As computers have grown more affordable and ubiquitous, users have begun to customize their systems in a variety of ways. No longer are computers the boring, beige boxes that seem to dominate a workspace, nor do they come in only one configuration. Computers can be a true reflection of their user’s personality, tastes and even needs. A desktop computer can be customized to include the internal components that the user needs or desires, a case that gives a look that the user prefers, accessories that add to the look and a variety of other options that can make a computer unique. These customized computers are no longer the province of only experienced technicians but are now something the casual user can easily obtain.
A customized desktop computer starts with the internal components. When personal computers first started becoming popular, their parts were such that only limited numbers of configurations were made available to buyers. If someone wished to add or remove components to the system, it frequently meant that he or she would have to have it professionally done or even be willing to solder pieces into the system himself or herself. Now it is rare to see a computer for sale without a wide range of customization options. This makes customized desktop computers available to everyone, even if only internally so.
Along with the advances in parts and manufacturing standards that allow people to have their own customized desktop computer, it has become common to have external customizations done as well. Computer manufacturers offer a range of exterior customizations to purchasers, such as case color, case style and even modifications to the case on a pre-selected basis. Most system sellers now include at minimum case color and style options because of the availability of standard parts allowing the system to be inexpensively manufactured.
Further customized desktop computers can be specially built, or more frequently, modified by owners who are seeking to truly set apart their system. Cases are often fitted with cold cathode lighting, light-emitting diode (LED) lighting and illuminated fans. Rounded and colored cables both clear internal space and add to the look of the system, and the fans themselves can be covered with specialty, die-cut grills instead of standard wire spirals.
Of course, lighting modifications to a customized desktop computer are much more enjoyable when they can be seen, and as a result, case windows have become a common modification. Large window panes can be cut into the side of the customized desktop computer, then lined with acrylic glass to allow the lighting effects to shine out. The windows themselves can instead by die-cut patterns instead of full, open spaces. Alternatively, semi-opaque decals can be applied to the acrylic glass to provide an etched look.
At the far end of the customized desktop computer spectrum are the full modifications to customized desktop computers. These do away with conventional computer cases altogether, building computers into things as varied as toasters, ammunition boxes or full statues. There have been computers for dashboards, computers hidden in stuffed animals and even customized desktop computers with beer taps built in. The limits to these kinds of customized desktop computers rely entirely upon the creativity of their creators.