Halo - Master Chief
was one of the most exciting computing shows put off by Taipei, Taiwan in years, mostly thanks to tons of major news drops from the event. However, for the true gaming PC enthusiasts and gawkers alike, a close second is no doubt the legions of custom case modifications, or “mods” that descended upon the show floor this year.
First up, we have the Halo - Master Chief, a custom build subsidized by Asus Republic Gamers and crafted by Australian builder Stephen Hoad (and hopefully signed off on by Microsoft Studios?). The build, which essentially imagines “what if Master Chief were an android … powered by sick-looking PC gaming parts?”
Rocking an Asus ROG Maximus IX Formula motherboard with an Asus ROG Strix graphics card attached, the Halo - Master Chief required several different materials to build, Namely, you’ll find wire underneath the molding with memory foam as padding as well as steel, aluminum, vinyl, leather, acrylic, clay, paints, plastic and wood. To say that this was “the most extreme mod Stephen Hoad has ever made” is an epic understatement.
Matt Hanson also contributed to this report
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Because Gigabyte and Aorus can’t even let case modders have their own badass names for their creations, witness the GA-Z270N-Gaming 5, bearing the same name as the motherboard it houses. Imagining what a Transformer would look like if it transformed out of a gaming PC, this build by Suchao Prowphong is mind boggling.
For one, it kind of subverts the moniker “case mod” by not really encasing much, if any, of the core PC components. This is one of those case mods that so easily captures our imagination: this could easily be the cockpit for a space fighter or some mecha-super hero’s high-tech laser gun arm attachment … without naming names.
Naturally, the mod uses many Gigabyte or Aorus components, like an Aorus with 8GB of video RAM and a Gigabyte WindForce cooling system in addition to the mobo. The kicker? This modder just started his hobby in 2012!
Another eponymous gaming PC mod subsidized by Gigabyte and Aorus, this slick-looking rig was built by duo builders Lim Tae Min and Min Kyung Mo. The insane cleanliness and attention to detail in this liquid-cooled build should be no surprise, as both of these fellows work in the Korean PC industry.
Regardless of their pedigree, this is a case that we wish Aorus would push wholesale, as we think a lot of customers would pay top dollar for a case like this. That’s likely because, largely, it looks a lot like a traditional PC case … only tuned up to 11. Rocking a Founders Edition , the case features custom RGB lighting throughout, making us embarrassed for the mini ITX case sitting in our home office.
Another case featuring Gigabyte’s leading motherboard, this build by Maciel Barreto from Brazil takes us way back to sci-fi classics, like Independence Day. If you look closely, you’ll spot that this case mod is no cyborg or android, but rather a robot piloted by an alien. Sound familiar?
Barreto boasts that this and his other case mods are built using 80% original material, and judging from the look of this monster, we believe him. Inside, the build uses an and Intel Core i7-7700K, but we’re sure Barreto could push that even further.
Proving that not all badass case mods need to house the highest-end components, this next eponymous case mod crafted in part by Gigabyte takes small case builds to a whole new level. Built by a group of modders known simply as “Masters”, the build flips the entire component orientation on its head.
The end result is a triangular PC case that has made use of every last inch of space inside on a mini ITX motherboard. Because of the power and space limitations therein, Masters employed an Intel Core i5-7500 processor and graphics card. So, while you couldn’t run VR on this rig, this would be a damn-impressive frag box to bring to the next tournament.
The Wheel of Star
Finally, a properly-named case mod, and the winner of a major competition, no less. Witness the Wheel of Star, a case designed by Modder Crow of Thailand, placed first in the 2017 Case Mod World Series (yes, ).
The modder, supported by case makers Cooler Master, doesn’t give much of any details regarding what’s inside this incredible Wheel of Time-looking case. Rather, the modder clues us into the heady philosophical ideas behind the lofty design: “The sun and moon continue to turn, ticking away like the moments on a giant clock. This mod reminds us that we only have so much time, so we should spend it being happy.”
