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This Retro Rust mini gaming PC is stunning and we want it

With great use of wood, leather, and genuine rust, this mini-ITX Cooler Master NR200P has been transformed into an astounding steampunk gaming PC.

Retro Rust gaming PC with wood panels and a custom LCD screen

This outstanding mini-ITX steampunk PC build wouldn’t look out of place in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It’s based on a Cooler Master NR200P mini-ITX case, but PC modder Joel Hunt has transformed it almost beyond recognition, with a leather-wrapped roof, a rusted side panel, and extensive use of wood. The system is simply called Retro Rust, which sums up the design perfectly.

Thanks to our rapidly growing PC building Facebook page, we’ve seen many custom gaming PCs, from mods based on existing case designs to scratch builds. You can even submit yours for consideration right here. Here we chat to Joel about how he made this wooden steampunk PC build.

PCGamesN: What inspired you to build this PC in this case?

I initially came across the Cooler Master NR200P when builds.gg hosted a mini ITX build competition. I was fortunate enough to win the case, and later on, when Cooler Master announced its annual modding contest, I saw an opportunity to showcase my creativity.

To set my case apart from others, I decided to orientate it vertically and infuse it with my personal touch. I draw inspiration from nature, incorporating elements such as wood, oxidized metals, and leather. Additionally, my fondness for all things retro influenced the birth of Retro Rust.

The mini ITX gaming PC with wooden panels and a leather top

How did you plan out this build?

I believe in being methodical when planning a case mod. I first focused on getting the case upright and then proceeded to oxidize the existing panels. CAD played a crucial role in designing the 3D-printed components and laser-cut panels.

Did you have any difficulties with the build?

Stripping the side panel turned out to be more challenging than anticipated. It involved multiple coats of paint stripper, meticulous scraping, and sanding. To my surprise, I discovered a layer of zinc coating that also needed to be removed.

Once I reached the bare metal, I applied a mixture of vinegar, salt, and peroxide to create the desired patina. Finally, I sealed it with a clear coat of my choice. I replicated this process on the 3D-printed copper trim on the front, resulting in a captivating green-turquoise color.

What was the hardest part?

The most demanding aspect of the project was the buffalo leather wrap on the top panel. It required meticulous planning and precise cuts to ensure a perfect fit. I also had to remodel the top panel from scratch in order to accommodate the additional thickness added by the leather.

Can you tell us more about the little screen, which has a Space Invaders image on it?

It’s a small 4-inch IPS screen connected directly to the GPU. I’ve successfully run Space Invaders on Retroarch, and it works flawlessly. It adds a nostalgic gaming touch to the overall aesthetics.

The lightbulb inside the retro rust mini gaming pc

What about the lightbulb?

It’s actually an LED designed to resemble an Edison Bulb since using an actual 60W bulb would have contributed to higher internal temperatures within the case.

Are you happy with the overall result?

I wouldn’t make any additional changes to the build. While newer hardware could have been a welcome addition, I had to work within a tight  budget and made the most of available resources. I’m genuinely delighted with how the build turned out, and it’s even received my wife’s seal of approval for its place in our living room.

Retro Rust PC build specs

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-6600K
  • Motherboard: EVGA Z170 Stinger ITX
  • Memory: 16GB G.Skill Trident Z 3600MHz
  • Graphics card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 SC2 Gaming
  • Storage: 2TB Samsung 870 Evo
  • PSU: 650W SilverStone SST-SX650-G
  • Case: Cooler Master MasterBox NR200P
  • Cooling: Corsair Hydro H70 120mm AIO cooler, EKWB EK-AIO 120 D-RGB 120mm AIO cooler, 4 x Noctua NF-A12x15 120mm case fans

We’re hugely impressed by Retro Rust – so much work has gone into working with all the different materials to make a unique machine. The rust, leather, and wood all work really well together, and the resulting system looks like it should be sat in the home of a Victorian eccentric inventor.

This post originally appeared on Custom PC, which has been covering amazing setups for over 20 years and is now part of PCGamesN. Join our 500k member Facebook group to discuss this build.

If you consider yourself to be an expert PC builder, you can submit your own custom PC build to us today for a chance of being featured on PCGamesN in the future.