and blinking lights from 1978
would be so freaking cool? Well, they are back and better than ever. You
will be the talk of the town if you get some of these. There are many ways
to do this. You could buy a blinking thing that might serve some purpose,
or buy new LED lights to replace your generic green and amber HDD and power
The actual panels you can buy can do a couple things. You can buy some
that measure the temperature inside your PC, and thus helping you out,
or you can buy ones that take up a 5-¼ inch bay on your computer
and they leave space to mount a hard drive behind it, or other ones like
Or, you can be Mr. Destructive again and buy a couple new LED lights for
cheaper. Then, crack open your case, cut off the generic ones your computer
came with, with a little soldering and electrician's tape, (always wear
a helmet when working on electrical equipment requiring electrician's tape)
and voila! You have some new different colored blinking lights!
3: The Panel Cut-Out Mod
This Mod is in my opinion the coolest. This mod is the most awe-inspiring,
cool, versatile, and destructive mod of them all. This mod goes where no
previous mod has gone before: The Side of the Case. Purpose: to cut a hole
in your computer case for the hell of it and put a piece of Plexiglass
in it's place.
There are a few different things you can do when you do this. You can use
colored Plexi to get whatever color you desire, shape the hole to an odd
shape, or slap a sticker on top of your new window. Then, of course, there's
neon lighting. Very cool. Frankly, this type of mod can't be described.
You just have to see for yourself what bored computer geeks did to amuse
As you can see, there are a lot of "constructive" (there's that naughty
word again) options you have when you want to mod your PC. In the future
I hope to bring you a step-by-step How-To for each mod listed here. I enjoy
the art of modding because in this age of technology it seems that it's
just "what's inside the box" that counts, PC Mods are a way to gain our
individuality back from corporate America. For more info on PC Modding,
has some great products and information, and Virtual
Hideout some great tutorials, in addition to an awesome "cool case
quick thing to mention before we leave** Even though cutting things and
soldering things is a great thing to do, and fun besides, there are a couple
precautions it would be best to take into consideration before going gung-ho
with your Dremel.
Avoid cutting your case while it's connected to your PC. Your PC is important,
and any excess metal shards could cause a short circuit, and though you'll
have a cool window, you're computer will be worthless.
Wear clothing that covers as much skin and protects as much as possible.
(Again, a metal shard in your eye wouldn't be worth a window in your case,
now would it?)
Soldering things requires heat. Don't overdo it.
Have fun! This is your case. Do what you want with it.
said, Happy Modding, and Good luck!