Another winning design from Australian modder Stephen Hoad, this -inspired case mod looks like the box for a soccer ball – sorry, football … ball? – in an incredibly clever design. Of course, that means every major component is exposed, some of which aren’t even connected, so this is a case only for show.
What we do know from this vantage point is that Hoad is a fan of Asus ROG components, as both the motherboard and graphics card are of Asus make.
At any rate, Hoad chalks up this design to honoring the landscape-altering glory of a game that is Rocket League. To wit, “This mod celebrates the great achievement that is playing soccer with rocket propelled cars.”
We want to personally find this case modder and give him the biggest hug for fusing our modern love for PC gaming with our childhood love for toy war machines into a single case mod. Sadly, we don’t know the name of this brilliant modder, only that it’s aimed to showcase ASRock’s take on Intel’s latest Z270 motherboard.
Every bit of this case mod warrants a second look. For instance, did you catch where the graphics card is, and how it’s connected to the motherboard at the rear of the ship? While you were looking at that, you might have missed the LED display just above the motherboard. This is a veritable PC gaming wonderland that both near-30-year-old us and near-13-year-old us want so badly for different reasons … or are they really the same?
Because no case mod collection is complete without a not-so-subtle nod to Mad Max, right? The WarCar is designed by modder FUXK (get it?) in reality as a send-up to car-battling game Crossout launched back in 2015.
It’s said that each piece of the WarCar design was picked meticulously and appears to be what’s known as a scratch mod, as in the case was built from scratch. (The aforementioned Rocket League and GA-Z270X-Gaming 9 Part Deux are scratch mods as well.)
Inside, the build wields an iGame Nvidia GTX 1080 and 1070 configured in SLI with an Intel Core i7-7700K to back them up, so this build won’t sweat anything for some time.
The Tower 900
A nod to the popular Pirates of the Caribbean film series, this case mod by Australian modder Corey Gregory took case maker Thermaltake’s existing Tower 900 case and went to town with it. The result being a PC case that could easily double as a fish tank – well, with a lot more customization.
The bottom of the case has been modded to serve as the liquid cooling reservoir and as to appear like the ocean. Specifically, an ocean from which a kraken is sinking the ship known as the Black Pearl from the first film.
The Tower 900 … Part Deux
Built on top of Thermaltake’s Tower 900 PC case, Ron Lee Christianson’s mod pays homage to the late and more-than-great artist H.R. Giger. Particularly, this case is a rendition of one of Giger’s most iconic works, the LI II GICLE’E.
Built by first sculpting the head in Giger’s original image, Christianson then slowly built out forms to place on top of the existing frame and sculpted them to resemble the bio-mechanical elements of Giger’s work.
Finished off with airbrush painting as well as hand painting and those dope-looking orb lights, Christianson fitted the build with an Intel Core i7-7700K and two Nvidia GTX 1080 cards in SLI. Both terrifyingly powerful and beautiful all at once sounds like the makings of a winning case mod to us.
Last but far from least: The Tower 900 … Part Trois
A seemingly popular case for modding, our final case mod should either make Nintendo very flattered or send it calling its lawyers. Created by modder ThermalMike in conjunction with case maker Thermaltake, the latter helped supply ThermalMike with the necessary logos and other materials to make a case that calls back to the original Donkey Kong arcade cabinet.
The attention to detail here knows no bounds. From the custom lighting to the little pixelated Donkey Kong atop the graphics card, this case looks as if we’re about to play some classic games. However, what gaming is possible with the hardware inside this machine would blow little Jump Man’s fragile mind.
Joe Osborne is the Senior Technology Editor at Insider Inc. His role is to leads the technology coverage team for the Business Insider Shopping team, facilitating expert reviews, comprehensive buying guides, snap deals news and more. Previously, Joe was TechRadar's US computing editor, leading reviews of everything from gaming PCs to internal components and accessories. In his spare time, Joe is a renowned Dungeons and Dragons dungeon master – and arguably the nicest man in tech.