PC Cases to Build Your Computer From the Ground Up
PC computer cases are one of the main components of a computer build along with micro ATX and other size motherboards with expansion slots. The motherboards form factor or size and how you intend to use the computer help you decide which size computer case to select. You can select cases manufactured by Cooler Master, Fractal Design, Antec, and other brands compatible with micro ATX motherboards.
What Should You Consider When Buying a Computer Case?
- Case Size: If you plan to add more components to your computer in the future, a case larger than what you currently need makes sense. Micro ATX motherboards normally fit inside desktop, small form factor, and mini, mid, and full-size tower cases.
- Case Material: Thermal conductivity and aesthetics determine the case material you choose. Aluminum cases are rated for high conductivity and mid-range appeal. They dissipate heat faster than ones made from steel or acrylic, and they cool internal components better, which may extend the life of computer parts.
- Intended Use: Youll need a larger case when you require multiple internal bays for hard drives and space to add CD and Blu-ray disc drives. Mid-tower cases have enough room to build a gaming computer, whereas a mini-tower case fits into smaller areas when space concerns factor into your decision.
What Noteworthy Features Should You Look For?
- Bays: Along with typical 2.5 and 3.5-inch drive bays, you may want to add a 5.25-inch bay near the front of the computer for an optical drive or fan controller.
- No Tools Required: As technology improves, you may no longer need a Phillips screwdriver to add components. Some cases have internal fasteners that either snap or twist for tool-free builds.
- Airflow: Computers heat up quickly. You should opt for two fans: one in the front and another in the rear of the case. Many cases have additional fan mounts should you want to add more fans later on. When installing fans inside an ATX case, make sure to place them in a location to avoid pulling dust into chassis vents.
How Important Are Front-Panel Ports?
Front-panel cases with front ports are easily accessible so you can connect external peripherals you use the most often. Instead of ports located on a side panel or back of the computer, youll be able to plug in headphones, microphones, and other devices quicker. Depending on which computer case you select, there may be USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports to hook up, for example, a printer or scanner. Additionally, a front panel may include one or more SATA ports to hook up an external hard drive or memory card slots compatible with cameras and smartphones.
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