The 11th Edition of CoolerMaster's Case Mod World Series has come around, and from the ashes of 2020, the winners have finally arisen. This year, over 100 entries came through, from 23 countries around the globe. Each year the CMWS has grown exponentially in terms of entry numbers, and this year over a third were new participants.
Understandable when the winners of Best Scratch Build and Best Tower Mod win a face melting $4,000, with $2,000 going to the winners of each distinct category.
Here at PC gamer, we were offered a seat on the judging panel this time around. We spotted so much talent, it's fair to say the winners deserve every penny.
Each build is assessed on craftsmanship, as in the level of detail, quality of finish and overall intricacy; aesthetics, as in the theme, use of colour and composition; functionality, so whether it would actually work as planned and stay cool; and innovation, as in how forward-looking it was, with regards to the future product design.
Several Partner awards (opens in new tab) were also announced alongside the best in show. These included the Small and Mighty from MSI, Best Gaming Theme by Control, Cooled and Overclocked G.Skill and Performance And Aesthetics by Nvidia GeForce Garage. The prize for each was $1,500 worth of partner-specific gear.
On top of that, Gaming Gear awards (opens in new tab) have been decided, where individual peripherals were given an exclusive makeover. These included Best Overall Design, Best Enhancement Idea, and Gamers Approved. All of which received a $500 voucher to be spent on the CoolerMaster store.
So here we are, the winning designs for you all to get inspired by, or simply for you to ogle at. This year was a freaking fanfare.
Best Scratch Build winner
Ikigai by Nick Falzone Design (opens in new tab)
The scratch builds were all built, well, from scratch. This is by far my favourite of the lot, and the rest of the judges obviously agree. It's elegant and rich, yet simple. Outstanding woodworking skills, might I add.
Best Tower Mod winner
A.R.E.S by Explore Modding (opens in new tab)
Each tower design was a modification of an existing case. This one, with a rotating component mount, fiber-optics and generous application of teal overcoat, is barely recognisable. Seriously, it's like an interdimensional portal in your PC.
Innovation & Design winner
Spirit of Motion by Maximum Bubble Mods (opens in new tab)
Incredibly sleek, with a gorgeous finish, this one's a different take on the sci-fi vehicle designs we see so much of. I love the classic car look, and the buffed red chassis really makes it pop.
Cyberpunk 2077 – Deconstruction by AKMod (opens in new tab)
This one also won the Nvidia Geforce Aesthetic partner mod. This one's ridiculously intricate. No doubt it had to be planned out in excruciating detail before anything started being printed. But damn, they pulled it off.
Art Direction, joint place
AMG Project by SA Mod (opens in new tab)
There's something very satisfying about this one, the finish and cooling loop in particular. So professionally done. And that colour combo, Razer would be proud.
JDMF Sneaker by JDMF (opens in new tab)
What can I say? I'm sort of lost for words looking at a shoe that's actually a PC. Obviously it's a darn sight bigger than your average sneaker, but how they managed to jam all those components in there is beyond me.