Contrary to popular belief, the case plays a crucial role in the performance of a computer. Apart from the obvious aesthetics role, it provides the necessary airflow to the components and ensures a proper cooling to the system. Also, some cases come with other accessories and have features that can help a computer run smooth and cool.
What features does a case have
This is one of the most important aspects of computer cooling. The airflow is the amount of air intake and exhaust that runs through your computer and cools the components. A proper airflow ensures that the hot air is exhausted and replaced with cool air from outside the case and that the flow of air is directed to all the components, regardless if they have self cooling or not. Airflow can be one of two types: negative, meaning that the amount of air that is exhausted is greater than the amount that is pushed in,so the air pressure inside the case is lower than the outside pressure.
This means that air will leak in through every opening in the case. The other type of airflow is the positive airflow, which is present when the amount of air pushed in the case is greater than one amount that is exhausted. This creates a higher air pressure inside the case and air is pushed out through every opening in the case. I would normally recommend the positive airflow option, but this is usually determined by the type of the computer and the environment it is placed in.
The space inside a computer case is very important. This determines what components you can mount in your system and can limit your options if the case you choose does not offer too much space. Today’s high end computer components are pretty massive, video cards can go up to 30 cm in length and can occupy up to 3 expansion slots. Also, CPU coolers can be rather big, with massive cooling vents and bodies. Even if you opt for a water cooling solution, if you want to mount your radiator inside the case, you will need lots of space to accommodate it.
Also, hard drives and optical bays need space, so a case must have the right amount of bays (2.5” or 3.5”) to accommodate all your needs. The best solution for inside real estate comes from Full Tower cases, these offer the maximum amount of space inside and can accommodate a large number of components and different sizes of motherboards (from Mini ATX to the biggest Extended ATX).
This goes hand in hand with airflow. If your wires are all over the place, they will interfere with the airflow, disturbing the air current to properly cool each component. Modern day cases offer wire management capabilities, with special spaces allocated for wires, behind the motherboard and cut-outs in the motherboard tray to allow you to route your cables. This is a feature gives computer builders the possibility to create clean looking computers and to ensure the maximum amount of airflow for your computer.
Mid range cases and high end cases offer users lots of other great features, such as CPU cut-out in the motherboard tray for easy access to the CPU and the possibility to mount an aftermarket cooler without the need for removing the motherboard, and in some cases, the entire motherboard tray is removable so you can change components that are mounted on the motherboard very easy. Bottom mounted PSU is something that gaming cases had for some time now, and this feature is starting to show on a number of mid range cases.
This allows you to mount your PSU on the bottom of the case, giving you the possibility to mount bigger CPU heatsinks and to better cool your PSU. Of course, the list of features varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and every extra feature gives you the possibility to build an even better computer.
Choosing the right type of case
For the different types of computer, you have different types of cases to choose from. As you have seen from our article on what type of computer to buy, we have devised them into 3 categories: low-end, mid-end and high-end computers. This is how we will continue with and give you the information you need, so you can buy the perfect case for your computer, depending on what of computer you choose to buy.
Low End Cases
Offering only the basic features of a computer case, these are intended for machines that do not have a high load and are not supposed to do much processing. They can accommodate a number of components, but do not offer support for high end components such as video cards or massive CPU heatsinks.
The cooling capabilities of these cases is basic, offering support for 1-2 vents and they allow you to mount a limited number of hard drives and optical drives, but still, they won’t limit anyone building a low end computer for Internet browsing or desk work.
Mid End Cases
Mid End cases ar a crossover between low end cases and high end cases. These offer some of the features of high end models, but they have smaller sizes and lower prices. These make great media center computers and home servers, but their utility extends to gaming rigs and workstations. They can accommodate a far larger number of components than low end designs and you can mount inside them high end video cards and CPU coolers. They also offer wire management solutions and some extra features, such as integrated fan controllers, CPU cooler cutout in the motherboard tray and mounting brackets for SSD drives or bottom mounted PSU.
High End Cases
High End cases offer all types of features and all the perks you might want in a case. They have the biggest interior space available in any cases, they offer plenty of room for wire management and offer the possibility to install water cooling systems. Also, they have lots of extras, such as the possibility to install many cooling fans, front I/O panel with lots of connections and a higher number of expansion slots that allow you to install bigger video cards.
If you are in need of a gaming rig or a powerful workstation, then these cases give you the very best solution for mounting bigger components. The only downside is the higher price of such a case.
As you can see, computer cases are very diverse and when making your computer build, you need to take into consideration the type of case you need. This guide will help you understand how computer cases impact the overall performance of your machine and decide on what you need the most. Now it’s up to you to choose which is best.