Hello! This is just a simple guide on picking a case.
Table Of Contents
1. Case Brands
- Case Brands
There are quite a few case brands out there. Actually, probabally about fifty or so, and some are very featureful, and some are not. Some case brands have nifty little features in there case too. Some of the top brands are,
- Cooler Master
- Aspire (Higher End Model's)
The most popular brand would probabally be Antec, though.
Many case brands incorperate different features into their cases. Some popular features are...
Locking Doors & Panels
- Locking Doors and Panels
- Removable Hard Drive Bays
- Built-In Wiring Harness', or Channels
- Fan Filters
- Fan Clips
- Rolled Edges
- PSU Plates
- Removable Motherboard Tray
- Front USB/Firewire/Audio
This feature can be handy when you have little ones around the house, or bring your PC to Lan Party's.
Antec Performance Series Locking Side Panel.
Thumbscrews are better because they don't require a screw-driver to remove and install, and are simpler for quick installation or removal of a component.
There is an example from an Antec case.
Removable Hard Drive Bay's
Cases that include Removable HDD Bay's are usually higher end. Removable bays are better for simple installation, & removal. Some HDD Bay's also incorperate a built-in 80MM Fan, which drastically improves cooling.
See here, the Hard Drive and Floppy bay's come out with the flick of a switch.
Here, in this "Budget" case, the HDD bay is NOT removable. This type is quite flimsy and is much harder to install.
Built-In Wiring Harness' or Channel's
These aid in system organization, which in turn, aid's in better airflow and system look.
Ever look in a case that has no filter and has been used for a long time? Dusty, huh? Many case manufacturers have included built-in fans like this one in the front intake fan slot's.
These are probabally one of the most important features of a case. Fan Clip's make installation of fans SO easy, and simple. There lifesavers.
Rolled Edges, is the rolling of the edge of the metal used to make the case. This is one of the most important features, it will aid in safetey when instaling parts. You can easily slice your finger's on cheap cases, I have many time's.
Power Supply (PSU) Plate's
These are plates that mount on the back of your case, that mounts to the PSU. They help with installation and removal of the PSU, easily.
Removable Motherboard Tray's
Removable Mobo Tray's come in handy when a quick and easy installation is wanted. The tray that holds the motherboard actually slides out of the case for easier installation. This is very handy with smaller, cramped cases.
Easy for digital-camera's, USB Sticks, etc. Provides quick and easy plug-ins to equipment.
There are some main features included in most cases.
Case cooling is becoming more and more important by the day. With very warm running processors and video cards, specifically Intel Prescott series of processors, you need good airflow, in your case. With all of this heat, you may think many case fans creates a loud case. Not necesarrily, when using larger fans. The larger the fan, the slower it spins, to push the same amount of air, a faster spinning 80MM fan pushes. The result is equal or more air is pushed, with less noise.
There are three mainstream sized fans used in almost all cases, today.
The most popular, by far, would be the 80MM Fan. Pushes a moderate amount of air, but creates moderate noise, too.
The not very popular, but nice, 90/92MM Fan's push more air than 80MM's, or the same amount of air with a quieter result.
The rapidly growing 120MM fan, pushes at least 35CFM (CFM = Cubic Feet/1 Minute) with Sub 20db (Decibel's)
Here is a size comparison.
^^80MM Fan^^ ^^90/92MM Fan^^ ^^120MM Fan^^
Side panel fans are also growing in popularity, and are located in many different locations.
O = Fan
| O |
|_________| Above The CPU
| O |
|_________| In The Middle
| O |
|_________| Over PCI/AGP Card's
There's a case that features a PCI/AGP card fan.
Cases come in many different material's. Alluminum is generally much more light, but lacking stability in panel's, and is more dentable/bendable. Steel is much heavier, but much stronger. Steel is also usually quieter, and more long lasting.
There are many cases out there in many different price brackets.
Here are some good pick's from the following price bracket's.
<$50 (Note, Never Use Included Case PSU's Unless They Are Antec Brand, if they arent, buy either Enermax or Antec)
- Any Lian-Li
- Any Antec Performance Series/Sonata
- Aspire X-Navigator
- Any Thermaltake
There are many good case choices, you will find one you like. And if you love a case that lacks one feature, you can always mod it to your liking.