The GTX 1060 Hybrid series has come to a close. This project encountered an unexpected speed bump, whereupon we inserted a copper shim (changing the stack to silicon > TIM > shim > TIM > coldplate) to bridge contact between the CLC and GPU. This obviously sacrifices some efficiency, as we're inserting two layers of ~6W/mK TIM between ~400W/mK copper, but it's still better than air cooling with a finned heatsink.

Our previous Hybrid projects (see: 1080, RX 480) axed the baseplate, thereby losing some VRAM and VRM cooling potential. For this project, we filed down the edges of the GPU socket to accommodate the protruding EVGA coldplate. This allowed us to keep the baseplate, granting better conduction to the VRAM and VRM. The blower fan is also still operating, but by removing the cover from the shroud (“window”), we're losing some pressure and air before it reaches the VRM. After speaking to a few AIB partners, we determined that the cooling was still sufficient for our purposes. An open air bench case fan was positioned to blast air into the “window” hole, keeping things a little cooler on average.

The GTX 1060 Hybrid tear-down went smoothly. We were able to remove all of the components with relative ease, look things over, and make a loose plan for part 2 – the build, which also seemed to go smoothly.

Until it didn't.

We were able to re-secure everything and, despite some very close clearance, even got the shroud back onto the card. Unfortunately, plugging it in revealed high idle temperatures, and a 30-second test led us to nearly 90C almost immediately. We terminated the test and cooled the card down, then re-evaluated the installation.

Thermaltake greeted us this year with a steel tank packing two mini-guns. It was the winner of the X9 modding competition and was created by Jesse Palacia, a case modder prolific in the Dirty South PC Mods group on Facebook. The Core X9 was hardly recognizable as the top had been cut down at about a 45-degree angle and the side panels had been sawed through and made into hinged, steel covers. Even though the mod wasn't currently powered, it was still eye catching.

Without fail, five years running, case manufacturer In-Win has presented the most definitively impressive and artistic PC cases at CES. The company sometimes acts like boutique car companies: They don’t seem to understand “stop,” adding to designs until they hit $400, $800, and – in one remarkable case -- $2400. In-Win does make lower-end, affordable enclosures, but that spotlight is nonetheless stolen by what are clearly intended to be “halo” products; of course, there’s nothing wrong with that for a tradeshow.

CES 2016 wasn’t any different. In-Win had its 805 and 809 enclosures representing the affordable market (to some degree, anyway), with the $800, 30th anniversary H-Frame and $2400 H-Tower fronting the high-end. The video immediately below shows the H-Tower, the next one (and article) carry on with the 805. A photo gallery is below the article.

The domineering maw of a Venator class Destroyer from Star Wars stares down visitors entering MSI’s CES 2016 suite, a case mod 400 hours in the making by Sander van der Velden. The Destroyer bears near-perfect resemblance to the iconic Star Wars ship; its 3D-printed PLA shell is textured with intended imperfections to more realistically depict its battle-hardened exterior. Behind all the plastic casing and a sturdy, aluminum frame, the Venator hosts a micro-ATX gaming PC that’s fully operational and cooled on an open loop – but all the function is aesthetically implemented.

Case modder “Gentleman Dingo,” also known as Charlie Falcone, has adapted a GAEMS portable console case into a small form factor gaming PC, hoping to draw GAEMS into the PC gaming market.

The GAEMS Vanguard is a preexisting case designed for transporting consoles--you just pop a console into the bottom compartment, hook it up to the built-in 1366x768 screen via HDMI, and plug the whole thing into a wall outlet. This has obvious advantages for gamers in the military or on vacation, but isn't much use to PC gamers anywhere.

Thermaltake is a prominent case and peripheral brand. This year, they’re holding what they call “the international modding event of the year.” The “2015 Thermaltake Case MOD Invitational Season 2” may not have the most catchy name, but it is a competition for the world’s top case modders from the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Australia, Russia, Thailand, and the Philippines to transform the Thermaltake Core X9 case with Thermaltake liquid cooling equipment.

We’re presently out in the general “California area” – a large, confusing land filled with cars and empty water basins. Consequently, this land also contains hardware manufacturers and system integrators. The trip started with a visit to Kingston, bridged to NZXT, EVGA, iBUYPOWER, CyberPower, and (the lone game developer) Chris Roberts’ Cloud Imperium Games. All that content is forthcoming – but we’re starting with iBUYPOWER.

We've been working with Bob Stewart and Rod Rosenberg for a few years now, the two experts behind BS Mods. The shop team is fully dedicated to case modding and high-end system building, specializing in computers built for use in convention environments. These have been displayed in our videos with several vendors, including the Rosewill Throne and Cosmic Force mods.

Recently, Rod Rosenberg – the guy generally responsible for BS Mods' machine work – was spotted over at nVidia's “GeForce Garage” modding environment. Rosenberg hopped on camera to showcase the process for custom-cutting a case window, hoping to demystify some basic-level case modders who seek a relatively low-level summer project.

Thermaltake released their latest trio of cases at CES 2015 yesterday: the Core X9, Core X2, and Core X1. The cases are designed to be stackable and, when stacked, they have enough room for even the largest liquid cooling systems. The Core X series cases houses its motherboards horizontally and can be almost completely disassembled to the builder’s liking, allowing for complete customization. The other thing that really pops out during the first impression is that they are large, and in the Core X9’s case, really large. Here are some of the measurables:

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