Building a personal computer – selecting a case

Picking a case is to a certain extent a decision based on your preferences. The CPU or GPU won’t go any faster by having a larger or smaller case.

The only limitations are that the case you purchase does support the size of your motherboard.

  • Extended ATX (E-ATX)
  • ATX
  • micro ATX (mATX)
  • Mini ITX

However, there is yet another couple of considerations when picking a case. The case has to be large enough to contain the motherboard but it must also support a graphics card if you choose a discrete graphics card. Simply put you cannot get a graphics card that is 12” long if there is only space for a 10” card which is the average size.

The available size for the graphic card depends on the case but if you have a tower case it also depends on any internal mounting hardware such as what might be used for hard disks or DVD’s.

One more consideration on the size of case is how large the CPU cooler is, if you choose an aftermarket air cooled fan for your CPU. Some CPU’s are sold with a cooler which typically appears to be a fan that is laying on top of the CPU. As you can imagine this not a very high cooler and would probably fit into all or almost all cases.

After market CPU coolers can be quite tall. The Noctua NH-D15 is actually 16.5cm tall. Thus if you are choosing such a CPU cooler you have to get case that will accommodate such a large cooler.

One of the least important attributes for the running of the computer is how the case looks but that is important for the owner as it displays a sense of style. The Final but probably most important consideration is airflow of the case. Both the GPU and CPU will generate heat when the computer is running. These pieces of equipment last longer and work better when cooled and to major (air cooled) or minor (water cooled) degree you should get a case that allows in cool air. How much air is required depends on the CPU and GPU but also how many intake and exhaust fans are running.

Case Dissassembly and review

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