PC cases with aesthetic value / spray-painting faceplates?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Colin Dunn, Jul 2, 2002.

  1. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    I have two DIY clone Wintel PCs, currently in the typical ugly beige boxes. I would like to put them into nicer-looking cases.

    A few options come to mind...

    There is a case made for HTPCs that looks like an audio/video component. But I don't think it has 3 x 5.25" externally accessible drive bays, which I need (CD-RW, DVD-ROM, and a swappable IDE drive bay).

    I've also seen black and gray aluminum cases on the market. But if I go with those, how do I get my externally accessible drives to match? Are there certain spray paints that work well for face plates on drives (physically removed from the drive and spray-painted far away from any working computers, of course)...

    Any other suggestions how to make a Wintel PC better-looking???
     
  2. MichaelPe

    MichaelPe Screenwriter

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  3. JasenP

    JasenP Screenwriter

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    The funny thing is, that in many cases (no pun intended) black components cost more than their beige counterparts.
     
  4. KyleS

    KyleS Screenwriter

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  5. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    If I were to remove the face plates from the drives, it should be safe to spray-paint unless that paint rubs off on the media and finds its way inside the drive.

    Why replace a perfectly-working drive with another one just to change the color of the face plate? That is why I was thinking of spray-painting drives.

    The other alternative would be a case with a front cover that hides those drive bays...
     
  6. John Thomas

    John Thomas Cinematographer

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    Make it simple and buy an Apple - they've got all kinds of fruity covers.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Screenwriter

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  8. Dave E H

    Dave E H Supporting Actor

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    I've got a coolermaster ATC-210 - nice aluminum case w/ a frosted Blue lexan door on the front to cover the drives. Really really nice case - I refuse to build another PC w/o a sliding MB tray!
     
  9. Mark Larson

    Mark Larson Supporting Actor

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    How much do all these cool cases cost? Last i heard, aluminium cases were made by Lian-Li, and were fairly expensive...
     
  10. Rob Lutter

    Rob Lutter Producer

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    I have a Lian Li PC-65 w/ preinstalled side window. This is probably the nicest case I have ever seen (has all the bells and whistles... screwless removable mobo tray, screwless front bezel, screwless side panels, mounting bracket for power supply (you can switch the power supply without even opening the case... also screwless), filtered front intake fans, front USB ports, super LED power/HD lights, side window). Plus it is LIGHT, the case without any components weighs under 10 lbs.
    Just add a blue cold cathode light and ya got something this pretty when you are done
    [​IMG]
    It'll set you back ~$170 (w/o power supply)... but it is well worth every penny. Plus, I think that the white faceplates look nice with an aluminum case [​IMG]
     
  11. Brian Ruth

    Brian Ruth Supporting Actor

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    Colin -- if you have a couple of thousand dollars lying around, you might want to look at an Alienware PC -- cool colors, blazing speed, high price. The Lamborghini (sp?) of computers.
     
  12. KyleS

    KyleS Screenwriter

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    Brian those prices on the Alienware systems were crazy and well above what you could get from most other manufactures and that was without a monitor too. Very cool looking systems though.

    KyleS
     
  13. Brian Ruth

    Brian Ruth Supporting Actor

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    Kyle -- for what you get, its not that much higher than other manufacturers. The Gateway I got ended up costing just about as much as a comparable Alienware system, and they didn't have most of the components I was looking for.
     
  14. KyleS

    KyleS Screenwriter

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    Brian, I certainly hope that you are kidding. Their Hive-Mind system with a P4 2.26ghz, 512mb ram, 60gb HD (barracuda at that), Ti-4400 128mb, DVD is selling for $1998.00

    This system could be built for $1600 or less. So whats the reason to pay the extra money the Case or free T-shirt?

    KyleS
     
  15. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

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    The extra cost of Alienware is the high-quality components, the extra time and attention that the builders put into assembling the system, the colored cases, the excellent warranty, the superb system documentation, the labor spent on routing the cables for excellent air flow, etc. They aren't gouging you; you get what you pay for. That said, if you have the skills and time, you could do the same yourself, saving some money but losing some time.
     
  16. Brian Ruth

    Brian Ruth Supporting Actor

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    Yeah.... what Justin said!
     
  17. Kami

    Kami Screenwriter

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    I modded my case by myself, it's pretty fun! I spraypainted the thing copper, then put a few coats of lacquer on it (to keep the paint on, and give it a bit of shine), and the whole front bezel is matte black. My CD Burner, DVD, and floppy drive bezels are also copper to match the sides and top.
    I switched my LED's from red to blue as well. I have a dremel, so I was going to cut a window in the side but then I realized it might be a bit noiser...plus plexi-glass won't shield the hardware from EMI and the likes. The main reason I didn't was that it already looks great in its simplicity.
    It looks quite sharp. [​IMG]
    Here's a picture:
    http://www3.sympatico.ca/kabes/case.jpg
    That top drive is copper now too...this was right after i replaced it.
    Rust-oleum spraypaint from home depot works the best for this.
     
  18. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

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    Does anyone have any tips for coloring aluminum?

    I know that anodizing or powder coating would be the best way to go. But those just aren't realistic options for me ($$$). Painting is all I can afford. I think I'd like to paint the inside (just the inside!) of my Lian-Li black, preferably matte black (not glossy). I've been given to understand that painting aluminum is not as easy as painting steel. Any tips or advice?
     

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