How to choose computer case

Computer case

Today we will talk about choosing a case for computer filling. We will find out what you need to pay attention to when buying it, whether it is worth paying extra and other miscellaneous.


What we pay for – introductory choice

When you buy any product, what do you primarily focus on? That’s right, first for packaging, then for maintenance, and only then for the price. In the computer world, the opposite is true, and almost no attention is paid to the packaging of components (i.e. the case).

Usually, when a person wants to buy a computer, the case in the list of accessories is in the most recent positions, except in front of the mouse and keyboard. Here most often follow this logic: “first -” Graphic card “the most powerful, then a processor with at least 4 cores, 6 GB of Ram memory , and the rest with some kind of simple case.” Those. normally normal people are willing to pay for the content, not for the wrapper. In part – this position is correct, but here the wrapper is not just a beautiful candy wrapper, the case is a guarantee of the safety, stability and comfortable work of the entire computer filling.

Banal life example

Recently, I witnessed how my friend saved on the ” hardware price ” – the case. He took Graphic card more expensive, a faster processor, Ram and decided to pack it all in a cheap (noname) Case. What do you think happened? That’s right, the trouble came from under the table: strange smells of burning, fusion of conductors, overheating of the CPU and other “saved” bonuses began to appear .

Therefore, in order not to throw money away, you need to correctly plan your computer budget and wisely approach the purchase of a “Computer case” that will embrace your components.

How to choose computer case and what to focus on

So, first of all, it is worth saying that there are no norms, canons and ideals in the building industry. And therefore, one should not be “led” into vivid phrases – the best, ultramodern, etc., all this is heresy. If you disassemble the technical side, you need to keep in mind (keep in mind when buying) that the following parameters exist:

  • Case type (form factor, size);
  • Material;
  • Cooling system ( coolers / fans );
  • Structural elements, mount;
  • Appearance, design, lotions.

Let’s go through and analyze each parameter individually, but first we’ll decide on the main structural compartments / departments of almost any building live. Actually, removing the cover of your Computer Case, you can find a lot of dust inside the following niches for installing computer elements (see image).

Computer case

So this is the standard computer case:

  • Place under the power supply unit ( 1 ). In modern models, it is often located below;
  • Compartments for installing flexible drives ( 2 ). Rarity for many cases;
  • A cavity for installing the motherboard ( 3 );
  • Niche for a processor with a cooling system ( 4 );
  • Connector for installing a video card ( 5 );
  • Peripheral connectors (mouse, keyboard, sound, hubs, etc.).

Now we go directly to the parameters.

Type of computer cases

The modern market for computer cases is represented by many models, however, there are certain standards according to which they are issued. These standards are embedded in the so-called form factors that ultimately determine the overall size of the computer case.
The following frame sizes are available:

  • Mini-ITX ;
  • Micro-ATX ;
  • the ATX ;
  • EATX ;
  • XL-ATX ;

You can also meet such a classification of buildings (tower, as they are called):

  • SFF (Small Form Factor) – micro;
  • Mini Tower case – mini;
  • Middle Tower case – middle;
  • Full Tower case – big;

The difference between the case standards is in the different size range of motherboards designed for this case . To evaluate the dimensions it is convenient to use the table (see image).

pc case comparison

The visual size range clearly demonstrates the following image.

computer case size

I think there is no need to say that the main criterion for choosing the type of case depends entirely on the tasks that you set for your computer counterpart. Those. mini and micro ATX are ideal options for unpretentious office users, for whom just needs to fit in well with the interior (without taking up much space) and, if possible, do the “hard” work in the form of an “open-close-save” document and other office fun :).

How to know what computer case size you need

If your goal is a moderately solid and efficient unit, then ATX is what the doctor ordered. Well, the most trump option for fans more brightly is the XL-ATX standard case (aka Full Tower ). As I already said, the main criterion for choosing one or another type of case depends on the “metric” of the motherboard that you want to put there to perform the corresponding tasks. Also, the size of the case directly affects the quality of cooling inside, which means the lifespan and performance of all components.


  • Mini- ITX – the smallest, usually come with a built-in PSU of low power (up to 350 W) and are designed for “inch” board size.
  • Micro- ATX is a typical representative of desktop solutions for home users. It has already a little more intelligible dimensions and also often comes with a built-in power supply with a capacity of 400-500 watts. In general, it allows you to build on your site is quite satisfactory in performance “middling”.
  • ATX – often sold without a built-in PSU and gives the user complete freedom of expansion.
  • EATX and XL-ATX are an excellent, high-performance (including server and powerful gaming) solution for bundling several graphic subsystems and computing cores.

