How To Customize Your PC Case & Achieve Professional Results

THG's Exclusive Interview With Steve Horch, Continued

THG - Do you have a favorite case brand or style that you prefer to work with?

SH - It is possible to paint almost any case. I do tend to try to avoid painting cheaper cases. I don't like to do cheap cases, because I think that people tend to get dissatisfied with them more quickly, and not because they don't like the paint job. More often than not, the case is too small for upgrades, or it is cheaply constructed and doesn't hold up well over time. Personally, I like the Chieftec Dragon, Scorpio, and Matrix series mid-tower cases. The new Antec Performance Plus cases are exceptional, as well. My best-seller continues to be the Enlight 7237 mid-tower. The 7237 has been a big hit because it is a good size case, is well constructed, and is fairly inexpensive. I like to stick with the mid-tower or full-tower cases because they provide the best balance of size and expansion room.

THG - Do you have any favorite pre-modded items that are easy for people to use and install that are making their way into your designs?

SH - I really like the new Antec lighted 80mm fans. I just got my hands on the new Antec Tri-Color lighted fans. After looking at the blue colored lighted fans for a while, the new tri-color fans look even cooler, and they are fairly easy to install. Perhaps they don't output as much light as you would like, but here is a tip that people will like: use a case like the Chieftec Dragon series or the Antec Performance Plus series, and then use the blue lighted fans in the front of the case behind the front grill. You will get a really great looking glow that you can see through the front grill of the case. This is an easy mod that doesn't take a lot of investment, but the Antec lighted fans tend to be a little on the expensive side.

Speaking of fans, like everyone else, I have been experimenting with various case fans in an attempt to find those fans that still move a lot of air, but are fairly quiet. If you don't want to go with lighted fans, the Enermax UC-8FAB-B series fans are available in a variety of colors and include a good looking gold fan grill, and, best of all, the US-8FAB-B features a manual adjustable fan speed control, which allow you to set the RPMs from 1000 RPM to 3000 RPM. I like to use these fans in the back of the case, where Antec lighted fans don't gain you anything because you already have plenty of cold cathode lighting in the bottom of the case. If I am not concerned about the look and I am just trying to reduce noise, I like the Vantec Stealth fans, although they don't move as many CFMs as I would like. The Enermax Ultra-Cool thermo controlled fans feature heat sensors that allow the fans to spin faster as the heat inside the case rises. The position of the heat sensor is very important with these fans, but they, too, can decrease a lot of fan noise. The only down side to the Vantec Stealth and the Enermax Ultra-Cool is that both of them are black, which gives them the appearance that I am not normally looking for.

THG - I think you have provided a lot of good tips and information for this article. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

SH - I think case modding is an excellent way to express yourself. Anyone can have a beige 'eyesore,' but why not find ways to make the outside of your computer more customized and reflect more of your personality? Creativity is the key! I believe that some of the best mods have not even been thought of yet. New ideas such as displays and fan bus controls, for example, are just starting to arrive, and I think the best are yet to come. If it wasn't for innovative ideas, we wouldn't even have computers at all!

THG - Thanks for your time. We would like to have you come back again and show us how to do another case mod project.

SH - Sure, I would be happy to work on another project for a future article, if the readers are interested in it.

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