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I came across this PC build on the interwebs the other day and it really caught my eye. Built by a modder known as “Geno” for a contest, it’s meant to honor the game Half-Life 2 in case that wasn’t completely obvious.

Let’s take a closer look!

One of the most amazing things about this mod is the fact it was built in about 2 weeks, and around the time of the person’s wedding/honeymoon! Hats off to such a rushed schedule, and kudos to his wife whom must be a very patient and understanding woman!

Unless you are very lucky, have an army of people working under you or have unlimited amounts of money (which usually leads to having an army of people) always expect a project to go over time and budget. Impossible schedules such as the one for this project are doable, but only if you have no need for sleep.

Have realistic goals if possible, or if shooting for a deadline, start early or plan to work late. Getting burned out by a project won’t lead to good results, or even if it does, you’ll resent the project in the end. (Speaking from much experience here!)

The rear of the unit. Most of this looks pretty standard, but again he’s maintained the orange box color scheme (couldn’t resist). Notice how he’s kept the colors to a minimum – mostly orange, silver and white. Not going hog-wild on coloring is always a good idea, unless you’re making some sort of flower-power PC mod. Pick a few colors that go together well and them stick with them. Hint: Black, white and shades of gray go with almost anything and can make a good “base” scheme for the other colors. Using black as a base color for instance will cause any “real” colors put near it to really pop out!

A view of the unit’s internals. Lots of metal work here, which is quite impressive. Like the WMD PC, metal can be tricky to work with but the end results, if done right, are worth it (and also will be quite strong)

When working with any material, but especially ones that could scratch, you should leave on any protective film / paper / coverings until it’s absolutely necessary to take them off. Also be sure your work area won’t damage the unit… cover the surfaces with felt, paper or lay down a bunch of old mousepads.

Nice bit of metal working here. Logo is cut out from the metal, but painted to show the shape. Why he didn’t paint the little flanges black (so they’d disappear into the background) is a bit confusing, but whatever, it’s cool!

Seems like water cooling is very popular with PC modders. It can be fun, but if you’re just starting out you may be better off just air-cooling it, it’s certainly easier which will allow you to work on other aspects of the project more. Looking back, I regret making my first Xbox 360 laptop water-cooled, it was just taking the long way around the barn on a project like that.

Inner view of the unit, showing the quite large coolant pump, memory and other stuff. Things are even painted to match on the insides, nice touch!

Great photo – the modder’s wife getting in on the modding action. If you can get anyone to help with a project by all means do it – two heads are better than one, and they might catch stupid mistakes you’ve missed.

Well that’s all for today. To read the more extensive making of for this project – which also serves as a “do’s and don’ts” list for modding in general, check out Geno’s page by clicking here.

-Ben Heckendorn
http://www.benheck.com


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