The length of the video card

If you are building a gaming computer with a large powerful graphics card, you must always consider its length, otherwise it may not be installed in the case. You can find out what the maximum length of the video card for the case can be found on the website of the seller or manufacturer.

length of the video card

PC case material

It would seem, what is the difference of what the body is made of, not paper, and okay. But no, the material is important, because it must provide not only high-quality cooling, but also a certain degree of protection against mechanical damage and vibration. Most often, the case material of premium models is a metal such as aluminum.

If the case material does not contain copper that has a good ability to dissipate a large amount of heat. Do not think that if the material is not aluminum, then the case will not do its job well, by no means. Most models of the mid-price (mass consumer) segment are made of special steel SECC – steel coated with a galvanic solution of zinc.

An important point in the purchase will also be the build quality and thickness of the case walls themselves. Regarding the first, it should be said that it is not worth buying (seemingly to you at first glance) all-metal cheap Chinese cases. Most often, the so-called noname models are made of base stamping, and the build quality is poor, i.e. there are various backlashes, vibrations and slots due to the fact that the components of the case are loosely fitted to each other.

It is not entirely correct to think that the entire body is solid metal, often you can also find plastic elements in the design of various panels, clips, fasteners - this is normal.

Wall thickness is also a significant parameter. If it is less than 0.5 mm, then most often you should not pay attention to such a case, because with the slightest vibrations the rumble will be such that no earplugs will help. Therefore, try to choose the wall thickness of the housing from 0.5 to 1 mm.

Cooling System in the case

Of course, the case is not only a defender against damage, but also the ventilation cover of all the components of your PC, providing the necessary “chill” to its hot elements. However, the rule “the more” windbreakers “in the building, the better” does not work here. It all depends on the competent organization of the ventilation process (air circulation) by installing coolers in the right seats.

In other words, 4-5 factory fans are far from always a guarantee of ensuring high-quality cooling of computer internals, because ventilation is created not by the number of “turntables”, but by air flows. And if the latter intertwine, collide and interfere with each other, then there is no need to talk about any effective process for removing hot air.

A conditionally common ventilation scheme of the enclosures is as follows (see image).

full tower cases

In this scheme, one or more large “leisurely” fans are installed at the inlet, drawing in fresh room air. At the exit (the back wall of the case) there is a fan a little smaller but more “nimble”, blowing.

This design allows you to create decent traction in an enclosed space and the casing starts to work like a large cooling turbine, i.e. cold air, stretching through all the hot components, cools them and is thrown out.

About twisters separately and how to choose a body based on them

Such a standard design is often supplemented with “twists” at the upper and side walls of the case, which also work by blowing. In general, to create a high-quality cooling medium inside the case, you must be guided by the following simple rules:

  • More “krutilok” – does not mean better;
  • The air flow should be integral and unidirectional, without breaking it with various additional flows;
  • Hot air always rises, and cold air goes down, so do not put the vertical block on its side;
  • Loose cables in the case can disrupt the movement of air masses;
  • Large cooler blades are better than small ones. create more airflow at fewer revs.

It is also worth separately paying attention to the fans themselves, or rather, to the volume of air that they can “pump” into the case per unit time (minute). This technical parameter is called CFM (cubic feet per minute). The volume of circulating air inside the case must be constantly updated. And in order to calculate by the dimensions of the case what kind of fan it needs, it is necessary to resort to simple mathematics:

  • Multiply the parameters (length, height, width) of the body in mm and find out its area;
  • Identify CFM fan.

Suppose, for a case with dimensions of 253x502x563 mm, the volume is 2.52 cubic meters. feet. To renew the air every two seconds, a fan installation at 70 CFM is required . Very often inside the case you can find large air vents in the form of tubes on the side surface for cooling the processor (see image).

case twists

So, the benefit from them is rather doubtful, but they bring their “interference” into the harmony of the air flow, because block the natural circulation of air, and in exactly the same way as the wires removed from the casing do. It is also worth mentioning about the not particularly necessary component of the ventilation system of the case – dust grids.

Their effectiveness is extremely low, because literally after 2-3 months of active use of the computer, they become clogged with room dust, which again hinders normal air circulation and contributes to overheating of computer components. In general, such pipes are rarely really effective.

