Bright lights, big city
Neon lights. Excitement. Thrilling, one-of-a-kind experiences.
Sure, all those words could describe any given night in Las Vegas. But at CES 2016, a slew of killer case mods and kick-ass custom PCs outshone the brightest shows on the strip. Here are some of the most awe-inspiring computers we found, from PCs that resemble tanks to ones made out of Lego bricks. Really.
(And be sure to check out PCWorld's roundup of the wildest, weirdest, most powerful PC hardware of CES 2016 for even more glorious goodies.)
MSI's beastly guardian
First up: This ferocious, blue-tinged ruffian at MSI's suite. Sadly, we visited MSI while the company was still setting up, so we're not sure who created this beauty, but it sends shivers down our spines regardless. UPDATE: The MSI Guardian is by Tim Warning of the Netherlands, says fellow modder Peter "L3p" Brands.
MSI's beastly guardian, part 2
The other side of this mod features a stylized version of MSI Gaming's Dragon logo.
This Star Wars Venator class Star Destroyer dubbed "Yazi" is the brain child of modding mastermind Sander van der Velden, a.k.a. "Asphiax." You may know him from his killer AT-AT Walker Star Wars PC mod from a few years back.
Yazi, part 2
You underestimate the power of the Dark Side. If you will not fight, then you will meet your destiny.
BS Mods Caselabs mod
BS Mods tricked out this Caselabs S8S chassis for Zotac with vibrant lights, SSDs, and most notably, a 1-inch reservoir in the front bays, which was then filled with Mayhems Solutions' Aurora fluid to create a ghostly, plasma-esque version of the Zotac name in the front of the case.
BS Mods, part 2
Of course, the BS Mods build for Zotac also featured a Zotac graphics card, as well as liquid cooling. Liquid cooling and case mods go together like rum and Coke.
BS Mods also gave this Zotac mini-PC a custom paint job for CES 2016.
EVGA gaming case
EVGA pulled off one of the big surprises of the show by announcing its first-ever full-sized gaming case. It's badass enough in its own right, but...
EVGA gaming case, part 2
...this particular build stands out for its inclusion of not one, not two, not even three, but four GeForce GTX 980 Ti Hybrid graphics cards equipped with EVGA’s new quick-disconnect liquid-cooling solution, which makes expanding and contracting your liquid-cooling setup a snap—literally.
The highest ratio of badass PC builds at CES 2016 by far was found in Thermaltake's suite in the Palazzo. Pretty much every single system on display was blinged-out with boss hardware and covetable liquid-cooling. That makes sense, of course—Thermaltake offers an array of colored liquid-cooling fluids and reservoirs, in addition to big, beautiful, airflow-focused cases, all of which just begs for a slick custom build.
Thermaltake Core X9 mod
Speaking of which, Thermaltake had numerous elaborate PC case mods on display. Mathieu Heredia's mod of Thermaltake's Core X9 tilts the case onto its face, so the front of this mod is the top of the case as it ships.
Thermaltake Core x9 mod, part 2
Those lights, that blue liquid-cooling fluid! It's no surprise that Heredia's mod ranked so highly (number 2) in Thermaltake's Case Mod Invitational Season 2.
Tanks for the memory
But the first place finisher, Jesse Palacio, transformed Thermaltake's Core X9 even more completely, altering it to resemble an unmanned tank.
Tanks for the memory, part 2
That's a clever way to mimic tank tracks and wheels in this mod.
Tanks for the memory, part 3
The beauty goes more than skin deep in Jesse Palacio's Unmanned Tank mod, which is loaded with abundant RAM, custom liquid-cooling, and more.
Modded PCs are cool and all, but you aren't really hardcore until you've crafted a custom keyboard, like this one-of-a-kind TteSports Poseidon RGB gaming keyboard by Ponsarud Romvilast, on display in Thermaltake's TteSports suite.
Asus Lego Mod
What's better than a modding a case? Creating a custom PC case from scratch out of Lego bricks, as Asus did for the Republic of Gamer's 10th anniversary. This thing is awesome in real life.
Asus 10th anniversary mod
Asus also commissioned noted Overclock.net modding guru Snef to create a custom case mod for Republic of Gamers' 10 anniversary. Here's the result.
Asus 10th anniversary mod, part 2
And here's a better look at the interior of Snef's mod. This thing rocks.
In Win H-Frame 2.0
In Win’s H-Frame 2.0 is a full-sized tower featuring aluminum blades and tempered glass sides. The H-Frame 2.0 comes with a 1,065-watt PSU and, of course, a window. It’s expected to cost about $800. —Gordon Ung
In Win’s latest 805 PC case features LED strips in the front door and a mirrored bezel to give it an infinity look. —Gordon Ung