Amongst the most important computer components, you can find the PC case. While your computer can work without a PC case, it wont make for a practical build. You’ll have limited cooling options, aesthetic options, and hardware options. So when you’re building a PC, you should consider carefully which PC case to pick up.
There are a few things to consider before purchasing a PC case, in this post we will discuss whether the size, aesthetics and other aspects matter for PC cases
Does The PC Case Size Matter?
When buying a PC case, the size/form factor of the case is usually the first thing that comes to mind, after that you’ll consider the aesthetics. As for the size of your PC case, there are a few popular sizes to choose from, there are – Full Tower, Mid Tower, Mini Tower cases. In most circumstances, you’ll be going for a mid tower PC Cases.
The size of your PC case can dictate which type of motherboards you can use. In this table, you can tell that the smaller motherboards are compatible with the larger form factor cases. This is because of the screw holes. Micro ATX and Mini ITX screw holes are a subset of the full-sized ATX boards.
|Form Factor||Dimensions(length x width)||Supported Cases Screw holes|
|Extended-ATX||305 x 330 mm||EATX Cases|
|Standard-ATX||305 x 244 mm||Full/Mid ATX Cases|
|Micro-ATX||244 X 244 mm||Full/Mid/Micro ATX Cases|
|Mini-ITX||150 x 150 mm||Full/Mid/Micro/Mini ATX Cases|
If you’re looking for a “standard” PC build which supports Standard-ATX motherboards, then it’ll make sense to pick up a Mid tower case as Full tower cases are huge and can take up a lot of space. Mid tower ATX cases are the most popular option, and they usually have enough space to support your graphics card, and coolers.
Full Tower also known as EATX cases are the largest types of cases and they support the Extended-ATX motherboards and they support more RAM, & Expansion Slots which can be beneficial depending on what type of build you’re going for.
Standard ATX motherboards can support up to 4 PCI-E slots & 4 Memory slots (128GB RAM MAX) whereas, EATX motherboards can support much more, so yes, the size of your PC case does matter as it can be a limiting factor to how much hardware your PC can support.
Larger PC cases also have better cooling “potential” than smaller cases, this is due to larger cases allowing support for more fans. Larger PC cases have the potential to have superior airflow but without the correct configuration, you can end up with a PC with terrible cooling.
In conclusion, the size of your PC case will dictate what size motherboards you can use, as well as the size of your power supply, coolers & graphics cards. A small PC case might not be able to support an AIO or Air cooler as they can be quite big, and you may run into clearance issues with large graphics cards.
Most Important PC Case Features You Should Consider
Secondly, it is important to consider the features of a PC case, usually the larger and more expensive PC cases come with more features, but it isn’t always necessary. Features to watch out for are – Aesthetics, Cable Management, Front Panel USB, Storage Drive Bays, Expansion Slot Support, Airflow Support, & Cooling Support. We will be discussing all these features and whether they’re worth worrying about.
Does The PC Case Aesthetics Matter?
Aesthetics is obviously subjective but should be considered nonetheless. Aesthetics is an important part of your system and there’s many aspects that go into how your system will look, presentation is important, and makes up for a large aspect of your PC build.
First you got the color of the case itself, the most popular cases are black and white as they’re neutral colors that go well with almost every other color. So you should pick the color of your case wisely, picking the wrong color can result in an ugly build that you may not be proud of.
RGB is also a factor to consider, it allows for endless color customization which can make a significant difference in how your PC build presents itself. What RGB(Red Green Blue) offers is 16million different colors you can choose from, so effectively, it gives you a means to change the theme of your build. Plenty of PC cases on the market come with RGB fans which can be seen from the front of the PC case, however if you’re not a fan of RGB, then you most likely have an option to turn it off.
Back in the day, PC cases never used to have glass front panels, now you can find them everywhere. If your PC case of choice is going to have a glass front panel, then it’s in your best interest to make sure the hardware inside the PC case looks appropriate to the rest of the build.
In conclusion, it’s all up to you whether aesthetics matters or not and this is evident through how many varieties of cases there are on the market, not everyone will have the same taste in aesthetics as you.
How Important Is PC Case Cable Management?
