How to Choose a PC Case?

Choosing the right computer case is not as much of a science as it might seem at first glance. It is enough to take into account several essential criteria and their influence on the overall functionality of the product. The type of case according to the dimensions then plays a very important role.

Equally important is the design of the place for the source or the presence of an integrated device. The case also has a significant effect on cooling, which is absolutely crucial, especially for demanding games. Last but not least, we recommend paying attention to the material used and its thickness.

When choosing, also check the degree of equipment of the case with various connectors. There is nothing worse than finding out that you simply cannot attach a vital accessory to your new iron. And don’t forget to choose the installation method that suits you and the corresponding design.

An integral part of all our articles is the chapter devoted to prices. It will not be missing in this case either. As always, we will divide the offer on the market into several bands depending on how much you pay for the purchase of the given models. So you will know exactly what you can expect for your financial amount.

And if you find that you prefer saving space over performance when choosing, you can also read our article How to choose a gaming PC, which deals with computers that have a case and a monitor combined in one.

Dimensions

Have you chosen a beautiful cabinet, but found that you simply cannot place the selected components in it? All you have to do is choose a case of a different size that will hold everything you need. Currently, manufacturers distinguish between several types designated as tower or desktop:

  • Big Tower (ATX)
  • Midi Tower (ATX)
  • Mini Tower (ATX)
  • Mini ITX
  • Desktop ATX

The ATX designation in brackets refers to the motherboard standard that can be placed in the given case. While you can easily insert larger ATX motherboards into the first three options, ITX only supports their smaller counterparts. Of course, this also limits the number of components that can be connected to the board.

Big Tower

Big Tower is a solution that completely dominated the market in the past. A tall and relatively long box, providing enough space for even the largest components. Even today, it finds use especially in connection with high-performance game sets.

It easily holds a large amount of memory, two graphics cards and offers enough space for eventual expansion. Due to the large internal space, the Big Tower type is much easier to cool, since the individual components are quite far from each other. There is no accumulation of hot air.

Midi Tower

The most used type of computer case is undoubtedly the Midi Tower. It represents a kind of golden middle path, as it provides adequate space even for large components, but at the same time saves space in the room. It fits easily under the desk and is sold in stores with a reasonable price tag.

Despite its smaller size, it has enough room for expansion. You can also count on good cooling and a wide range of connectors.

Mini Tower

If you want to create a compact computer that fits in a small room, you will definitely use the services of Mini Towers. They are suitable for creating office sets and computers for less demanding gamers. The internal space does not allow is not sufficient for larger components, which logically leads to a limitation of performance.

Also, keep in mind that there is no room left for further expansion in the Mini Tower. Air circulation in a smaller space is also insufficient, so we do not recommend very powerful chips that heat up significantly during work.

Mini ITX

Do you not need a computer for games, but rather for watching movies and work? Are you burdened with an interesting design for your cabinets? Consider purchasing a Mini ITX case, one of the smallest available on the market.

They are an ideal choice for confined spaces and are also suitable for offices. We already mentioned above that it is only possible to install them with a smaller version of the ITX motherboard. Therefore, do not expect any advanced components or a larger number of them.

Desktop

The tower designation clearly indicates that these are products aimed at height. Desktops are their exact opposite. They have the shape of a box lying down, which makes it easy to place them on a table and place a monitor on them. It thus saves space in those rooms where it is not exactly needed.

On the other hand, you have to prepare for not very good cooling and lack of space for more demanding game components. For that reason, desktops find application mainly in office and multimedia machines.

Source

Many manufacturers equip their cases with ready-made sources. This is a good thing to take into account, especially if you want to assemble your playing iron yourself. In an extreme case, it may happen that the power supply designed by the manufacturer is not able to supply energy to all components. These are then characterized by reduced performance, fall out alternately and wear out more quickly.

For office machines, the basic model of the power source with a voltage of 350 W is fully sufficient. Even so, you will have a sufficient reserve. If you plan to build a powerful machine for playing state-of-the-art dice, count on a power output of at least 50 Watts higher. It is advisable to look for a power exceeding 450 W.

You can easily find out the amount of power required from the specifications of the individual components. A simple sum of the energy required by all the equipment will suffice. In an ideal case, the power source should offer a reserve of roughly 20 W. As the computer ages, the efficiency of the power source decreases on the one hand, and the energy consumption of individual components increases on the other.

Cooling

Do you also enjoy videos of unhappy users frying eggs on their computer? Then be careful that you don’t have the opportunity to do something similar due to a bad choice. Excessive heat significantly reduces the performance of the computer and leads to rapid wear of its individual components. Unsurprisingly, the cabinet has a decisive influence on the quality of cooling.

In general, a quality case meets two basic conditions that have a positive effect on the cooling level:

  • It allows the placement of several fans from different sides, which results in an efficient outlet of hot air
  • The design of the front, back and side panels is at least partially perforated, which also facilitates air exchange

Be sure to check the cooling specifications when purchasing a specific case model. Some products support only a limited fan size, others are adapted exclusively for water cooling. It is not always the case that a larger number of fans cools the computer better. Much more important is their size, with large blades always being more efficient than smaller ones, even though they spin faster.

