Alright, you are thinking about building a PC, and you know what components to put in. What about the PC case?
We thoughtfully select the best components when setting up our PC but neglect the case or randomly pick an aesthetically pleasing showpiece. There are many other factors to consider when purchasing a chassis for your DIY PC.
APC case does not play a direct role in the overall performance of your computer. But it serves the most important function to house and protects all the inner components.
Your computer case should give ample space to influence airflow in the system to keep it cool, and everything must fit inside compatibly.
In this guide, we’ll be discussing in detail the factors to look at when picking a computer case.
Form-Factor and Size of the Case
The motherboard is the main and most crucial component of the PC you are going to build. Computer cases come in different sizes according to the form-factor of the motherboard.
Now, what is a form-factor, and how to determine which PC case should you buy according to your desired motherboard?
Form-factor is the dimension of the motherboard. Here are the most common motherboard form-factors and their sizes:
- Mini ITX – 6.7” x 6.7”
- Micro ATX – 9.6” x 9.6”
- Standard ATX – 12.0” x 9.6”
- Extended ATX – 12.” x 13.”
Computer cases come in four sizes and can accommodate one or more motherboard form-factors.
- Mid Tower
- Full Tower
You got an idea that the smaller cases are for the smaller motherboards, and the case size goes up according to the motherboard form-factor.
We take care of the length of the GPU when selecting a PC case but often overlook the height.GPUs come with bulky coolers to induce maximum cooling. Your case’s height is very important if you want to keep your components cool so that they last longer and run into fewer problems.
Full-tower cases are pricier and massive. These are ideal if you want to load your PC with EATX motherboard, extended water cooling system, a lot of storage, multiple graphic card setups, more fans, and drive bays. The Full-tower case worths the price only if you intend to use the extra internal space.
Mid-tower cases are the most commonly used PC cases out there. They can fit standard ATX and smaller motherboards. Mid-tower computer cases have enough space to fit closed-loop CPU coolers, graphics cards, and other components of your system. You will find some Mid-Tower cases in the market that can fit EATX motherboard, but it’s not about the mobo only, keep in mind the coolers also.
Micro-ATX and mini-ITX are compact and portable but challenging to manage as they have constrained storage. All the components fit close to each other, which results in inefficient cooling. You’ll not have enough space for extra hardware. If you are someone whose computer usage is limited to basic system configuration, then they are great.
Price of the PC case
After figuring the size of the PC case you need, the next step is to figure out your budget.
You can get a budget bare-bone PC case under $50. Aim for a case that has at least two fans for maximum airflow —one at the front and the other in the rear.
Mid-range PC cases come between $50 to $150 price range. Midrange cases have a lot of varieties in the design and build, and there are hundreds of cases to choose from. Be sure to check specs of your hardware and your PC to ensure compatibility. Also, keep an eye on some extra features your case has to offer. Some midrange cases come with pre-installed fans for maximum cooling and higher performance.
You’ll also find some cases with water-cooling setup compatibility along with silent design in this price range. I’ve come across some midrange pc cases with better cable management, RGB lighting, tool-less design, tempered glass panels, and many other high-end features.
If you are ready to push your budget a little further and extend beyond $150, you will get PC cases with optimal performance, amazing acoustics, and connectivity options. Most full-tower cases come in this range with high-quality build material, aluminum chassis, and tampered glass with RGB lighting being more common.
Cooling and Air Flow
As we have discussed above, a proper cooling system in the PC is crucial for the optimal performance of all the components. Modern CPUs come with massive fans with taller heatsinks. You’ll have to make sure that the type of fan that comes with your CPU can easily fit inside your PC case.
If you are planning to install a liquid cooling system in your PC for maximum cooling, make sure your computer case is deep enough to accommodate it. The fans mounted on the radiator dissipate the heat from the system. The radiators come in different sizes, so it’s necessary to check the specs of your PC case before buying your liquid cooling setup.
Besides airflow, you need to keep your PC clean. If your fans are clogged with dust and pet hair, your system will most likely throttle and heat up. Select a case with dust filters as they keep dust and debris from reaching the fans.
Modularity and Connectivity
Modularity is being able to add and remove parts from your PC case, such as mounts, covers, trays, etc. It gives you the flexibility to customize the case according to your design preferences and component requirements.
Make sure your PC case has 2.5” and 3.5” drive bays for storage drives. Also, look for SSD mounting points and 5.25” bay in the front if you need it.
Cases usually come with a basic set of controls and USB ports along with headphone and microphone jacks. You can further customize this with other options like LCD panels for heat monitoring, volume controls, fan controller, clocks, and so on.
A power supply unit or PSU is an essential component of a PC as it gives power to the whole system. Most cases come with pre-installed PSUs, which sound tempting as you got to save a few bucks, but it may not be a good idea to go for such a PSU.
After investing so much money in building a gaming setup, you need to make sure that your system is getting an adequate amount of power. Get a PSU from a reliable manufacturer that provides sufficient wattage to all your current components and would be enough if you plan to expand your system in the future.
After selecting everything best for the PC, it makes sense if you want to save some money on the case. But, you have to think twice before buying a cheaper case for your PC.
The PC case is going to keep your pricey components safe and alive. There are many factors to consider, and airflow is the crucial one. Also, it doesn’t take much money to buy a decent case for your PC, and the investment would pay off. A high-quality case with better airflow and wire management will go a long way.
Besides quality, case aesthetics are also important because many enthusiasts want their PC to look cool. If you are building a PC yourself, it would be fun to design it in an aesthetically appealing manner.
- Look for a case with proper cable management because you don’t want to create a web of cables inside your case. The case should have plenty of hooks and holes with rubber grommets to cover the gaps. Look for some space behind the motherboard to hide the groupings of cables.
- Glass panels are all the rage these days. Computer cases with see-through side panels look cool and help you show off the inside of your system. If you have done a good job managing the cables, you can surely get some credit for your aesthetics sense. When it comes to see-through side panels, tempered glass panels are your best bet.
- A PSU shroud is a must-have for your PC case if you don’t have expert level cable management skills. Imagine looking at the mess of SATA power cables and Molex, and it’s a huge eyesore of a sight I bet. A PSU shroud is there to help you hide the mess and give your PC a clean look.
- The RGB lighting is like the cherry on top of your fancy-schmancy PC case. Many modern cases come with pre-installed RGB lights, but you can separately purchase RGB led strips and RGB fans for your case.
Before you choose a case or a component for your system, it’s essential to check the specs sheet of both the case and the component.
Just like other computer components, there are hundreds of cases to choose from. Your goal is to choose the right one according to your budget and requirement. We have discussed some important factors to look for in a PC case, and we hope that you’ll find this article helpful.