How to choose a case

Initially, all cases of computers compatible with the IBM PC had the same standard size (Desktop) and were similar to each other in almost everything, even in color. Although compatible computers were manufactured by many different companies that were not bound by any licenses, no one dared to violate the unspoken standard set by IBM. And light gray “suitcases” with a monitor on top have long been registered on the tables of offices and offices.

The first non-original Tower size (later called Full Tower) appeared in 1996, 15 years after the IBM PC entered the market. Initially, such cases were intended for servers and other high-power assemblies: a tall “tower” provided much better ventilation conditions than a flat desktop case.

Many people liked the new case, but the high price and excessive internal volume for home computers prevented its widespread use. However, the interest in the new standard size was noticed by the manufacturers. This led to the emergence of the Mid-Tower standard, which quickly supplanted the Desktop and became the main mass case for several more years. And until the middle of the “zero” all the choice was reduced to various variations of these three standard sizes.

The real boom that led to today’s diversity began only when the personal computer became a truly mainstream product, accessible (and needed) by everyone. Gaming and home computers required different cases, and manufacturers responded to this requirement by expanding the range of sizes and offering models in a variety of shapes and colors.

Now, when choosing a case, it was possible to give free rein to imagination. Still, it should be understood that a computer case is not just a beautiful accessory. Its parameters must correspond to the future “stuffing”, otherwise problems with installing the motherboard, lack of power, lack of space for drives and expansion cards are inevitable.

CCAK

5V0-43.21

3V0-51.20N

2V0-31.21

1V0-31.21PSE

1V0-31.21

78950X

ACP-Cloud1

PCNSC

C1000-051

010-111

3V0-22.21

JN0-250

NCE

And you should spend a few minutes sorting out the characteristics, and only then proceed to the selection of the design. Standard size It should be noted that with the modern variety, the division into standard sizes is rather arbitrary: it cannot be said that there is a clear border separating the Full Tower from the Mid-Tower, Mid-Tower from the Mini-Tower, etc. There will always be individual representatives whose characteristics are very different from medium-sized.

The Mid-Tower continues to be the most massive case . A good layout allows you to place almost any motherboard and processor cooler, plus a sufficient number of expansion cards and drives for most users.

Case ASUS TUF Gaming GT501 [90DC0012-B49000] black 14 499 *
If you want a case at the lowest price, this is the Mid-Tower. On average, these bodies are 43-45 cm high and 20-25 cm wide. The Mid-Tower size is quite old, it was designed for ATX (Standard-ATX) motherboards and will support any compatible motherboards. Many chassis accommodate E-ATX boards by removing the hard drive cages.

Mini-Tower is the second most popular standard size . With the development of technology, the size of motherboards decreased, and sound, video and network cards were increasingly integrated into the “motherboard”. As a result, the Mid-Tower was too spacious for simple assemblies. For such cases, the Mini-Tower is designed, which usually has the same width as the Mid-Tower, but less in height and length. A standard ATX board does not fit into such a case, only those form factors are supported that are smaller or equal in size to Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX.

Case AeroCool Cylon Mini black 2 699 *
The monumental Full-Tower, originally intended for servers, is loved by many for its imposing appearance. Therefore, it is this form factor that often becomes the basis of modder and gaming cases.

Body Cougar Panzer Max Black 11 999 *
The large size allows you to fit any motherboard inside, including server E-ATX and XL-ATX. The volume of the case can accommodate a large number of drives, fans, liquid cooling systems, expansion cards, etc. However, when purchasing components for such a case, you should pay attention to the length of the cables – the standard ones are often short.

Micro-Tower – the smallest of the standard sizes of ” towers “, which allows you to install a full 5.25 ”drive (however, maximum one). Despite being smaller than Mini-Tower, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX and all compatible smaller boards are generally supported.

Thermaltake Versa H17 housing [CA-1J1-00S1NN-00] black 3 199 *
The Super-Tower and Ultra-Tower are the largest of the “towers”. They are more often used already for professional activities – as a basis for servers, high-performance specialized workstations, etc. However, no one bothers to use them for modding.

The modern Desktop size is slightly different from its 40-year-old progenitor – it is close in size to the Midi-Tower, laid on its side, only the height is usually a little less. On the one hand, this makes the case sleeker, on the other hand, it reduces the permissible height of the processor cooler. This type of case has only horizontal design, but some cases can be operated on the side, turning into a Slim-Tower.

