Hello there, I am Benjamin J Heckendorn, video game modder, author and part-time karaoke aficionado. You may have seen my site before located at www.benheck.com.

I have been asked by MAKE to blog about some of the best PC mods I have seen, and so over the next few weeks I shall take you all on an amazing journey as we look at them. Please keep in mind that these may not be the best ever, or technically superior, but they’re the ones I find interesting.

Let’s begin with today’s pick, shall we?

Today’s pic is the Porsche SLI Machine Wheel PC (full name apparently). I came across this one on the web and was immediately struck by how cool it is. I’ll explain in detail after the break.

Couldn’t find a lot of pics for this one but it’s impressive nevertheless. The first thing I like about this mod is that it’s all encased in a wheel, complete with rims – that’s pretty sweet.

The car concept is continued with the liquid-cooled GPU’s (and perhaps CPU’s though it’s not readily evident from these pics). Not only that, but the cooling is exhausted with – get this – dual exhaust ports, which are chrome to boot. Nice touch.

Another great thing about this mod is how it is both round and fairly symmetrical – for instance the exhaust is mirrored on both sides, unlike my Ford Escort station wagon.

A great added touch is the edge-lit most-likely-acrylic “SLI” logo circle inside the rim itself. It fits the shape of the mod very nicely and is basically in place of the rotor on a real vehicle, except not filled with rust pits.

Watercooled projects are not for the faint of heart, as I learned when building my first Xbox 360 laptop. It’s very important to keep the main system bubble-free so the pump works correctly, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. You need some sort of reservoir or blow-off valve, both to allow for variations in water density as the temperatute changes and to allow air to escape upwards.

Ever overheat your car and have that thing on the side of the radiator dump out fluid? Same deal.

Typically watercooling takes up a lot of room (hard to bend a tube filled with pressurized water) which makes this tire mod all the more impressive. Also the pumps and watercooling blocks can be quite expensive in comparison to standard heat sinks and fans.

Standard-issue air doesn’t pull as much heat off of materials as water will (since it’s obviously not as dense), however its relative inefficiency is somewhat offset by the fact it won’t short out circuits either.

For those just getting into the modding scene I’d recommend air cooling for starters, it’s just a lot simpler and will work fine as long as there’s sufficient air flow.


  • Tim

    I *hear* it gets… sheesh.

  • sam

    interesting. although, technically, water’s efficacy as a coolant has more to do with its thermal conductivity and specific heat than just its density.

  • Jayenkai

    Neat mod. Nice and small! From someone who uses a bog-standard, unmodded, basic, cheap-ass tower system, that tech scares the monkeys out of me ;)
    Watercooling?! Argh!!

    And.. Ben Heck @ Make.. Should be interesting!