Every now and then, the sight of a case or PC component will leap out at you and scream “Mod me! Take into your lab and mod me till I beg!”
Or maybe that’s just us.
However that urge to mod manifests itself, earlier in the year we got it pretty hard when we first saw Antec’s Lanboy Air case. If you remember it – and we’re sure you, and in case you don’t, here’s our review – it’s a mesh-panelled open-to-the-air case that really fuelled our imagination. Some people might look at a case like this and think “Okay, that’s neat” or “Man, dust magnet!”, but we looked at it and thought one thing.
Imperial Guard Vox Caster.
Okay, most of you will be baffled by that, so here’s the deal. The Imperial Guard are a faction of the Warhammer 40,000 miniatures game; they’ve also featured in both Dawn of War computer games. They’re the basic grunts of the Imperium, and one of their big things is the chain of command – Guard officers are the backbone of these units, and their commands can make all the difference on the tabletop.
And for that, they need good comms, and that’s where the vox units come in. They’re basically classic radio-men, but 40K tech, especially the human stuff, tends to be large, chunky and often adorned with regimental colours, industrial warning stripes, and lots and lots of Imperial eagle emblems, also known as the Aquila. Here’s what one looks like, on a 40k miniature.
You can start to see what we’re aiming for, but it’s also obvious that there’s a few issues recreating that accurately. The aerials, for one, could be awkward in a cramped space (like our lab and, eventually, my gaming area), and it doesn’t really show off the tech inside in a cool way. So what we’re aiming for is something inspired by this look and feel; something looks like it wouldn’t be out of place on the wartorn battlefields of the 41st Millennium.
And, hopefully, something that looks good.
We’re aiming to make this a regular build-log on the site until the thing’s completed, and in a perfect world we’ll be chipping away at the project every week and updating on the Friday, just like this. But, we’ve got to admit – it’s actually been months since we started the project! This is very much a work-time thing, and therefore it’s got to compete with a lot of other stuff. That said, we’re hoping that by actually posting the first part now, we’ll be pushed and inspired to keep on top of things.
That, or we'll be really, really embarrassing ourselves when another three months goes by without an update. Anyway... you know what the case is, so what else is going into this build?
Well, the heart of it is a GIGABYTE G1.Sniper motherboard from the Killer range, with an Intel 990X strapped into it. It’ll be more or less old-tech soon, with Z68 coming and the Killer range getting an update, but it's sheer raw power that we can play with now, and the Sniper is just such a beautiful board. And since we’re going with a distinctly military look and feel for our build, it’s a match made in PCB heaven.
The rest of the build is a bit fluid at this stage (a goodly amount of the stuff we originally put aside for the project has been recalled!), as to be honest we’re still nailing down what’s going to be sticking around in the labs, and what needs to be going back. That said, we’re leaning towards a pair of GTX560s from Galaxy (are you listening, Galaxy?), purely for the bare-metal design of their shroud. What? Doesn’t everyone base their VGA choice on looks?!
But what about those looks?