There are really no clear definitions of the segments that are
usually lumped into the broader category of PC modification—when
perhaps there should be—but I am by no means appointing myself as
the person to segregate modding into neat little compartments.
Consider this more of a starting point or guideline.
I began like most modders by taking a commercially available stock
case and adding blow holes, lights, and windows. This grew
exponentially as others upped the ante to include water cooling,
trick paint, anodizing, etc. We then as a group began to mod the
parts that made up our PC's, not just the cases themselves. Hard
drives got windows, fans got LED's and so forth—about this time a
few smart companies noticed the modding craze and brought some
“pre-modded” parts to the marketplace.
I consider this first stage of case modding as exactly that—case
modding—you take an existing case and/or products and change them
to suit your personal tastes. Nowadays, we all buy a certain amount
of pre-modded parts like the fans, water blocks, etc for these
projects from companies like CrazyPC, and it has become generally
excepted as standard practice. Some purists might still be building
their own fan buses and LED modding their fans, but really, why
bother? This type of modding might be called “Old School” at
To stand out in a crowded modding scene, some modders began to
install their PC’s into unusual ‘containers’ that run the gamut
from cigar and ammo boxes to toilets. The list of unusual items is
endless—I have seen PC’s in teddy bears and R/C car bodies. This
form of modding requires a bit more skill and imagination as fitting
everything into these contraptions can be a bit of a challenge. I
have also done a bunch of these mods, and like to think of this group
as the “Alternate Enclosure” guys.
From here, the natural progression is to completely custom one off
cases. My personal favorite. The entire spectrum can be found
here—cases that follow a plethora of themes from games, to cars, to
sports and company logo boxes. We have seen a small group of very
talented “Modders” rise to the top and turn out creations that
are very nearly works of art. To be competitive here you have to
possess a rather large and diverse skill set that includes the
ability to work metal, plex, fiberglass, carbon fiber, and more. You
also need to be prepared to spend upward of 500 hours and $5,000 on a
single creation. This group is referred to as “Custom Cases”.