Material

At first glance, the material used does not have a significant effect on the functionality of the case. That’s true, but on the other hand, no one wants their pet to get scratched and damaged by the slightest jolt.

Cheaper products are usually made of thin sheet metal or plastic. They are characterized by lower weight and wear out faster. Take this fact into account especially if you plan to move your assembly from place to place more often. However, even the best desktop computer will not tolerate frequent moves well, unlike laptops, it is not designed for them.

In addition to steel and plastic, more expensive models also use aluminum, the thickness of which reaches 2 mm. As the durability and quality of the cabinet increases, so does its weight. On the other hand, you can be sure that any shocks will not affect the treasures located in its bowels.

Connectors

In addition to the necessary space inside, the case also plays a key role in connecting with the outside world. For that reason, it should be equipped with as many different connectors and outputs as possible. You never know what you will need while using your computer.

The following inputs and outputs are currently the basic equipment of every cabinet:

  • USB 2.0 – for connecting older external drives and peripherals
  • USB 3.0 – connection of modern peripherals and storage
  • Headphone and microphone inputs – for connecting audio equipment
  • FireWire – connection of the fastest hard drives

In particular, USB and headphone inputs should be located on the front of the cabinet. You will get easier access to all the necessary peripherals and you will be able to manipulate them as needed.

Method of installation

Surely you remember the hard work that preceded the opening of old computers? Without a proper screwdriver, you couldn’t do a single blow, and in older cabinets, the miniature screws still turned uncomfortably. On the other hand, this system was a guarantee of sufficient strength and impact resistance.

But modern times also bring modern solutions. That is why the so-called tool-less installation is becoming more and more popular. As its name suggests, you do not need any tools to successfully assemble the components and assemble the cabinet. Plastic quick-release mechanisms take care of everything, their use is fast and comfortable.

On the other hand, be aware that nothing compares to the solid connection of a screw and a nut. Plastic couplings can loosen over time, resulting in unpleasant vibrations or noise. That’s why you have to count on regular maintenance and tightening of loose areas.

Design

The world of computer games is more than anything else a world of bright colors and extravagant design. This trend has also been carried over to the style in which computer cases are made. Classic boxes made of several pieces of sheet metal gradually recede into the gray of offices, and wonderful pieces are taken out in game dens. Three basic design elements tend to play a major role:

  • Transparent cabinets
  • RGB LED lights
  • Modular cabling

Transparent cabinets

A very interesting variant is the purchase of transparent cabinets. They are usually made of highly resistant glass, thanks to which they also help with cooling. In addition, you can see beautifully into the insides of the computer and you are able to determine if it needs to be cleaned from accumulated dust, if the fans are not working at one hundred percent, and where the capacitors are starting to crack.

Be sure to also consider the cabling. Everything should be neatly assembled with the help of handles and rubber ends. This is the only way to dazzle the surroundings with your gaming pet.

RGB LED lights

The term RGB means the English name of the colors red, green, blue. Red, green and blue lights. These are the colors of the LEDs used to highlight the case. Some products tend to have them built in and light up automatically when the computer is turned on. If this is not the case, it is always possible to purchase special light strips.

They often appear in combination with transparent cabinets. They help to emphasize the effect of the work of individual components and will undoubtedly attract every visitor to your game den.

Modular cabling

Have you purchased a beautiful transparent case, the glow of the RGB LEDs reminds you of the atmosphere of Las Vegas, but the mess of cables still spoils the final impression? Consider purchasing so-called modular cabling. Thanks to its efficiency, it allows cables to be connected only to those components that need it, thus reducing the necessary cabling to a minimum.

This measure also has a positive effect on air flow. Fans can do their job more easily when there’s no lumpy rubber in their way.

Price

The case is one of the cheapest parts of your new computer. Even so, it plays a very important role, and not only from the point of view of design. After a thorough analysis of the market, we have identified three basic price bands in which products with similar properties are found:

Price up to $250

For a financial amount of up to $250, you will find a well-known classic from long ago. Several pieces of sheet metal or plastic connected by screws or plastic connectors. The vast majority fall into the mid-range Midi Tower group, offering a reasonable amount of space while maintaining satisfactory dimensions.

When building a gaming machine, we recommend avoiding products with an integrated power supply. Its power only ranges from 350 to 400 W, which may not be enough for the most demanding components.

Price from $250 to $600

Midi Tower cabinets still dominate the middle class. Smaller Mini Towers or Mini ITX can also be found in significant numbers. You can also look forward to a more elegant design, the use of transparent glass or various curvatures of the material is common. Many cabinets are also equipped with RGB diodes. The performance of the integrated resources already meets the needs of demanding gamers.

Price over $600

In the most expensive group, Big Towers are found to a much greater extent, offering enough space for large components. It goes without saying that the exclusive design is based on a novel combination of different types of materials, RGB diodes or transparent glass.


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Md Shah
By Md Shah

Md Shah is a technology buff since an early age, where he specialized and graduated in Information Technology from FATEC and now helps people on the internet with several tips and product reviews. He has published articles on different Tech Blogs and Websites.


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