All about Computer Case: Role and Types of It, Cool PC Cases, Gaming Cases
A computer case has, like the rest of the components a specific role in the system build. Can serves like a skeleton for the PC build, on it could be mounted some components. An important fact is that the compatibility between the case and the components that are mounted on it (motherboard, PSU) are granted by the form factors. About those we will discuss in further lines.
A computer case is also called like chassis, tower, box, housing or cabinet. Important manufacturers that are present on the market: Corsair, Phanteks, Fractal Design, Cooler Master, NZXT.
Structures and Compartiments of Computer Case
How we said, different components are mounted in case. Let’s see which of them are directly attached to case.
The first and the most important component that are mounted in the case is mobo. For sure when you want to make two piece as one need to think about compatibility. The size of the case determines how many and which components can be installed to mobo. Both of components, case and mobo, need to have same form factor. The following form factors of computer case are most used.
Most used Form Factors Case:
SFF (Small Form Factor)
But first need to clarify something about what mean terms we will be using.
5.25″ Drive Bays – in those bays we can usually mount optical drives, like DVD or Blu-ray drives, fan controllers and multi card readers. Most 5.25″ are external.
3.5″ Drive Bays – there are two types of this bay: internal and external. On internal one can be mounted desktop HDD and on external one USB ports Hub and multi card readers.
2.5″ Drive Bays – usually are mounted SSDs and laptop HDD. Some old cases don’t have this bay, but always you can install a SSD into a 3.5″ drive bay using a converter bracket.
Expansion Slots – when you look at rear of the case you can see clearly some horizontal lines. Those slots are used to expansion different cards that are mounted on mobo: graphics card, dedicated sound card, network cards (Wi-fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth) and connector cards (USB, FireWire, eSATA). Newer graphics card often take up two expansion slots.
1) Small Form Factor
Motherboards supported: Mini-ITX;
5.25″ Drive Bays: 1;
3.5″ Drive Bays: 1 to 3;
2.5″ Drive Bays: 0 to 4;
Expansion Slots: 2;
Graphics Cards: 1;
Case Fans: 1 to 3;
computer case – SFF Case
2) Mini Tower
Motherboards supported: Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX;
5.25″ Drive Bays: 1 to 2;
3.5″ Drive Bays: 4 to 6;
2.5″ Drive Bays: 0 to 4;
Expansion Slots: 4;
Graphics Cards: 1 to 2;
Case Fans: 2 to 4;
computer case – MiniTower Case 2
3) Middle Tower
Motherboards supported: Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX;
5.25″ Drive Bays: 2 to 5;
3.5″ Drive Bays: 6 to 8;
2.5″ Drive Bays: 0 to 10;
Expansion Slots: 7 to 8;
Graphics Cards: 2 to 3;
Case Fans: 3 to 9;
computer case – MidTower Case
4) Full Tower
Motherboards supported: Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, EATX;
5.25″ Drive Bays: 3 to 6;
3.5″ Drive Bays: 6 to 13;
2.5″ Drive Bays: 0 to 11;
Expansion Slots: 7 to 10;
Graphics Cards: 3 to 4;
Case Fans: 5 to 10;
computer case – FullTower Case
That component is second which can be mounted directly in the case. Generally, we can install the power supply in two places: on the bottom of the case (newer cases) or on the top (older cases). I didn’t see cases that support the PSU on top for more than eight years. I’m sure people still have this type of case.
There are two modes to mount the PSU on bottom. With fan up, fresh air is taken from the case, and with fan down, fresh air taken out the case. I recommend to mount the PSU with fan down, because the temperature is higher in the case and the components of power supply cannot be cooled in an efficient way. Fresh air out from the case is very important not only for the PSU.
