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Cases & Cabinets

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How to build your own PC in 8 steps (DETAILED GUIDE) Building your own PC can be tricky. That is why we have prepared a detailed GUIDE for you that should make...

When choosing a PC case, take into consideration whether you are building a general-purpose or a special-purpose computer. Its intended placement can also determine what case you should pick. PC cases differ primarily in size, which determines their capacity to accommodate PC components.

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What form factor should you go for?

  • Larger PC cases have sufficient space for mounting numerous drives and other PC components. They also offer better air circulation, so they are suitable for the most demanding assemblies.
  • Smaller cabinets are easily portable but provide limited space for components. They are suitable for building multimedia computers, but assemblies with more powerful graphics cards or processors might call for installing a very efficient cooling system.
  • Rack and server cases are special cabinets that are usually used when building complex corporate networks. These can be either standalone or rackmount.
Capacity Motherboard Format Power Supply Unit Graphics Card Length Fan Mounting Points External 3.5" drive bays External 5.25" drive bay
Big Tower (Full Tower) eATX, ATX, mATX, mITX ATX Up to 400+ mm in length Up to 10+ mounting points 1-3 drive bays Up to 8 drive bays
Midi Tower (Middle Tower) ATX, mATX, mITX ATX Up to 350-400 mm in length Up to 8 mounting points 1-2 drive bays Up to 5 drive bays
Mini Tower mATX, mITX ATX Up to 300-350 mm in length Up to 6 mounting points 1-2 drive bays Up to 3 drive bays
Mini-ITX mITX SFX Up to 200-300 mm in length Up to 4 mounting points 1 drive bay 0-1 drive bay
Desktop and HTPC mATX, mITX ATX, SFX, external Up to 150-200 mm in length Up to 3 mounting points 1 drive bay 0-1 drive bay

What to look for when choosing a computer chassis?

Motherboard format

  • The motherboard's form factor (EATX, ATX, mATX, mITX) determines its dimensions and thus the number of slots for expansion cards.
  • Choose a computer case according to the components you want to use in your PC assembly.
eATX ATX mATX mITX
eATX ATX mATX mITX

Internal layout

  • The total number of internal 3.5" slots - these are used mainly for mounting hard disk drives (HDDs) and SSDs (using a mounting bracket).
  • The position of the power supply unit - PSUs are usually mounted at the top or bottom of the cabinet. Those that are placed on the bottom tend to require longer cables in order to reach all the PC's components.

External layout

  • External 5.25" drive bays - used to mount optical CD / DVD / Blu-Ray drives or control panels that monitor and control fans and other devices.
  • External 3.5" drive bays - used to install memory card readers and multimedia panels.
  • Front panel connectors - having ports on the front panel makes it much easier to connect your peripherals.
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Cases & Cabinets

Cases & Cabinets

A computer case is what gives your computer a shape and form. Without it, it would be just a pile of parts connected to each other. However, computer cases are no longer visually boring grey boxes. On the contrary - they can become the centrepiece of your room. Modern cases are available in elegant, futuristic, and minimalist designs. They are designed not to accumulate the hot air that is coming out of the individual system components, and provide adequate mounting points for optical drives, hard drives, or additional fans. Many also offer easily accessible data (USB, FireWire) or audio (headphone) ports on the front panel.

Computer cases designed for normal use (office, home) are either tower cases (vertical), desktops (horizontal) and Mini-ITX. Most of them come with a preinstalled power supply unit. Rack and Server cases are for business use and for building servers.

Tower cases are categorised by size: Mini Tower, Midi Tower and Big Tower. A special feature of some Mini Tower cases is that they do not support ATX motherboards (mATX are supported). The other two sizes are compatible with both formats and provide more space for computer components. The Mini-ITX format is designed for smaller motherboards and is used when there are lower demands on the computer's performance. Barebone systems are similar and often come already partially assembled. Most have a built-in motherboard and power source unit, which slightly limits the choices of other components.

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