Computer Case Choices
Computer cases are the skeleton and skin of the desktop computer. A computer case stores all of the internal components of a computer while expressing the style, tastes, and functionality of the user. With that said, you can buy a computer case for all sorts of purposes, so picking the proper computer case for you is essential.
PC Case Looks and Style
Computer cases no longer come in the bland color they did back in the early 2000s. Today, you can get computer cases with tempered glass side panel windows, customizable RGB lighting, and different styles. For example, if you want a computer case that looks like a V8 engine, you have options. You can express your style through your computer case in many different ways. Some PC cases even include options that mount components in non traditional methods so you can showcase things like your graphics card or water cooling system.
High End Functionality
Many people need to build computers to function as servers or workstations at home. There are computer cases today that focus on high airflow, tons of space, and plenty of IO options. If you need to build a server that requires 15 hard drives in a RAID array, it is possible. Likewise, suppose you need to run multiple high end graphics cards for work that generate tons of heat. In that case, there are computer cases explicitly designed for that as well. No matter what your high performance computer needs are, there is a PC case designed to fit your needs.
The physical size and shape of a PC case, also known as its form factor, is one of the most significant considerations when choosing a case. The basic form factor categories follow the different motherboard sizes, from largest to smallest: ATX, microATX and miniITX. In most cases, your motherboard size will determine what form factor you are looking for.
ATX cases are the most common, with mid tower ATX providing a happy medium for many builders — big enough for most PC builds, but not as big as the large and in charge full tower ATX models. Full towers provide a ton of extra space, which makes them a favorite of those using jumbo sized eATX motherboards and liquid cooling systems.
On the smaller end, there are tons of PC case options on the market for micro ATX cases and even mini ITX cases to build a powerful but small computer. These computer cases can pack a lot of fast hardware inside them with a footprint as small as a toaster. Mini ITX cases can require more planning and careful component selection, but gamers who need a low-footprint PC often find the results to be worth it.
Noise and Volume
PCs can get noisy, thanks to all the cooling fans, as well as phenomena like coil whine from the GPU. That is why many PC builders find that their case also plays a key role in mitigating noise. If you will be including a lot of fans and or high-powered components in your build, it is worth looking into one of the many available cases with noise dampening technologies built in. When combined with other measures like a fan controller and anti vibration fan mounts, these ultra quiet PC cases can help you turn down the volume.
Cases for Gaming PCs
Building your ultimate gaming PC does not automatically limit you to any one form factor or style. However, many high end gaming CPUs and GPUs can generate considerable heat and require more sophisticated cable management, which means airflow and cable space are both significant factors to be aware of. Thus, many gamers look for features such as vented mesh front panels, extra slots for case fans, and integrated cable management points.
In terms of style, many gamers prefer something with a little extra pizzazz, which is why gaming cases often include features like RGB fans. On the other hand, gamers who like the minimal aesthetic can find many sleek and subtle cases in flat black or metallic finishes.
If building and tinkering with computers is your hobby, then tons of cases are on the market for you. PC case makers are getting bolder and including features that their customers want. If you want an open air computer case that also acts as a PC case test bench, there are options for that. If you are going to water cool a PC, plenty of PC cases are built with mounting radiators, pumps, and reservoirs in mind. If you plan on doing extreme overclocking, plenty of cases are designed to be modded to hold things like Peltier coolers and other exotic PC cooling options. When it comes to case design and options, there has never been a better time to be a PC enthusiast.
Browse and compare Micro Center’s full collection of PC cases here. We offer dozens of models from the top names in PC cases, like NZXT, Lian Li, Corsair, and more. For more key info on how to choose your computer case, see our PC case buying guide.