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Choosing the right PC case for your build can be a bit confusing! There is a massive choice of brand, size’s and design’s. Firstly you have closed case, this is the normal case when you would buy as a desktop, It is a completely closed case with no openings and you have fans front top and back to give it a good air flow. There is an open case which I would say are more of display cases if you wanted to show off your build, they would have a main back where all the components attached to, then it would have a tempered glass front to stop any damage but all the sides are open. If you wanted to you are able to get desks where you can actually build your computer into the desk to show off your build. Different sizes
The Main Difference, Size! Size Does Matter!
There are a lot of different sizes that you can choose from when building a PC but there are only 4 main ones that you may come across unless you are building a very specific build. The normal size that you will find is ATX which is a full size case that takes all the full size, mid ATX and mini motherboards. This will also provide the best cooling as it is a lot more spacious so all of your components won’t be as tightly packed which will give you a good flow of air. Along with this you have other choices of cooling, for instance you would be able to think about liquid cooling if you want to build a high performance build. If you do need more space again you can always go for the next size up which is the E-ATX, these are the type of cases you want to get if you are thought of doing a dual cooling loop, this would give you more than enough space for the 2 different reservoirs and required piping.
You have another 2 options you can go a step down from ATX and get a mini tower which is also known as M-ATX or ITX. This isn’t the smallest option but you would have to make sure that you chose the right motherboard as your normal ATX board will not fit into this case, you will need to make sure that you choose the correct size. As you purchase components you will need to keep an eye on the size of them as they may not fit into the case. For example the graphics card, it should tell you in the spec of the case the maximum length graphics card it will take to stop any problems. Cooing will also need to be careful thought out as again some components may struggle to fit into the case and air flow will not be quite as effective.
The smallest case that you can consider for a gaming computer would be Mini ITX or also known as Small Form Factor. This is the type of build that you are able to take with you if your going away or over friends, or if you are lacking in desk space and want a very small build. If you do choose to go down this road you will need to be very careful with the components that you choose. You will need to make sure that the GPU fits in the case along with the amount of fans that you want, the CPU cooler and power supply. It is a very small compact build so it will be quite difficult to get it all in the case with all the wiring as well. They will tend to run a lot hotter than your bigger cases as this will have a very limited air flow and with all the hot components being so close together, but they can be very tidy computers if done correctly.
Open Or Closed?
Another decision you will have to make is if you want a closed off case with fans or an open case. You can go for a case similar to a CoolerMaster MB520 case (left) which is a closed case where you are able to fit numerous fans in different layouts. An example of an open frame case would be the Thermaltake Core P5 (right) which is where it is more open to the air and has a much better air flow, however it is more open to the elements and potential of damage. This would be more of a show case as you are able to show your build and the components that you have as they would be more visible to view
If you have the skill and a bit extra money for the components you do have the option of a bench case. This is where you would build your custom computer within a desk to save having any tower at all. You would have to build a water cooled system as there wouldn’t be much air flow at all so this would be the main option. Along with this it would have to be a thought out build as a desk wouldn’t have massive amounts of space so you will need to go careful on what parts you are going to purchase.
Once you have your build there are some accessories that you can add to customize it to your liking. First of all you are able to install a fan controller, this is a panel that you can install in one of your computer ports that allow you to control the different fans in your computer, you can have each one running at a different speed or turn them all up or down together. Each different fan controller has a different design, some have touch panels where others have dials to control them, this would all depend on what manufacture and model you go with.
The second accessory I want to talk about is the vertical GPU bracket. This only tends to be used to chance the look of your build, usually the graphics card would have the back plate visible with the fans face down. With this bracket it turns the GPU on it’s side so that the fans a visible at the front of the case which also shows most of the RGB lighting installed on the card if you have this.
Another accessory that you are able to install in the front of your PC would be a card reader multi port as they wouldn’t come standard. This would give you the ability to read numerous SD cards like the latest MicroSD, along with this you will get extra USB ports of different speeds, along with an additional headphone and microphone jack. It would depend on what multi port card reader you install to figure out how many of these different ports you will have.
The last accessory that I wanted to talk about is RGB lighting strips. If you have an open case you wouldn’t have many options for installing these however if you have a closed case you would be able to put them around the edges of your case behind the glass to light up the internal components without them being visible to the eye. This wouldn’t add any benefit to your build however it would add a good edge to it if you wanted to improve the look of your computer.
There is much that you will want to consider before committing your self to buying a case that you may not want in the future. You will want to make sure that the case that you choose can hold all the components that you are thinking about installing so you don’t end up wasting money on components you are unable to fit. There is a massive choice of manufactures that you can look through to find the perfect case for you and your budget.