The leaves are changing, their verdant greens slowly being replaced with ochres and rusty browns; this is a sign that October has truly begun to settle in. With the autumn also comes one of the tick boxes of the gaming and modding calendars: Paris Games Week. At the end of the month, thousands will descend upon the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles to get their fill of the upcoming gaming releases, computer hardware, and nerd culture in general. As is so often the case nowadays, a big expo means a perfect chance to show off some case mods, something that French computer retailer LDLC does each year with panache.

You may recall last year that I took part in LDLC's annual modding contest, scooping third place against Ronnie Hara, Stephen Hoad, and Mike Petereyns. I'm pleased to announce that this year I've been selected to represent the UK in this contest once more, this time facing up against Mhike Samsin of The Philippines, JengKi of Thailand, and Olivier Maillet of France!

What's going on?

As per the system last year, we're each assigned a different hardware supplier that provides the case along with any other components they may have in their repertoire. In addition, each modder has an allocated budget to spend in various modding shops to pick up things like cooling hardware or mod supplies. We have to mod our cases to fit a chosen theme, this year being - of course - the smash hit battle royale shooter Fortnite, within the allotted time frame. The builds are then collected and transported to Paris, where they're put on show at the event. At the event, attendees will judge the builds based on the strength of the theming, quality of work, and other similar points and vote for their favourites, the one with the most votes being crowned the winner.

This year my case sponsor is Be Quiet! which has supplied me with a Dark Base Pro 900 Rev. 2 along with a host of Silent Wings 3 fans and a Straight Power 11 850W Power supply. Completing the hardware roster are as follows:

  • Motherboard Asus Strix Z370-H Gaming
  • CPU Intel Core i7-8700K
  • Memory 16GB G-Skill TridentZ RGB
  • GPU Asus Turbo GTX 1070 Ti
  • Storage 250GB Samsung 970 Evo NVMe M.2
  • Case Be Quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 Rev. 2
  • Power supply Be Quiet! Straight Power 11 850W
  • Fans Be Quiet! Silent Wings 3 120mm

On top of that, I chose a bunch of cooling supplies from EK, Bitspower, and Thermaltake plus extra gubbins like cable sleeving materials and some Barrow LED strips.

What's the plan, Doc?

Well, as mentioned, the theme is Fortnite, but that's really not the easiest topic to work around given the style of the game. After considering the hardware, I figured it would be a good move to theme the build around a character skin from within the game, and I chose the Red Knight. The Asus Strix board is quite a vibrant thing, with red not only over the heatsinks but snaking onto the PCB itself too. It seems a sensible idea to work with that instead of fighting it in this case. Now, what about the aRGie Bargie? Well, the LED strips are RGB, but frankly we don't need rainbows for this build, which is handy since I chose RGB water blocks... Okay, I may not have noticed that this particular board doesn't even have RGB headers on it, but no biggie, let's just do it the old fashioned way.

With this one I want to try working elements from the skin into the structure of the case, likely using the helmet design and the shield in places around the computer. The Red Knight very much is black and red, so that will be the main colour combo, likely accented with silver and raw aluminium for trim. Since one simply has to have distro plates in a build nowadays (I have a dinner plate in mine - ed.), I'm likely going to be placing one in the front facing outwards along with perhaps one on the PSU shroud or a midwall. It would also be nice to try and work, say, the chain-mail or regalia into the mod, perhaps using mirrored acrylic and leatherette?

There's probably only one thing I can guarantee though, that the interior of the case - as per usual - will probably say bye bye! Stay tuned!

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October 14 2021 | 15:04