Cable Management is extremely important not only from an aesthetics point of view, but also from a practical one. Having poor cable management has so many consequences such as looking terrible if you have a glass front panel & causing thermal issues due to hindered airflow and dust build-up.
A decent PC case should have cut outs where the motherboard lays so you can route the cables to the back of the PC case where it is out of sight. This practice will be beneficial to you as it will reduce dust build up, and poor thermals.
In conclusion, PC case cable management is important if you value a cool computer as well as an aesthetically pleasing one. If you’re serious about building a PC then you should consider managing your cables in an orderly fashion.
How Important Is The PC Cases Front Panel Connectivity?
The front panel connectivity of your PC case is a convenience that has a lot to offer. You can expect to find USB ports and headphone jacks. If you use a lot of external devices, then you can utilize one of these ports for quick access. The type of ports you can find on an average PC case is USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, and USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, and a typical headphone jack.
Usually your rear i/o connectivity will offer more options and overall be more superior in performance, but the front panel is great for convenience and quick access to the system. Also, if all the rear i/o ports are being utilized for the most important external devices such as external storage devices, you can utilize the front panel ports for your mice and keyboard.
The front panel port isn’t a necessary part of your build from a technical perspective. Your PC can work fine without you plugging in the front panel port, but there’s no advantages to doing this, and you will lose convenience.
From a technical perspective, the front panel port isn’t important, but from a practical one, then yes, you should probably utilize it.
How Important Are The Storage Drive Bays?
Storage drive bays are a quite important aspect of a PC case as it houses your storage devices, having enough of these storage device bays can be a lifesaver in the future. In a PC case, you’ll find internal 2.5 and 3.5 bays, a typical PC case might have 2 of each.
The 2.5 bays will house your SSDs which will have a 2.5″ form factor, and the 3.5 bays will house your HDDs which will have a 3.5″ form factor. You’re more likely to have one hard drive as they are cheaper and come in higher capacities, so you wont need as many 3.5 bays.
These storage drive bays can be very important as using more than one internal storage device is extremely common. An average build might have an SSD and a HDD for their storage setup, so ensure your case has enough bays for future proofing.
How Important Is PC Case Expansion Slot Support?
Your case will most likely come with enough expansion slots, usually 7 if you’re going with a standard mid tower build. However, smaller cases will support less expansion slots which means you won’t be able to install as many PCI-E expansion cards.
With full tower PC cases, you can find up to 8 PCI-E expansion slot cut outs, this is more than enough space if you’re just gaming. At most, you’ll utilize 3 expansion slots for your GPU, Sound Card, and Wifi Card.
Mid tower PC cases will have around 7 PCI-E expansion slot cut outs, mid tower cases are the most popular option, for gaming, video editing and other tasks.
Micro Mid ATX tower cases will have around 4 PCI-E expansion slot cut outs, and Mini ITX tower cases will have around 2. Only use these cases if you’re going for a niche build which needs a small PC case.
In conclusion, if you’re building a mid tower PC for gaming, you don’t need to worry about the quantity of expansion slot cut outs even if you’re looking to run multiple graphics cards. This will only become an issue if you’re using Mini ITX cases where the expansion slot support is limited.
PC Case Cooling Support – More Important Than You Think
When building a PC, you must always ensure that you have a sufficient cooling system. The PC case has a large influence on how you build and configure your cooling system. Before you purchase a PC case, you should learn about the case’s specifications for cooling.
Ensure your PC case can support a sufficient number of fans. Fans are important for air intake and air exhaust. A decent fan setup will supply your case with enough cool air to cool your GPU, CPU. It’ll also passively cool other components such as your storage devices.
Also, ensure your PC case can support your cooling solutions for your processor. If you’re going the AIO route, then it’s worth knowing not all cases will support your chosen AIO cooler. AIO coolers come in different sizes, 120MM, 140MM, 240MM, 280MM, and 360MM.
And if you’re going to pick up an air cooler, then it’s worth knowing that PC cases have a specified max CPU cooler height. Learn what this value is, then pick up a CPU cooler that doesn’t have clearance issues with your PC case.
In conclusion, the cooling support absolutely matters when it comes to purchasing a PC case. Poor cooling can bring in so many problems such as instability and throttling.