The computer case is often an overlooked aspect in PC building. It is not uncommon for one to question the value of a $200 case, or even a $100 case. The case is the enclosure of the entire PC, and whether the subject is aesthetics, ease of assembly and configuration and expansion, functionality, cooling, or noise, the chassis is extremely important.
In this article we will talk about the importance of a case on these aspects of a computer and more, and then recommend several cases based on price and form factor (e.g., ITX, mATX, ATX). The case industry is evolving before our eyes, and some cases are clearly superior to everything else in their price ranges or even above.
Let's start by addressing the question, "What to look for?" on the next page.
What to Look for in a Computer Case?
The computer chassis is very important for many reasons, listed below.
- Functionality and Expansion: You need a case that can support the hardware you desire. If you want to use multiple graphics cards, many storage drives, or lots of liquid cooling components, you need a case that can fit them and conveniently support their installation, removal, and expansion. Start small and grow into a bigger, more powerful PC? You need a case that can support the expansion, say from one graphics card to two or more, or from one 240mm all-in-one liquid cooler to a custom loop with two 360mm radiators. This all depends on the case.
There are other aspects to functionality as well. Perhaps you need a transportable PC with hot swap bays for quick, easy removal of storage drives. Perhaps it needs a lockable side panel as well. You'd then need a case that is appropriately sized, with