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How to Make Use of a Computer Case

Cases do more than just keep the dust out of your system. They not only give you somewhere to mount your motherboard, but also provide a controlled internal environment for your system.

What Kinds of Cases are There?

Computer cases come in a wide range of sizes and formats from small form factor cubes to massive towers shaped like something out of a science fiction movie. Think of a Thermaltake case as something that serves as a chassis to hold your power supply and provide mounts for all your other computer components. While there are a huge variety of different cases available, most home builders use a tower case in one of three common sizes:

  • Mini-Tower:Designed around a micro-ATX motherboard, this is a good choice for a basic system, where space efficiency matters more than performance.
  • Mid-Tower:The mid-tower chassis is a very common choice, large enough for a variety of components without taking up so much space that it dominates the room. 
  • Full-Tower:Built for performance, these cases offer room for the largest EATX motherboards, high-end CPUs, and oversize video cards. Many even come with LED lighting built in. 

What Features Should You Look For?

When you're building a performance computer, the first thing you should look for is size. Glass windows look cool, but you're more likely to benefit from a tool less design where you can put the whole thing together without needing to find a specialty screwdriver or two. It's always important to focus on what your system needs over its appearance. Some features you should pay attention to are:

  • Cooling Support:A liquid cooling setup takes up a lot more space than a single 120 mm fan. In many cases your system chassis is going to determine your options, and cooling is the key to performance as high-performance components generate a lot of heat and you can't use them at full power without adequate cooling.
  • Internal Bays:Every drive needs a bay to hold it, and a full-size Thermaltake tower can offer you the room you need for as many drives as you want.
  • Front Panel:Don't underestimate the practicality of a front panel for connecting everything from speakers to your keyboard and mouse. There's no reason to fumble around between the case and the wall any more often than you have to.

Placing Your Case

Two things you should always consider when figuring out where to put your case are accessibility and airflow. You want to be able to get at the back of the case when you need to, and it has to go somewhere that air can get in or it's guaranteed to overheat.