Choosing the Right Computer Cases

Computer cases are protective enclosures that house most of the hardware components of desktop PCs. Also known as a chassis or tower, a desktop case is usually a steel or aluminum box. Other materials commonly used for making desktop towers include plastic and glass. They come in different shapes and sizes, and the one to choose depends on the type of desktop PC you're assembling.

Types of Desktop Computer Cases

The three major computer chassis form factors are full tower, mid tower, and mini ITX. Full towers are the biggest, usually measuring 20 inches high or taller. They're also the most spacious, and have more mounting brackets to hold a higher number of internal components. Full towers can fit standard and extended ATX motherboards in addition to the smaller micro ATX and mini ITX boards.

Mini ITX towers or SFF (small form factor) cases are only big enough to fit mini ITX motherboards. Mid towers are significantly bigger than SFF towers are, and a little smaller than full-sized towers. They're the most common form factor, and the majority can fit full-sized ATX motherboards. There are also mini towers that are closer to SFF units in size, and made to carry micro ATX motherboards.

Gaming Computer Cases

These can be mini, mid, or full towers, depending on your gaming needs. Consider available space, motherboard size, and the processing power of the gaming rig you're building. Choose a full tower to assemble a powerful system with a high-end CPU and GPU. Super towers are bigger cases meant for hardcore gamers and computer enthusiasts. They're big enough to fit dual CPUs, dual graphics display cards, and expanded ATX motherboards. Gaming cases also have visual design flourishes such as transparent sides, integrated RGB lighting, and sharp angular features.

Features to Look for When Buying a Computer Case

First, pick a unit that can comfortably fit all your PC components. A cramped chassis usually leads to overheating. Look for a model that provides adequate clearance between the CPU and GPU, the two sources of heat in a computer. Take note of available expansion slots and mounting points. These determine the tower's flexibility and expandability, as well as the number of components you can mount inside of it. You might require drive bay adapters to fit 2.5-inch hard disk and solid-state drives in the 3.5-inch bays commonly installed in desktop cases. Lastly, consider the sizes and placements of the spaces allocated to the power supply unit and cooling unit.

Do Servers Use the Same Cases as Computers?

Cases for server systems emphasize external dimensions rather than internal ones, since they usually fit in other enclosures. The closest ones to PC chassis are tower-like pedestal cases. Units meant for server rooms use rack and blade chassis.

The right desktop tower protects PC components, and has an efficient airflow system that prevents overheating. Browse the wide selection of computer accessories at B&H Photo and Video to find the right chassis for your desktop PC and server.