Supports Standard-ATX and smaller motherboards. These cases have open stands, which are equipped only with a platform for placing the motherboard and do not have a single wall. Such stands can accommodate a motherboard of any size.

Case InWin BP655BL [6102911] black
Slim-Tower is another representative of thin cases for office computers. Structurally, only a vertical placement option is assumed. Just like Slim-Desktop, the small internal volume will not allow accommodating an ordinary video card or a large processor cooler.

Case AeroCool Playa Slim black 3 299 *
Slim-Desktop is an even thinner (about 10 cm) version of the Desktop. The case supports the same motherboards as Desktop, but the low height already imposes quite serious restrictions on the cooling system, processor cooler and sometimes even on expansion cards. They cannot accommodate regular-width gaming graphics cards or large CPU coolers. Small internal volume and inability to install powerful cooling can lead to overheating of components. For this reason, cases are more often used for office computers than for any other task.

Case AeroCool CS-101 black
Cube / Desktop – Desktop enclosures with increased height. They have a decent internal volume even with small linear dimensions. In addition, this arrangement provides more options for component placement. The housings are more cubic in shape, but still located in a horizontal plane. Only small Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX motherboards can be installed in them.

Case SilverStone Sugo SG13 [SST-SG13B] black
NUC is a relatively new ultra-small case format for all-in-one systems. Such cases can only accommodate motherboards in the NUC format – this is the brainchild of Intel, the abbreviation stands for Next Unit of Computing (“Next computing element”). The systems are suggested to be used for home theater or Internet surfing. Typically, these boards are passively cooled.

Akasa Plato X7 case [A-NUC37-M1B] black
The pedestal is a new and rare standard size. An example is the GAMER STORM Quadstellar. It has a diamond shape with four lobes and can still accommodate the largest motherboards.

GamerStorm Quadstellar Case [DP-EATX-QUADSTLR] Black 30 299 *
Assembly
The form factor of compatible boards is the first thing to consider when choosing a case. Most motherboards are backward compatible with ATX: for example, a Flex-ATX board will fit into a case with support for Standard-ATX, but a Standard-ATX board will not fit into a miniature Flex-ATX case.

How do you know if your motherboard will fit your favorite case? Find out what is the largest form factor it supports, and find the form factor of your “motherboard” in the picture.

As you can see from the figure, the Mini-ATX form factor is mechanically incompatible with ATX. However, motherboards of this form factor are not produced today.

Notice the two dimensional limitations that can cause problems during assembly – m Maximum Feed length of the video card and the maximum height of the CPU cooler. Make sure your graphics card “fits” in length.

Some compact chassis may have additional placement issues for dual- and triple-slot graphics cards.

When choosing the maximum height of the cooler, try to keep this parameter at least 10 mm higher than the height of your cooler, especially if there are no ventilation holes in the case in the area of ​​the CPU cooler.

The number of size restrictions is greatly increased when choosing slim-cases. It is quite possible that only low-profile (Low profile) expansion cards can be installed in them, which will significantly reduce the choice – especially of video cards and special-purpose cards.

If you have a built-in power supply, make sure that it has enough power for your assembly. If the power supply is not included, find out the form factor of the compatible power supplies. SFX, Flex-ATX, and TFX PSUs are less affordable, more expensive, and have less maximum power.

Routing cables behind the rear panel can streamline cable tangle within the enclosure, facilitate assembly and improve air exchange. Keep in mind, however, that this will require additional cable length and may exacerbate problems with increased internal distances on larger enclosures.

bays are used to accommodate HDD and SSD. Basically, if you are not going to install a RAID array on your computer, 2-3 bays are quite enough: one for the main HDD and 1-2 empty “for growth”.

If there is more than one disk (for example, a bundle of HDD and SSD to speed up the system), then pay attention to the gap between the disks in the basket. It should provide good ventilation for all installed drives.

The position of the drive cage (vertical or horizontal) does not affect the performance of the drive. But difficult ventilation and the presence of very hot elements nearby will certainly shorten the life of the drives. In this case, the configurable position of the baskets can help.

The number of expansion slots for the chassis is not as important as it might seem. The actual number of expansion slots is determined by the motherboard. The number of slots, more than the same parameter of the motherboard, may not be needed so often. It will only come in handy for installing some additional connectors or as a guarantee for installing dual-slot video cards on Mini-ITX corps.

If you frequently change components of your computer, look for screwless fasteners in the expansion slots and in the drive bays. And if the first just slightly speeds up the removal / installation of expansion cards, then the second can save a lot of time if the drive cage is not located correctly, when the case design does not allow “crawling” with a screwdriver to the drive screws without additional tweaks.

