You’ll need something to hold all of the components in your system while allowing adequate cooling and room for expansion.
A computer case provides a frame that you can mount all your parts into physically, so they are held in place securely. It protects your components from things like dust, static and improper handling.
The components making up your computer are sensitive pieces of electronic equipment and a case will protect them from damage. Firmly mounting all your components will ensure that your computer functions reliably, even if it is transported around.
Cases can make your computer look epic, but it’s important to remember that they also have a practical function. When selecting a case, here are some things you may want to keep in mind:
- Physical Size – Your case will need to be able to comfortably fit all your chosen components inside.
- Sockets – Little things like front USB ports can be a often-utilized feature, but not all cases provide these.
- Cooling – Heat is the enemy of your components and can damage them or shorten their lifespan. Your case should provide adequate ventilation or heat management to allow the inside of the case to stay relatively cool.
- Noise – Ventilation is usually carried out by fans, but moving parts in your case should not create
- Dust Management – Cases can get dusty due to the need for constant ventilation through the case. A good case will let very little dust collect inside and around your expensive components.
- Appearance – There are many different colors and styles available, including case lighting, so pick one to suit your personality.
Cases come in all shapes and sizes, but there are a few (loose) rules to them. The video below covers all the details and gives a nice summary:
Mini Tower: 1-2 external bays, 14-16 inches tall (35-40cm), usually hosts a mATX sized motherboard, can usually only fit 1 graphics card.
Mid Tower: The most common tower size. 3-4 external bays, 17-21 inches tall (43-53cm), always hold up to a full sized ATX motherboard, 6-8 hard drive mounts, can usually hold up to 2 graphics cards.
Full Tower: 5+ external bays, 22-27 inches tall (56-68cm), support ATX, EATX and XL-ATX motherboards.
Super/Ultra Tower: Anything taller than 27 inches (68cm)
Desktop: Used to refer to flat PCs which are intended to lie flat on your desktop, but these days the word ‘desktop’ can be used to refer to any computer that’s not a laptop.
Small Form Factor: Fits a maximum motherboard size of miniITX, generally has minimal room for external hard drives and bays.