SLIDESHOW

Crazy case mods and heavenly hardware: The glorious PC gear of PAX 2015

The PC is taking over PAX. Here's a look at the craziest case mods and beefiest custom PCs from the show floor.

20150828 114517

PAX loves PCs

The PC is taking over PAX. I don't know how it happened, or why it's happening, but there is more PC hardware at PAX this year than I've ever seen before—and definitely more than we see at E3 and GDC. Everyone is here, from Asus to Alienware to Corsair to Razer to Cooler Master to…well, basically everyone except AMD, for whatever reason.

People are building PCs on the show floor. There are motherboards laying in the open. There's Fallout-themed case mods. There's liquid cooling galore. If you like to drool over machines, there's quite a bit of eye-candy at PAX.

If you're still at PAX today, let this be a guide for stuff you should seek out. And if not, at least there are pictures.

20150829 150738

Alienware

Alienware might be known for its high-end hardware, but its booth this year is focused almost entirely on the other end of the market—its mid-tier Steam Machine, which goes out to a few early adopters in October and will release properly in November.

20150828 114546

Cooler Master's oasis

Props to Cooler Master for representing what the PC community's about at PAX—teaching others to build machines, helping with build questions and overclocking, and generally showing people how easy this whole scene actually can be.

This is probably the best booth at PAX. Tons of display hardware, friendly staff, and a laid-back atmosphere make this a great oasis in the middle of the glitzy show floor.

20150828 162726

Corsair - Fallout 4

Next to Cooler Master, Corsair has maybe the best PC presence at PAX 2015. The company is giving away multiple modded builds, like this excellent Fallout 4-themed tower. It's a bit hard to tell from this angle, but the inside components have also been decked out to look like rusted iron.

20150830 175334

Entering the vault

Oh, that's a better angle.

20150828 162948

Corsair - Assassin's Creed

And while it doesn't stand out quite as much as the Fallout case, this Assassin's Creed-themed tower is just as detailed.

20150829 160149

Corsair - Keyboards

Cherry Blue, Cherry Brown, Cherry Black, Cherry Red, Cherry Red - Silent. There are a lot of options when buying a mechanical keyboard, and Corsair wants to make sure you get the right one. This expansive set-up lets you bang on a bunch of mechanical switches until you figure out the one that works best for you.

I wish I'd found something like this when I bought my first mechanical keyboard.

20150828 114843

Intel

Intel was showing off some incredible builds in its booth, like this liquid-cooled monstrosity with transparent tubing, dual GTX 980s, and Intel Core i7-5960X, and not one, not two, but three SSDs. Hallelujah.

20150830 162621

Intel

Here's another flashy intel build, this one from Maingear.

20150830 162642

And...

...here's a close-up.

20150830 163133

Intel

And one more from Intel: Cyberton contributed this red and black beast.

20150829 150339

Gigabyte

So much hardware, so little space. This imposing tournament set-up fills half of Gigabyte's booth with machines. They're not the flashiest builds we've seen at PAX, but put a dozen of them in the same space? It's a work of art.

20150829 144628

Asus

Asus doesn't have an especially flashy set-up at PAX either, but it definitely has one of the biggest. This massive "Republic of Gamers" booth takes up a solid chunk of the sixth floor, with dozens of computers from gaming laptops all the way to full-sized towers.

20150830 163306

Steam Machine

Also, this Asus Steam Machine is incredibly tiny. (Red Bull for scale.)

20150828 114334

Nvidia

Green lights? Tons of PCs? It must be Nvidia's booth.

On display: GTX 900-series cards and a whole army of G-Sync monitors waiting for you to put the latest PC games through their paces.

20150828 173529

EVGA

EVGA has this bouquet of motherboards hiding out on the sixth floor, in case you want to get up close and personal with some circuitry.

20150829 150602

MSI

Speaking of motherboards, MSI also had a bunch of naked mobos lying around—this time on little glowing pedestals. And in the background is a display case full of graphics cards. It's like porn for build fanatics.

20150830 163501

Kingston

For Kingston, it was all about showing off those SSDs (and a ton of RAM, in another display case).

20150829 150146

Razer Wildcat

Razer had its usual display of keyboards, mouses, and et cetera at PAX, but the real standout was its new tournament-grade Wildcat "Xbox One" controller (it'll work just fine with your PC). I don't know whether people will prefer this or Microsoft's first-party Xbox One Elite controller, but both are damn nifty—and incredibly expensive, at $150.

20150829 151822

Logitech G633

Logitech has quite a bit of hardware on display at PAX, including multiple setups to show off its new G29 racing wheel. But it also marks the debut of its new flagship G633 and G933 headsets—the former of which is shown here.

20150829 160006

Astro A50

Of course Astro was also on hand to show off its headsets, the iconic A40 and A50. Same silhouette as always, but quite a range of designs on hand nevertheless.

20150828 113225

Oculus

With less than six months until the Rift's consumer edition finally ships, Oculus is out in force at PAX. They've brought their massive E3 booth to PAX, and it takes up a hefty amount of the show floor. But still no solid release date or price—expect that information out of Oculus's self-run Connect convention in September.

20150828 150642

HTC Vive

I got a chance to check out the latest HTC Vive/SteamVR prototype—this is, I was told, the second-generation dev kit. It's pretty close to the shipping model we'll see in November, though there are still a few extra wires.

Please uh…ignore the ugly hotel carpet.

20150828 150657

Lighthouse

I was also allowed to take a picture of the Lighthouse tracking system that comes with the Vive. You'll need to find a place for two of these when the system launches—up high, if possible.

20150828 114850

Deja vu

Okay, just one more look. Geez that's pretty.