If there is a cutout in the chassis in the area where the CPU cooler is attached, this will allow you to remove the large cooler (and, accordingly, the processor) without removing the motherboard. Needless to say, how much faster it speeds up a processor replacement?

Cooling of components
No one will argue that good cooling is the key to the performance of a computer and its resistance to high loads. Much depends on the case. The smaller the internal space and the more obstacles in it (boards, cables, case elements, etc.), the more difficult it will be to organize high-quality cooling of all heating elements.

Today, any case has at least one fan in the kit – usually a frontal fan for blowing. For office configurations, this may be sufficient, but if increased loads on the processor and video card are expected, one fan may not be enough. Especially if the power supply has a lower location, which significantly reduces the temperature of the power supply itself and increases its life, but worsens convection inside the case.

When the power supply unit is located at the bottom in the case, there must be a sufficiently powerful fan in the upper part of the case, working for blowing out.

If there are several fans in the kit, it may be useful to have a fan control unit (reobass). This will allow you to properly adjust the cooling of the system, reducing its power consumption and noise while maintaining efficiency. Reobas, of course, can be purchased and installed separately , but its presence “by default” simplifies the task.

The possibility of installing a liquid cooling system means that the case is maximally prepared for the installation of LSS and when buying it you will have a minimum of complications.

Front panel connectors
Most modern external media are connected to a PC via the USB interface, so the presence of at least a couple (or better – more) connectors on the front panel can already be called a prerequisite for comfortable work. It is desirable that at least one of them be USB 3.0, especially if you often rewrite large amounts of information (for example, video).

The built-in card reader will facilitate the exchange of data with various gadgets using SD cards (cameras, smartphones, players, e-books, etc.). And the audio jacks on the case will greatly simplify the use of the headset and will be completely useful if you are going to use the case for HTPC (home theater).

An e-sata interface or a docking station on the case will allow you to connect HDD and SSD media without opening the case. A completely useful option if the case is covered with a warranty sticker.

Backlight
The RGB system will be integrated into a single computer backlighting system and will change colors in sync with other components, such as the motherboard , RAM , video card . Depending on the type of backlight, different types of connectors are used for power supply, which is very important to consider when choosing, since some of them may be incompatible with the motherboard.

Single color LED backlight can only support one fixed color. In this case, you cannot change the colors to another or change the backlight frequency mode. This backlight is powered by the same connector as the fan or pump motor. These can be 3-pin or 4-pin PWM or Molex connectors. There are also combined options.

F-RGB (Fixed Multicolor Backlight) can support multiple colors at once but in a fixed form. In this case, neither the color nor the backlight frequency mode can be changed. This backlight is powered in the same way as a regular one-color, through -pin or 4-pin PWM or Molex connectors.

RGB lighting supports the full spectrum of the primary colors of the rainbow, except that the device supports only 1 color at a time: white, red, yellow, green, blue and violet (and also completely off the backlight, i.e. black). In addition, it is possible to change the modes of the frequency of operation of the backlight, which will help you choose the type of lighting that is more suitable for you. This backlight contains 12v LEDs, which are controlled by special microcircuits in the hub or in the motherboard. The backlight works by distributing the diode power to separate channels: the fans are connected separately, and the RGB system – using a special cable – to the controller. The power supply of such a backlight is connected via 4pin 12V or 6-pin connectors.

A-RGB lighting (Adressable RGB) is a newer and more advanced version of RGB lighting. Its main difference is the ability to distribute color signals between diodes separately, due to the fact that 5V diodes are used instead of 12V. This backlight gives you the ultimate in setting it up. Control is carried out using software compatible with your motherboard, or through the remote control. A-RGB lights are powered via a 3pin 5v connector instead of a 4pin 12v connector.

NEVER try to connect an RGB device to a 3pin connector, as this will damage the motherboard almost instantly. There is NO backward compatibility between 3pin 5v and 4pin 12v.

ARGB lighting allows you to build more complex color schemes due to the presence of more shades and the ability to alternate them – from a regular rainbow to the alternation of several colors at the same time.

If suddenly your motherboard does not provide backlight control, then many models have their own independent remote control, which “oversees” the speed, modes and color. Below are the types of connectors depending on the manufacturer.

Modding
The desire of the user to work not only for a powerful, but also for a beautiful computer is quite understandable. Fortunately, manufacturers today allow you to give your PC a fantastic look with no extra effort.