A computer case is a chassis within which all your dreams are stored. Okay, that’s a bit of an overstatement - a computer case is a customisable essential for any PC owner; the cabinet that contains all of your precious PC components and peripherals, from your expensive hard drive, carefully sourced optical drive, high-end motherboard, and bulking power supply, etc.
Why is a Computer Case important?
It’s important to find the perfect PC case for you. After all, it’s going to be the bulking hardware workstation that you are staring at all day! It characterizes your PC, so source the perfect one that resonates with the machine that you are building, whether it’s a gaming PC or a simple work desktop.
While most computer cases are rectangular, black blocks, case modding allows you to personalize your PC with everything from custom internal lighting, paints, or a beautiful liquid cooling system that illuminates the room. Your PC doesn’t have to be dull or ugly, it can become a beaming center-piece.
PC cases are built with the intent of easy component storage, the same way our body has evolved to perfectly compact our organs. They come with a power button at the front, often LED lit, which is directly attached to the secured motherboard that represents the current power status and hard drive activity.
At the front of the case, you will also find multiple 3.5-inch and 5.25-inch expansion bays for all your media drives, optical drives, floppy disk drives, and hard drives.
Not just a case
Your expensive hardware is at risk from constant exterior threats; dust, liquids, etc, which can all do damage to the internals of your computer. The hard shell of your PC, for obvious reasons, encloses them all and keeps them safe from the outside threats.
The enclosure is key. With your PC safely enclosed, your components now have a proper airflow system available to them that works with your cooling system to vent air and cool down your PC, meaning that warm air escapes and pushes away the daunting possibility of overheating that causes malfunction. If you have fans, noise reduction is also an important aspect of the case.
You have to make sure that your PC case encloses all of your components and are compact enough to keep them safe. Keep reading to find out which size will suit you!
What Computer Case Towers above the rest?
There are many types of computer Case, but a Tower is the most common. What differs Towers on the consumer market is their size; you can get Full Tower, Mid Tower, Mini Tower, and Small Form Factor Tower’s, all with their own defining uses and distinctions.
Let’s start with the big boys; Full Towers, the largest available PC case dimention. Their heights vary around 56 cm (22 inches), with a width and depth that varies depending on the brand and producer. Full Towers are for those that need a large number of Hard Drives (between 6 – 10), and you’ll find no problem fitting any type of motherboard that you desire within it, from ATX to a mini ATX.
A Full Tower case is the best fit for those looking to fit a lot of hardware into their PC, giving you plenty of room for excess cables that might otherwise be squashed in your PC with demanding cable management, which also means Full Towers are a great choice for gamer’s that need to fit in their shiny new motherboard or array of full-sized graphics cards.
However, as well as being a benefit, the large interior space can also be negative; if you need to move the PC case around, its insides are likely to slide around, which could be dangerous.
Remember, although many takes for granted the choice of their PC cases size, it’s a decision that can affect your PC build and any future hardware purchases that you may wish for in the future – including adding a beefy liquid cooling system to your machine! (See above)
Mid Tower cases are ideal if you regularly change the components in your computer. Compared to Full Towers’, their size is the next step down, ranging in height around 46 cm (18 inches). This means that less Hard Drives and a less varied range of motherboards can fit inside them, but it also means that they take up less space on your workstation.
This also means, however, that you will have less room to work with inside the case, and you will have to be a bit smarter about the arrangement of all your components to be neatly slotted together. Larger graphics cards can be trickier to install due to the limited space, and in order to fit some full-sized GPU’s, you may have to remove the hard disk trap.
If you don’t mind any modifications to your PC and are happy with a basic component set up, then this is the PC case for you. Averaging a height around 40 cm (15 inches), a Mini Tower is for those that just use their PC for internet browsing or as a media center, etc.
Be warned though, that once you buy this case, modifications can become extremely difficult. With its limited space, you’ll have to figure out whether all your components will fit inside before buying anything new, otherwise risking the PC case being too small or everything being so compressed together that it leads to bad airflow and risks actual heating damage.
Small Form Factor
The benefit of these miniature PC cases is that they allow you to have a basic computer that fits virtually anywhere and takes up minimal space.
These cases limit your PC components down to the bare essentials, only able to hold a Mini ITX Motherboard or smaller. This is not the case for those that are looking to have extensive work on their PC; forget about fitting the usual computer components inside, everything is stripped down to the basics and will have to fit perfectly.
Small Form Factor’s are for those that only use their computer for text editing, media streaming, internet browsing, and such. Say goodbye to gaming, hello to space!