Form factors of the PSU must fit with the case, so a SFF case can support only SFX PSU (all dimension reduced in comparison with ATX form factor). The rest of three form factor cases (Mini Tower, Mid Tower and Full Tower) support regular and most bought PSU and that’s ATX format.
computer case – PSU Bottom Mount
PSU Bottom Mount
computer case – PSU Top Mount
PSU Top Mount
There is another category of components that can be mounted in the case: HDDs, SSHDs and SSDs (storage solution generally). Usually can be mounted in front of the case, but some inventive developers put bays for storage in places like bottom of case or back of the motherboard (see the right image). HDDs and SSHDs are mounted in 3.5″ drive bays and SSDs in 2.5″ one. Also a SSD can be mounted in 3.5″ bay with some special converter brackets.
computer case – HDD and SSD on back of the Case
HDD and SSD on back of the Case
Directly to case are mounted the parts responsible for air cooling and air flow. Fans can be mounted in many places in the computer case. All cases present on the market have more than one fan mounted in front and one in rear of case. Also fans can be mounted on top, bottom or on both sides, left or right, of the case. Another thing that I think is very important is where a fan is mounted, the presence of dust filter is mandatory.
Fans come in different dimensions measured in millimeter and on the market we usually can see fans like 60, 80, 92, 120, 140 and 200. Of course there are a multitude of dimensions, but those are most sold by manufacturers.
computer case – Front – Rear – Top Case Fans
Front – Rear – Top Case Fans
Airflow – the wind of performance
There are some rules when you want to configure a good airflow for your computer case. Let’s see how important are them.
Need to have more Exhaust Fans than Intake Fans
How you know hot air don’t need to stay in your case. So is recommended to have more exhaust fans than intake. Cooled air is moved out from the case to the interior to provide a good cooling solution for the rest of the components. Temperature will raise automatically and will be exhaust even faster if you have more exhaust fans. Another reason is the small quantity of dust introduced in computer case because there are less number of intake fans.
Exhaust Fans placed on Top and Rear, Intake Fans on Bottom and Front
In cooling domain, all we need to know, the heat is the problem we must get rid of it. So an important thing about heat: It’s always rising. That’s why you need to place exhaust fans on top of the case and intake fans on bottom. It’s a simple physics principle.
Don’t let Dust kill your PC
Dust is the common problem when you realize your PC don’t function in parameters. DUST IS THE SILENT KILLER OF YOUR PC!!! So don’t let dust let in. First advice is to rise a little bit (like 6 inches) the case from the ground because all dust will arrive from air on it. Second advice is to put dust filters where a fan is installed and regularly clean them because for sure after certain time will be full of dust. Third advice is to make decent cable management. For this you need to buy a computer case with generous space on the back of the mobo to put all the cable on it. A power supply is the second condition for a good cable management because. All the cables need to be long enough to take them firstly through the back of the mobo and after that to use them to provide power to components. So cable management have two benefits: don’t let dust to cover cables and provide a professional airflow. And don’t forget a computer case with good cable management looks good and is aesthetic!
computer case – Airflow Configuration
computer case – Cable Management
computer case – Dust – Silent Killer of PC
Dust – Silent Killer of PC
Enthusiastic Area – Water cooling
Water cooling is something very efficient when you need to keep high temperatures away from different components (CPU, Motherboard, GPU, RAM). Is used when an enthusiast want to overclock his components and need to dissipate the heat.
Another reason is good looking of case. Lately, I see so many “state of the art” water cooling configuration. Sometimes I wish I have one of that :D. Enjoy the pics!
computer case – Water Cooling
Water Cooling Yellow Theme
computer case – Water Cooling 2
Water Cooling Red Theme
computer case – Water Cooling 3
Water Cooling Red Theme
Don’t forget about the quality of the case. This part of your PC is like foundation of house. It can provide good conditions for the rest of the components to work in parameters.
Also computer case is image of the system. People with good sense of aesthetics will buy a good looking case.
Thank you for all If you are here to read interesting content and don’t forget to leave me any question or feedback. Peace!