How to Choose a PC Case: Things to Consider

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Whether you consider your computer the centerpiece of your gaming setup or home office, or you just choose to shove it under your desk, choosing the right PC case matters. You’ll want to pick a case that is at least big enough to suit your hardware needs.

However, many PC cases offer so much more than that, like lower temperatures, spacious interiors, extensive support for water cooling, reduced sound, and even stylish tempered glass panels or RGB lighting. In this article, we’ll be showing you how to choose the perfect PC case for your needs.

Size Matters

Before you do anything else, you will want to decide on the size of the case you will be purchasing. There are three main size options, namely mini-ITX, mid-tower, and full-tower. The latter two sizes both fit your standard ATX motherboard, which is the most popular motherboard size in the world, but both are also able to fit smaller micro-ATX motherboards.

The exact sizes will vary depending on the case, but the majority of mid-towers are about 8” wide and 18” tall. This is perhaps the most common case size and is spacious enough to fit setups with a few graphics cards, a closed-loop CPU cooler, and plenty of storage.

On the other hand, full-tower PC cases are huge. They are generally over 20” tall and are deeper and longer than their mid-tower counterparts, making them perfect for those who use large Extended-ATX motherboards. You should also consider picking up a full-tower case if you want to fit your setup with extensive storage, water-cooling, and graphics card setups.

Full-tower PC cases will generally be able to house more fans, as well as 5.25” drive bays, and the added room makes building more enjoyable, too.

Mini-ITX cases are the exact opposite of full-tower cases and are built for the small mini-ITX motherboards. Some can be extremely small and may even be able to fit inside a home theater cabinet, but the small interior can cause some issues with compatibility with certain hardware components. You should not expect to use liquid-cooling or a large CPU cooler when using these small cases.

Certain mini-ITX cases are not able to support full-sized graphics cards, which makes them less than ideal for gaming purposes. Finally, there is also not much extra room for hardware in these cases, meaning that you are going to be limited to some basic system configurations.

Consider the Price

After you have determined how big you want your PC case to be, you’re going to want to decide on your budget. If you are planning on spending less than $50, you are likely going to find yourself purchasing a barebones case with little to no extra features. You should try to choose one that has at least two fans – one at the back of the case and another at the front – to provide maximum airflow to aid in cooling.

You will not always find such a luxury in that price range, however. Things become more plentiful in the $50 – $150 range, which has seen quite a bit of advancement over the last few years. You’re going to see quite a lot of variety in both the construction and design in this price range, and as always, you should make sure that you are checking the case’s measurements to see if it will be able to fit all of your desired hardware.

The features of your case are going to come down to a matter of personal preference or specific needs for your build. Certain cases come with fans for higher performance, while others focus on providing you with a quiet experience. You will also start finding water-cooling-compatible cases in this price range, as well as tool-less designs, better cable management, and some visual perks, such as RGB lighting.

When going higher than $150, you’ll start to find cases that provide both excellent acoustics and performance and that come with handy features and connectivity options for days. Some of them can be quite large, and it’s in this price range that you’ll find most full-tower cases.

Case Aesthetics

You also want to make sure that you like the way your PC case looks. Almost every online retailer out there will show you pictures of the case from different angles, so you have no excuse for buying something unsightly.

PC cases are made from all different types of materials and in various designs and colors. If you aren’t looking to spend time making your interior cabling neat, then you probably shouldn’t purchase a case with a clear panel on the side – everyone will be able to see inside, including you.

Feature Support

Other than the price and basic dimensions, feature support can play a huge role when you are choosing a PC case. The more you spend on your case, the more features you are going to receive. Here are a few features that you can expect to see in most modern PC cases.

SSD Mounting Points & Drive Bats

You should ensure that your case has enough 2.5” drive bays to mount your storage drives to. Some cases will come with mounting points at the back of the motherboard for SSDs.

Tool-less Design

Most modern PC cases won’t need you to buy or use any tools to open them up and access their contents. The tool-less design is universal in most cases these days, with thumbscrews on the interior and tool-free mechanisms on the drive bays.

Cable Management

You should try to find a case that has plenty of cutouts in the motherboard tray, which will let you run your cables through the back of the case. You won’t be able to see them, and it will make your case look much neater and more professional.

Final Thoughts

We hope that our “How to Choose a PC Case: Things to Consider” guide has helped you make your final decision on what type of PC case would suit your needs best, or that it has at least given you a place to start in your considerations.

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