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How to choose a case for a PC

Computer case size

With micro ATX size motherboards being fine now even for power or gaming PCs the case need not be as large as once desired. In fact mini ITX motherboards are now or soon to be the next 'little' thing. Accordingly where Mid Tower size cases were once the gold standard, Mini Towers are now very acceptable and sometimes preferable because they're smaller and lighter. Mini Towers cases are still big enough for adding to and upgrading the components inside, when the need arises. A Mid Tower case just has even more free space, so it depends on your needs.

Cooling and case fans

Lian-Li PC-7 Plus case

Cooling is a critical attribute. The CPU, graphics chip, hard drives, pretty much everything needs to be kept cool, not just to perform well but also for longer life spans. Heat degrades components over time. One 12cm case fan is very much current tech in cooling. Get two case fans when needed, for example if you have heat producing extreme video card(s) installed. This is in addition to the power supply unit fan and the CPU fan. Separate video cards usually have their own fan too. Motherboard chipsets can have their own fan though many are now using heat pipes and heat sinks without a fan.

Steel or aluminum case

An aluminum case is a premium choice as it is a good conductor and transfers heat out rapidly. Aluminum is lighter than steel, so it gives your back a rest as well when you need to move your PC. Brushed aluminum looks great no doubt. On the other hand an aluminum case costs substantially more than steel, is not as strong, and there is no real increase in the computer's performance. We recommend steel unless you're looking for a premium experience.

Case connectors

Input jacks on the top or middle of the front of the case to connect audio and USB devices are more convenient than those at the back of the case or at the low end of the front. The USB jacks should be the USB3 standard, of course your motherboard should have USB3 headers to match. Devices you connect to your case can be USB3 or the slower USB2 or USB1, since USB3 is backwards compatible.

Computer case looks

And finally looks. We want a case that looks just great! We understand this is a personal choice, but you can't go wrong with a traditional, clean lines, nothing too fancy look.

How to choose PC parts

CPU Video card Memory
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Power supply Case OS
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