Mounting: hard disk slides and cages

It would seem, what have the screwdrivers to do with it, but what does it have to do with it. Very often in cheap cases everything is fastened in the old fashion with the help of motley screws, the replacement of which turns into dancing with a tambourine. I unscrewed 5 things while I screwed 3, the fourth rolled away, and one got lost in the dark bowels of the body, climbed to look for it (took a flashlight) and scratched along the steel edges of the panels, how do you like this prospect?

Manufacturers of first-class cases have long resolved similar problems through a system of plastic rivets and fasteners, as well as the installation of a slide for hard drives that drive on wheels. Everything is flexible, flexible and convenient (see image).

Such things (plugs, additional fasteners, clamps, shelves) positively affect the ergonomics of the case or, in other words, its functional “convenience” for the user. Those. ergonomics, if you like, is the extensibility of your case, its ability to easily transform during modernization, including changing your external and internal drives.

Laying cables inside the case is also an important point in ergonomics, because the cooling inside the case also depends on how easily they can be hidden. On the other hand, the wires should always be within walking distance if it is necessary to connect a new drive or disk, and not cause the user to “pull the rope” syndrome. This is when the wire does not reach the socket of the device, but we still pull it there, because there are no more options.

Computer case Appearance and design

Which user does not like to show off computer case? Yes, one that does not have a good case :). We are all human and we all want to impress someone with something. For some computer users, this “impresses” is the case design. Here is an example for you (see image).

Computer case Appearance

It is worthwhile to understand that design is a purely individual thing, many are ready to sacrifice functionality for the sake of various flashing lights, highlights and lights and this is a personal matter for everyone. However, do not forget that the case in strict colors with a minimum number of lights, sensors and other tinsel will always look stylish and elegant.

Of the necessary design and development lotions, it should be noted that there are various types of connectors on the front (or top) panel of the case. By default, always output: headphones / microphone and USB . To whom this “gentlemanly set” is clearly not enough, you can easily take the case with a “reserve”, where there is an eSATA port for connecting a portable hard drive, a cooler speed controller and a couple of modern ultra-fast USB 3.0 ports (see image).

connectors on the case front

it seems that we’ve finished with the practical and theoretical part, now let’s summarize in order to master all the material presented as well as possible and learn how to choose the PC case right the first time.

The most common are Midi-Tower frame sizes, suitable for installing ATX and smaller motherboards (Mini-ATX, Micro-ATX). They are great for most computers.

For an office computer (documents, Internet), it is most advantageous to purchase a case complete with a 400-500 W power supply.

For an entry-level gaming computer (Core-i3 or Ryzen-3 + GTX-1050/1060), you can also take the case complete with a power supply with a power of 500-600 W of the same brands

For a mid-range desktop or gaming computer (Core-i5 or Ryzen 5 + GTX-1070), it’s better to take separately a good power supply and a separate case.

For a powerful professional or gaming computer (Core-i7 or Ryzen-7 + GTX-1080), it is advisable to take a case more spacious. It will allow you to place a long video card, a powerful cooler or water cooling system and will provide better ventilation

Frequently Asked Questions

So, remember the following tips, and such an event as buying the right case will become your usual activity :).

  • Decide on the tasks that your PC will solve (office, gaming, etc.);
  • Based on the tasks, select the necessary dimensions of the motherboard and the case for it;
  • The material of the walls of the housing should be from 0.5 to 1 mm thick;
  • Do not purchase non-models; look at the professionals in your field: Cooler Master, Zalman, Inwin ;
  • A cooling system of 3-4 fans is enough for efficient heat dissipation;
  • Do not save on the block, it should have considerable power, otherwise your filling will sooner or later be covered with a copper basin;
  • The best location of the PSU in the case is from the bottom;
  • Make sure there are plastic elements for the installation of railways and drives;
  • Try to buy a case free of various screws and dowels;
  • Pay attention to the presence of additional connectors on the front panel of the case;
    These tips will help you make the right choice!

Afterword ( what case i will chose ? )

I strongly recommended (for high-performance solutions) tower ( Full Tower case ) Why? Everything is simple:

  • The case size is large and allows you to install any board and other components without any problems and interference (video cards are extremely long, and the number of wires with a large number of components can be significant, which interferes with air circulation in a small case)
  • Hard drives are placed in a separate block and have their own fasteners (slide without bolts for a screwdriver), and also, most importantly, fans for a perpendicular and almost independent cooling system, which means sensible air circulation
  • In the case, almost everything has been thought out, starting from the number of additional bolts on the transverse beam and ending with the possibility of installing inside the UPS case .

This is so, as a personal opinion.

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