How to choose a computer case and power supply

a computer case and power supplyIt may not seem too exciting, but selecting a case for your homebuilt computer is one of the most important steps in the planning process. The case you select will determine what form issue motherboard you will require, just how many drives you can install, and several other things.

It also a whole lot much simpler to assemble a personal computer when the circumstance has been intelligently designed. A poorly-design computer circumstance could make what should get a fun understanding a downright miserable once.

But although the decision of a computer circumstance is important, it is also among the choices that may save you some cash. Computer conditions vary in cost from about fifty bucks to many hundred dollars, however the key difference is obviously that the higher-end conditions tend to come to be fancier. You can buy effectively good, high-quality computer instances inexpensively if you're prepared to carry out without, declare, flashing neon lights.

Choosing a court court case wisely could help you save various period of annoyance and expense later on. Below are a few of the things you should look at:

Form Factor

The form factor may be the very first thing you need to consider when choosing a case for your brand-new computer. The most frequent form factors around this writing remain ATX and micro-ATX, which differ generally within their size. They happen to be electronically identical.

If you are thinking about by using a full-size ATX motherboard, you then will need a full ATX case. But a micro-ATX motherboard can be utilized in a full-ATX case, provided you don't brain having some empty space at the bottom of the computer.

Number of Drive Bays

Computer caseAnother important factor affecting the size of case you choose is the quantity of drives you plan to install. Almost all PC situations have got interior bays for at least one hard disk drive, and front-attainable bays for at least one optical obtain (CD-ROM, CD-RW, DVD-ROM, or DVD-RW) and a floppy obtain.

But the majority of the people who build their own pcs want much more than this little construction. Having two optical drives, for instance, is a favorite configuration, since it allows instant copying of optical mass media from one get to the other (at the mercy of copyright restrictions). Other common alternatives consist of ZIP drives, cards audiences, and tape drives. Most of these products occupy get bays.

Also, just mainly because technology advances, latest products happen to be invented that can simply fit into existing cases. Who offers learned: You may want a toaster that fits in a 5.23 inches get bay. If you don't have a receive bay available, you then will come to be out of luck. Hence save trouble over time by choosing the case with an satisfactory number of travelling bays -- and something or two extra, in the event.

If you are creating a pc with many hard disks (like a pc for multi-camera video recording tutorial editing, where it's standard to use independent drives for each and every camera, as well as the system and storage space drives), you should consider by by using a server case that includes a whole load of 3.5 inch bays.

Sometimes a pc circumstance will have a lot of 5.25 inch bays, however, insufficient 3.5 inch bays for the computer you intend to build. For example, you may want a floppy travelling, a ZIP travelling, and a 3.5 inch card reader. That's not an enormous problem. There are inexpensive adapters obtainable that may permit you to install 3.5 inches drives in 5.25 inch bays.

Power Supply

Power supplies are occasionally included and pre-installed found in computer situations. But oftentimes a properly good case will come with a crappy or inadequate electricity - and the energy supply is not really a part you should skimp on. A negative power supply can fry your whole system. In fact, sometimes I look for a computer case that I love, but which has a power supply that I hate; so I just take away the included power and install an improved one.

Make sure the energy supply you use is normally of top quality and is satisfactory for the needs you have and gets the correct connectors regarding the sort of program you happen to be building. Personally, i love power goods from Antec, Thermaltake, and CoolerMaster. Many of these companies moreover sell complete computer conditions, and I've had very good success with them. Essentially, the pc I utilized to formerly compose this website was upgraded in regards to a zillion times since the day it had been built, however the CoolerMaster circumstance and electricity kept going strong.

You'll want to select a power supply that can provide adequate wattage for your system and that provides the proper connectors. Most power products today come with plenty of SATA connectors, but few Molex connectors. If you are applying drives or cards that require Molex but don't possess enough Molex qualified prospects (or vice-versa) you'll either have to be sure the energy supply has plenty of of the thing you need, if not buy some adapters.

Listed below are my minimum power recommendations based on the combined number of drives (floppy, optical, tape, and hard disks) in a Pentium D, Core2 Duo, or Athlon 64 X2 system:

  • Three drives: 400 Watts
  • 4 or 5 drives: 500 Watts
  • 6 to 8 drives: 650 Watts
  • More than that: You want to consider dual power products.

Also remember that lots of USB and Firewire devices draw their power from the computer's power, so you will want to leave a lot of headroom when calculating wattage requirements.


Chassis fanExcess temperature is among your computer's worst enemies. Select a case that has at least one place to mount a chassis fan. Without a chassis fan, the heat thrown by the power supply fan, CPU fan, chipset fan, and training video card fan will swiftly raise the temperature in the case. A straightforward case fan can help bleed this heat off and preserve your personal computer cool and happy.

If you have household pets that shed head of hair, or if you system to use your personal computer in a dusty place, look for filtered cooling lovers. These will help keep carefully the dirt out of one's body. (You need to tidy the filters often, though, consequently they don't get clogged!)

You also may want to consider a hard drive cooler, especially if the computer will be used in a hot environment or if you want to use a little case due to space limitations in your workplace, dorm room, or perhaps jail cell. But too-small cases may also cause major high temperature buildup, which can cause a variety of errors, failures, and various other problems. Consequently keep this at heart when pondering about how exactly appropriately that "cute, little circumstance" would fit on your bookshelf.


Some people couldn't care less with regards to a computer's looks. Others check out great soreness to find a case that matches their decoration or is normally pleasing with their eye. Me, I really like simple designs that look like a computer instead of a jukebox.

Unlike the "days of days gone by" of computing when everything was boxy-searching for and putty-colored, Laptop or computer cases are actually obtainable in a complete spectrum of colors, styles, and designs. Some have also transparent area panels framed with flashing neon lighting. Some individuals, especially gamers, just like the effects that these lighting provide you with. Others (like me) think the lights are ineffective and a waste materials of energy. But hey, whatever floats your boat.

What it boils down to is that only you know how important appearance is to you. This computer you're building is your creation, therefore help to make it what you want it to become. Once you've narrowed your selection down to a few instances based after the more important standards listed above, it's correctly okay to choose the circumstance that you think may be the coolest-seeking of the bunch.

Simple Assembly and Maintenance

a computer case and power supplyFinally, when choosing a computer case, consider the way the case design makes it pretty substantially difficult to construct a computer and keep maintaining it once it's built. Seem at factors such as how convenient the circumstance is certainly to available, if the get cages tend to be removable (making drive unit installation and substitute less complicated), how difficult routine cleansing and dust-removal should come to get, and whether you ought to have room for upgrades. We're geeks, ultimately, so it is merely a topic of period before we wide open the case once again to accomplish some modifications.