Written by: Calen Saddler
For our latest installment of “Chatting with Pro Modders,” we sat down with highly acclaimed modder Peter Brands AKA L3p to find out his perspective on modding trends and other modding related topics. Peter Brands is a modder who many consider to be one of the best. He hails from the Netherlands and is best known for his desk build, “L3p D3sk.” His most recent build, Steiger, has already started to become very popular throughout the community. He managed to stuff a rather powerful, fully liquid cooled system into a PC case that’s only 68mm thick. Now that’s impressive!
To start out we couldn’t help but ask Peter Brands, “How did you get started modding and what influences you today from within or outside the industry?”
Peter Brands replied, “My first mods were just to improve temperatures while gaming 15 years ago. Hardware started to produce more and more heat up to a point where those silly beige cases couldn’t control it anymore. Meaning extra fan holes and later little windows. The combination of liquid-cooling and modding 9 years ago, 2 years before I built L3p D3sk. I don’t think I get influenced a lot by the industry. I use ideas I see around me in my daily life at work for example. (yacht building)”
This is a perfect example of how “purpose built mods” got started. Back in the infancy of modding, they were done in order to get more out of your hardware. The old timers all remember the legendary “turbo button.” If you wanted something water-cooled, you had to mod those beige boxes, also known as early desktop PC cases. We can all thank these PC pioneers for paving the way to the awesome liquid cooling we have available today.
We asked, “What was the first trend you had to be involved in and what attracted you to it?”
“Hardline tubing for liquid cooling! I don’t say I was the first, but I was one of the first experimenting with it and doing a full build with it by using lots of Bitspower SLI Crystal links (L3p D3sk). And well . . . working with UV and Blue led lighting together with UV active acrylic and liquid (mostly green haha). I fell in love with it at first sight and have used it many times since.”
“Who sets the trends and how do you think mods become trendy?”
“In my opinion, it’s a mixture of many factors. Trends are like a swarm of birds all working and reacting together. As companies create new products, modders will find ways to change those products to their liking, That in turn leads to companies creating products to suit the needs expressed by modders making those changes and trying to predict what other needs will arise.”
There are many ways trends become trendy . Sometimes it’s done by the manufacturers. This has started to happen more often and a good example is Cooler Master and their “Make it Yours” campaign. This began in 2015, when CM introduced the “Master” line of products. It’s no mystery that a lot of trends are set by modders all around the globe. Cooler Master decided to jump in feet first and ask a long list of modders, “What do you want?” There are many answers to that question but, the overall theme is that we all wanted to be original. Make something new and most of all, “Make It Ours.”
We asked Peter Brands, “Currently what is your favorite trend to see or do in your own mods?”
“I really like open air chassis designs. Personally, I’m also a fan of thick materials like real glass and aluminum. In general, casemods seem to get much more stylish designs throughout the years.”
“What do you think the trends of the future will look like?”
“All hardware will be getting smaller and using less heat. With that the cases will also be smaller and more stylish. People don’t want huge regular square cases anymore.”
So all this talk about past and current trends has me wondering what’s in store for the future? Will cases and hardware continue to get smaller? If so it will definitely make the real estate on a case worth more. This could promote a class of extremely well planned mods. Rigsthat would make materials and layout of hardware a very important part of the overall design. I feel that we are a long way off from having only small cases to build with but it does make you think. Open air chassis design has been redefined in the last couple years. There are now so many different variations of open air and partially open air chassis to choose from.
“What drives you to create your case modding masterpieces?”
My passion is to create something not only I personally would want to have in my gaming or living room but something that anyone and everyone would want.
“What’s one piece of advice you’d like to give to an up and coming modder or enthusiast?”
Peter replied, “It might sound weird but start small. I see a lot of extreme 3D designs with thousands of dollars of hardware and liquid cooling but in the end they never get to build it as it was just too much.”
“Tell us about your most recent build.”
I recently finished a custom liquid cooled gaming HTPC inside a Steiger Dynamics case. It was quite a challenge to get it all inside a 68mm high case. On the inside it needed a lot of measuring and modifications to get it done. I wanted to do something like this for years and I really liked the result!
Peter Brands has given us some great advice and insight into the world of modding. It has shown us where modding started for many and where his inspiration is drawn from. Modding gives so much to so many people. It serves as a platform that we can use to express our tastes, emotions, and artistic styling. Transcending borders and boundaries to bring people together who might have never met without it. If you want to get into modding but need that extra push to take the plunge; let this be that push. Let today be that day and take your 1st step. It doesn’t have to be a big step; just a step. This is a great community of makers, artists, and enthusiasts. If you need advice, there’s a community of modders who are always willing to help share their craft. So get out there and “Make It Yours!”
* For more information on PC Modding, check out some of the great tutorials on Cooler Master’s Maker Hub.