E ach year as we work with the excellent folks who put together  Intel LANFest events around the country, we participate in a  number of CPU-Intel LANFest Case Mod Contests. The winner  of each of those contests becomes eligible to win a larger contest  among that year’s winners, with the best mod winning coverage in our  “Mad Reader Mod” feature.
As you can imagine, it can be tough to pick the best of the best  from a full year’s worth of LANFest events, and selecting a winner  for 2013 was no exception. We saw awe-inspiring technical mods,  envy-inspiring artistic mods, creative traditional case mods, and  finely engineered scratch builds. Our 2013 winner falls into that  last category.
We found Craig “Losias” Brugger’s aluminum and plastic creation  at LANFest NETWAR, the LANFest event that takes place a couple  times a year in Omaha, Neb. Brugger won not only the NETWAR  mod contest last February, but also ended up taking top honors for the  entire 2013 LANFest season.
Small But Deadly MPD-01 (the name stands for “Mobile Pwnage Device”) is the  product of Brugger’s obsession with tinkering in general and with small  form factor builds in particular.
“There is always a little extra challenge in making sure components  fit efficiently in a small space,” Brugger says. “I’ve been a tinkerer my  whole life. Nothing was ever good enough for me. I always had to try  to make things better in some way. It was a natural carryover of this  mindset when I started modding.” Brugger set out to build a fully capable LAN rig that was as small as  possible, and MPD-01 was the result.
“I didn’t want to compromise on any of my needs,” Brugger says.
“I wanted it to be able to handle a high-end GPU without issue. It  needed to cool efficiently. It needed to house two full-sized hard drives  and a pair of SSDs. Then, above all else, it had to be easy to maintain  and upgrade.” Judging by MPD-01, we’d say he hit all his targets. MPD-01’s CPU  is cooled by NZXT’s Kraken X40 closed-loop cooler, and Brugger  says “I could drop in a GTX 780 Ti tomorrow and have no issues.”  Portability without durability can be more of a curse than a blessing,  but MPD-01’s carry handles also serve double duty as an outer layer of  protection for the rig’s sensitive components.
Ghost In The Shell You’re probably wondering how easy it is to work on, with all the  parts of a fully functional LAN machine packed into such a compact  frame. That’s where the magic happens.
“One of the best features of MPD-01 is that it consists of a  core and an outer shell,” Brugger explains. “The core completely  slides out the rear of the shell. Any component can be easily  accessed without issue. I would even argue that it’s much easier to  replace parts on this mod than on most full-sized systems.” (We  won’t argue with him.) And because Brugger rigged a power connection between the core  and shell that utilizes touch contacts instead of wires and plugs, you  don’t have to unhook anything before you slide the core out. “This also gives me one other pretty cool option,” says Brugger.

Motherboard : Asrock z77-ITX
Processor : Intel Core I5
GPU : Nvidia GTX 680
Storage : Two SSD and two 3.5″ HDD
PSU : Shuttle PSU
Cooling : NZXT Kraken 140 AIO

“I can remove the core and still use my PC while I build or mod a  new shell.” And despite the fact that MPD-01 has an extremely cool look  that falls somewhere between “baby nuke” and “MIL-SPEC field  computer,” Brugger says aesthetics were a secondary concern.
“I consider it the ultimate grab-and-go rig,” he says. “It’s not  about perfect paint and perfectly run acrylic tubing; it’s about having  something supremely durable that I can just throw in my car and head  to a LAN or a friend’s house for some gaming. It also happens to be  my daily rig. It fits both roles very well.” Aside from Brugger’s custom-made and fairly ingenious chassis,  MPD-01 consists of an Intel Core i5-3570K nestled into an ASRock  Z77E-ITX board, with 8GB of Samsung Low Profile DDR3-1600  memory, a GIGABYTE GTX 680 OC, a Shuttle 550W PSU, a pair  of Crucial SSDs, a Western Digital HDD and a Seagate drive, and the  aforementioned NZXT Kraken X40.
Oh, and there’s also the Aigo Android tablet that Brugger attached  to the front of the case, which Brugger says gives him easy access to  system information (CPU and memory usage, temperature, and even  some game-specific options) “at the touch of a screen.” “SFF doesn’t have to mean compromise,” Brugger stresses. “With  proper planning and a willingness to see it through, you can create  some pretty efficient rigs. Also, think outside the box when it comes to  case design. Go for something original. Get creative!” Well, you heard the man.

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  1. Just curious, are the case specs ever going to get posted or are you going to just leave it at eye candy?

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