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Computer Cases

  • Overview

Make Sure You Provide Effective Computer Case Cooling

Which computer cases for your computer build? E.G. rack mount pc case, wholesale computer cases and more. To install hard drive, components and ensure proper computer cooling; review all options.

Your choice of computer cases is an important one when you are planning to build your own computer.

Computer Cases

The type of computer you are planning to build, be it a home office computer, gaming computer, or your child's first computer will make a difference in the type of case you need.

In this section I will go over your different options and explain why the choice is an important one.

Computer cases are known by many different names: computer chassis, computer cabinet, tower, desktop computer case, enclosure, and the list goes on.

They are constructed from many different materials as well: aluminum, steel, plastic, plexiglass, and even wood.


One of the more important things to consider, regardless of the type of computer you are building, is the size. Also known as the "form factor", the size and shape of computer cases is determined by the form factor of the motherboard. These come in a few different types:

  • ATX - This is the most popular form factor for motherboards. The typical size of an ATX motherboard is 9.6" x 12", but they can go up to 10" x 12".
  • Mini-ATX - The mini-ATX motherboard is a smaller version of the ATX board. The back panel is usually the same size, but the board only measures 11.2" x 8.2".
  • Micro-ATX - Like the mini-ATX, the micro-ATX is a smaller version, around 25% smaller, than the ATX form factor. It measures around 9.6" x 9.6", and has a reduced number of PCI slots.
  • Extended ATX - Extended ATX, or EATX boards are larger than the ATX form factor and are usually used in rackmount server systems.
  • Mini-ITX - The mini-ITX form factor is one of the smallest, measuring 6.7" x 6.7" and is used for thin client machines, or set-top boxes.



Computer CasesComputer cases typically include enclosures for the power supply, hard drives, DVD drives, and floppy disk drives, as well as a rear panel opening for the external connections. Cases will also contain connections for front panel components such as the power and reset buttons. Most will also have connections for USB ports, LED indicators, and some will have front panel audio outputs. The type of computer you are building will in part determine the type of layout you will want.

If you are looking to build a gaming computer, then you are going to want a more open layout that provides for better airflow through the case. This will help to keep your components such as video cards and power supplies cooler. This will also allow you to install an aftermarket heatsink on your CPU. Home office computers will normally not need as open of a case, or one that is as large.


Component Locations

In a typical tower case, the most common these days, the layout of the components is as follows:Computer Cases

The motherboard is typically located in the center of the case, toward the rear. It is secured to the side of the case, as it is standing up, which would be the bottom as it is laying on its side.
Power Supply
Power supplies are normally secured in an enclosure at the top of the case. However, in some cases, the power supply will be located at the bottom. Locating the power supply at the bottom helps to keep the interior of the case cooler, as you can dedicate a fan specifically for the power supply.
Hard Drives
Hard drives are normally located in enclosures that run up and down the front of the case. Some cases will have removable drive bays, while others will have fixed bays. Higher end cases will have locations for fans in the very front of the case that will blow over the hard drives for increased cooling.
DVD Drives
DVD and CD drives are typically located on the front of the case, at the top. As with hard drive enclosures, some cases will have removable bays for your optical drives.
Back Panel
The back panel is located on the rear of the case and is used for external connections such as keyboards, mice, printers, monitors, and external drives. The ATX, mini-ATX, and micro-ATX are all have similar back panel layouts.

A computer case sounds like an easy choice; it can be but it is also an important choice. Make sure that you review all your options: from rack mount cpu case to brand name cases; from wholesale computer cases and to custom built computer enclosures.

Your system case needs to have ample room to install hard drive and other computer components and needs to be built to provide effective computer case cooling.

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Thanks for
Clear Guide

"Putting the parts together was relatively straightforward. The only snag we hit (my son & I) was getting the CPU fan aligned properly. We had 3 pins in, then noticed when we turned the board over that one wasn't through.

After struggling (carefully!) for 10 minutes, we loosened the other pins, aligned all the pins and we were away again.

The hardest part, I thought, was the wiring. And here your guide really shined.

Most of the other guides ignore it, or just say 'connect all the wires properly'. So thanks for the details (because the devil really is in those wiring details)."

Don, the Netherlands



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