There are many advantages to building your own PC: It gives you more performance for your dollar, you can build it exactly to your required specs with no compromises or things you don’t need, it allows for easy upgrades and future-proofing; the list goes on. One major advantage that often gets lost in the sea of hardware configurations and CPU/GPU/RAM specs is style. With a custom-built PC, you can style it however you like, creating an Instagram-worthy battle station and a more immersive ambiance.
You have a lot more options than just RGB LED case fans, too. The good news is that you don’t have to sacrifice function for form, meaning that you can build a highly capable workhorse PC while also making it look really cool. Even more good news is that you can gussy up almost any build, from a budget PC to a bleeding-edge enthusiast-tier setup – and we’re here to show you how it’s done.
Lian Li Dynamic Mini - Built by Arthur F
You can dress up virtually any custom desktop PC tower with stylish accessories, so there’s no need to lay out a laundry list of specific internal components – you probably already have an idea of what you want as far as CPU, GPU, RAM, and other specs are concerned. Here, we’re focusing entirely on style.
There are a few major considerations for a style-focused PC build, however; namely, the case and motherboard. Since one of the primary focuses of this build is aesthetics, you naturally want a case that allows you to peep at the internals. This means one with an acrylic/plastic or tempered glass side panel.
We recommend sticking with tempered glass, even if it’s a little more expensive. It’ll look nicer and isn’t prone to scratches and scuffs like plastic panels are (and these are easier to scratch up than you think, even when the case is sitting stationary). Just be careful when handling the glass panel, obviously, but other than breakage, about the worst thing you have to worry about with glass is fingerprints which are easily wiped off.
We also generally recommend ATX mid-towers or microATX mini cases for most PC builds, as these are the easiest to work with and offer the widest range of motherboard compatibility. With this one, however, it’s really up to you. That said, we don’t recommend smaller form factors like ITX cases unless you’re already an experienced builder, as these can be tricky to work with.
The Corsair Crystal 280X is a great microATX mini-tower featuring three tempered glass side panels, and it’s available in black or white to suit your style. It even comes with two pre-installed RGB LED fans. If you want something a little more budget-friendly, the Thermaltake Versa H18 microATX case has a tempered glass panel for a great price.
Your choice of motherboard will depend on what hardware you plan to use it with as well as what case you're going to fit everything into. Just make sure your mobo has the correct socket type for your chosen CPU, and enough connections, such as fan headers, to power any style accessories you wish to install.
Also, don’t skimp on the power supply. We recommend a PSU that’s 80+ Bronze certified or better, as energy efficiency is important for any build, especially one with add-ons that are drawing a little power from the system. A semi-modular or fully modular power supply will eliminate unnecessary cable clutter and allow for a cleaner finished build.
You can approach this style build with virtually any budget in mind, so other components such as your CPU, GPU (if you’re using one), and RAM are entirely up to you. You can check out some of our other build guides, like our beginner’s PC build guide or streaming PC build guide, for more ideas if you’re still putting together your larger parts list.
Open air gaming PC - Andy K
The main components that make this build unique are its case accessories. RGB-lit cables, otherwise known as strimers, are one way to dress up the internals of your desktop tower a bit, and you’ve got a few options there. Another flashy case accessory you can add, and one that’s a bit more customizable, are case LED kits.
Case LED add-ons come in a variety of designs, from LED sticks and flexible lighting strips to accent tile panels. You can even get RGB LED accessories shaped like RAM sticks, such as the Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro Light Enhancement Kit, which fits into any unused memory slots on your motherboard. Some RAM modules even come with built-in RGB LED accents to add extra visual pop to your motherboard.
The most common RGB LED case accessories are fans, and that’s probably what you think of when you think of a “gaming PC” aesthetic. LED fans are great for several reasons: First, you’re going to install them anyway, both to keep your CPU cool as well as to keep the inside of the case cool. It’s no more difficult to install a case fan or CPU cooler with RGB lighting than it is to install a plain Jane one without it, the only real difference is the extra money you might spend to get RGB-lit fans.
You have plenty of options for RGB CPU coolers and LED case fans, too, from brands like Cooler Master, Corsair, and Thermaltake. Thermals are important for any PC but especially if you’re building something like a gaming desktop that will be running a bit hot, so case fans are the perfect excuse to add some extra style to your desktop’s internals. Many water cooling kits also feature RGB lighting, and these are a good choice for more experienced tinkerers and high-end PC builds.
Finally, assuming you’re going to be using your PC for gaming (which you probably are), let’s not forget those must-have accessories that allow you to customize your battle station even further. We’re talking of course about things that sit outside the tower case. Almost every gaming accessory you can think of is available with RGB lighting, even gaming chairs and desks if you really want to go nuts.
At the very least, you should invest in a proper gaming keyboard and gaming mouse. Many, if not most, of these boast LED accents to give your setup a custom flair along with other advanced features (like extra programmable buttons, mechanical switches, and adjustable sensitivity) that add some value over run-of-the-mill mice and keyboards. While you’re at it, you might as well add an LED-accented mousepad or deskmat to go with them. The only limit here is your budget and your imagination.
One thing to bear in mind is that many RGB-lit accessories from brands like Logitech, Corsair, Razer, and SteelSeries require desktop software to customize the lighting and other settings. If buying multiple peripherals, it’s a good idea to “keep it in the family” by buying from the same brand. That way, you can set up and customize everything with a single app rather than having to download and use multiple ones for different accessories.
Only the Best Bits - Anthony L
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